Summary: Is it ok to use instruments of music in the Worship Setting?

Instrumental music and New Testament Worship

I was recently asked about music in the church and specifically asked about the lack of musical instruments in Church worship.

There are two distinct worships found in the Bible; The Old Covenant or Testament and The New Covenant or Testament.

Under the Old Law, instrumental music was commanded. (Psalms 98:5) Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. (6) With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

(2 Chronicles 5:13)It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;

Consider (Psalm 150:4) Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. (5) Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

- But –

Regardless of what the Old Testament said; we are not UNDER the Old Testament LAW! Anyone in favor of offering sacrifices of BULLS, SHEEP and other animals say I.

- The Law of EXCLUSION –

Simply states that when something is specified, all else is excluded.


If you send someone to the store for a loaf of bread; You have immediately excluded peas, corn, squash, and rutabagas. You only asked for BREAD and LOAF BREAD at that.

Jesus and God have done the same thing. (Matt 26:30) And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (Acts 16:25) And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God (Romans 15:9) And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

(1 Cor 14:15) What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

(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 grace in your hearts to the Lord.(Eph 5:19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Heb 13:15) By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (James 5:3) ...Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. (Heb 2:12) In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

With this much evidence shown for simple singing, would the Lord be pleased if we added instruments of music where God did not apply them? Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what does the Bible say. If God says sing and 1 million choir directors say play the Piano, who is right, 1 million or God? REMEMBER, GOD tells what is right. (Isa 45:19) I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Some argue that adding instrumental music is a small thing. How about Grape Kool-Aid for the Lord’s Table. It’s kind of Grape and it does taste grape? That would be a SIN and we all know why. Well if we can’t change the Lord Supper, then how can we change the singing into Piano music?

If we are going to be Christians, then we are going to have to do what Christians do. Are You a Christian? You can Become a Christian today.

You need to hear the Word of God. (Rom 10:17) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So it’s not just hearing, but it’s hearing the word of God.

We have to believe in Jesus. Jesus said, (John 8:24) “For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Belief in Christ is essential. There is NO other way.

We must repent of our sins. Jesus said in “(Luke 13:3) “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Unless we repent, we perish. That is the consequence of SIN.

We must confess that Jesus is the Christ, The only begotten son of God. Jesus said in (Matt 10:32) “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (33) But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

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Hal Tevebaugh

commented on Nov 4, 2011

I highly respect my Church of Christ brother''s. However, I have yet to find in the New Testament any reference as to the condemning the use of musical instruments in the church. The passage in Eph. 5:19 that you referenced actually condones the use of musical instruments. The phrase "making melody" in the Greek is NT:5567 psallo (psal''-lo); probably strengthened from psao (to rub or touch the surface; compare NT:5597); to twitch or twang, i.e. to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine worship with music and accompanying odes):

Clarence White

commented on Sep 18, 2013

I Was raised in the church and was taught this meaning of being non instrumental until I studied Matt 6:10 Christ prayed for Gods will be done on earth as in heaven We find in scripture Christ is the horn of our salvation , we will be called to come as Gabriel blows hi trumpet We find specific instruments mentioned in the Revaluation letter. We are commanded not to add or take away from Gods word in both the old and new covenants. Is Not condemnation of using the instrument a addition to any teaching found in the new covenant The Church states that we speak where the bible speaks please some one quote the condemnation of the instrument in worship. Opinion nor interpretation accepted either god said it or he did not From simple reading of scripture we find the instrument used in heaven we find Christ praying that Gods will be done on earth as in Heaven It is very apparent God uses musical instruments in heaven By command in the Old covenant the instrument was used all through Scripture god never had a problem with letting people know what his desire was or was not I seems strange the early believers were not told to quit using the instrument if it was a sin as it is taught today by some

Robert Glass

commented on May 23, 2014

We have 2 choices in life, we can accept and obey the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles or we can do whatever we please. HOWEVER, Within the New Testament there is NO incidence where music was ether used or commanded. Clarence, you are simply misled and incorrect in your conclusion. I stand by my sermon AS WRITTEN. Rg

Robert Glass

commented on May 23, 2014

The Holy Bible does not itemize every sin and activity. However, if a thing is not specified....then it is WRONG. This the law of specificity. When 1 thing is specified, ANYTHING else is condemned. I STILL stand by my sermon.

