It rarely happens that you go to a church, of any denomination, or a Christian gathering and not find that they do not use music for worship. Worship music is part and parcel of worshiping, even though we may disagree about what good worship music entails.
It is understandable to reject or be slow to accept worship music presented in a style and sound, which is not what you have been used to over the years.
Worship music has a bigger role to play in worshiping and generally in the gospel world, and the Bible rightly supports its presence in our churches.
We do not listen to praise and worship music only during church services, especially on Sunday. We also listen to worship music in our homes, when driving to and from work, during a gym workout, etc.
As a result, it is right to say that worship music serves a unique purpose in our lives as Christians. Below, we examine a few of the purposes of worship music.
The purpose of worship music delivers more than just instructing us as it also allows and heightens the direct connection with the creator. You can connect to your creator through music for worship in ways a sermon cannot.
When you sing, something incredible tends to happen. Whether you sing alone or as part of a worshiping group/community, you feel some kind of awakening and connection with the lord.
In accordance with Deuteronomy 6:5 NRSV, it advocates you
and me to love God with all our hearts, soul, and might. Still, in Matthew
22:37 NRSV, Jesus replies to a lawyer that loving God with your heart, soul,
and mind is the greatest commandment.
Singing gives us one of the best channels for communicating
our love of God not only to him but also his people. If you sing and devote
your whole self to God, then something godly will happen within you, and that
is without a doubt.
There are numerous verses in the Bible commanding us to
sing, like Psalm 26:6-7 (ESV) and Eph. 5:18-20 (ESV). God commands us to sing
in his presence.
The word worship, according to Dictionary, was derived from the word “worthscipe”, (an old English word), or “weordhscipe”, (old English spelling). Simply, the word means worth-ship or “worthiness”. Generally, the term worship is used for meaning “worthy of something”.
Most certainly, the use of the term suits its purpose when
we say we worship God. Meaning, it is only God worthy of our worship.
For the worship music, at present, in general, there are two broad types of music for satisfying the desires of worshipers/Christians. There are traditional worship music and contemporary worship songs. As a consequence, we take a look at the different historical period’s Christian worship songs have undergone.
From the Old Testament, we know that David wrote and sang in
the Psalms for praising God. David often played the lyre/harp as per 1 Sam
16:14-23 and also based on Psalm 68:25, he played the tambourines.
Per the Old Testament, there were many forms of musical
instrument in use. E.g., we are informed, according to 2 Samuel 6:5, that the
returning of the Ark in Israel was met with singing, celebration, and music.
In fact, it is on record that the Israelite’s celebrated
before the lord using cymbals, harps, timbrels, castanets, and sistrums.
Apart from the use of stringed and percussion instruments,
the New Testament also records the use of flutes and pipes. Besides, the
scripture talks about the presence of vocal arrangements, comprised of between a few to hundreds of vocalists.
During the period when writing of the New Testament was
happening, it is only a natural progression that the Old Testament instruments
were still in use.
But then again, the musical instruments in church history
during the New Testament were used a bit differently, unlike in the Old
Testament. For example, Jesus and his disciples sang a hymn, after meal
conclusion, for the celebration of the Passover.
It is highly unlikely that an instrument or instruments did
not accompany the singing of the hymns. Besides, the scripture does not inform
us about the particular hymn sung, but it is reasonable to think it was sourced
from the Psalms.
Just like today, the early Christian church must have
heavily relied on singing the Psalms. The early church may have relied on the
use of stringed instruments used in the Bible for worship and or a woodwind
It also appears that using drums was limited and there could
be reasons for that happening. One reason could be that the church was trying
to evade the potential attraction of too much public attention.
That is why; some church services took place in underground
locations to avoid possible death or persecution.
Another possible reason for the limited use of drum during
that period is because of the cost. The making of percussion instruments
involved metal works and animals skins, which means, the church at that time
did not want to spend heavily on such instruments.
Around the 3rd Century B.C, the Greeks were known to use the
pipe organ. Between the 6th and 7th, there was introduction of bellows. Already
the organ was the principal instrument used in the Bible, from the early church
and the middle age of the church.
In the 1700s, there was further addition of another musical
instrument in the form of a piano. The use of the piano in this period rivaled
the use of the organ in Christian worship music.
As well, there was everyday use of the harpsichord, a
smaller piano version, which was relatively more affordable to the church when
compared with the piano or the pipe organ.
There is evidence that there was the continued use of
stringed instruments and woodwinds by churches during this age. However, for
percussion instruments or drums, their use was still exclusive, in particular,
because of the exorbitant cost.
Today, I most church services; you will still encounter the
using of pipe organs, even though the piano is a top preference.
The contemporary Christian songs still are experiencing a
lot of changes. There is the use of high tech simulated instruments, computers,
and synthetic keyboards.
Likewise, how the praise and worship songs are composed has
also undergone a change. Lyrics are considered more vital than the accompanying
instrumentals. What is more, more churches are embracing the use of visuals for
song lyrics to enable worshipers to sing along.