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Are There Biblical Principals Which Govern Church Worship Music?

Music in church has become a controversial issue among many Christians. One of the reasons is because what one “enjoys” or what makes one “feel good” has become the measure of right and wrong, rather than what is stated in God’s Word, the Bible. In all areas of the Christian life, including church music, all Christians must decide that the Bible is the authority.

This article will present some Bible principles which govern Christian music. There is no question that God intended for us to utilize music to worship Him. In 2Chronicles 5:12-14, the glory of the LORD filled the house of God while the people were praising the LORD with music.

Firstly, we find in 1Samuel 16:23 that music has spiritual power. Saul was refreshed and an evil spirit departed from him because of the music David played on a harp. In 2Kings 3:15 the hand of the LORD came upon Elisha when a minstrel played. If “God is a Spirit”, John 4:24, then the music presented as worship to God must be “spiritual.”

Secondly, Christians have two natures: the flesh and the spirit. The Bible says that these are “contrary the one to the other” in Galatians 5:17. Since this is true, music used to worship God, who is Spirit, must appeal to the spirit of man. If worship music primarily appeals to the flesh of man through its beat or worldliness, how can it be used to also appeal to the spirit of man when the flesh and spirit are contrary to each other?

Thirdly, all praise and worship is to be “unto the LORD,” Psalms 95:1. Worship (including worship music) is for God, not man. It is not to be an opportunity to “perform” or lift up a performer, but an opportunity for man to praise a holy God. Does the music and performance of much of the “Christian” music of today glorify God? All that a Christian does must glorify God, see 1Corinthians 10:31.

Fourthly, Christian music is not a tool for evangelism (as the preaching of the gospel is), it is a tool for Christians to teach and admonish “one another”, see Colossians 3:16. When Paul and Silas were singing in prison in Acts 16, the keeper of the prison was asleep – they were singing for each other and for the LORD. Worship music does not have to appeal to the world by being worldly. As a matter of fact, Jesus said that the world will “hate” Christians. They hate our music because of what is says, and because it is spiritual. All through the Bible, Christians are commanded to be different and separate from the world. This would include their music. Christians are to have a “new” song, Psalms 96:1.

I challenge every Christian to study what the Bible has to say about music and worship and make sure that they are following God’s Biblical guidelines.