Jarrod Jacobs: Are We To Use Instrumental Music In Our Worship?
The subject of instrumental music in the worship to God has caused many heated discussions through the years. Some think that God does not care about this question. Some believe that God is pleased when we praise Him with whatever means available. Our concern, however, is “What saith the Scripture” (Rom. 4:3)? Let us read the passages in the New Testament that discuss singing, and then make some observations.
· Matthew 26:30- “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
· Mark 14:26- “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: and the prisoners heard them.”
· 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.”
· I Corinthians 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.”
· Ephesians 5:19- “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
· Colossians 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.”
· Hebrews 2:12- “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”
· Hebrews 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 5:13- “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
What can we learn after reading the passages above? In addition to the command to sing (Col. 3:16; Heb. 13:15; Jas. 5:13), let me suggest that we learn that singing without the instrument of music in worship to God follows the examples of Christ and the apostles. In three passages above (Matt. 26:30; Mk. 14:26; Acts 16:25), we see Christ and His apostles only singing praises to God. They have shown us what God wants.
Instead of playing mechanical instruments in worship, God says we are to use our “heart” as the instrument (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). It is with this heart that we can sing “with … the spirit and understanding” and we can please God (I Cor. 14:15). Singing is a form of spiritual sacrifice to God (Heb. 13:15). We express praise to God in this way. No mechanical instrument can do these things.
Knowing the terror of the Lord, and how dangerous it is for one to turn and do their own will (Heb. 10:31; II Thess. 1:6-9), why would we want to transgress God’s law and add the mechanical instrument in the worship (II Jn. 9; Rev. 22:18-19; etc.)? Let us not stray from God’s word, but yield and submit totally to God’s word, regardless of the subject. In all things, let us ask “what saith the Scripture” (Rom 4:3; Col. 3:17). Let us respect and obey the word of God.
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