Psalms 66:1-4, “To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art Thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee; they shall sing to Thy name. Selah.”
God loves music. God created music. There is music and singing in heaven. The question is, what kind of music does God want? What kind of music is biblical and spiritual? There really are not a lot of verses in the Bible that talk about music. Most of them are in Psalms. But there are also two verses in the New Testament. But there certainly is enough scripture for us to understand what kind of music pleases God. Lets look first at what the New Testament says about music.
Ephesians 5:19-20 says, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And Colossians says, “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.”
Some of the key words and phrases in these verses to describe psalms and spiritual songs are the, giving thanks, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and singing with grace. If take just these 3 phrases we should have a good understanding of the kind of content that should be contained in a song.
The book of Psalms talks more about music than any other book of the Bible and the primary thing that says is, “Make a joyful noise”. So when to godly Christian music think about these 4 phrases: make a joyful noise, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, give thanks, sing with grace.
God wants joyful music, music that praises and honours His name music that in the lyrics teachings spiritual doctrines and reminds us of God’s promises, music that in its sound makes the spirit and effects the emotions in such a way to make a person joyful and thankful to God.
If we look honestly at music in the world we see an example of how much men have failed. There has been some good Christian music made over the centuries but one of the reasons men fail so much in the area of music is because they are so legalistic.
There are several big issues when it comes to music. One has to do with the kind of instruments that are used or in other words the sound of the music. And the other issue has to do with the lyrics of the songs. These really are the two issues when it comes to music.
Now the Bible actually gives us examples of music at least of how to do lyrics anyway. Notice that Psalms 66 is called a song. The book of Psalms actually is composed of 150 songs to the lord that king David wrote. So we have plenty of examples in the Bible of songs at least in regards to the content of the lyrics.
What is interesting to me is that there seems to be a great division in the world when it comes to music. Secular music for the most part sings about romance and Christian music for the most part sings about the gospel and sometimes other teachings regarding faith. It is very interesting that in Christianity there is little to no music made which praises God for romance. Romance, that is to say love between man and woman is a big part of the human life the way God created and designed it. Why Christians almost never sing to the Lord and praise Him and rejoice in His creation in regards to romance seems strange. The secular world understands how big a part of life romance is and they sing about it all the time.
Perhaps one reason has to do with legalism. When we look at religion we find sometimes this idea, this teaching in the world that comes from the secular world. The idea is that people deeply involved in at least conservative Christianity do not enjoy romance. One of the reasons these people think this is because of all the false religion in the world involved in denying the natural goodness of romance that God created. There is a whole book of the Bible dedicated to romance, Song of Solomon. And we know from the New Testament that the relationship of a husband to a wife is meant to picture Christ’s relationship to the church. Therefore we can conclude romance between a man and a woman is actually very important spiritually. I suppose the Catholic Church is partly to blame as they have done great damage to these teachings of god by teaching that their priests cannot marry.
Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”
1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
Concerning those that depart from the faith and those that teach doctrines of devils it says, forbidding to marry. God does not like this teaching this forbidding to marry of the Catholic Church. Marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled.
To be honest, it is a real shame that more Christians involved in music do not write songs of romance. Romance is very important in the world so much is learned about God’s love through romance. We live in a world today where since the 1950’s music has become a tremendous part of our culture and society, a tremendous part.
I have listened to a lot of music in my life both secular and religious. I have listened to music from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, 2010’s. What is very interesting is to notice how music has changed each decade since 1940. Looking at the music of each decade we can really learn a lot about what is going on in society where society as a whole is headed spiritually. Music really reflects culture in great detail. And I can tell you from my extensive knowledge of music that if we go by the direction of music in this world it is not a good sign the direction that this world is headed.
But what I find to be the most strange thing of all is the division between romance and religion so to speak. To be honest we live in a world where a lot of people are turning romance and sex into a religion. This is not what I am talking about when I mention romance and religion. The two honestly go together very well in marriage and in Christ. God created romance. God created the pleasures and the joys of romance and all those pleasures and all those joys and all those emotional journeys are there to teach us spiritual truths about Jesus.
