Instrumental Music In Worship

By Johnie Edwards

To use instrumental music in worship or not to use, it is the question. This has been a source of problems among the people of God for centuries. The divisions which have resulted over this question are unnecessary for the Bible is clear on the matter.

Five Ways To Settle The Question

The question concerning instrumental music in the worship of the New Testament church can be solved by looking at and understanding these five ways:

(1) Realize that we today live under the New Testament. As one discusses the question of instrumental music with those who use it, they soon turn to the pages of the Old Testament for their authority in using it. We, today, do not live under the authority of the Old Testament, but of the New. Paul said that Jesus abolished the law. “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances . . . .” (Eph. 2:15). Other passages teach the same thing (Matt. 5:17-18; Rom. 7:6; Gal. 2:21; Heb. 7:12; Heb. 10:9-10).

(2) By knowing that there are two kinds of music. There are only two kinds of music – vocal and instrumental. That is all there is!

(3) Ask, “Which has the Lord commanded to be used? Vocal or instrumental?” Then read and see what the Lord has authorized in the New Testament for us to engage in. It is that simple. By reading the sum total of the passages that deal with music in the New Testament you will find that the only kind of music used was that of vocal music. Read them: Matt. 26:30; Mk. 14:26; Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15;.Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; Heb. 13:15; Jas. 5:13. To use the words of the Apostle Paul, we learn that each one is to sing, “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19).

(4) Did the First church use instrumental music in worship? As one reads the pages of the New Testament after the Lord’s church was established in Acts 2 only vocal music was used. Read the New Testament to see if you can find a church in the New Testament using instrumental music in their worship. The apostle to the Hebrews summed it up when he said, “. . . in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:12).

(5) Realize how the Bible teaches a thing. The Bible teaches a thing by: (1) A statement of fact; (2) A direct command; (3) An apostolic example; or by (4) Necessary Inference. Since there is no statement of fact, direct command, apostolic example or necessary inference authorizing instrumental music in worship, then there is no divine authority for its use in the worship of the church of God. It is not a matter of finding a matter of finding a passage of Scripture which tells one not to use instrumental music in worship but rather finding one that tells us to use it.

These five things will forever help one to understand what the Bible teaches about the use of instrumental music in worship.

Truth Magazine XXIII: 16, pp. 266-267
April 19, 1979