Singing Praises to God

Richard Thetford

Most Christians would be quick to agree that we are not suppose to use mechanical instruments of music in our assembled worship service to God, but some have no trouble using mechanical instruments to accompany songs of praise to God in other settings or surroundings. We need to ask ourselves the question "is this acceptable to God?"

Let us first consider some scriptures that deal with singing unto God. In Ephesians 5:19-20 we read "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul addresses the Colossian brethren and says “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. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:16-17). In both cases Paul emphasizes that we should always give thanks to God and one way we do this is through song. We read in Acts 16:25 where "Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them". Also read Mark 14:26; 1 Corinthians 14:15; James 5:13. Do any of these scriptures mention singing and making melody to God ONLY in an assembly?

We need to ask ourselves "when do we worship God?" Aren't we to worship Him each day of our lives? Do we pray only in an assembly? If not, do we add anything mechanical to our prayers to God? Do we sing only in an assembly? If not, do we add anything mechanical to our singing when praising Him in song? You see, we need to be careful about what we are doing during our daily worship to God. We must strive to ensure that ALL we do is done to God's glory - not man's (1 Corinthians 13:31). We need to remember that when we worship God — anytime we worship God — we "must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The truth is, He never authorized any mechanical instruments to be used in singing praises to Him. Those that do so are going beyond the word of God and transgressing His law (2 John 9).

It is so easy at times to get caught up with songs that may be on the radio or on other recordings that are psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs and be moved to sing along with them because we know the words, yet they are recorded with mechanical instruments, something that God has not authorized and not pleased with. It is man that has gone beyond the authority of God's word and added these instruments to songs of praise. During the holiday season many recordings of spiritual songs are set to music and they sound good to our ears - but they are not authorized by God. Therefore we should be careful not to sing along with these songs since it is a spiritual song accompanied with mechanical instruments and again, this is not authorized by God.

Many years ago mechanical instruments were not a problem among the children of God. But in the year 670 Pope Vitalian is thought to have first introduced organs into some of the churches of Western Europe. The earliest trustworthy account comes in 775 when the Greek emperor Constantine sent Pepin, king of the Franks an organ as a gift for the worship service. It is important for us to see that mechanical instruments did not originate from God as we study the New Testament but rather from man! Man has no authority to make laws for the Lord or legislate how men shall worship God. We must praise God with our own lips. Our body (the temple) houses everything we need to worship God in "Spirit and in Truth". As we worship God by singing praises unto Him, let us do so as only He has authorized!