By Russell Holloway
Christian Counseling Finder Co-founder
There are positive biblical references to music throughout scripture. How followers of Jesus approach music is varied and sometimes theologically divisive, but there is room for most followers of Jesus to find common ground in the benefits of song in worship. Listed are five of those benefits.
Music Can Help Us Express Complex Emotions
The 18th century hymnist, Isaac Watts, wrote the Christmas song “Joy to the World” inspired by Psalm 98. Watts’ song not only acknowledges the happiness of the Christmas season, but also our thankfulness for God’s love through the revelation of Jesus’ birth. We do not always have words for the emotions we experience. Music can help us express complex feelings and reactions when worshiping Jesus.
Music Can Foster Unity Among Followers of Jesus.
Music has united and defined different cultures throughout history. Christians are no exception. We know we belong together by the songs we sing and by the music we define as important.
“…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” – 2 Chronicles 5:13 (NKJV)
Many of us have had the experience of visiting a church far from home, and then happily experiencing the familiar when we join in singing a song we cherish. Music can remind us that we worship the same God, and that we as believers belong to each other.
Music Teaches and Instructs.
There is a reason teachers use music, rhyme, and song to teach children. It works! Nearly all of us learned our ABC’s by singing the ABCs song, correct? Paul was aware of this as well when he wrote to the Colossians:
“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.” – Colossians 3:16
Music and song is a great way to imprint the teachings of God on our hearts. Song lyrics are sometimes easier to remember, and a beautiful way to remember that God cares for us.
Music Testifies to The World About Our Faith
The history of Christianity, even up to present time, is full of stories of martyrs singing just before their executions. It has been that way from the beginning.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas [beaten and chained] were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” – Acts 16:25
It is an amazing testimony that some followers of Jesus are called to lay down their lives and have the faith to do so with songs of praise on their lips. The world notices.
Music Can Be an Acceptable Form of Worship
We see in Romans 12:1-2 that in the end we worship God with how we live our lives. But, it is impossible to look at the entirety of scripture and not come to the conclusion that music and song is one acceptable form of worship, when our hearts and not just our words are inclined toward God. Those critical of song during worship should be gently reminded that even Jesus, with his disciples, sang a hymn at the last supper.
May your own life, and the lives of the people close to you, be a song of worship and praise to our amazing God.