Music In Worship

image"Incense, common in Hebrew and pagan worship, was rejected by Christians. It was a material sacrifice, and, as an accompaniment to the spiritual sacrifice of prayer was rejected in the same manner as was instrumental accompaniment to singing" (Early Christians Speak, Ferguson, p.142).

" the singing was done without instrumental accompaniment. Indeed, an instrument had no function in these simple chants with their emphasis on the content of praise" (Early Christians Speak, Ferguson, p.161).

"Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law." (John Calvin, Commentary on Ps.33 and 1Sam.18:1-9).

"I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen" (John Wesley, cited by Clarke's Commentary, IV,p.648).

" instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity" (Adam Clarke, Commentary, IV, p.684).

Two Things Essential to Understanding about Music In Worship: 1) Respect for the authority of the scriptures, and 2) A knowledge of what the New Testament says about music in worship.


Answering the Objections:

1) Some think that since instrumental music was used in the Old Testament it must be right to use it in worship today.


2) Some think that since harps are mentioned in the book of Revelation and are apparently in heaven, it must be right to use them in the church to worship God today. (Rev. 5:8; Rev. 14:2).

Are things always the same in heaven and on earth? Are we sure there will be harps in heaven?


Even if there are harps in heaven it does not mean we can use them today in our worship and secondly, the references are probably figurative.

3) Some think that instruments of music are inherent in the Greek term psallo, which is translated "singing with melody" in Eph. 5:19.

Eph. 5:19 is never translated to sing and to play a mechanical instrument such as a harp.

If a mechanical instrument were inherent in psallo, the passage would demand that everyone who sang also play a mechanical instrument.

Psallo means "to pluck" and the instrument is never inherent in the word. In classical writings one reads: Psallo the carpenter's string, psallo the bow string, psallo the harp. The New Testament says psallo the strings of the heart!

5) Some suggest that instrumental music is just an aid to singing.

The purpose of singing is twofold: 1) to praise God and 2) to teach and admonish one another (Eph. 5:19). Instrumental music does not help accomplish these purposes.

We must not add to nor take away from the word of the Lord.

6) Some suggest that it is right to use instrumental music in worship because God does not specifically forbid it in the New Testament.

The New Testament does not specifically forbid animal sacrifices, but they are not authorized in the New Testament.

A thing is not authorized by silence (Heb. 7:14)

The music that God wants in worship is a speaking (Eph. 5:19); it can teach and admonish (Col. 3:16), and can be done with spirit and understanding (1 Cor. 14:15). God has commanded us to sing and make melody in our hearts (Eph. 5:19).