Music in Worship

Bible Study

Music in Worship

Scripture Reading:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. —John 4:23-24


Musical instruments were used in the Old Testament when service to God was based on ritual and ceremony after the flesh. Worship in the New Testament dispensation is to be in spirit and God instructs His people to sing not to play. A cappella singing is the biblical pattern and practice for God’s church.

I. Musical Instruments in the Old Testament

A. Genesis 4:21 Invented by Jubal.
B. Ecclesiastes 2:8 Delights of the sons of men.
C. Exodus 15:20-21 Miriam plays.
D. 2 Chronicles 20:27-28 Used for rejoicing in victory.
E. 1 Samuel 10:5 Prophets accompanied by instruments.

II. King David and Musical Instruments

A. 1 Samuel 16:15-23 A skilled player. Drove the spirit from Saul.
B. Psalm 33:1-3 Praise with instruments. (Psalm 150:1-6)
C. 1 Chronicles 15:15-16 Instruments appointed by David.

III. Instruments in Temple Worship an Ordinance of David

A. 1 Chronicles 23:5 David makes instruments for the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:1)
B. 1 Chronicles 25:6 Instruments according to David’s order.
C. 2 Chronicles 29:25-28 Ordained and used as commanded by David. (Ezra 3:10)

IV. Reproof of the Prophets

A. Isaiah 5:11-13 Music used in fleshly feasts.
B. Amos 6:1-5 Woe pronounced on those who invent instruments of music like David. (Amos 5:21-24)

V. A New Standard in the New Testament Dispensation

A. Matthew 5:17 The law fulfilled.
B. Hebrews 10:1-9 A new standard.
C. John 4:23-24 True worshippers worship in spirit and in truth.
D. Acts 17:22-25 God is not worshipped with men’s hands.

VI. New Testament Teaching and Practice

A. Matthew 26:30 Jesus and disciples sang an hymn.
B. Romans 15:9 Sing to glorify God.
C. 1 Corinthians 14:15 Sing with the spirit and with understanding.
D. Ephesians 5:18-20 Sing and make melody in the heart.
E. Colossians 3:16 Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (James 5:13)
F. Hebrews 2:12 Sing praises.
G. Hebrews 13:15 Offer the sacrifice of praise from the lips.

V. Worldly Worship

A. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 Lovers of pleasure.
B. 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world.

VII. Spiritual Worship

A. Romans 12:1-2 Be not conformed to this world.
B. 1 Peter 2:5 Offer up spiritual sacrifices.


Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. —Colossians 3:16