Biblical Principles relating to Music:
As one approaches the subject of music (whether of singing or of musical instruments) from a Biblical
perspective, the following conclusions become evident. 1. The use of musical instruments, especially
stringed instruments holds a prominent place in Old Testament experience (Psa.. 33:2-4; 81:1-3;
92:1-4; 98:4-6; 147:7; 150:1-6; 2 Kgs. 3:15; 1 Chron. 16:42; 2 Chron. 29:25 etc).
2. In times of Israel's apostasy, singing and musical instruments were presented as being used as a
part of a careless lifestyle that ignored the commandments of God and the impending consequences of
judgement (Ex. 32:17-19; Isa. 5:12; Amos 6:1,5,6). 3. Word studies of New Testament words do
recognize roots that imply the use of musical instruments. Such studies do not support the idea that
the use of instruments is commanded.
4. When the New Testament gives direction concerning singing, it includes standards which we
a. 1 Cor. 14:15 "...I will sing with the spirit, I will sing with the understanding also." Fromthis verse
learn that our songs ought to cause our spirits to make contact with God in worship and praise, and
our minds ought to be directed in the ways of holiness and truth.
b. Col. 3:16 "...singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord." The word grace as it is used here
carries the thought ofsweetness, loveliness, especially the divine influence on the heart, and its
reflection in the life.
This sets a standard of order and harmony that would rule out the discordant tones of apostate music
c. The general principle of 1 Cor. 14:40 "Let all things be done decently and in order", would deal
with both the tempo and the rhythm of music.
Guidelines for Music Interests:
In light of the above mentioned Scriptural principles, we present the following standards for music
1. Music should build appreciation for the worship hymns and the spiritual songs that have inspired
saints throughout the ages (Col. 3:16).
2. The words of a song are to convey the primary message. Words and singing shall be the predominate
element (1 Cor. 14:15).
3. Music with certain features has a sensual effect on the physical and emotional make up of man and
consequently the following characteristics are not permitted:
a. The frequent use of syncopation. (the shifting of a regular musical accent to a beat that is usually
b. Accelerated tempo.
c. Throbbing pulsations.
d. Repetition as a regular feature. In essence, the following classes of music are strongly
discouraged: Secular music including Rock music of all kinds, Jazz, Country and Western, Hillbilly
and Blue Grass, and certain classes of Contemporary Christian music; present day Southern and
Country Gospel and such like.
The Bible gives us an example of an occasion when the church forbade a practice that on other
occasions is presented in a favorable light. Compare Acts 15:20, 29 with 1 Cor. 8. The example here is
the issue of eating meats offered to idols. While it was forbidden by the early church leaders as they
found their way through their stress situation, the Apostle Paul continued to hold forth the legitimacy
of eating meat offered to idols, (although he also taught it was something the stronger brother should
do without rather than cause offense). Our choices in recorded music and our singing mannerisms
should build appreciation for the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that characterize people
separated unto God.