Because music is such an important part of life, it’s no surprise that the Bible has a lot to say about it. In fact, the longest book in the Bible is a songbook—Psalms.
The Music of Faith
Music is the language of worship. It opens our hearts, minds and spirits to the love of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Music can burst from our hearts and lips. We naturally make music to express ourselves. We hum, tap and whistle. Or we may pick up a musical instrument to put our feelings on display. This desire is reflected in Scripture. Joy and worship pour from the hearts of God’s people to lift and encourage one another as they praise their Creator. And God in Heaven is surrounded by angels singing praises to Him. Take note of these deep truths to enrich your life.
He will exult over you with loud singing. —Zephaniah 3:17 ESV
The Book of Psalms
As the Bible’s songbook, Psalms is filled with profound spiritual truths about God and the lives that God’s followers should lead. In this Old Testament book, you will discover the essence of worship and gain insight into the nature of God, who believers are as God’s people and how Christians should handle the ups and downs of life.
Each psalm is a poem, and most were set to music in Bible times, as many are today. Most were written by Israel’s King David, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Many psalms have a literary construction. Others are grouped for a composite purpose, such as Psalms 120 through 134, designated as “Songs of Ascent” for use by pilgrims entering the Jerusalem Temple. As a group, Psalm 1 through Psalm 19 reveal God’s salvation interwoven with concepts about Jesus Christ as Messiah and Deliverer.
It takes some time for anyone new to Scriptures to grasp what the Book of Psalms is all about. The songs aren’t stories; they’re praise, worship and emotion. But those who grow to love the Old Testament find vast spiritual riches in Psalms. Each day as they read the Bible, many believers include at least one of these incredible songs.
His Love Endures Forever
The phrase “His Love endures forever” appears 41 times in Psalms. It’s a powerful refrain or praise chorus that you may hear in church. Or sing it solo. Try it out while driving or after waking to a new day.
Gift of Song
God has given you the gift of song. It can be a powerful tool to strengthen your walk with Christ, unite with believers and draw near to God. Yet any gift can be used well or poorly. May you be wise and embrace Paul’s encouragement: “Let all things be done for building up,” 1 Corinthians 14:26 ESV. Amen and Amen.
Music in Scripture
Singing is woven into the New Testament. Voice are lifted in the gospels, Paul encourages believers to sing and we are told in the book of Revelations that Heaven is filled with music. Here are a few instances:
- On the night Jesus gathered his inner circle for their last supper together, He knew He would soon face betrayal, beatings and death. So what did He and his disciples do as they were leaving their meeting room? They sang a hymn together, Matthew 26:30.
- The Apostle Paul later admonished believers to “let the word of Christ dwell in you.” How? In addition to studying and reminding each other about Jesus’ teachings, Paul said we should share “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” Colossians 3:16.
- Throughout the last book of the New Testament, Revelations, there are references to singing. Songs of worship and praise are continually offered to God and to Jesus. Among the 12 times that music is referenced in Revelations, a new song is given for the Lamb, Jesus, Rev. 5:9-10; there is singing of the “Song of Moses” after victory of the beast, Rev. 15:2-4; and a final victory song is sung by a multitude so great its voices sounded like a “rushing water or mighty peals of thunder,” Rev. 19:6-8.
Why We Sing
Worshipers of God in the Scripture passages mentioned below provide insight into why we sing as believers.
- Worship: Derived from the old English meaning “worth-ship,” worship recognizes that God‑the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—is the Almighty who is completely worthy of honor, power and glory from His creation. Read Revelations 4:10-11.
- Hope: God has done for others and will do for us. Many of David’s psalms acknowledge struggle, strife and sin. But David put his hope in God’s faithfulness in the midst of difficulties. Read Psalm 27 and 31.
- Acknowledgement: We acknowledge that God is the Sovereign King of all Creation. Read Psalm 19.
- God is our role model: God, Jesus and Creation sing. So we should sing, too, because we are created in His image. Read Psalm 66.
- Thanksgiving & praise: David’s psalm of praise and thanks recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36 provides an excellent example to us. David recounts God’s acts while encouraging all of Israel to unite in thanksgiving and praise of God. Our songs, whether silent in our hearts or offered together with a body of believers, should stir up all of Creation to praise the Lord.
- Remembrance: We remember and share with others God’s mighty deeds and quiet acts of compassion. This is seen as Moses sang of God’s mighty victory on behalf of Israel. Read Exodus 15.
- Rejoicing: We rejoice in God’s character, acts, love, faithfulness and mercy. You see this with Mary, the mother of Jesus. While she is pregnant by the will of God, praise and rejoicing spring from her lips. Read about Mary’s song in Luke 1:48-56.
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