What the Bible Says About Music

What the Bible Says About Music by Myra Kahn Adams for Town Hall

Thanks for joining our discussion of what the Bible says about music. In some respects, this study is a continuation of Vol. 114: “What the Bible says about praising God.”  Similarly, again I was “called” to write about this musical topic, exactly how I described in Vol. 114, when on the big screen at church, a passage from Psalm 46 was displayed with the full verse that reads:

“God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:5-6).

And so we must – because the moment I began writing this study, a simple thought penetrated my brain: When we sing in church, we are singing to God. We are actively praising Him as if He is standing before us. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t think that way until this personal revelation. Going forward I always will, and believe I was supposed to share that musical message with you.

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That said, let’s review some passages, mostly in Old Testament where music is mentioned much more frequently than in the New Testament.

In the beginning, as written in Genesis chapters 1 and 2, God created everything in heaven and on earth, proclaiming it “was good.”  Although it is not explicitly mentioned in Genesis, He also created music and inspired humankind to invent instruments with sounds to praise Him. Here is the first reference:

“His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes” (Genesis 4:21). (If interested, Jubal’s genealogy starts in Genesis 4:17.)

I found only one other Genesis passage that mentions music:

” ‘Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps?’ ” (Genesis 31:27). (For context, the soap-opera-worthy family drama between Laban and Jacob is recorded in Genesis chapters 29 – 31.)

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