This post is sort of an addendum to Music is not Worship…Breathing is posted by Justin Sok. Just so, no one is confused this post only addresses the role of music; I will be doing a follow post entitled What is Biblical Worship? That post will attempt to set fourth how worship is defined in Scripture, please reserve your comments concerning the nature of worship for that post.
Throughout the whole of Scripture, the corporate singing of songs is presented as a means by which we are taught (Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 31-31 specifically 31:19,21, Judges 5, I Samuel 18:7, II Samuel 22, I Chronicles 16 and that is just a small sample).
This is why Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). There are several implications of this passage.
First, our songs must be Bible-saturated Christ-centered songs. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” if our songs are to be effective at teaching and admonishing then they must be saturated with Scripture; because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (II Timothy 3:16).
Second, our songs must teach and admonish. If the word of Christ must dwell in us to sing such songs then it naturally follows that the word of Christ will flow forth when singing (Luke 6:45). Since the Word of God is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” it also naturally follows that songs based upon God’s Word will do such things. Teaching (didasko) means to instruct, impart doctrine, tutor, or to advise. Admonish (noutheteo) means to warn, exhort, rebuke, or to set right. Our songs should be those that, by the Word of God, lead us into submitting ourselves to Christ and rebuke or set us right when we fail to do so.
Third, the singing of such songs always results in and flows forth from a thankful heart. Scripture is God’s gracious self-disclosure; a gift that we are immeasurably unworthy of. We should always be thankful that we have received this Word and that after receiving it God is so gracious as to lead us in obedience to it and patient enough to correct our disobedience.
The ultimate purpose of the local church is to glorify God. The specific means by which it glorifies God is through the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). This is also in accord with the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) which sets fourth the task, of the church, as the teaching others to obey Christ, to the glory of God. In the same way, music and songs ultimately exist to glorify God; however, the primary means by which they do that is by teaching the saints to submit themselves to God, for His glory.
Without question the role of music, in the corporate gathering of the local church, is to teach and admonish God’s people by His Word.