Singing songs of praise
“ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” ( Ephesians 5: 19 KJV)
The greatest event that will take place on any given week, in any given location, is the worship that is offered to Jehovah on the first day of the week! The Bible has instructed that public worship take place on the first day of the week (Sunday; Acts 20:7), as the first century church came together for “breaking bread” and to hear the preaching of Paul. The Bible instructs that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves (Heb. 10:25), but we are to assemble together for worship as an avenue of encouraging one another. When we come together for worship, we should be prepared to offer the best of our praise to God, just as the psalmist was “glad” when he was able to go to the house of the Lord (Psalm 121:1). In the pattern of worship prescribed by God is the command to sing (Ephesians 5:19). Most everyone would agree that singing is to take place during worship to God, but there are some differences of opinion as pertaining to the type of singing that should be offered to God. Some offer singing to God and use a piano, some use drums and guitars along with their singing, some have choirs, some offer solo singing, and some offer acapella singing not using any instruments of music in worship. Can all of these methods of singing and differences of opinion be correct and acceptable to God? God has commanded that we all “speak the same thing” and that there be “no division” among us (1 Cor. 1:10), therefore the differences of opinion and of worship is not something that is pleasing to God. What type of singing does God accept in worship, and is there a definitive answer in Scripture that will instruct us how to offer our singing to
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‘Minute with the Minister’
Jeremy Thornton JEREMY THORNTON (cont.)
It should be noted that there are forms of worship that is unacceptable to God and God has made the distinction between what is and what is not accepted by Him. This is seen in the first offering mentioned in Scripture as Abel brought an offering that was accepted by God and Cain brought an unacceptable offering (Gen. 4:3-7). God commanded the Israelites that they were not to partake in the worship of false/idol gods (Exodus 20:1-5), which was something the people struggled with at that time and God giving them plenty of warning about this unacceptable worship (Deut. 8:19). Jesus spoke of those that were worshipping in vain as they were “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). The Bible strictly warns that there should be nothing added to or taken away from the commands of God (Rev. 2218-19) just as He commanded the same from the Israelites in the Old Testament (Deut. 4:2).
When we come together for the purpose of worship, we should be offering the type of worship that is accepted by God, not adding to or taking away from what He has commanded/allowed.
When we worship, we should be offering that which is authorized by God. Jesus states that there is a form of worship that is offered by the “true worshippers” (John 4:23-24).
The true and accepted worship is the worship that is offered in “spirit” and in “truth.” This worship is a something that is done with the proper aim (“in spirit”).
Any act of worship that we are offering is not something that is done in order to impress others. Our worship is directly aimed at God, as He is the audience of worship. In Jesus discussion of worship (John 4:23-24), five times in two verses He emphasizes the Father. The authorized worship is one that is aimed at God, but it is also done according to the truth. God has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), and instructs us through His Word for matters pertaining to doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16-17), and in His Word we are able to find the truth of the accepted worship offered to God.
Man's ideas or additions to worship are not relevant or needed. God has prescribed that the acceptable form of singing offered to Him is singing without the use of instruments. Ephesians 5:19 instructs that when we are offering our singing to God it is to be done by speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, teaching and admonishing one another. The “speaking” that is authorized is the exchange of encouragement and admonition with one another through the avenue of singing. The singing that takes place is singing to each other and with one another, and in this verse, there is no authority for using choirs, solos, or any other arrangement where an individual or groups of individuals sing while others listen. As we are speaking, we are to sing psalms (a general praise unto God), hymns (words about God sang to one another), and spiritual songs (a song having to do with any number of spiritual topics). The type of music authorized by God in the New Testament is singing and all additions to singing is prohibited and condemned. To further emphasize the singing is to be done without the use of an instrument, notice the phrase “making melody in your heart” (Eph. 5:19).
Some have taken the Greek word, “psallo,” translated “melody” in English and use this as authority for instruments in worship. The word psallo is defined as “to pluck, to twitch, to strike the strings or chord of an instrument” but notice the instrument that is authorized in Ephesians 5:19 (“in your heart”). The true instrument of worship is the one provided by God, and without the participation by the “inward man” a man's worship is void of spirit and rejected by God.
What kind of music does God authorize in worship?
It is the music that is offered directly to Him, it is the music that is according to the Scriptures, it is the music that is offered without mechanical instruments. God will not accept anything other than what is authorized, and if God has prescribed man cannot improve something by adding to or taking from that prescribed method.