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Thar’s good in them thar hymns: music’s importance to the church

harpWhen it comes to what type of music should be played in church, the opinions are probably as vast as the individuals who attend church. Some believers think only old hymns are good enough for church, others think the praise and worship music of today should be the dominant or only format in church, and still others think that music should be banned altogether from church meetings because they believe worship and music don’t mix. Looking in various passages of the Bible, music played an important role in the lives of individual believers as well as in the congregational gatherings they had. Music’s main purpose was to glorify God, whether it was considered old or new, and it had different ways (or administrations) of glorifying God. Consider the following observations:

In heaven and on earth, God likes new songs

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise. Ps. 33:3

…the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps… And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Rev. 5:8-10

God also likes old songs

And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. Rev. 15:3-5

God likes it when we sing as a church group

Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Ps. 149:1

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Cor. 14:26

He also likes it when we sing about/to him to ourselves

…be filled with the Spirit;  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Eph. 5:18-19

He loves it when we sing about him in the midst of unbelievers

Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Ps. 18:49

The Lord accepts soft music that glorifies him

I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. Ps. 71:22

The Lord can also take his music loud

…and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the Lord. 2 Chron. 30:21

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Ps. 98:4

Godly music drives devils away

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. 1 Sam. 16:23

Godly music can be a prophecy

See Isaiah’s hymn in Isa. 26

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. 1 Cor. 14:15

It should edify and teach the church body in godly things

How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Cor. 14:26

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. Col. 3:16

For our music to meet these goals, it must be done as all our worship should be–in Spirit and in truth.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Thar’s good in them thar hymns: music’s importance to the church

  1. I think all worship leaders, before singing a new song in a church service of any kind, should do what Justin Taylor did for Charles Wesley’s “And can it be”: [He] “sought to identify probable biblical allusions (in the KJV) that probably implicitly or explicitly informed Wesley’s wording and concepts in this great hymn” (https://blogs/thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2013/12/14/charles-wesleys-and-can-it-be-…). He should use the translation of the Bible used by the preachers during their sermons and prayers. It is most important that the words and concepts of any song used in a gathering of Christians conform totally to the Bible. And the tune and instruments and volume/beat must never overwhelm the words so that the congregation cannot hear them clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Elizabeth,

      You’re so right. While there are some good new Christian songs, there are many that are not fit for a church service because of bad doctrine in their bad lyrics, even though they may have good melodies. The best songs conform to the teaching of scripture and have intelligible words–so we can say “Amen” to them. I think this is a principle Paul was highlighting when he talked in 1 Cor. 14 about why the gift of prophecy is better than tongues (unless tongues are interpreted). In v. 16 he said, “Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?” When intelligible words aren’t spoken or sung, “the other is not edified.”

      Like

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