Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 11, 1964

Bible Answers

Gene Frost, 1900 Jenny Lind, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Question: Does The Bible Authorize The Use Of Music In Services?

ANSWER: Yes. Though the word "music" is not used in connection with divine worship, "singing" is divinely authorized, which, of course, is a specific kind of music (vocal as distinguished form instrumental). Music in general is not authorized. Following are the New Testament references to music, and in each case singing is specified.

Authorized Music

Acts 16:25: "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God ...

Rom. 15:9: "For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name."

I Cor. 14:15: "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."

Eph. 5:19: "Speaking to yourselves is psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord ... "

Col. 3:16: "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 race in your hearts to the Lord."

Heb. 2:12: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

James 5:13_ "Is any merry? let him sing psalms." (See also Matt. 26:30, Mark 14:26, Rev. 5:9, and 15:3.)

In Divine Service

Worship to God must involve every saint. Music in worship is not TO the church but BY the church as all mutually engage. "Speaking to yourselves" and "admonishing one another" indicates that which is reciprocal. (Eph. 5:19, Col, 3:16) The pronouns are reflexive and in the plural are reciprocal in these references: mutually, one another. (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, page 163) In this way the saints honor and praise God.


What is pleasing to God is not determined by what is pleasing to man. (Isa. 55:8-9, I Cor. 1:25, 2:4-5, 4:6) God is worshipped with divine approval only according to His word. (John 4:24, 17:17) "These things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." (Phil. 4:9) The music authorized of Christ is singing. To this we are not at liberty to add other music. (2 John 9) Nowhere in the New Testament is instrumental music authorized — it is not commanded; there is no approved example of it; or necessary inference for it. Mechanical instruments neither speak nor teach; they do not honor God. Music in worship must be the expression of the heart of every worshipper: "singing with grace in your heart to the Lord."

The purpose of singing is to worship God. Music is not authorized to entertain man. To do what God says is pleasing to Him; to do otherwise, even in intended honor, is not acceptable to Him. (Matt. 7:21-23).