Why We Sing In Worship

From Issue: Discovery 8/1/2013

Most religious people agree that it is good to have music in worship services. However, many of them disagree about what kind of music should be included. As you probably know, some religious groups use piano music in their worship; others have a whole band, complete with drums and electric guitars. Other churches only use a cappella singing (with no instruments). Who’s right?

The leaders of some churches base their decisions concerning what will happen in worship mostly on what the members of the churches like. So, if the people enjoy opera music, then the worship will feature that style of instrumental music. On the other hand, if the local church members prefer upbeat rock ’n’ roll music, then the church leaders might hire a seven-piece band to “liven up” the service.  

Should we base our worship practices on the preferences of humans, or on the commands of God? We should not design our worship services in order to please ourselves (John 4:24). 
We must worship according to the plan of God (Matthew 15:9).

Has God given us any specific instructions about music in worship? Yes: “[S]peaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). If we do what God commanded us in that verse, will we sing, play instruments, or play instruments and sing? We will sing—without the addition of musical instruments.

Notice what Paul wrote: “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). Did God command us to use musical instruments? No. In fact, there is no authorization for the use of instruments in New Testament worship, so we should not use them (see 1 Corinthians 14:15).


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