In the Bible religious music is God-centered, not self-centered. The notion of praising the Lord for
entertainment or amusement is
foreign to the Bible. No “Jewish” or “Christian” music concerts were
performed by bands or singing
artists at the Temple, synagogue, or Christian churches. Religious music was not an end to itself, but as a means to praise God by chanting His Word. An amazing recent discovery, discussed later, is that the entire Old Testament was
originally intended to be chanted
Singing in the Bible is not for
personal pleasure nor for reaching
out to the Gentiles with tunes
familiar to them. It is to praise God by chanting His Word–a method known as “cantillation.” Pleasure in singing comes not from a rhythmic beat that stimulates people physically, but from the very experience of praising the Lord.
“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is
good; sing praise to his name, for
that is pleasant” (Ps 135:3; NIV).
“How good it is to sing praises to
our God, how pleasant and fitting
to praise him” (Ps 147:1).
Singing unto the Lord is “good” and “pleasant,” because it enables
believers to express to Him their
joy and gratitude for the blessings
of creation, deliverance, protection, and salvation. Singing is seen in the Bible as an offering of thanksgiving to the Lord for His goodness and blessings. This concept is expressed especially in Psalm 69:30-31: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs.”
The notion that singing praises to
the God is better than sacrifice
reminds us of a similar concept,
namely, that obedience is better
than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22).
Singing praises to God by chanting
His Word is not only a pleasant
experience; it is also a means of
grace to the believer. Through
singing, believers offer to God a
worship of praise, enabling them to receive His enabling grace.
The Manner of Singing:
To fulfillits intended function, singing must express joy, gladness, and thanksgiving. “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” (Ps 147:7). “Iwill praise thee with the harp for thy faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to thee with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to thee” (Ps 71:22-23). Note that singing is accompanied by the harp and lyre (often called psaltery–Ps 144:9; 33:2; 33:3), and not with percussion instruments.
The reason, as noted in Chapter 6, is that string instruments blend with the human voice without supplanting it.
In numerous places the Bible
indicates that our singing should be emotional with joy and gladness.
We are told that the Levites “sang
praises with gladness, and they
bowed down and worshipped” (2
Chron 29:30). Singing should be
done not only with gladness but
also with the whole heart. “I will
give thanks to the Lord with my
whole heart” (Ps 9:1). If we follow
this biblical principle, then our
singing of hymns or praise songs in church should be joyful and
To sing enthusiastically, it is
necessary for the grace of God to be applied to the believer’s heart (Col 3:16). Without divine love and
grace in the heart, singing becomes as a sounding brass and a tinklingcymbal (1 Cor 13:1). The person who has experienced the
transforming power of God’s grace
(Eph 4:24) can testify that the Lord
has “put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God” (Ps
The music of an unconverted,
rebellious heart is to God an
irritating noise. Because of their
disobedience, God said to the
children of Israel, “Take away from me the noise of your song” (Am 5:23). This statement is relevant in a day of loud amplification of pop music. What pleases God is not the volume of the music, but the condition of the heart.


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