Archives For Music

After Samuel had anointed Saul, he uttered a striking prophetic declaration of what would shortly happen to Saul:

1 Samuel 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

Concerning what it reveals about music, this passage is significant for several reasons.

First, it shows that more than two years (cf. 1 Sam. 13:1) before David came to the forefront as a uniquely skilled musician in Israel (1 Sam. 16:14-23), God already had a group of prophets among His people who were sacred musicians who ministered with music for Him! As prophets, these men were specially chosen, anointed, and empowered servants of God on whom He had put His Spirit; these musicians undeniably therefore knew fully how to play sacred music that pleased God.

Second, the verse speaks about the prophetic use of three different kinds of instruments: stringed (psaltery, harp); percussion (tabret); and wind (pipe). The verse, therefore, shows the legitimacy of using each of these kinds of instruments for sacred uses.

Third, the verse mentions two stringed instruments but only one each of the other two kinds of instruments. The greater number and variety of stringed instruments versus percussion or wind instruments points to the greater importance of stringed instruments in sacred activities.

Fourth, the verse does not make any mention of singing. Although the lack of mention of singing does not definitively show that there was no singing by those in this prophetic company, the explicit mention of multiple musical instruments and no mention of singing stresses the importance of the use of musical instruments in sacred ministry.


See also A Prophet, A Minstrel, and Resolving Today’s Worship Wars

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I have actively participated in many discussions on Sharper Iron since November of 2018. In this post, I have compiled nearly all my discussion posts on music and worship as well as on other topics.

In addition, I have also listed other discussions that I did not start, but I did participate in them. The numbered listing for my posts on music and worship are in chronological order; those in the second listing are grouped by topic.

Posts on Music and Worship

  1. How does God want Christians to profit concerning worship from Exodus 32:17-20?
  2. Is Exodus 32:17-18 divine revelation about worship music? | SHARPER IRON
  3. Does Job 41:11b apply to all musical styles/genres?
  4. Bible passages that guide us about secular/unbelieving criticisms of Christian worship music/ministry?
  5. What does Scripture teach about all music without words?
  6. Are there any Bible passages that specifically support the use of music to evangelize unbelievers?
  7. Little interest in discussing what the Bible says about music
  8. Does Scripture record that musical instruments were used in pagan worship?
  9. Best books that support the use of CCM, CWM, etc?
  10. Adding Regular Corporate Shouting of Praise in Our Worship
  11. What does Genesis 4:21 teach us about music?
  12. What does Genesis 31:27 teach us about music?
  13. We Must Heed the Vital Message of 1 Corinthians 10:18-20
  14. Did OT Israel create anything new in terms of music?
  15. Who do you think is the most important musician in human history?
  16. “Why a Series on Psalms?” | SHARPER IRON
  17. Does God accept worship from some unbelievers?
  18. What Is the Greatest/Best Sacred Song of All Time?
  19. What Does 1 Samuel 16:14-23 teach about music?
  20. Who do you believe is the greatest songwriter of all time?
  21. How many classes of *living* beings exist that produce music?
  22. What Does 1 Corinthians 2:14 Teach about What Unbelievers Cannot Know?
  23. Does Romans 8:19-22 apply to music without words?
  24. What Do Daniel 3:5, 7, 10, and 15 Reveal about Worship Music?
  25. Wrong Views, Disunity, and “The Worship Wars”
  26. Does God love all kinds of music because He invented it all?
  27. The Bible and Music: What Does God Want Us to Know, Believe, and Do?
  28. Was Jesus of Nazareth the Greatest Singer and Musician of All Time?
  29. Divine Selectivity in Worship: What Should We Believe?
  30. Shamanism, Percussion, and First Corinthians 6:12
  31. Did the Israelites Use Drum-Like Instruments in The Worship in the Solomonic Temple?
  32. Are Some Kinds of Instrumental Music Objectively Better Than Others?

Posts on Other Topics or Other Discussions That I Did Not Start

Steve Pettit and the Skillman Family

Public worship and Exodus 28:42: “from hips to the thighs”

Golden Calf in Psalm 106

How Acts 7:39-41 Illumines A Proper Understanding of the Golden Calf Incident (GCI)

Is food good but amoral? | SHARPER IRON

Why is 1 Timothy 5:23 in the Bible?

Does Scripture teach that cremation is an acceptable practice for believers?

“Is Cremation Christian”?

How does God want Christians to profit concerning evangelism from Acts 22:14-15?

Toward a More Accurate Theology of Evangelism

Ezekiel 40-48: National Israel, the Church, or something else?

How are you going to keep yourself unspotted from the world?

“Assailment-by-Entailment”

Does *the Bible Itself* “Use” Guilt by Association (GBA)?

Two Important Insights from the Biblical Record about Manasseh

What perspicuity of the Scripture does not mean

What Is Sound Doctrine concerning the Doctrinal Importance of Narratives in Scripture?

Was Solomon a true believer who “lost his salvation”?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

I recently posted the following line of biblical reasoning online on two different sites:

Instrumental music that is not pleasing or acceptable to God

All true believers must accept anything that God says when He says it explicitly.

