The Ministry of Music 

"It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the ... instruments of music, ... that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."   II Chronicles 5:13, 14

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by Diane Dew

From "Holy Spirit: Gifts & Ministries," Copyright © 1983, "Fundamentals of the Faith -- Studies in Basic Bible Doctrine," by Diane S. Dew

I.   The history of musical instruments can be traced throughout the Bible.

     A.  The earliest instruments of music (Hebrew, kinnor, translated "harp" in Genesis 4:21) were invented by a man named Jubal.
     B.   Other instruments were later made by David (I Chronicles 23:5; II Chronicles 7:6; 29:26) and Solomon (II Chronicles 9:11).
     C.   Some were made of silver (Numbers 10:1, 2), some of brass (I Chronicles 15:19), and some of fir wood (II Samuel 6:5).
     D.  The use of musical instruments in worship can be seen both in the Old (I Chronicles 13:8; II Chronicles 5:12,13; Nehemiah 12:35-41; etc.) and in the New Testaments (Revelation 5:8, 9; 14:2, 3; 15:20; 18:22).
     E.   However, instruments were used on occasions other than the worship of God.
            1.   The timbrel (tambourine) was popular in use with dance to celebrate military victories.
                          Exodus 15:1-21
                          Judges 11:34
                          I Samuel 18:6, 7
            2.   The trumpet had multiple uses.
                   a.   To proclaim feast days.
                                    Leviticus 23:23-25; 25:9
                   b.   To gather an assembly.
                                    Numbers 10:1-8
                   c.   To sound an alarm for battle against the enemy.
                                    Numbers 10:9
                                    Nehemiah 4:18, 20
                                    Joel 2:1
                                    Amos 3:6
                                    Jeremiah 4:19
                                    I Corinthians 14:8
                   d.   To herald the arrival of a new king.
                                    I Kings 1:34-41
             3.   The harp and oboe were used during joyous secular festivities.
                                    Isaiah 5:12
                                    Amos 5:23; 6:4-6
             4.   The oboe was also played during funeral ceremonies.
                                    Matthew 9:23
             5.   Solomon listened to music for his own personal enjoyment.
                                    Ecclesiastes 2:1, 8
             6.   Many instruments came to be used in the worship of pagan gods.
                                    Daniel 3:4-7, etc.

II.   The musical inventions of Jubal (Genesis 4:21) eventually led to the       development of many varied instruments.

        A.   Stringed instruments.
                       Psalms 33:2; 150:4
                       Isaiah 38:20
                1.   Viols.
                               Isaiah 14:11; Amos 5:23; 6:5
                2.   Psaltery, harp and lyre.
                               Genesis 4:21; 31:26, 27; I Samuel 10:5
                               II Samuel 6:5
                               I Kings 10:12
                               I Chronicles 13:8; 15:16, 28; 16:5, 42; 25:1, 6
                               II Chronicles 5:12, 13; 9:11; 20:28; 29:25
                               Nehemiah 12:27; Job 21:12; 30:31
                               Psalms 33:2; 71:22; 92:3; 108:2; 137:4; 144:9; 149:3; 150:3
                               Isaiah 5:12; 30:32; Ezekiel 26:13
                               Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15
                               I Corinthians 14:7; Revelation 5:8; 14:2; 15:2
                  3.   Dulcimer.
                               Daniel 3:5, 10, 15
           B.   Wind instruments.
                  1.   Trumpet, horn and cornet.
                               Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:1-10
                               Joshua 6:5, 20; Judges 7:16-22
                               I Kings 1:34, 41
                               I Chronicles 13:8; 15:28; 16:42; 25:5
                               II Chronicles 5:12, 13; 15:14; 29:26-29; Ezra 3:10
                               Nehemiah 12:35, 41; Psalms 98:6; 150:3
                               Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15
                               Hosea 5:8; Zechariah 9:14, 15
                  2.   Flute (sometimes translated "pipe" or "organ").
                               Genesis 4:21; I Samuel 10:5; I Kings 1:40
                               Job 21:12; 30:31
                               Psalms 150:4; Isaiah 5:12; 30:29; Jeremiah 48:36
                               Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15; Luke 7:32
                  3.   Sackbut (trombone).
                               Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, 15
       C.  Percussion instruments.
                  1.   Cymbals.
                               II Samuel 6:5
                               I Chronicles 13:8; 15:16, 19, 28; 16:5, 42; 25:1, 6
                               II Chronicles 5:12, 13; 29:25
                               Ezra 3:10
                               Nehemiah 12:27
                               Psalms 150:5
                               I Corinthians 13:1
                  2.   Tambourine (timbrel; or tabret, pl.).
                               Genesis 31:27; Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34
                               I Samuel 10:5; 18:6
                               II Samuel 6:5; I Chronicles 13:8; Job 21:12
                               Psalms 68:25; 81:2; 149:3; 150:4; Jeremiah 31:4
                  3.   Bells.
                               Exodus 28:33-35
                  4.   Sistra or rattle (Hebrew "mnaamin" = cornets).
                               II Samuel 6:5
                  5.   Triangle ("shalishim," here translated "instruments of music").
                               I Samuel 18:6

