on Colossians 3 :16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly - I believe the apostle means that the Colossians should be well instructed in the doctrine of Christ; that it should be their constant study; that it should be frequently preached, explained, and enforced among them; and that all the wisdom comprised in it should be well understood. Thus the doctrine of God would dwell richly, that is, abundantly, among them. But there appears to be here an allusion to the Shechinah, or symbol of the Divine presence, which dwelt in the tabernacle and first temple; and to an opinion common among the Jews, which is thus expressed in Melchita, fol. 38, 4: כל מקום שהתורה שם שבינה שם עמה; In whatever place the Law is, there the Shechinah is present with it. Nor is this a vain supposition; wherever God's word is seriously read, heard, or preached, there is God himself; and in that Church or religious society where the truth of God is proclaimed and conscientiously believed, there is the constant dwelling of God. Through bad pointing this verse is not very intelligible; the several members of it should be distinguished thus: Let the doctrine of Christ dwell richly among you; teaching and admonishing each other in all wisdom; singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord, in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. This arrangement the original will not only bear, but it absolutely requires it, and is not sense without it. See the note on Ephesians 5:19.
The singing which is here recommended is widely different from what is commonly used in most Christian congregations; a congeries of unmeaning sounds, associated to bundles of nonsensical, and often ridiculous, repetitions, which at once both deprave and disgrace the Church of Christ. Melody, which is allowed to be the most proper for devotional music, is now sacrificed to an exuberant harmony, which requires, not only many different kinds of voices, but different musical instruments to support it. And by these preposterous means the simplicity of the Christian worship is destroyed, and all edification totally prevented. And this kind of singing is amply proved to be very injurious to the personal piety of those employed in it; even of those who enter with a considerable share of humility and Christian meekness, how few continue to sing with Grace in their hearts unto the Lord?
on Colossians 3 :16
Let the word of Christ - The doctrine of Christ.
Dwell in you richly in all wisdom - Abundantly, producing the spirit of true wisdom. That doctrine is adapted to make you wise. The meaning is, that they were to lay up the doctrines of the gospel in their hearts, to meditate upon them; to allow them to be their guide, and to endearor wisely to improve them to the best purpose.
Teaching and admonishing ... - See this explained in the notes at Ephesians 5:19-20. The only additional thought here is, that their psalms and hymns were to be regarded as a method of "teaching" and "admonishing;" that is, they were to be imbued with truth, and to be such as to elevate the mind, and withdraw it from error and sin. Dr. Johnson once said, that if he were allowed to make the ballads of a nation, he cared not who made the laws. It is true in a more important sense that he who is permitted to make the hymns of a church, need care little who preaches, or who makes the creed. He will more effectually mould the sentiments of a church than they who preach or make creeds and confessions. Hence, it is indispensable, in order to the preservation of the truth, that the sacred songs of a church should be imbued with sound evangelical sentiment.
on Colossians 3 :16
3:16 Let the word of Christ - So the apostle calls the whole scripture, and thereby asserts the divinity of his Master. Dwell - Not make a short stay, or an occasional visit, but take up its stated residence. Richly - In the largest measure, and with the greatest efficacy; so as to fill and govern the whole soul.