James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

This revelation from God teaches us that there is wisdom that is not His that is earthly, sensual, and demonic.

If we do anything with wisdom that is not from God, that thing that we do will be and is done with earthly, sensual, and demonic wisdom.

Doing anything, therefore, that pertains to instrumental music with *wisdom that is not from God* produces instrumental music that is earthly, sensual, and demonic.

Such instrumental music, of necessity, is not pleasing or acceptable to God.

To say that it is not possible to do anything pertaining to instrumental music with wisdom that is not from God must be proven from Scripture–it cannot and must not be merely asserted, assumed, or presupposed.

Is there any proof from Scripture itself that it is not possible to do anything pertaining to instrumental music with wisdom that is not from God?

I believe that this line of reasoning is solidly biblical and guides us correctly about a key issue that has profound ramifications for both our doctrine and practice of music.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

In several previous articles, I have treated Scripture concerning various aspects of the surpassing musical wisdom of Solomon. Beyond the evidence that God has given us in Scripture for Solomon’s surpassingly excellent wisdom concerning songs and singing, He has even provided us with explicit revelation concerning Solomon’s surpassing excellence concerning two musical instruments.

Surpassingly Excellent Harps and Psalteries

Using algum trees supplied to him by Huram, Solomon made harps and psalteries:

2 Chronicles 9:11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

This revelation is striking for what it says about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made—”there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.” The harps and psalteries that Solomon made were the finest that had ever been seen in Judah!

Given that the Israelites had been using these two instruments in divine worship prior to God’s giving Solomon the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He gave him (cf. 1 Chron. 13:8), we thus learn from this explicit biblical statement that these instruments were superior even to the best harps and psalteries that the Israelites had previously been using for the worship of God! Moreover, given that Solomon made these instruments with the wisdom that God gave him that excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), we have certainty that these instruments were superior to any harps and psalteries that the Egyptians had ever had.

Conclusion

Based on what God has explicitly revealed to us about the harps and psalteries that Solomon made, we learn that the all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that God gave Solomon included all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about these two key musical instruments that God Himself ordained were to be used to worship Him (Ps. 33:2-3; 98:5; 150:3). Through Solomon, God thus gave to the Israelites the finest harps and psalteries in the world so that they would be used in His temple to glorify Him with the finest music in all the world!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Scripture explicitly reveals some information about Solomon and music that could be easily overlooked:

Ecclesiastes 2:8 I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.

The Spirit here reveals to us that Solomon acquired for himself male and female singers. Given the context of this information in its own verse (his statements in the first part of the verse that he acquired the most precious metals and the distinctive treasure of kings), we understand that these were not just ordinary singers—they were singers who knew how to sing at excelling levels and did so.

In order to rightly assess the fuller significance of this information, we must learn more from Scripture about how Solomon acquired these singers.

Solomon Acquired Singers through All-Excelling Wisdom

Rightly assessing just how good these singers were requires that we give careful attention to what the broader context within the book teaches us about how Solomon acquired these singers:

Ecclesiastes 1:16 I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. 17 And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

These passages show that Solomon knew that he had excelled in wisdom above everyone that had been before him in Jerusalem (Eccl. 1:16). His knowing that he had that all-surpassing knowledge makes what he then says even more remarkable—he applied his heart to know wisdom (Eccl. 1:17a)!

When, therefore, we read in Eccl. 2:1-8 of all the areas in which Solomon applied his heart to know wisdom—including his acquiring to himself male and female singers (Eccl. 2:8)—we must hold that Solomon got those singers to himself by giving his heart to know wisdom about singers and singing.

We further know that this interpretation is correct because Solomon explicitly said even earlier in the book that he gave his heart to search out and seek by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven, which, of necessity, therefore, included wisdom concerning singers and their singing:

Ecclesiastes 1:13 And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven: this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

Given that God enlarged Solomon’s heart exceedingly and gave him exceedingly much wisdom, understanding, and knowledge (1 Kings 4:29; 2 Chron. 1:12) and given that he applied his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning everything that is done (Eccl. 1:13), we can be certain that Solomon acquired these singers through the application of all-excelling wisdom, understanding, and knowledge!

Conclusion

Based on this line of biblical reasoning, we learn all the following from the biblical information about Solomon’s acquiring singers for himself:

As the richest king ever (cf. 1 Kings 3:13; cf. 10:23), Solomon had the position, power, and wealth to acquire for himself the finest singers possible. As the wisest person ever in the history of the world (except for Jesus of Nazareth), king Solomon had the unparalleled wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to rightly assess who were the finest singers that he could get for himself.

These two considerations coupled with the explicit statement that by way of necessary application shows us that Solomon sought out and acquired these singers by applying his heart to that matter proves that Solomon had to have and did have all-excelling wisdom not just concerning musical lyrics but also concerning the singing of those lyrics and who the people were who could sing them in the best ways possible.

