Biblical Principles Concerning Music:

Music in the American culture is a Million if not Billion dollar industry and teenagers, to some degree, are the major driving force behind current music of the world.

Music in all societies during all times of history can take on a number of purposes:

A simple expression of music through musical instruments with no words or message.

An expression of music that includes musical instruments and lyrics with a message.

An expression of music that involves only one or more vocalist communicating the message.

All of these forms or styles of music still exist today.

The Bible mentions a number of forms of music, not all of which were involved in the Worship of our God.

Military purposes: Joshua 6:13 "Then seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark of the LORD went on continually and blew with the trumpets. And the armed men went before them. But the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while the priests continued blowing the trumpets."

National Patriotism: 2Chron. 20:27-29 "Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel."

Love Song: Song of Solomon 1:1 "The song of songs, which is Solomon's."

Wedding Music: Jer. 33:11 "the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride"

In addition, we find Folks songs (1Sam. 18:6-7), Funeral songs (Mat. 9:23-24), Pagan Music (Ex. 32:17-20) and more.

We need to answer some questions:

What kind of music Honors the Lord?

First understand that not all music is acceptable. It is unbiblical to assume that all music pleases the Lord. When Moses and Joshua were coming down from Mount Sinai the people of Israel were involved in horrible sin at the base of the mountain. They were worshiping an idol, the golden calf, and they were carrying on in pagan ritual. What kind of music did Moses and Joshua hear?

Exodus 32:17, And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, "There is a noise of war in the camp." 18 But he said: "It is not the noise of the shout of victory, Nor the noise of the cry of defeat, But the sound of singing I hear." 19 So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses' anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain.

Notice that Joshua knew right off that the music that he was hearing was NOT associated with worship to Jehovah. It was something different. Yes, some kind of music associated with pagan worship. It's the same way today. There are certain types of music that are associated with pagan worship and out right rebellion against God.

The problem is, many Christians in the past 20 to 30 years have gradually accepted the pagan and rebellious style of music as being acceptable for worship and edification. Let me draw some principles from the book of Exodus chapter 32. Moses and Joshua had been on the mountain top having close fellowship and open discussion with our Holy God. The people at the base of the mountain were not thinking of the God who delivered them out of Egypt. They were in fact in the process of making a god of their own design. They were breaking the 2nd commandment. In their rebellion, they became involved with the world's gods and the world's music. All of which were obviously not acceptable to Joshua and Moses that had been in CLOSE fellowship with God.

God's Word certainly is not silent when it comes to principles and evidences of biblical music. Read the following passages:

Ezra 3:11 "And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD: "For He is good, For His mercy endures forever toward Israel." Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid."

Isaiah. 12:5 "Sing to the LORD, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth."

2Ch 20:21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the LORD, For His mercy endures forever."

What principles do you see? Music should speak of God's holy character. Music should communicate who God is and what He is like.

Who is the focus in worshipful music? God is, of course!

Who is being exalted in words of song? Again, God is!

The music itself is not being exalted. The music is being used to Lift up God. Unfortunately, much of today's' music aims at lifting up the music itself. People come away "loving the music", "excited about the music", rather than being focused on an all powerful and Holy God!

Worship Music in Scripture is designed to bring forth a CLEAR message about God's Character and God's wonderful works. (Don't be distracted by the animated pictures below!) The Clarity of the message is very important. If a preacher stepped behind the pulpit and began to shout, slur his words, mumble, screech out sentences, and do other things that were distracting, would his style of preaching enhance the Clarity of the message? Of course not! (Don't be distracted by the animated pictures below!) In fact the preacher of God's word has many warnings concerning the importance of "preaching the Word." A simple reading of Jesus' messages in the Gospels do not leave you wondering "Now what did Jesus just say?"

Music style SHOULD NOT DISTRACT from a clear message about God's character and God's works. Read the two messages below, but click "refresh" first!

Let's focus on worship! Let's ponder God's character! Let's be able to understand a Clear message in the song without distractions.

Now let's try a different setting!

Let's focus on worship! Let's ponder God's character! Let's be able to understand a Clear message in the song without distractions. Which message could you concentrate on?

Now honestly, you can see the clear difference in the environments of the messages you just read. Did the atmosphere around the message make a difference on your ability to concentrate? Of course it did!

Christians need to understand that the music is not being Exalted, God is! In order for that to happen, in order for God to be exalted the message Must be Clear and the music Must help the one worshiping to focus on God and not on himself or herself. If the music gets you all excited and all worked up in the flesh - "Where's the worship in that?" You're glorying in yourself at that point!


It is God that is to be worshiped. If the music style get's you all worked up about yourself, your flesh, your good feelings, your body, you, you, you - It's Self-worship and Not God worship!

The Worlds' music style is aimed at fulfilling the things of the flesh and worshipping the things of the world and the flesh.

The Worlds' music style does not concern itself with a CLEAR message about God's character and God's works.

The Worlds' music style is willing to put the listener FIRST, instead of God being first in focus.

Here lies the Problem with much of todays' Contemporary Christian music. God is not First! No, with much of the modern Christian music - the Music and Man is first. A real evidence of that is seen in how popular Christian pop music has become even in the secular realm. One would think with this increase in popularity that the churches of the United States would be busting at the seams with people wanting to hear about the God of the Bible. Yet that's not happening. If God was truly the focus in much of the modern Christian Music, it would be as popular as the Bible is, as popular as straight forward biblical preaching has always been. Christian, I hope you see the point here! The fact is, our society is running from God and yet, society is saying "hey I like this Christian music." Something is Wrong with this picture. What's wrong is people believing that much of today's' Christian music has a CLEAR biblical message about WHO God is and WHAT Great wonders He has done. Christian rock and much of the modern contemporary Christian music has a music style that distracts from a CLEAR message. That's why unbelievers can enjoy it. When I preach from the pulpit about Sin, God's wrath, Future Judgment, Hell and yes God's love in the context... unbelievers are not happy about this. They are getting the message - Clearly! Music the honors the Lord should be JUST as crystal clear as the preaching of God's word.

What is the purpose of music in the life of the Christian?