Music in Worship

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16

printed musical note page

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What does Christ’s last will and testament have to say about music? Surely, we could go to the Old Testament and read about praising Him with a trumpet, harp, cymbals, and stringed instruments (Psalm 150). But we are no longer under the old covenant. Christ took it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Christians now follow the New Testament.

So let’s look at all the verses that include music of the church in the New Testament. There are only 3 ways to have music: 1) To play a mechanical instrument, 2) to sing, or 3) to play a mechanical instrument and sing. Notice all the versus below in the New Testament that refer to music and determine if there was the playing of an instrument, singing, or playing and singing.

  1. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” – Matthew 26:30.
  2. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” – Mark 14:26.
  3. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” – Acts 16:25.
  4. “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: ‘For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name'” – Romans 15:9.
  5. “What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with he understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” – 1 Corinthians 14:15.
  6. “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” – Ephesians 5:19.
  7. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” – Colossians 3:16.
  8. “Saying: ‘I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You” – Hebrews 2:12.
  9. “Is any among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” – James 5:13.

We can easily observe that the music of the New Testament involves only singing. God has given us a specific command to sing that rules out anything else. If God had commanded us to use a piano, that would have excluded the use of a guitar. But He did not command either of those things.

He commands us to sing to Him in worship and praise. Singing excludes playing an instrument. We have specific authority from God to sing – not to include any other type of music in our worship.

How are you worshiping and praising God? Is it with a mechanical instrument? With singing? Or with singing and mechanical instruments? Which way does the New Testament demonstrate is God-ordained?



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