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The Church - Lesson 24

The Church in 25 Lessons

Jon Gary Williams

Lesson 24 - The Church: Music In Worship (part I)

As a part of Christian worship the Lord designed for his disciples to participate in making music by singing. This is for the purpose of praising God as well as mutual edification among Christians.

There are only two kinds of music - vocal and instrumental. The New Testament authorizes just one of these for Christian worship - vocal (acapella singing). This was the practice of the early church. The use of musical instruments in Christian worship was not introduced until hundreds of years later.

I. The design of singing

A. Singing is designed as a means of praising God. (Acts 16:25) (cf. Heb. 13:15)

B. Singing is also designed as a means by which Christians edify one another.
  1. "speaking to yourselves" (Eph. 5:19
  2. "teaching and admonishing" (Col. 3:16)
II. The plan of singing
A. To God
  1. "unto God" (Acts 16:25
  2. "unto thy name" (Rom. 15:9)

  3. "to the Lord" (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)
B. The Manner

  1. "with the spirit" (I Cor. 14:15
  2. "with understanding" (I Cor. 14:15
  3. "melody in your heart" (Eph. 5:19
  4. "with grace in your hearts" (Col. 3:16)
III. The kinds of songs (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)
A. "psalms" - from psalmos, referring to Old Testament psalms.
B. "hymns" - from hymnos, probably referring to compositions of early Christians.
C. "songs" - from ode, a broad term referring to songs in general but qualified by the 
adjective "spiritual." 

IV. Acapella singing
A. This is the only music authorized by God in Christian worship. There is no Biblical 
authority for using mechanical instruments. (Col. 3:17)

B. "Melody" is to be made "in the heart." (Eph. 5:19) This cannot be done on an 
instrument. (cf. Acts 17:25)

C. "Grace" is to come from within the "heart." (Col. 3:16) This cannot be 
accomplished on an instrument. 

V. Other reasons for singing without the instrument in worship
A. The New Testament does not authorize "playing" in worship.

B. We are to "walk by faith." (II Cor. 5:7) However, faith comes from God's word. 
(Rom. 10:17) Hence, playing instruments in worship cannot be done by faith.

C. Worship must be according to "truth." (Jn.4:24) The apostles were guided "into all truth." (Jn. 16:13) However, the apostles said nothing about playing instruments in 

D. The use of mechanical instruments in Christian worship is of human origin, hence, 
is an addition to God's word which is sinful. (Rev. 22:18,19) (cf. II Jn. 9)

E. The use of instruments was foreign to Christian worship until the 7th century A.D. 
and was not widely accepted for hundreds of years thereafter.

F. Even many leaders of the Protestant Reformation were opposed to using 
mechanical instruments in worship.