When a discussion about instrumental music in worship takes place, the one in support of it will often say, "The Bible doesn't say not to?" Is there any merit in this line of argument? What can we learn from the scriptures? 

What we discover in the Bible is that the silence of scripture authorizes nothing. God's silence is not permissive but it is prohibitive and to deny this puts one at odds with the Bible. Consider passages like Leviticus 10:1-3; Deuteronomy 4:2Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Acts 15:242 John 1:9; Revelation 22:18 and others like them.

Take for example when the Hebrew writer spoke of Jesus' priesthood. He wrote, "For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law:" (Hebrews 8:4) "For him of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood" (Hebrews 7:13-14). Because of God's silence, only those of the tribe of Levi could be priests under the Law of Moses. It required a change of law in order for Jesus to serve as our High Priest (Hebrews 7:12). You see, God did not forbid those from the tribe of Judah to serve as priests, he was just silent about it.

The moment God specified what tribe was to be the priestly tribe, he excluded any other. Jeroboam, the first king of Israel, sinned against the Lord because he did not respect the of scripture. In 1 Kings 12:31 we read where Jeroboam, "...made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi." His actions, though not specifically prohibited, were sinful nevertheless. 

In the New Testament, Christians are admonished to use their lips to offer up praise to God (Hebrews 13:15), to teach and admonish with their songs (Colossians 3:16), to sing to one another making melody in their hearts unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:19). God has specified the kind of music (singing) that we are to offer unto Him and in doing so has excluded any other kind of music (instrumental). 
May we all learn to respect the silence of the scripture and "not to think beyond what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6) lest we stand condemned.

Roy Hardesty, Giddings, TX

"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not." "And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." "Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace."
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."

"Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar."
"Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"

"What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it."

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:"

"For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:"

"For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar." For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.

"For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law."

"And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi."

"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."
"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."

"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;"
"And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another."

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."

"For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:"