Use of Musical Instruments - how far does silence reach?

Big words relating to interpreting the Bible and the study of *how* we determine what God wants us to do.

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Use of Musical Instruments - how far does silence reach?

Post by email » Tue May 11, 2010 11:16 pm


Just read your article that suggests instruments shouldnt be used in Church worship.

Well thought out, and helpful for what I was looking into.

I am a musican and feel God can use the music I play to help others to sing.

One question, you mention as one of the reasons not to have instruments is that God didnt tell us to include them in his word. The question then is where do we draw the line, I found your article on the internet, I cant find any reference to that in the Bible either. Is there a rule for defining what we need to have biblical direction for doing, and not doing?

Not attacking your position and respect what you have to say, but am really interested in clarifing this point

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Use of Musical Instruments

Post by m273p15c » Wed May 12, 2010 9:33 am

Thanks for the excellent question and kind spirit, in which it was asked! We have 4 articles regarding instrumental music's use in worship unto God:
  2. ... story.html
  3. ... ments.html
  4. ... ences.html
I recommend reading at least the first 3 and examining each of the Scriptures as you read, so you can see for yourself, if I used them correctly or not. God commends that practice by praising the Bereans, who double-checked even the apostle Paul as he preached (Acts 17:10-11)! The fourth article is a compilation of all references to music in the Bible. You can use it to see if there is an alternative approach, compatible with all of Scripture.

Your question has been discussed over the years under the heading, "The Silence of the Scriptures". In other words, what should we do when God tells us to do one thing, but He is silent in regards to other related things. Some have taken the position that whatever is not expressly forbidden is permitted. While others have taken the position that whatever is not expressly authorized is forbidden. Although this debate has raged for years, please do not mistake this fact as an excuse to throw our hands up and do whatever we feel is best. This fact only means that at least one group of people have been wrong for years. We do not want to be part of that group. We want to follow God and His Word, regardless of the cost.

With that introduction, let us first consider if the silence of the Scripture permits or forbids. One of the above articles directly addresses this question, here: ... _forbidden

However, let me borrow one of several Scriptures referenced there:
For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest. ... (Hebrews 7:12-15)
Please notice that the writer of Hebrews used the silence of the Scriptures to prove his point! God had previously commanded that priests come from the tribe of Levi. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah; however, Jesus was also a priest. Therefore, the Old Law had to change! This necessarily implies that the addition was expressly forbidden!

Throughout all time, God has condemned addition to His command (Deuteronomy 4:2; Joshua 1:7; Matthew 15:3; Galatians 1:8-9; I Peter 4:11; II John 9; Revelation 22:18-19).

In regards to your question, let us ask: Has God commanded what kind of music to offer before him? Has he specified the instrument to use?
"... speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord ..." (Ephesians 5:19)

"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)
Since God has specified how we are to worship through music (singing, making melody in our heart), then who are we to add to the command and include mechanical instruments?

Now, to your second question, "Where do we draw the line?" The key here is to recognize that each command has both specific and generic qualities. Using the above command, as an example, God tells us to sing, but He does not tell us what harmonies to use. He left that generic. We could use 4-part harmony, 2-part harmony, chants with one voice, etc.

However, God was specific in regards to the type of music. He told us to sing, which would specifically eliminate instrumental music.

He told us to sing spiritual songs, which would eliminate popular, worldly songs.

He told us to teach and admonish each other through the singing, which would eliminate songs with little to no words (teaching), and it would also eliminate choirs, since the edification is to be mutual (each other) - not one way, like preaching.

Now, about using web-sites to teach, please remember we have a very generic command to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 8:3-4). The format was never specified. Teachers taught house to house, in synagogues, by epistle, from mountain tops, etc. (Acts 9:20; 13:5; 20:20; Ephesians 3:3-5; Acts 17:20). The where, when, and how of the command to spread the gospel were left very generic!

Therefore, web-sites, such as my own, are generically authorized; however, instrumental music is necessarily eliminated through the specific command to sing.

In short, we do not draw the line. God draws the line. We merely observe the broad generic lines and the fine specific lines.


May I turn the tables for a bit? How would you defend that instrumental music is authorized? You said this (emphasis mine):
I am a musican and feel God can use the music I play to help others to sing.
How much of your justification arises from your personal experience and feelings versus the words of God found in the Bible? I am sure that the above statement does not reflect your entire thoughts on the matter, but how much does it represent you? I hope you will reflect on this. Should our feelings override the Word of God?

I pray you find this helpful. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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

May God help us to love truth sincerely and supremely (II Thessalonians 2:11-12)

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