I love music, especially music that glorifies God and gives me hope. Music is a common theme throughout the Old Testament; most of the Psalms are written “for the director of music” and are meant to be sung. In the New Testament, Paul tells the believers of the church in Ephesus to, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19.
“Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.” Judges 5:3.
“Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.” Psalms 33:2.
“Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
shout for joy before the LORD, the King.” Psalms 98:4-6.
If you have read much of my blog, you will find that I frequently quote from contemporary Christian music and from old hymns. I love them all and listen to music ranging from ancient hymns by Johnny Cash to hip hop Christian music by the O.C. Supertones in my car and on my iPod. This morning I was listening to my iPod and the Third Day song “Sing a Song” came on, which sums up how I feel about the music I like to listen to and sing along with:
I want to sing a song for You, Lord
Lord, for You I want to sing a song
And I want to lift my voice to Heaven
And listen to the angels sing along
A song of Your faithfulness
A song of Your grace
And of Your loving kindness
To the glory of Your name
With everything that’s in me, Lord
Listen to me say
I want to sing a song for You
I want to sing a song
Recently I came across a website of a “church” that was announcing a book and music burning ceremony they were having. On the list of CDs they were going to burn as being not Christian were CDs by any contemporary Christian artists. They didn’t name any specific artists, just a blanket condemnation of all contemporary Christian music. I thought this was very strange since many of the contemporary Christian artists I listen to have put the words of the Psalms to music, much like “Sing a Song” quoted above.
I think the reasoning was that this music is not made with the specific instruments listed in the Bible and so is therefore not approved by God. I looked through the scriptures regarding music in the Old Testament, and although some specific instruments are mentioned, I never found words to indicate that you could use these instruments “and no others.” By this reasoning, the standard church organ would not be allowed. But Psalms 98 calls for our music to the Lord to be jubilant and to include “shouts for joy.” It seems to me that as long as the lyrics glorify God and the heart from which the music flows is jubilant, God is pleased with music, whether it be old hymns on the harp and lyre or Christian rock on the electric guitar and drums.
This website that I found indicated that the “church” was also planning to burn all versions of the Bible except the King James Version. I don’t understand this either. I do not understand condemnation of Bibles that are translated directly from the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew into English so that believers can understand God’s message to us, and non-believers can understand God’s call to them to believe. I do think it is important to understand who has completed a particular translation and the process they went through, to test the accuracy and trustworthiness of a translation before we rely on it. But to burn God’s Word because it is not one particular, old translation, seems to me to be contrary to the furtherance of God’s kingdom.
Jesus said that people would know we are His disciples by our love. The Christian music I listen to and the several translations of the Bible that I read have helped me to grow in my faith and to love my God and my neighbor as He has commanded me to do.