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The Biblical Mandate For Music

Decent Essays
Premise 1. Music performs an important and independent role within the Biblical narrative.

From beginning to end the Bible is full of music and song. The first musician, Jubal, makes his appearance as early as Genesis 4… As we turn the pages, we find many who follow in Jubel’s musical footsteps (Roberts, 2002:84)

This premise is predicated on the hypothesis that music plays an independent and important role within scripture itself; that is to be an elevated carrier for liturgy and prayer, the use of which is mandated by God for corporate worship. Both corporate worship and individual faith would suffer if music were removed. As an act of worshipping obedience, and a way of more readily understanding and relating to God, we will examine
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15:16-22) (Miller, 1993:78-81).

The instruction to make music in worship moves beyond the Levites alone (Foley, 1992) and stretches into the whole body of Israel. Frame (1996:111) says ‘Scripture plainly teaches that God’s people are not only to speak, but also to sing, the truth of God (eg. 1 Chron. 16:9; Ps. 33:2-3; Col. 3:16).’ This last verse demonstrates how the mandate for music has carried on through to the New Covenant people of God.

Synagogue worship heavily influenced emerging Christian music (Foley, 1992:35, 50) as seen throughout the New Testament (Martin, 1967:17). We could add Eph. 15:9 (White, 1993, 1996), and Heb. 2:12 where Jesus quotes Ps. 22:22, applying it to the early church.

This also challenges the presupposition behind the question, that music was not historically seen as essential. In the New Testament era of Church history, the Levitical Jewish traditions of music and hymn singing in corporate worship continued and relied heavily on this Old Testament basis (Guiver, 2009:14). You can identify potential candidates for hymns in Phil. 2:6-11 ; Col. 1:15-20; Eph. 5:14, and possibly 1 Cor. 13 (White, 1993:37), and find designated hymns in Luke’s gospel (of Elizabeth, 1:42-45; Mary, 1:46-55; Zechariah, 1:68-79; and Simeon, 2:29-32). ‘All of these combine the language of Jewish history and personal experience of the singer’ (White, 1993:37).

Jesus also engages with corporate singing with His
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