There is such a division between romantic music and religious music that it really shows just how little people understand about why God created romance. It is a shame that the secular world thinks so strangely about conservative Christians when it comes to romance. It is also a shame that Christian do not write more romantic love songs. If anyone Christians, who have the forgivness and the love of Jesus Christ and the ability to love in a pure and holy way, have the capability to write much better love songs than lost people do. So why they do not do it seems strange. What a good influence for the gospel it could be on this world. But it does not happen, or rarely it happens.
It was about in the beginning of the 1990s that secular music has a whole really began to make a noticeable shift in its romantic music. It began to change and become more and more focus on sex rather than romance. This bold and outward and outright raunchy shift in a lot of lyrics in music says something about the way society has been headed the past 27 years.
Anyway when it comes to music, and God loves music, there are two important things to consider, the lyrics of a song and the sound or the melody of a song.
The most important thing is the lyrics. We have plenty of examples of how to do song lyrics by reading the 150 Psalms of the Old Testament. Looking at verses in the New Testament and Old Testament we can see that God wants songs to be spiritual. In other words the songs with the best lyrics will teach doctrinal truth, gospel truth, and remind us of the promises of God. Just think about the lyrics of classic hymns such as the song nothing but the blood which says, “What can wash away my sin? nothing but the blood of Jesus what can make me whole again? nothing but the blood of Jesus. There are hundreds of classical hymns. If you listen to them you can learn Bible doctrine from them. Some of them are almost like listening to a sermon. Their lyrics are great.
The real problem lies in culture. Culture changes and so does music. In the days of the Apostle Paul they did not have guitars and electronic keyboards and all the musical equipment that we have today. Music has really changed a lot and advanced a lot. The Bible does not say thou shalt not use an electric guitar or thou shalt not use a keyboard. The Bible does give some guidelines on musical instruments. These guidelines are found in the books of Psalms. And what they say basically is that it is good to use a variety of musical instruments. Psalms 33:2-3, “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalms 98:5-6, “Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
These verses list for us a variety of musical instruments that were used back in King David’s day. There is nothing inherently wrong with using any musical instrument when you make music. The truth is music has gotten really complicated with the sounds that they can make and the styles of music. The important thing about sound is the question of how the sounds affect you. Some melodies can be sad, some melodies can be angry, some melodies can be joyful. God wants us to be happy. The Bible emphasizes making a joyful noise unto the Lord. That is what it says here in Psalms 66. So the best music is going to be melodies that affect a person in such a way to make them feel joyful and thankful to God. The melody will effect a person’s emotions and the lyrics will effect what a person thinks about. When you put the two together it should result in a person being joyful and thankful to God for His creation, His gospel and His promises.
What is really sad about Christian music is that as we look at it through history we notice that there have been many, many very good songs with great lyrics written. But has time has progressed and we look at contemporary Christian music we notice that there has been a great falling away when it comes to the lyrics in Christian songs. Many Christians do not understand the importance of the lyrics. Many songs are just a a few simple chorus words repeated over and over or very vague statements made. It is not that it wrong to repeat a phrase over and over. The cherubs at the throne of God do this. They stand there 24/7 saying holy, holy, holy. But why not use more of the Bible and the words of the Bible for lyrics? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
One possible explanation for why there is such a lack of solid Bible lyrics in today’s contemporary Christian music is because it may be the listeners are more caught up in the feeling, in focusing purely on their emotions. Now there is nothing wrong with emotions. God created emotions. But I think a lot of Christians when they listen to music become more like a Pentecostal Christian. They are not really so much led of the Spirit as led of the flesh in the sense that they are real focused on the human emotions. Emotions and feeling and spiritual doctrine can go together real well but without the solid Bible teaching in the lyrics to get the mind to dwell on the Word of God the result will be an over focus on emotions only.
The other problem with a lot of Christian music is that to be honest the musicians are just not as good at making music as people are in the secular world. Psalms 33:3, “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” God wants us to do what we do well or skillfully.
