What Does The Bible Say About Music?

Music is a beautiful gift from God. But, can it corrupt me? How do I know good or bad music? See what the Bible says about music and how it affects you as a Christian.

what does the bible say about music

Music can be useful to different people all around the world. An art practiced all through history, we can say that music is as old as creation itself. It transcends borders, planes of existence, and even religions.

Whether civilized or uncivilized, either saved or unsaved, rich or poor, the language of music is one that all humans, and sometimes even animals, can connect to easily.

However, as saved people, we need to understand and use music the way God made it – mostly as a spiritual tool of worship to God and edifying of our spirits individually and collectively.

What Does The Bible Say About Music?

The Bible shows us the spiritual side of music and its physical side as well. It reveals to us its origin, its usage, and its impact among people and towards God. We discover that music is a creation of God.

For instance, in the Book of Genesis, we will find the first man regarded as the inventor of music and musical instruments. His name was Jubal, a descendant of Cain.

We will also see how the Israelites used music to praise and worship God. Then how they turned and still used music to celebrate the worship of the golden statue in the wilderness like the heathen nations around them.

David was the sweet Psalmist of Israel because of his love for praising God with music, musical instruments, and dance.

Jesus sang a hymn with His disciples at the last supper. In addition, in the Epistles, believers were taught to edify each other as well as worship God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, giving glory to God.

What Does The Bible Say About Music KJV?

We can find some of the above-cited examples from the KJV Bible among other translations.

Music is referenced many times in the Bible. Here are a few Biblical citations or events where music is used.

(All scripture quotations are from the NIV except otherwise indicated)

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (KJV)”Acts 16:25
“And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (KJV)”1Samuel 16:23
“And David and all Israel played before God with all their might, and with singing, and with harps, and with psalteries, and with timbrels, and with cymbals, and with trumpets. (KJV)”1Chronicles 13:8
“That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: (KJV)”Daniel 3:5

The Origin Of Music In The Bible

If we read the Bible, we will find a record of the first mention of musical instruments and its inventor in the Book of Genesis.

“His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.”Genesis 4:21

This man is associated with the origin of music on the earth. From then all through history, we have seen music develop into what we have today across all genres, cultures, and spheres of life.

However, as we will see later, the Bible also show us that music actually originated from heaven as a creation of God used by the angels for worship long before man.

What Does The Bible Say About Musicians?

From Biblical record, musicians are people gifted in the art of making music and rendering sound. They are special people separated to lead others in the art and to perform diverse musical activities.

“These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.”1Chronicles 6:31-32
“Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.”1Chronicles 15:22

Is Singing A Sin In The Bible?

Singing in itself is not called a sin anywhere in the Bible. Music is good as long as it serves the purpose of God, which is praise, worship, and the edification of believers.

“They have harps and lyres at their banquets, pipes and timbrels and wine,
but they have no regard for the deeds of the LORD, no respect for the work of his hands.”Isaiah 5:12

Hence, it is important to know what one is singing, the purpose of the song, and its impact on the spirit. These make singing sinful, or not.

What Does The Bible Say About Music Ministry In Church?

Looking through scripture, we will understand that not everyone is gifted to do music even though God can put song for His praise and worship in the heart of all His children. Hence, from the Old Testament “gathering” or “Church,” we will observe that certain people were usually separated to lead the congregation in the praise of God.

“David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.”1Chronicles 15:16

Although, it isn’t categorically stated as a ministry in the New Testament, we know that the music ministry is an important help-ministry in the body of Christ, the local church.

The Importance Of Music In The Bible

Music is important in the Bible because of the role it plays in the expression of worship to God. God wired us with music embedded in our hearts, whether we are gifted singers or not.

There are instances where the presence and power of God descended when the people played music. For example, the priests and Levites worshipped at the temple after Solomon had completed it, and the glory of the Lord covered the whole place that they could not perform their duties any longer.

Elisha requested that a musician be called upon to play for him in order for the Spirit of prophesy to come upon him.

