Philosophy of Worship

The Purpose of Music

God created music for the sole purpose of bringing Him glory (cf. Rom. 11:36). It predates creation (Job 38:7) and will always exist as a channel for the worship of God (Rev. 5:9; 15:3).

The Place of Music in Corporate Worship

Music is only a part of our worship to God, but it is an important part, so it is crucial, therefore, that we understand its proper role and its biblical use. Scripture speaks very directly to several issues about musical worship. It often records God's approval of a variety of musical instruments in worship (e.g., 1 Chron. 25:6; Ps. 150). Choirs and vocalists, separate from the congregation, were a prescribed part of Israel's worship (1 Chron. 15:16-28; 2 Chron. 5:13ff; Neh. 7:1; 12:27-47). God appointed men to lead the musical element of the corporate worship (1 Chron. 15:27; Neh. 12:42, 46; 55 of the Psalms begin with "for the choir director"). Biblical music could be either loud and exuberant (Ps. 95:1; 98:4; 150:5) or quiet and contemplative (2 Chron. 35:25).

Content of Music Appropriate for Worship

The New Testament identifies the types or kinds of music that are acceptable in the worship of God. Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 list "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." Psalms refers to the Old Testament Psalter and those later songs that arise directly out of its poetry. Hymns are those songs that set forth the truth about God. The expression spiritual songs refers to music that is neither psalms nor hymns, but has a biblically-solid, spiritual message. What is clear from Paul's comment, as well as the rest of Scripture, is that we must balance our worship between the subjective expression of our thoughts to God (Ps. 18:1-2) and the objective revelation of God to us (Ex. 15:1; Deut. 31:22, 30; 32:44; Rev. 15:3; cf. 1 Cor. 14:15).

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