What Does The Bible Say About Music We Listen To?

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A set of musical instruments with a halo of light around them

The Bible has a lot to say about many aspects of life, including the music we listen to. In many ways, music is a universal language, capable of bringing people together and lifting our spirits. Music is also powerful instrument that can be used for worship and praise. But what does the Bible specifically say about music? How should we, as Christians, approach the topic?

Understanding the Role of Music in the Bible

To comprehend the biblical perspective of music, we need to take a journey through the pages of the Old and New Testament. Let’s embark on this journey and unravel what the Bible teaches us about music and its use.

Music in the Old Testament

Music played an integral role in the lives of the Israelites. Songs were used as a medium of expressing joy, thanksgiving, and even grief. King David, a key figure in the Old Testament, was both a skilful musician and a songwriter. The book of Psalms, largely authored by David, is essentially a songbook, filled with ardent expressions of worship, confession, and hope.

One of the most famous examples of music in the Old Testament is the story of David playing the harp to soothe King Saul’s troubled spirit. David’s music had a profound effect on Saul, bringing him peace and relief from his distress (1 Samuel 16:23). This demonstrates the power of music to impact our emotions and bring comfort to our souls.

Music was also an important part of religious ceremonies. The Levite clan was specifically assigned the task of managing the music in the temple. They played various instruments, such as the harp, lyre, and trumpet, to accompany the singing of Psalms and other songs of worship. This underscores the significance and sacredness viewed by the Old Testament towards music.

Furthermore, music was used to commemorate significant events in the history of Israel. For example, after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of Pharaoh’s army, Moses and the people of Israel sang a song of victory and praise to God (Exodus 15:1-21). This song, known as the Song of Moses, celebrated the deliverance and faithfulness of God.

Music in the New Testament

In the New Testament, music continued to hold a significant place. It remained a meaningful medium of worship and communication. Jesus himself sang hymns with his disciples (Matthew 26:30), demonstrating the importance of music in his ministry and its ability to bring people together in worship.

The early Christian church also recognized the power of music in their gatherings. The apostle Paul often encouraged believers to sing spiritual songs and hymns as a part of their Christian lives (Ephesians 5:19). Music served as a way to express their faith, unite the community, and give glory to God.

The book of Revelation provides us with a glimpse into the heavenly worship that awaits believers. It contains musical scenes where heavenly beings and the redeemed are seen worshipping God in songs. These scenes depict the eternal significance of music in the Christian faith, as it becomes a means of praising and glorifying God for all eternity.

Music has the power to transcend language barriers and touch the depths of our souls. It has the ability to evoke emotions, bring people together, and create a sense of awe and wonder. Throughout the Bible, music has been used as a tool for expression, worship, and communication with God. It is a gift that continues to enrich our lives and draw us closer to the divine.

Biblical Principles for Music

Parsed throughout the Old and New Testament scriptures are principles that should guide our engagement with music. Music has always played a significant role in human culture and has the power to shape our emotions, beliefs, and actions. As believers, it is important for us to approach music with discernment and align our preferences with biblical principles.

Lyrics and Their Importance

The content or lyrics of a song carry immense significance. The Bible urges us to fill our minds with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) and this should guide our song preference. The lyrics of a song have the potential to shape our thoughts, attitudes, and worldview. Therefore, it is essential to pay close attention to the lyrics, asking ourselves if they are edifying and in line with scriptural truth.

When evaluating the lyrics of a song, we should consider whether they align with our faith and values. Do they promote love, kindness, and compassion? Or do they propagate ideas that conflict with biblical principles? These are crucial questions to ask while determining which songs to listen to and engage with.

The Role of Melody and Rhythm

Besides the lyrics, the melody and rhythm of music have a profound impact on us. They can stir various emotions within us and create different moods. However, the Bible suggests that we should value melody and rhythm that encourage tranquility, joy, and an attitude of worship.

