Music in Worship
Religious exercises have always consisted mainly of praise and prayer.  Wherever
man has recognized the existence of Deity, his natural instincts have urged him to offer thanksgivings and supplications.  Religion, in its very broadest sense, consists of the relationship and interaction between the soul with the infinite.  It is for this reason that the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:15…”I will pray with the spirit and with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding also.”  In this single verse, there are many implications.


First, it is indicated that praises toward God are to be celebrated among Christians, and that it is an important part of our worship to Him.  It is not a preface nor is it designed to prepare our minds for worship.
It is part of worship.
Second, the heart should be engaged in this part of worship.   Christians should participate in a way that will instruct and encourage others, both in their understanding of God and in their own exaltation of Him.  
Third, the heart and the mind are both engaged in praise and prayer.  Mindless repetitions of song, prayers, or any participation in which a person is not fully involved, is vain worship. This certainly applies to church music.
The question then is, “What kind of music should be used in worship?”   The word music is generic, covering vocal, instrumental, whistling, humming, and manuscripts.  However, the Bible is specific when it comes to the type of music in New Testament worship.  So, the answer to the question is, “The kind of music that should be used in worship is the kind of music hat God has designated.”  In short, New Testament scriptures designates that singing (vocal music) is the type ordained for worship services.  As William Woodson, in the article History of Instrumental Music, stated:  These convictions rest on the unassailable fact that no authority from God warrants instrumental music in the worship of the church. The best efforts of its defenders have failed to demonstrate this requisite justification. Their failure is made even more overwhelming when it is observed that until hundreds of years after the close of the New Testament there was no recorded use of instrumental music in church worship, and this condition prevailed amidst numerous changes from biblical doctrine and practice otherwise.”  
Consider the following passages:
                                                              Text                                                                                                              Reference
 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”                                                       Matthew 26:30
 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.”                Acts 16:25  
 “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to
  thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.”                                                                                             Romans 15:9
 “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with
  the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”                                                                                          1 Corinthians 14:15
 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in
  your heart to the Lord;”                                                                                                                                          Ephesians 5:19
 “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  
 “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.            Hebrews 2:12
 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips 
  giving thanks to his name.”                                                                                                                                    Hebrews 13:15
 “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.”                                                   James 5:13  
In the above passages, the words that the New Testament writes used for sing were verb psallo and the noun form psalmos.  “E. A. Sophocles, a native Greek and, for thirty-eight years, a professor of the Greek language at Harvard University, declared (after examining a plethora of secular and religious historical documents) that there was not a single example of psallo ever used in the time of Christ that involved or implied the use of an instrument; rather, it always meant to chant or sing religious hymns.”  (quoted from the article The Meaning of Psallo in the New Testament by Eric Lyons, Apologetics Press, 2002)
The typical argument for the use of instrumental music in worship is that scripture doesn’t say it can’t be used.  That’s true.  But, when a specific action is commanded then all other actions are forbidden.  For instance, if a company sends a memo stating that all employees are to wear a white shirt to work then there is no need to state what colors are not allowed.  There is no need to state that employees should not wear a brown, yellow, or red shirt.  By stating what is required then all other options are, by necessity, ruled out.  The same method of logic is applied to scripture.  When God, through inspiration, specifies what He does want then He does not have to give a list of the things He doesn’t want.  Some writers, in support of instrumental music, point out that the New Testament scriptures say nothing negative about it.  However, the scriptures also say nothing negative about using carrot juice and cornbread in place of grape juice and unleavened bread for communion.  The scriptures say nothing negative about slavery, child-labor laws, or illegal drugs either but the absence of negative teaching does not make these justifiable.   Where there is clear and concise directives given, silence on alternatives is not a freedom to alter the directives.  When God told Noah the kind of wood that should be used in building the ark, He did not have to say what not to use.  There were no negative comments about using pine, oak, cherry, or walnut.  These were automatically crossed off the list when the instructions for gopher wood was given.  It is clear through scripture that God has specified vocal music for worship.  There was no need for the inspired writers to list what is not ordained.
Another argument is that instrumental music was used in the Temple worship during the Old Testament period.  This is true.  But, temple worship also included sacrificial animals, ritual cleansing, observance of several feast days, and an inner court where woman were forbidden.  People who argue instrumental music should be allowed in New Testament churches, based on Old Testament worship practices, must also be participate in blood sacrifices of bulls or goats, be willing to keep the Passover and Pentecost rituals, and live by cleansing and dietary laws.  In short, they must be willing to adopt Hebrew worship as outlined in the Law of Moses.  These things were not instituted in the church by the Apostles and inspired writers, and neither was instrumental music.
One additional point some people try to make is the fact that instrumental music is mentioned in the book of Revelation.  But, Revelation also mentions multi-winged beasts, death riding a pale horse, and other fanciful creatures.  One must remember that Revelation, beginning with chapter 4, was written in highly figurative language and was not meant to be completely literal.
When a person tries to cut through all of the man-made religious practices and creeds, they can see that instrumental music was not used in western Christian worship until the 7th century AD and was not a wide-scale practice until the 11th century.  It is known that the early church used no instrumental music.  The early Christians came from backgrounds which were Jewish, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, African, and Middle-Eastern.  The religious practices of these regions often included the use of musical instruments but these usually carried negative connotations for Christians. Early church fathers viewed the use of instrumental music in Jewish worship as a “childish” and diminishing to the glorification of God.  No matter the arguments used, the certain fact is that the early church, the Christians who were taught by and followed the teaching of the Apostles and inspired writers, did not use and intentionally forbade the use of instrumental music in worship.