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Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 12:26-33

Worshiping God in Music (Part 1)


1.  One practice among churches of Christ that differs greatly with most churches of men is not using musical instrument in worship.

2.  Most say it is a trifle, insignificant and straining at a gnat. Not an insignificant matter:

  a.  We must correctly approach God in worship, Jno. 4:23-24.

  b.  Failure to worship God acceptably causes rejection / death (Heb. 11:4; Lev. 10:1-3; Amos 5:21-24).

  c.  Use of musical instruments in worship has caused and continues to cause division.

3.  New Testament endorses and approves singing, Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16.

4.  Does the word of Christ endorse/approve playing added to singing? If it does not, do we have the right to add its use?



  A.  Approved Worship is Regulated by the Will of God.

    1.  God has not left his worship open to the inventions and devices of men, Matt. 15:7-9.

    2.  God alone has the right to decide the elements of acceptable worship (Lev. 10:1-2; Num. 3:5-10; 1 Kgs. 12:28-33).

  B.  Divinely Revealed Law of Moses Worship Included Musical Instruments.  [Remember: Tabernacle and temple worship included many things: animal sacrifices, burnt offerings and many other ceremonies (incense, showbread, Day of Atonement, etc.).]

    1.  Tabernacle worship (Divine Revelation): Trumpets and sacrifices, Num. 10:1-2, 8, 10 (annual feast of trumpets, Lev. 23:24). Priests authorized to blow the trumpets.

    2.  Temple worship (Divine Revelation): David made instruments for praise by the Lord’s command through his prophets, 2 Chrn. 29: 25-28. (Note: David’s command was God’s command.)

      a.  Pre-temple, cf. 1 Chrn. 15:13-16, 26, 28.

      b.  Temple preparation, 1 Chrn. 23:5; 25:1.

      c.  Divinely inspired inclusion, 1 Chrn. 28:10-12, 19-20.

    3.  Lessons:

      a.  God regulated worship under the law of Moses, including music.   

      b.  God regulated the specific instruments to play: trumpets at the Tabernacle (Num. 10:10) and trumpets with the “instruments of David” in the Temple (1 Chrn. 23:5; 2 Chrn. 29:27).

      c.   The “commandment of David” included Levitical singers along with the trumpets of Moses and various other instruments.

      d.  David’s introduction of musical instruments in worship was by God’s commandment – not himself (2 Chrn. 29:25).

  C.  The Command of God Given by David was Respected throughout the Remainder of the OT Age (from David to Christ).

    1.  Men of God viewed all worship as under God’s authority, including instrumental music (apostasy was “devised in his own heart”, 1 Kgs. 12:29-33 – Jeroboam).

    2.  Time and culture did not change God-approved music in worship:

      a.  About 170 yrs. passed after David (Jehoiada the priest), 2 Chrn. 23:18.

      b.  About 270 yrs. passed after David (Hezekiah), 2 Chrn. 29:25-27.

      c.  About 380 yrs. passed after David (Josiah), 2 Chrn. 35:4.

      d.  About 550 yrs. passed after David (Zerubabbel and Jeshua), Ezra 3:10.

      e.  About 600 yrs. passed after David (Nehemiah and Ezra), Neh. 12:24.

        1)  Priestly trumpets and instruments of David, Neh. 12:35-36.

        2)  “The charge of God according to the command of David…” (Neh. 12:45-46).

  D.  The Temporary Nature of OT worship (Gal. 3:10-12, 23-25):

    1.  Shadows of Christ, Heb. 9:9 (1-10); 10:1-4.

    2.  Taken away to establish the new covenant, Heb. 10:8-10.

    3.  Abolished by Christ, Col. 2:14-17 (Heb. 8:13).



  A.  We Must Look to Christ and His Apostles Alone for Authorized and Approved Worship, Col. 3:17 (Acts 2:42).

    1.  Illustration: Check is valid only when authorized signature on it.

    2.  Where is Christ’s “authorizing signature” for musical instruments? 1 Pet. 4:11

  B.  We Must Respect the Silence of God’s Word and not Add to it.

    1.  “The Bible doesn’t say ‘not to’ use musical instruments in worship!” (cf. Lord’s Supper: Hamburgers and coke)

    2.  Didn’t say “no priests from other tribes” (1 Kgs. 12:31), Heb. 7: 12-14. God’s silence is restraint (not license) for man.

    3.  Do not go beyond what is written, Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 4:6.

    4.  With no command, example or necessary inference from the Lord that he desires musical instruments in worship, we have no authority for their use.

  C.  When we Violate God’s Authority and Disregard its Restraints:

    1.  We sin and forfeit fellowship with God, Matt. 15:7-9; 2 Jno. 9.

    2.  We open the floodgate to error and apostasy, 2 Tim. 2:16-17 (cf. Christian Churches, liberal churches of Christ now “Community Churches”).



1.  Worship is under God’s authority.

2.  Part 2: Efforts to defend using musical instruments in worship.




Price, John, Old Light on New Worship (Musical Instruments and the Worship of God, A Theological, Historical and Psychological Study), 17-35