Come, Let Us Sing

By: Robert S. Smith
Format: Soft cover

Purchase from SMBC:
You can purchase this book from SMBC for $20.00 (+ postage). Please phone the SMBC Service Centre on 02 9747 4780 or email for details.


A Call to Musical Reformation

Come, Let Us Sing seeks to help us reform the musical dimension of church life by bringing biblical clarity to two key questions: Why do we come together? and Why do we sing together?

In answer to the first, Robert Smith navigates a path through the contemporary ‘worship word wars’, concluding that we gather both to worship God and to encourage others. Two questions must, therefore, be asked of everything we do: Does it glorify God? and Does it edify others?

As to why we sing, Smith unpacks three principal functions of congregational singing in Scripture – as a way of praising, a way of praying and a way of preaching. In so doing, he explores the necessity of singing scriptural truth, the value of psalmody, the place of emotions, the role of our bodies, and how singing expresses and enriches our unity.

Come, Let Us Sing is a timely call for the church to reclaim its biblical musical heritage and reform its musical practice.


Robert Smith lectures in Theology, Ethics and Music Ministry at SMBC. He also serves as the Assistant Director of Music Training & Development for the Anglican Diocese of Sydney and as Assistant Minister at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. In addition to having written widely on the theology of congregational music, Rob is the co-author (with Mike Raiter) of Songs of the Saints: Enriching our Singing by Learning from the Songs of Scripture. He is also a songwriter, producer and director of Emu Music.


"To summarise; Come, Let Us Sing, is an essential book for every church leader, and a good one for every Christian too. Smith states that his intended readership is pastors and teachers, but also music directors, song leaders and church musicians of every kind; as well as Christian congregations. It supplies what is sometimes missing—the psalms, lament, cross traditional fertilisation, and a practical theology of worship." – David Robertson

Table of Contents:


1. The Path to the Present

PART ONE: Why God's People Gather

2. The New Worship

  • Answers Old and New
  • Jesus and the Worship Revolution
  • Conclusion

3. The New Wine

  • The Difference Jesus Makes
  • Worship and Coming Together
  • the Importance of edification
  • Conclusion

4. The New Wineskins

  • What's at Stake in the 'Worship' Debate?
  • Singing, Worship and Edification
  • Conclusion

PART TWO: Why God's People Sing

5. Singing as Praise I: Nature and Obstacles

  • The Relevance of the Psalter
  • The Nature of Biblical Praise
  • The Battle for Biblical Praise
  • Conclusion

6. Singing as Praise II: Strategies and Practice

  • From Prison to Praise
  • Three Strategic Solutions
  • How, then, Shall we Praise?
  • Conclusion

7. Singing as Prayer I: Nature and Value

  • Singing as a Form of Prayer
  • The Value of Singing Prayers
  • Incentives and Obstacles to Singing the Psalms
  • Conclusion

8. Singing as Prayer II: Questions and Implications

  • What Other Prayers Might We Sing?
  • What Should Accompany Sung Prayer
  • What Are the Practical Implications?
  • Conclusion

9. Singing as Preaching I: Old Covenant Soundings

  • Worship and Edification
  • singing and Preaching in the Old Testament
  • What Are the implications?
  • Conclusion

10. Singing as Preaching II: New Covenant Explorations

  • Jesus' Pattern of Ministry
  • The Place of Sing in Paul's Churches
  • The Hymns of the Apocalypse
  • Conclusion

PART THREE: Helping God's People Change

11. Three Keys to Musical Reformation

  • Educating Christian Pastors
  • Equipping Church Musicians
  • Encouraging Christian Congregations
  • Conclusion

12. The Road Ahead


Appendix I: The Relationship Between Lament and Praise

  • Lament as the pathway to Praise
  • Lament as Praising in the Dark

Appendix II: Approaches to Psalm Singing

  • Metrical Psalms
  • Plainsong
  • Anglican Chant
  • Historical Adaptations
  • Contemporary Adaptations
  • Conclusion

Appendix III: Music, Emotion and Bodily Expression

  • Music and Bodily Movement
  • Bodily Movement and Emotions
  • Conclusion

Appendix IV: Music and Lyrics

  • Text
  • Tune
  • Fit
  • Conclusion