What does the Bible say about music?
Growing up in a Christian household and a very conservative church, music has always been a topic of dilema for me. I’ve always been exposed to the idea that all music that doesn’t directly mention God or isn’t completely inspired by scripture comes from the devil. So, growing up, I went through periods where I was either afraid of listening to secular music or I was afraid of getting caught listening to secular music the many times that I did.
I never really understood the why behind what I was taught about music, but I never questioned it. That’s why now it’s important for me to UNDERSTAND the why behind every conviction I have and discover what the Bible really says about topics that are of conflict inside of church. Because at the end of the day, only God has the power to save or condemn.
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SAVE “WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT MUSIC” FOR LATER!
How Music Affected Me Growing Up
As a child, it was easy for me to go along with what I was being taught. All music that didn’t mention God was bad and I was okay with that. I didn’t care to question why it was bad, I simply accepted it because it was coming from people I highly respected.
As a teen, secular music started becoming more attractive to me. I didn’t want to juuuuust listen to Christian music anymore. I mean the Christian songs I listened to weren’t even Hillsong level, they were dreadfully boring. Secular songs sounded so good, but were deemed to be bad. On the other hand, Christian songs sounded horrible, but were the only songs I was able to listen to.
So, that’s when I started getting conflicted.
I either had to listen to christian songs I didn’t like to please God.
Or listen to secular music that I enjoyed to later feel shame, guilt, and far from God.
Music Affected My Relationship With God
I spent many years going through a cycle of feeling so righteous when I listened to Christian music and feeling ashamed when I listened to secular music.
My relationship with God started to depend on the kind of music I was listening to.
I only felt worthy of God and close to God when I listened to christian music.
But when I listened to secular music, I felt like I had to stay away from God. I thought to myself, “I might as well just do whatever I want since I have already disappointed God.” So, music had a huge effect on my relationship with God. Not because of the songs I was listening to, but because of the guilt I was made to feel. Don’t get me wrong, music can definitely affect your relationship with God (we’ll get more into that later in this post), but at the time, what separated me from God wasn’t the music, it was the guilt and shame I felt of doing something that was considered a sin.
But was listening to secular music a sin? Let’s find out….
What Does The Bible Say About Music?
Now I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should listen to secular music. That’s not the goal of this post. The goal of this post is to explore what the Bible says about music that way your convictions about music can have a solid foundation.
Don’t just take other people’s opinions or convictions as your own without diving into scripture and discovering what God has to say about said topic first.
With that being said, let’s take a look a what the Bible says about music!
1. Can God Use Music For His Glory?
Absolutely. God works in multiple forms and does not limit himself.
We can praise God through the songs that we sing.
Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (NKJV)
We can glorify God through music.
Psalm 105:2 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works!
We can use different instruments to praise God.
Psalm 150:4 Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes! (NKJV)
2 Samuel 6:5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the Lord on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. (NKJV)
1 Chronicles 15:16 Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy. (NKJV)
God And Music
God wants us to always have songs in our hearts.
Psalm 104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. (NKJV)
God puts songs in our mouths with a purpose.
Psalm 40:3 He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. (NKJV)
God wants His children to sing to Him.
Psalm 95:1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. (NKJV)
The word of Christ should produce spiritual songs in our hearts.
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. (NKJV)
2. How Can Music Be Used Correctly?
Music can be used as a way to express gratitude towards God.
2 Chronicles 5:13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud. (NKJV)
Music can be used as a way to proclaim victory.
Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! (NKJV)
Music can be used to edify others.
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (NKJV)
Music can be used to celebrate a victory (in this case the return of the prodigal son)
Luke 15:25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. (NKJV)
3. Can Music Affect Us Positively?
God gives us victory when we sing during dark hours.
Acts 16:25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (NKJV)
Music that comes from God has the power to calm our hearts.
1 Samuel 16:23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. (NKJV)
Music can make us more joyful.
James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. (NKJV)
4. Can Music Affect Us Negatively?
The devil can use music for his own purposes, too.
King Nebuchadnezzar used all kinds of music to get people to worship His image rather than God. Who is the music we listen to making us worship?
Daniel 3:15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” (NKJV)
There are songs of fools that we are better off avoiding.
Ecclesiastes 7:5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools. (NKJV)
Music has the power to change the way we think, feel, and act.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” (NKJV)
Not every song is worthy listening to as Christians and we cannot say otherwise.
Music can distract us and draw us away from God.
Isaiah 5:12 The harp and the strings, the tambourine and flute, and wine are in their feasts; but they do not regard the work of the Lord, nor consider the operation of His hands. (NKJV)
5. Is Music A Sin?
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that listening to secular music is a sin. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be able to leave our homes since secular music is played everywhere. We’d be sinning every time we enter a store, use an uber, play a reel on Instagram, watch a Tiktok, turn on the TV, etc. Music is played everywhere and we can’t control what kind of music is played.
However, while listening to secular music may not be a sin, voluntarily listening to certain kinds of music may lead us to sin. And that can become a big problem.
Matthew 15:17-18 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. (NKJV)
Secular music becomes a problem when it causes a negative effect on you. It’s not really what you listen to what destroys you, but what comes out of you after you listen.
Secular Music Becomes Dangerous When it….
- Provokes impure, sexual, or destructive thoughts.
- Attracts you to worldly things rather than godly things.
- Makes you lose your interest in God.
- Drifts you far away from God.
- Attacks your beliefs in God.
- Robs your faith in God.
- Causes you to speak vile words.
- Depresses you or pulls you deeper into depression.
- Provokes feelings of hate, pity, sadness, or rebelion.
If the music you listen to directly or indirectly interferes with your relationship with God then that becomes a problem that you must attend before more damage is done.
6. How Should We Approach Music As Christians?
First things first, don’t judge those who don’t share the same convictions as you.
If you choose to not listen to secular music, don’t judge those who do.
And if you listen to secular music, don’t judge those who don’t.
Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (NKJV)
Whatever you listen to or sing, do it with understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (NKJV)
Remember that not all music edifies or helps you as a Christian.
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (NKJV)
Everything you do should glorify God.
If you only listen to christian music to feel righteous and better than other Christians, you are already sinning. Make sure that what you do is done with the right intentions.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (NKJV)
Know that there is a time and place for everything.
Music will never be a solution to your problems.
Proverbs 25:20 Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
And like vinegar on soda, Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. (NKJV)
Don’t ever let music captivate your thoughts against God.
2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (NKJV)
It’s important to fill your mind and heart with the right things.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (NKJV)
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It was hard writing this post and being very open about a topic that causes a lot conflict among Christians. But I felt the need to share my own experience and explore with you what the Bible says about music. So, I hope you found the post helpful and learned a little bit more on what the Bible says about music. Let me know in the comments below which bible verse about music you found the most interesting.
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Sending you blessings & love,