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Music, more prevalent than faith in the Bible ?!?

Posted: Mon May 19, 2008 9:09 pm
by email
I watched a program on TV that lasted either a half hour or an hour. The program was on music and the Bible. The speaker had a small audience and used a piano to make several points. One thing he did was give facts on how often music is mentioned in the Bible and compared it to how often other words are mentioned. If I remember correctly he said music was mentioned over seven hundred times and more often than words like faith, etc.

My questions: Are you aware of this video? Do you know where I can get a copy of it? Do you know of a place that has the answers to any of these questions on music and the Bible?

In His service

Music and the Bible

Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 12:08 am
by m273p15c
I am unfamiliar with this video. Regarding its questions, if you can think of any of them, feel free to pass them our way. I would be happy to look at them.

About the question you sent, regarding the frequency of "music": First, in my own personal search, I would guess that he is slightly overestimating the number of references, but not enough to nullify his argument by that fact alone. For more details, please see this article on that very topic: ... ences.html

Observing that the vast number of references occur in the Old Testament, would not his own argument suggest there was a change moving from the Old to the New Testament?

More to the point, his original argument is not fair. We cannot assume that frequency of word count necessarily indicates prominence, much less approval. For example, there are almost 300 references to "trees" in the Bible. That is more than the number of references to the Devil, demons, etc (~100, if memory serves me right). Does that mean that "trees" are more dangerous than the Devil? There are over 1700 references to "houses" in the Bible, and over 1300 references to "hands", but yet, we find less than 1000 references to "Jesus". Does that mean that "hands" and "houses" are more important than "Jesus"? If I have misunderstood the exact emphasis on word frequency, it makes little difference, because for every "important" word, there is some non-"important" word that occurs more frequently. You just cannot prove anything by frequency of word occurrences; otherwise, you are left with absurd and obviously erroneous conclusions, like "hands" being more critical than "Jesus".

At the bottom of this note, I have included a list of the "top words" for your sampling and comparison (based on the NKJV). I can send the whole list as an attachment, if you like.

I pray this helps. If you recall any more of the arguments, please let me know. Some of them may already be answered here: ... ments.html

If they are not answered above, or in our other articles on music, please let me know.

May God help us to have a sincere love of the truth,


Re: Music and the Bible

Posted: Wed May 21, 2008 6:11 pm
by email
Thank you for the reply. I found it very informative and followed the link provided and read the entire web site.

I am a Praise Team leader and somewhat of a numbers nut and was looking for the requested information to pass along during worship service. You changed my way of thinking of giving reverence to the number of times music is referenced in the Bible. Because God wants us to sing to Him in song and hymns I have in the past used the number of over 700 times as an example of how important music is in our spiritual lives and that God approves of it. Some people actually think that music in general is bad and I want to let people know that we are encouraged to sing. When I talk to the congregation just a little about this subject it is amazing how much louder they sing :-)

I will use the material you sent as a starting point to re-research this topic.

May God bless you!

In His service

Music and the Bible

Posted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:57 am
by m273p15c
I'm glad you found the information helpful. Certainly, singing is an important, even commanded, component of our worship to God:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
If one questions that Colossians 3:16 is truly a command, it might be helpful to compare the language of the same context that contains other accepted commands (Colossians 3:1-2, 5-9, 12-15, 17-23).

As a side note, I think God often plays the "reverse numbers" game. On occasion, He hopes we will give diligent attention to His Word, being open-minded and tenderhearted, so that we can turn on even the smallest detail. For example, consider how Jesus and Paul used the Scriptures:
The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: "Teacher, Moses said ..." Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. ... But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teaching. (Matthew 22:29-33)
Notice how Jesus based His entire point on the tense of a single word! God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob - present tense ("I am"), not past tense! Somewhere, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob still existed, and He still was their God! This implies life beyond the grave, which in conjunction with God's care (being their God), necessarily implies a resurrection! Jesus concluded all of this, and proved His point on the tense of one verb in a verse that did not primarily relate to the resurrection! Amazing!

Now, observe Paul:
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed," who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. ... What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; (Galatians 3:16-19)
Did you catch that Paul based his reasoning on the plurality of a single word? Paul uses the singular object of God's promise to show that the "gospel" was planned before Abraham, because it was even proclaimed to Abraham (Galatians 3:8). The good news was that Jesus, the Seed, would be the means of fulfilling the Old Law and blessing the nations. The Israelites themselves were the not the goal of the promise. One Israelite, Jesus, was the end and fulfillment of the law ("till the Seed should come", see also Romans 10:4). Paul proved the foreseen conclusion of the Old Law and the opening of the kingdom to the Gentiles. Using these points, Paul was able to dismiss the Judaistic teaching regarding the continuation of the Old Law - all based on the plurality of a single word!

The New Testament is full of many references to Old Testament Scripture. By observing their example, we can learn how God expects us to use Scripture, and we can come to a better appreciation of God's Word and increased respect for God Himself.

For the humble, God only has to speak one time. The lesson is that we must be very diligent and humble when approaching Scripture (II Timothy 2:15). This requires that we examine our hearts and rid ourselves of prejudice; otherwise, we may find what we want to see in Scripture instead of what God said (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). ... Often God repeats a point for emphasis - no doubt. However, on occasion He tests the sincerity of our loyalty to Him by His silence, outside of a single word...

I pray you find this helpful,