Worship Music and the Bible

Songs in the Bible


When people think of music and the Bible, Christian hymns are what probably come to mind first. Hymns are stanzaic, metrical poems meant to be sung as an act of praise to God. There are hymns from the Bible in both the Old Testament and New Testament, but the most popular ones today were written long after biblical times. The lyrics, however, are inspired by and sometimes draw from biblical text.


Other songs of worship appear frequently in the Bible and have a range of styles and purposes. There are songs of lament, songs of victory like Deborah’s song in Judges 5, prophetic songs, and more. Additionally, biblical psalms were written to be performed with music.


Bible Verses About Music


In addition to the wealth of songs recorded in the Bible, there are also many verses that speak about music and singing, making it clear that music is an integral part of the Christian life and the ways we are meant to worship and glorify God. Here’s some of what the Bible says about worship:


  • “Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” - Isaiah 12:5
  • “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” - Colossians 3:16
  • “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.” - Psalm 95:1-2


Worship Music in the Christian Life


In early Christianity, worship music was an important aspect of the Christian lifestyle. In the culture of the New Testament, “to sing a hymn to a god or to a supremely powerful king or ruler was considered an act of worship, a way of bestowing respect and benefactions upon one whose powerful acts were worthy of divine honors.” Therefore, Christians glorified God through song.


Today, Christian music is still an essential part of the Christian life. Whether hymns or modern songs, singing and performing music gives glory to God, promotes joy, and builds up members of the church. It can also help with memorization and internalization of scripture, making it a particularly fun way to develop biblical understanding.


Here at the Massachusetts Bible Society, we’re dedicated to promoting biblical literacy. Biblical texts have been interpreted in diverse ways from generation to generation and are always filtered through the lens of the reader’s faith and life experiences. The Bible has authority for communities of faith who take time to study and prayerfully interpret its message, but it is also important for anyone who wants more fully to understand culture, religious thought, and the world in which we live. We believe that everyone should know the Bible, whether they accept it as their sacred text or not. To that end, we have created accessible and comprehensive resources for all who are curious.


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