III.   What place does human training or natural talent have in the ministry of music?

         A.   Some skill (human training) is involved in ministering through music.
                          I Samuel 15:22  "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."
                          I Samuel 16:17  "And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me."
                          Psalms 33:3  "Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise."
                          I Chronicles 15:22  "And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skillful."
                          I Chronicles 25:7  "So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight."
         B.   In the Old Testament there were instructors of music.
                          I Chronicles 15:22
                          I Chronicles 25:7, 8
                          II Chronicles 23:12
         C.   However, skill is not enough. It is the anointing that breaks the yoke (I Samuel 16:18). There is a realm of prophetic music.
                          I Samuel 16:14-23  "But the spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him. Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him."
                          II Kings 3:15  "But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him."
                          I Chronicles 25:1, 3, 6, 7  "Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD.... All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the LORD, with cymbals, psalteries, and harps, for the service of the house of God, according to the king's order to Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. So the number of them, with their brethren that were instructed in the songs of the LORD, even all that were cunning, was two hundred fourscore and eight."
            D.   As a musician, David was famous for both the skill by which he played and the anointing under which he ministered.
                          I Samuel 16:16-23
            E.   Truly anointed music has a powerful effect on its hearers.
                          1.   Spiritual deliverance may be obtained.
                                       Samuel 16:14-23
                                       Psalms 149:5-9
                          2.   "The priests could not stand to minister" because the Presence of the Lord was so real.
                                        II Chronicles 5:13, 14
                                        Psalms 149:5-9
                          3.   It lifts the ministry about to come forth.
                                        II Kings 3:14-16

IV.   The scriptures repeatedly exhort us to "sing unto the Lord!"
                Exodus 15:21
                Psalms 33:3; 81:1; 149:1; etc.
                Ephesians 5:18, 19

         A.   Singing was a very prominent part of worship in the Old Testament.
                         I Chronicles 16:9
                         Ezra 2:41
                         Nehemiah 7:6 7
                         Psalms 66:2, 4; 68:4, 25, 32; etc.
                  1.   Solomon's songs numbered 1,005.
                                 I Kings 4:32
                  2.   David had a choir of 288 voices.
                                 I Chronicles 25:7
                  3.   Worship in song marked many of the historical achievements of Israel.
                          a.   Moses and the children of Israel, at the crossing of the Red Sea.
                                        Exodus 15:1, 2, 21
                          b.   Deborah and Barak, at the defeat of Sisera.
                                        Judges 5
                          c.   David and all Israel, at the bringing up of the ark of God.
                                        I Chronicles 15
                          d.   The Levites, at the foundation of the house of the Lord.
                                        II Chronicles 5:12                                         Ezra 3:11
                           e.   The dedication of the wall of Jerusalem.
                                        Nehemiah 12:27-29
                4.   Those who were exceptionally skillful were appointed to be songleaders.
                              I Chronicles 15:22, 27  "And Chenaniah, chief of the Levites, was for song: he instructed about the song, because he was skilful.... and the singers, and Chenaniah the master of the song with the singers ... "
                              Nehemiah 12:46  "For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God."
          B.   Jesus and His disciples sang when gathered together.
                              Matthew 26:30 (Mark 14:26)  "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."
          C.   The early church knew the power of praising God in song.
                              Acts 2:46, 47; 16:25, 26
                               I Corinthians 14:15, 26
                               Ephesians 5:19
                               Colossians 3:16
                               James 5:13
          D.   The angels of God worship continually in song.
                              Isaiah 6:3
                               Luke 2:13, 14
          E.   This is what we will be doing for all eternity.
                              Revelation 5:9; 14:3; 15:3

