Is Music a Sin in the Bible?

Is Music a Sin in the Bible?
Written by Christopher Turk

Music is not a sin in God’s eyes. The uses of music are numerous. People can be found singing and playing instruments to praise and worship God in the Bible (Psalm 4:1; 6:1, 54, 55; 61:1; 67:1; 76:1). Mary sings to God in worship when she learns she is carrying Jesus (Luke 1:46-55). In times of battle, music can be utilized to comfort our frayed souls (1 Samuel 16:14–23). (Nehemiah 4:20; Judges 7:16-22). Music can uplift (Ephesians 5:19) or express difficulty, grief, and sadness to God (Psalm 88).

Since the Bible does not dictate what genres of music we should listen to, believers may exercise their freedom of choice while employing biblical principles to help us make wise decisions. Many songs today promote negative values or promote hostility, anger, and hatred; we don’t want music to repeatedly reinforce unfavorable ideas in our heads (1 Corinthians 15:33; Proverbs 22:24-25).

What does the Bible say about Music?

Given how important music is to our life, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Bible has a lot of references to it; in fact, Psalms, the Bible’s book of songs, is its longest book. Some of the songs in this collection were sung during temple worship, while others were sung in private as appeals for assistance and thanksgiving to God.

But the history of music in the Bible stretches back considerably further. Musicians are frequently mentioned in the books of Genesis and Exodus, which contain the earliest accounts of creation and God’s calling of the nation of Israel. Jubal, who was just a fourth-generation descendant of Adam and Eve, is the person we first learn about (Genesis 4:21). When God delivers the Israelites from slavery in Egypt in Exodus, their initial reaction is to sing. We can read the lyrics to a song Moses himself sang in praise in Exodus 15.

A few verses that might be relevant to music are 1 Chronicles 16:30-33, which mentions that God gave David and Solomon a “pleasant voice and talent on the harp and lyre,” as well as Psalm 150:1-5, which refers to God as the “Lord of singers” and says that he “delights in the song of the lyre.” In these verses, music is typically viewed as a tool that can be utilized to honor God and not as an activity that is intrinsically bad.

Some Bible verses may forbid a particular genre of music, for instance, Deuteronomy 12:2. This verse might forbid using music to worship gods since it would be viewed as a picture of the sky (in this case, an idol of a heavenly being).

Bottom Line

The Lord has blessed us with music. We must be careful not to take this strong and wonderful gift for granted. God sometimes uses it to communicate with us. We must discipline ourselves to do God’s will and let go of things in our lives that we are aware are displeasures to God.

Again, the ideal music for Christians to listen to is worship music. There is nothing wrong if you enjoy listening to a certain secular song as long as it doesn’t encourage sin, has clean lyrics, doesn’t influence your thoughts negatively, or promotes evil.

About the author

Christopher Turk

Christopher is the lead elder/pastor of the local Christian church in Penticton, British Columbia. He has a dedication to serving his Lord's church and a pulpit competence that honors the legacy of his predecessor. Christopher is a passionate visionary for the Lord and His Kingdom! His church ministry background spans over 30 years of full-time service.

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