Pastor Tim Linick

commented on Jun 21, 2017

Taking a stand that the New Testament Church should only utilize practices which are either explicitly commanded or implicitly endorsed would mean that every church sanctuary needs to pull the plug on their air-conditioning. According to Acts 20:9, the NT Church worshipped with open windows, or else Eutychus would not have fallen out of the window when Paul was bit long-winded. The NT never commands us to use air-conditioning and seems to endorse open-air meetings since Eutychus was resurrected after falling out of the window proving the power of God. I realize this seems silly and absurd, but sometimes you have to illustrate the ridiculous with the ridiculous. God obviously could not care less if you worship with only vocal music, instrumental music, humming, chanting, whistling, or even silence! Making a divisive issue over music is quite ridiculous. Let's just lift up the Precious Name of Jesus! Following is a biblical philosophy of Church music I wrote a few years ago. BIBLICAL OVERVIEW Music speaks to the hearts of mankind and glorifies God. It transcends language and culture barriers drawing people into the presence of God. Since music has always been a part of worship, we look to the Bible, God’s Holy Word, as the final authority on music in the Church. Although each of us has his/her own preferences and favorite genres of music, we aim to present a more objective biblical perspective on music in the Church. Scripture refers to various forms of musical expression including: ~ vocal praise ~ instrumental praise ~ merriment ~ bereavement ~ battle communication ~ royalty announcements ~ victory ~ celebration ~ personal solitude ~ corporate worship ~ entertainment ~ comfort or solace Scripture also refers to many types of musical instruments including: ~ stringed instruments ~ wind instruments ~ percussion instruments ~ vocalization/incantation Scripture indicates we are to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord” and “come before His presence with singing (Psa. 100:1-2). Paul advocated “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). The Apostle reiterates this biblical principle in Colossians 3:16 telling us to be “admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. These three classifications are speaking of three distinct music formats and are not just bothersome redundancies. We need all three formats in the Church today. This biblical blend of music establishes a Trinitarian Model touching our Body, Mind, & Soul! We cannot improve on the biblical approach. However, we do need to further classify and clarify these three formats: PSALMS — usually sung from Scripture — refers to artistic, musical expressions such as those a choir or ensemble might present. These objective songs point to the majesty and greatness of God. This would include biblical poetry and songs like… ~ Thy Loving Kindness Is Better Than Life ~ How Great Is Our God ~ Our God Is An Awesome God ~ The Lord Is My Shepherd ~ As the Deer There are many other examples of psalms we sing in worship. HYMNS — usually sung about God—implies something similar to what we classify today as traditional congregational music. It is usually testimonial and speaks to truths and experiences— “vertical” (God-centered) and “horizontal” (relationship-based). Some current examples of hymns would include songs like… ~ How Firm a Foundation ~ How Great Thou Art ~ Amazing Grace ~ It Is Well ~ Jesus Saves ~ Satisfied ~ A Glorious Church ~ Draw Me Nearer This is just a sampling of literally thousands of hymns we sing. SPIRITUAL SONGS — usually sung to God—seems to indicate a more personal, fresh expression, and in most cases would be a fairly recent compositions including those sung by soloists or groups. This praise and worship music would include songs like… ~ God Is So Good ~ The Family of God ~ He Is Lord ~ Holy Is the Lord ~ Step By Step ~ Let Your Love Flow Through Me ~ Yes, Lord, Yes ~ More of You There are hundreds of other examples, but these would also include recent adaptations of traditional hymns such as… ~ Amazing Grace / My Chains are Gone (medley) ~ One Day / O Glorious Day ~ The Solid Rock / Cornerstone …as well as recent compositions of new hymns (many others) like… ~ In Christ Alone ~ Abide With Me ~ Behold the Lamb ~ The Power of the Cross ~ Beautiful Savior HERITAGE We have a heritage of holiness hymn writers who with spiritual anointing penned the words of many hymns of the faith. We praise God for Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, John Newton, Isaac Watts, Ira Sankey, and many others who have so profoundly articulated these traditional hymns that have become a standard of excellence and been used mightily of the Lord! However, hymn writing did not begin in the 1700’s. Hymns were a part of worship in both the O.T. and N.T. Unlike Scripture, music is not static—it keeps on being written. Christians desire to express faith, struggles, and hopes by penning the words of songs and setting those words to music to praise the Lord and encourage others! Music has a way of sometimes penetrating the hardened heart when preaching is seemingly ineffective. We all have seen anointed music move dozens of rebellious sinners from their pews to cry out to God at an altar of prayer. Although music can certainly be very inspiring to our hearts, it is not inspired (God-breathed) in the biblical sense of the term. In other words, there is certainly nothing in the Word of God that restricts or prohibits the continued composing and expression of new music in the Church—both new lyrics and new melodies. In fact, there are dozens of verses that indicate that we are to keep growing in maturity and grace by developing relevant praise and worship songs unto the Lord that the world may know of His greatness, holiness, and true salvation. COMFORT ZONE The struggle with music is not new. Consider this quotation from Charles Finney regarding the issue of “church choirs” back in 1835 — “…another innovation was brought in. It was thought best to have a select choir of singers sit by themselves, so as to give an opportunity to improve the music. But this was bitterly opposed. How many congregations were torn and rent in sunder by the desire of the ministers and some leading individuals, to bring about an improvement in the cultivation of music, by forming choirs! People talked about 'innovation,' and 'new measures,' and thought great evils were coming to the Churches, because the singers were seated by themselves, and cultivated music, and learned new tunes that the old people could not sing. … And there are many churches now who would not tolerate an organ. They would not be half so much excited to be told that sinners are going to hell, as to be told that there is going to be an organ in the meeting house...” —Keith Drury's The Wonder of Worship Innovations in music can push us out of our comfort zone, but if we approach these enhancements with an open heart seeking God’s best, the Holy Spirit will faithfully reveal another opportunity for us to grow in our dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. DECLARATION In the New Testament Church, by blending all three formats of music (psalms, hymns, spiritual songs) in our worship, we are declaring that we will not allow the enemy (Satan) to divide us into various subgroups. Uniting on the basis of Scripture to be more mature and spiritually rounded Christians, we declare once again, “United We Stand!” PRACTICAL APPLICATION One of our fundamental goals identified through strategic planning is to promote and foster a stronger connection among the church family and better cultivate an atmosphere of inspiring, relevant, corporate worship. We will be intentional and deliberate about developing a biblical blend and well-balanced repertoire expressed in congregational worship music, individual or group music selections, and other musical presentations. The following aspects of music will help implement this in the Church… ~ melody — common tune ~ harmony — corresponding notes ~ rhythm — timing ~ tempo — speed in many different genres including (but not limited to) the following… ~ A capella Arrangements ~ Duets/Trios/Quartets ~ Ensemble Presentations ~ Inspirational Medleys ~ Instrumental Numbers ~ Integrated Medleys ~ Messianic/Hebrew Songs ~ Orchestra Groups ~ Prayer Choruses ~ Praise Team/Band ~ Sacred/Classical Music ~ Singing Rounds ~ Southern Gospel Music ~ Worship Anthems By utilizing more vocal and instrumental talent, we will be able to greatly influence members and visitors to develop a stronger connection with God through the worship experience by cultivating an atmosphere that is conducive to the moving of God’s Holy Spirit in our gatherings. Let us prayerfully seek God’s anointing on all those who lead and participate in the music ministry of the local church. May hearts continue to be transformed and renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Pastor Tim Linick |

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