Because the music is not as good this is a real turn off from people listening too it. It is probably one of the reasons that not that many people listen to contemporary Christian music. But if you look at the face of Christianity today and study contemporary Christian music you should be concerned about the lack of doctrine, the lack of Bible teaching in the lyrics of contemporary Christian music. And you should be concerned about this great division between romance and religion.
As mentioned before romance and religion go together very well if you understand the Bible. It is too bad that many Christian organizations over the centuries have made the mistake of not understanding that God created romance and all the desires associated with it. And that in marriage enjoying those desires pleases God because everything that God created is good and mean to be enjoyed with thanksgiving. But the very obvious division in music between the secular world and the Christian world and what they do and do not sing about shows us just how much misunderstanding there is, just how much legalism there is in organized Christianity and unfortunately how much of a turn off Christianity then becomes to the lost people of this world.
Romantic desires are very strong desires and very strong needs in most human beings. God created it this way for many many reasons. They are such strong desires and needs that most people will be turned off and turned away from religions and teachings that deny these desires and deny the God given right to enjoy these desires to their fullest in marriage.
One of my favorite kinds of music is actually something called progressive vocal trance. There are many kinds of trance such as trance, vocal trance, progressive vocal trance, gaia trance, dubstep, and others. There are many kinds of rock music such as alternative, heavy metal, punk, indie, death metal, industrial. There are many kinds of music in general.
In the music that I listen too one of the most ironic things that I find is that the lyrics in a good portion of the songs not all the songs but a good portion of them the lyrics I find to be more spiritual than the lyrics in some contemporary Christian songs. This is partly because of the failure of Contempoary Christian music to write good lyrics to not be so repetious and vague in what they say and it is also partly because of the fact that romance was intended by God to symbolize the relationship between Christ and the church. So when you listen to a very solid clean romantic song and think of it in a spiritual way it becomes a very powerful message and a much more enjoyable message than a poorly written song with just a few phrases repeated over and over.
The thing about modern music is its strength and complexity for example the guitar and especially the electric guitar produces a much stronger sound than many classical stringed instruments and a stronger sound has a stronger effect on the emotions. In addition to this sometimes modern music is much more complex than older music. Because it is more complex this means there is a greater variety of sounds involved and thus a greater effect on the emotions. So I understand why most people in the world today including the younger generations of Christians prefer listening to modern music as opposed to older music. It is much more appealing to the emotions.
The main problem with music in the secular world is the same problem that the Christian community has and that is the lyrics of many of the songs. To me the key phrase in all the Bible regarding music is found in Colossians 3:16, “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.”
The key phrase is, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Now this phrase, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly is being used in connection with music. If only Christians would understand the importance of the lyrics that is to say the words used in their songs and if only Christians would understand the important of the Word of God when it comes to their faith.
There is great opportunity for the gospel in this world through music and much of it is being wasted before of the reasons that I already mentioned. It is very interesting actually to think about the opportunities for given the gospel in music.
Sometimes on you tube I watch shows like
It is very strange to see this happen because of
how anti Christian most people in the world are. You could walk up to someone
and tell them about the gospel and they will not want to listen to you but that
person if you play a song they will listen to the music and enjoy. I actually
was watching the voice on youtube and it was the voice from china and a young
girl sang a song and the song was a song about prayer and about faith. You cant go around in
The Bible says in all things to give thanks, to give thanks in song and to make a joyful noise. I suppose looking at the failures of contemporary Christian music is no different than looking at the failures that preachers make today. Both are making the same failures. They are failing to use, to rely upon, and to teach the Word of God. It is very sad to see.
Of course it could be that one reason people stray away from solid Bible lyrics in their music is because they are very unspiritual or unsaved. Solid Bible teaching and Bible lyrics in a song for the most part is not going to appeal to a lost person unless God is touching their heart and reaching out to them for their need to repent of their sins and turn to Jesus for salvation.
In closing I just want to say, maybe I sound too harsh or too critical towards contemporary Christian music I hope not I am just trying to emphasize the importance of God’s Word. Without God’s Word music is just music.
Anyway, when it comes to music the solution is very simple. All it takes is to understand these two phrases from Colossians and from Psalms, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly with all Wisdom. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD.
Copyright; 2017 by Bruce
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