Firm Foundations Five (48 of 55) What About Music?

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What About Music?

Music is a way for believers to praise God, as well as, to teach and admonish one another. Therefore, music is an expression that we use to edify one another and collectively or individually worship God. Believers have a “new song” that they sing because of the wonderful change that took place in their life through the saving grace of the Lord Jesus.
Palms 96:1–13

Understanding Music

  • Music in and of itself is not good or bad. It is simply the vocal or instrumental sounds that are played individually or together to produce sounds and to express an emotion. Therefore, believers should give attention to the musical sounds of the instruments, the sound of the vocalist, and the lyrics of a song so that all is done for the glory of God.
    1 Corinthians 10:31
  • Musical style varies between cultures, time periods, ages and people’s personal preferences. The Bible does not command any certain style of music to be used by believers or for use in the church. Therefore, the style of music used among believers and in local churches around the world will be different and always changing.
  • For believers, musical lyrics should be in agreement with the Bible. Believers should use proper judgement and see music as godly, bad, or neutral. Godly music contains lyrics that are in agreeance with the Bible. Bad music contains lyrics that are contrary to the Bible. Neutral music contains lyrics that aren’t pro or anti-scripture, but are innocent for entertainment or cultural purposes.

Music In The Bible

  • Music functions in the following ways: teaching, admonishing, expressing joy, thanksgiving, praise, worship, prayer and witness.
    Psalm 72:20; 92:1–3; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13; Acts 16:25
  • Musical instruments in the Bible fall into three main categories: percussion, stringed, and wind.
    1 Chronicles 16:5; 2 Chronicles 5:12–14; 1 Kings 10:12
  • Music in the church falls into three categories: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These are vocal songs that are recorded in Scripture, part of church history and songs that are being written today.
    Ephesians 5:19
  • Music is often accompanied by loudly singing out to God, dancing, and body gestures (raising your hands, etc.) that help one express their emotions; at the same time, it is to be done acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
    Psalm 98:4; Exodus 15:20–21; 1 Chronicles 15:16; Hebrews 12:28–29

Music Principles For Believers

  • Believers should sing together as a congregation and individually. Just like every believer should read their Bible and pray, we should also including singing unto the Lord as part of our worship. When we come together as a church, we should sing unto the Lord for worship and edification of the body.
    Psalm 42:8; 149:1
  • Believers should sing to the Lord. When Believers praise God through music, they should be focused on singing to God himself and not trying impress others around them.
    Colossians 3:16; Psalm 34:3
  • Believers should sing to the Lord from their heart. This is an internal realization of all that God has done in your life and responding with a passionate outpouring of song to God. Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19
  • Believers should play instruments skillfully and with distinction in the sounds. Those who have the ability to play instruments should play to the best of their ability as to represent their Lord well and so others know what is being played.
    Psalms 33:3; 150:4–6; 1 Corinthians 14:7–8
  • Believers should sing with understanding. We need to think about, understand, and mediate on the message of the lyrics so that we can truly praise God. Lyrics should be foremost and the instruments should not distract from it but support it.
    1 Corinthians 14:9–12

Answers To Tough Questions

  • Can a believer listen to non-Christian music? Yes, there is no prohibition in the Bible for Christians to listen to non-Christian music. If the music is promoting sin, causing you to think evil thoughts, or goes against the teachings of the Bible then you should not listen to it. Listening to or singing innocent music for entertainment, education, celebrations or cultural reasons is okay for believers. We should control what occupies our mind.
    Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:2, 5; 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • Are certain instruments, styles, or beats of music wrong? No, the Bible never says that certain instruments, styles, or beats are wrong, sensual, or sinful. Obviously, if listening to a certain one tempts you to do wrong, then you personally should not listen to it.
  • Should certain music be avoided because of its associations? Maybe, because we live in a sinful world, all genres of music have bad things associated with it. Each believer has the right to choose based on their personal preference concerning the situation.
  • Should certain music artists be avoided because of their lifestyle? Maybe, because this question will be answered differently for each person. You should apply the same principles that you do when choosing to cheer for a sports player, eat at a restaurant, or watch a movie. Often in these circumstances, our conscience acts as our guide and if we have doubts, then we should avoid it. If you don’t have doubts and it isn’t going to be offensive to your weaker brother, then you don’t have to avoid it.
    John 17:11-15; Romans 14:1, 10, 22-23

Review Questions

  • Music is an expression that helps us accomplish what two things?
  • Is music good or bad? Why?
  • For believers, musical lyrics should be in agreement with what?
  • What are the functions of music?
  • What are the music principles for believers?

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