In Ephesians 5:19, Paul speaks about “making melody in your heart to the Lord,” indicating the emphasis on music that stirs up love and reverence for God within us, regardless of the type of rhythm or tempo a song may possess. This verse reminds us that the purpose of music is not solely for entertainment but also for spiritual edification and connection with God.

As we consider the role of melody and rhythm in music, we should strive to choose songs that uplift our spirits and draw us closer to God. Whether it is a slow, contemplative melody or an upbeat, joyful rhythm, the key is to prioritize music that leads us into a deeper relationship with our Creator.

Moreover, music has the power to bring people together and create a sense of unity. It can transcend cultural and linguistic barriers, allowing people from different backgrounds to join in worship and praise. This aspect of music highlights its universal nature and its ability to foster community among believers.

Ultimately, biblical principles for music guide us to be intentional and discerning in our musical choices. By prioritizing lyrics that align with scriptural truth and melodies that inspire worship and joy, we can use music as a powerful tool for spiritual growth and expression of our faith.

The Bible and Contemporary Music

Our modern musical panorama is diverse, blending numerous genres and styles. How does the Bible guide us in navigating these musical landscapes?

Evaluating Modern Music Genres

The Bible does not categorically reject or endorse any specific musical genre. Instead, the focus is placed on the content of the music and the effect it has on listeners. We can engage with any genre, provided the music upholds the values and principles we glean from the Scriptures.

Whether it’s pop, rock, jazz, country, or gospel, we should ensure that our choice of music edifies us and aligns with our Christian values. It implies considering both music lyrics and the emotional impact it has on us.

The Influence of Pop Culture on Christian Music

As Christians, we need to be discerning about the influence of popular culture on music. Sometimes, it’s relatively easy to identify non-Christian themes in secular music. But, it becomes tricky when such themes subtly creep into “Christian” music, making discernment crucial.

Despite the influences, we can find refrains of truth and expressions of faith even in the midst of popular culture. Engaging with music doesn’t mean isolating ourselves but being discerning listeners, holding popular culture up against the mirror of Scripture.

The Impact of Music on Spiritual Life

Music has a profound impact on our spiritual journey. It is more than just a tool for entertainment; it has the potential to shape our spiritual experiences and perspectives.

Music as a Form of Worship

Music offers us a way to express our love, admiration, and gratitude to God. Singing helps us internalize the truths of God’s Word and keeps them in our hearts. It can often evoke a deeply emotional response within us, stirring up passion and affection for our Creator.

Worshipping through song, whether in church, during personal devotion time, or even in our day-to-day activities, can significantly enrich our faith and deepen our relationship with God.

Music and Personal Devotion

Music also plays a critical role in personal devotion. Christian hymns and songs can serve as a catalyst for prayer and meditation, fostering a spirit of reverence, awe, and contemplation.

Music, rich in scriptural truths, can affirm our beliefs, provide comfort in times of distress, and remind us of God’s absolute love and faithfulness.

Guidance for Christians in Choosing Music

Given the importance of music in our spiritual life and its omnipresence in our society, how should we as Christians choose what to listen to?

Discerning the Message in Music

Firstly, consider the message of the music. Since music is a vehicle for ideas and emotions, be mindful of what a particular song is transmitting. Is the message consistent with what you believe and value as a Christian? Does it evoke feelings and behaviors that are in line with your faith?

Always remember, it’s not just about the music being catchy, but the fundamental message that it carries should be the core consideration.

Balancing Personal Taste and Spiritual Values

While it’s essential to honour personal taste and preferences in music, it should not compromise our Christian values. Because our personal taste can be influenced by various factors, including the culture around us, it might not always align with biblical principles. Therefore, it becomes necessary to strive for a balance.

We need to remember that while culture can sway us, we should be swayed more by the Word of God. Therefore, we should seek to align our music preferences accordingly so that whether we play, create or listen, it brings glory to God and edification to us.

In conclusion, the Bible does offer guidance on the music we listen to. It does not provide an exhaustive list of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ songs, but lends principles that can guide us in making informed musical choices. Therefore, it becomes our obligation as followers of Christ to discern and decide what music we will fill our lives with.


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