V.    There is a difference between singing prepared music, in which the words and tune are set (II Chronicles 29:28), and the spontaneous, unpremeditated melody of "singing in the spirit" (Colossians 3:16).

        A.  Spiritual worship is different from any type of natural singing.
                        I Corinthians 14:15
        B.   It is "a new song," never before heard.
                         Psalms 33:3; 149:1
        C.   It is acceptable in the assembly as well as in private prayer.
                         Acts 4:24 all with one accord
                         Ephesians 5:18, 19

VI.   Did dancing historically have any place among the people of God?
         A.   Dancing commonly took place at the celebration of military victories.
                         I Samuel 18:6
                         I Samuel 21:11  "And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not  this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands?"
                       I Samuel 30:16  "And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah."
           B.   It was accompanied very early by the playing of musical instruments and singing.
                        Exodus 15:20, 21
                        Judges 11:34
                        I Samuel 18:6; 2:11
                        Job 21:11, 12
            C.   Both men (I Samuel 6:14; 30:16; I Chronicles 15:29; Acts 3:6-8) and women (Exodus 15:20, 21; Judges 2:21; 11:34; I Samuel 18:6) took part in this means of expression.
            D.   Although intended for the praise of God (Psalms 149:3; 150:4), dancing soon came to be a common practice in the worship of pagan gods as well (Exodus 32:6; 19; I Kings 18:26).
            E.   As an expression of joy (Psalms 30:11; Lamentations 5:15), dancing is prophetically described by Jeremiah as present among God's people at the fulfillment of the promise of full restoration.
                      Jeremiah 31:4  "Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry."
                  Jeremiah 31:13  "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow."
           F.   "David danced before the Lord with all his might" at the bringing up of the ark of God.
                      II Samuel 6:5, 14 (I Chronicles 13:8)  NOTE: The same word literally translated "danced" in verse 14 is in verse 5 mistranslated "played."
            G.   Although evil when used to appeal to the carnal nature of man (Matthew 14:6; Mark 6:22), dancing is appropriate in its place (Ecclesiastes 3:4) and is not to be despised (I Chronicles 15:29). The scriptures exhort us to praise God in dance (Psalms 149:3; 150:4).

VII.   Individual heart attitudes and entire group participation are both very important, for the Spirit to move in a worship service.

          A.   The importance of unity.
                      II Chronicles 5:13, 14  " ... the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice (singular) ... then the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud ... so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God."
                      Acts 2:1-4  "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues ... and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues... "
            B.   "With gladness" and joy.
                       I Chronicles 15:16
                       II Chronicles 29:28, 30
                       Nehemiah 12:27
            C.   "With all their might."
                       I Chronicles 13:8
            D.   "In your heart" (not routinely) and "to the Lord" (not to each other or to an audience).
                       Colossians 3:16
                       Ephesians 5:19

VIII.   Whether by the use of instruments, song, or dance, music is a very scriptural means of expression towards God.

            A.   Hundreds of scripture verses describe or make reference to the purest form of music – the spiritual worship that will fill all eternity.
                             Psalms 150; etc.
                             Revelation 5:8-14; 7:15; etc.
             B.   This liberty of expression is a delight to God (Psalms 149:3, 4). It is the very purpose for which man was created (Revelation 4:11).

Copyright ©1983 by Diane S. Dew

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