“But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came on Elisha.”2Kings 3:15

Paul and Silas sang in the prison at a time of great trial, and the power of God descended into the prison causing an earthquake that set everyone free in the process.

In addition, music is not only important to God directly; even idol worshippers used music in the Bible (Nebuchadnezzar is an example among others).

Somehow, all of these show us that music is a spiritual tool that connects us to the spirit realm directly or indirectly.

What Does The Bible Say About Music In Heaven?

Since music actually began from Heaven, it is fitting that the Bible says something about it. Let us see some verses about music outside our sphere, in the heavenly realm.

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.”Revelations 5:8-9
“And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”Isaiah 6:3
“Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”Revelation 4:8

What Does The Bible Say About Music And The Devil?

From the study of the Bible, we know that the devil was once an archangel in heaven before his rebellion and eventual expulsion. Bible scholars even believe that the devil is the reference of the prophecy by the Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 28.

According to that prophecy, a brief look at the elements of his creation, there is a mention of musical instruments. Though the exact meanings of the Hebrew texts used is uncertain. Hence, we could say that the devil was involved with music in heaven. Though this is the place in scripture where there the devil is directly associated with music.

“You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. (NKJV)”Ezekiel 28:13

Was Satan the head musician in heaven? One cannot definitively say for sure. The Bible does not say enough about his duties in heaven. However, considering that the angels are constantly worshipping God in heaven, it is possible that Satan led that worship.

In addition, if satan led the worship in heaven (now, this is personal speculation), it is possible that he still has influence in music today, especially music that does not glorify God. Idol worshippers, for instance, use music to invoke demonic spirits, and make enchantments or other such rituals. Moreover, since these aren’t from God, the devil definitely is behind it, no matter how harmful or harmless it looks.

What Does The Bible Say About Musical Instruments?

Although musical instruments is not mentioned as being used by any New Testament church in the Bible, except citations of one or two in Heaven, the Bible does show us the invention and use of musical instruments throughout the Old Testament both in the worship of God, of idols, and for merriment.

“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (NKJV)”Revelation 5:8

Regarding musical instruments in the church, some church circles forbid the use of musical instruments and some others allow it. Although the Bible in the New Testament is silent about this, we are not to make our own doctrines and dogmas out of it, but to seek instead to worship the Lord alone.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”1Corinthians 10:31

What Does The Bible Say About Musicians Getting Paid?

It is important that we look at the Bible through the lenses of understanding, and not interpret it the way we deem fit. Though this is a subject of great debate, it is quite easy to understand.

There are people who minister in church as musicians voluntarily. They do not request payment for their service, just the opportunity to serve. Then there are those who do music professionally, full-time.

If a musician requests payment to minister for a church and the church can afford them, they should pay them as they would pay anyone rendering any other service professionally. The Bible says in

“Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house”Luke 10:7

Levites in the days of Nehemiah had to leave the work and go back to their farms in order to feed their families because the leaders neglected their welfare (or wages, as was original made to be).

“Some Levite families were responsible for the Temple music. The heads of these families lived in some of the Temple buildings and were free from other duties, because they were on call day and night. (GNT)”1Chronicles 9:33
“I also learned that the Temple musicians and other Levites had left Jerusalem and gone back to their farms, because the people had not been giving them enough to live on. I reprimanded the officials for letting the Temple be neglected. And I brought the Levites and musicians back to the Temple and put them to work again. (GNT)”Nehemiah 13:10-11

What Does The Bible Say About Secular Music?

Music can also be used for immoral and ungodly purposes. Whatever music that does point to God’s glory or to God Himself, does not worship God, and does not edify the spirit of the believer is ungodly.

The world today is characterized by its great sensuality and music, which promote sin, rebellion, lust, hate, depression and negativity. However, the Bible tells us that one day, the modern “Babylon” – the world, will be destroyed forever, along with their singers or musicians.

“The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No worker of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again”Revelation 18:22

God created music for us to use for His glory from hearts that have accepted to live for Jesus. Let us therefore, go on, purifying our hearts from the pollution of ungodly music, and focus on true Christian music.

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