We must also conclude, therefore, that Solomonic Israelite kinds of singing were the best kinds of singing in the world (cf. God’s revealing that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:30), which necessarily therefore included all Egyptian wisdom about singing and kinds of singing). We thus have biblical basis to hold that through Solomon God gave Israel the best singers, singing, and kinds of singing in all the world.


See also The Importance of the All-Excelling Musical Supremacy of Solomon’s Wisdom

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

To fully understand and accept the all-excelling musical supremacy of the wisdom that God gave Solomon, we must rightly appreciate and accept the importance of Solomon’s all-excelling calling to build a house for the name of the Lord. The following nine passages reveal these truths to us:

2 Sam. 7:12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

1 Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death.

1 Chron. 22:9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. 10 He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.

1 Chron. 29:1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.

1 Chron. 29:25 And the LORD magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

2 Chron. 1:1 And Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the LORD his God was with him, and magnified him exceedingly.

2 Chron. 2:1 And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.

2 Chron. 2:4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. 5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.

2 Chron. 2:9 Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.

These passages profoundly and abundantly set forth the matchless glory of the Solomonic temple. Unlike any other physical structure ever built by any other peoples in the history of the world, this house was a house for the name of the LORD (2 Chron. 2:1).

This house had to be and was of unmatched greatness because it was “not for man, but for the LORD God” (1 Chron. 29:1) who was and is great “above all gods” (2 Chron. 2:5). This house was “wonderful great” (2 Chron. 2:9). It had to be and was “exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries” (1 Chron. 22:5).

The combined force of all these inspired statements shows that there has never been another physical structure in the history of the world that has even remotely compared to the greatness of the Solomonic temple. Keeping that truth in mind and accounting for the divinely ordained immense importance of music in the Solomonic temple (for example, 2 Chron. 5:11-14), we must accept and recognize that God gave Solomon the all-excelling musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that He did because the music of that temple had to be the greatest music ever in the history of the world for the sake of the glory of the one and only living and true God!

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

To appreciate rightly the supremacy of the musical wisdom that Solomon had, we need to account for his excelling musical background.

1. Solomon was the son of king David who was a prophet (Acts 2:30) who was an extraordinarily skilled harpist who had the Spirit on him (1 Sam. 16).

Solomon undoubtedly had extensive exposure to David’s excelling playing of instrumental music. Moreover, Solomon very likely had considerable exposure to other supernaturally gifted instrumentalists as well (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16).

Through hearing and observing such supernaturally skillful instrumental music being played, Solomon was thus given vast knowledge and understanding of excelling kinds of instrumental music even before God gave to him surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12).

2. Solomon was the son of “the sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Sam. 23:1) who gave to Israel around 75 perfect songs through divine inspiration. No other human being had ever had such excelling supernatural skillfulness in producing such songs in all human history prior to David.

Even before God gave to Solomon surpassingly great wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that he surpassed even David in those areas (cf. 1 Kings 3:12; 2 Chron. 1:12), Solomon therefore almost certainly had had direct exposure to all of those perfect songs from God. What’s more Solomon did not just have such exposure to the lyrics of those perfect songs, he would have had considerable opportunity to hear his father and other supernaturally skilled singers (cf. 1 Chron. 6:31-32; 9:33; 1 Chron. 15-16) sing those songs before God made him (Solomon) a surpassingly excellent producer of songs himself.

These two considerations about Solomon’s background, therefore, should greatly heighten our appreciation and acceptance of the reality of Solomon’s all-surpassing musical wisdom, understanding, and knowledge concerning songs, singing, musical instruments, and playing instrumental music.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Are some kinds of instrumental music objectively better than other kinds of instrumental music? Through a careful examination of what God has revealed in 1 Kings 4:29-32, the Spirit provides us with certainty about the correct answer to this key question.

Solomon’s Excelling Musical Wisdom

1 Kings 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.

Here, Scripture explicitly says that Solomon’s wisdom excelled “all the wisdom of Egypt.” This unqualified statement shows that God made Solomon to excel in wisdom above all Egyptian wisdom!

Whatever wisdom, therefore, the Egyptians had about kinds of instrumental music—Solomon’s wisdom excelled all of it!

Through the all-excelling wisdom that God gave to Solomon, Solomonic Israelite kinds of instrumental music were all superior to all those of the Egyptians!

In addition, the Spirit explains and stresses that superiority further by explicitly declaring that Solomon was wiser than both Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman. Because Ethan was the inspired writer of Psalm 89, God here stresses to us the supremacy of Solomon’s wisdom even above another leading Israelite musician!

Furthermore, the Spirit adds that Solomon’s wisdom excelled that of Heman. Although there is some uncertainty about who this Heman was, it is quite possible that he was another leading Israelite musician. If that interpretation is correct, the Spirit has profoundly stressed to us the supremacy of Solomon’s musical wisdom by comparing him first of all by name to two other leading Israelite musicians!

Finally, because the Spirit revealed that Solomon produced 1005 songs, we know that Solomon had excelling musical wisdom about collections of musical sounds because songs by definition are musical compositions that are sung as collections of musical sounds. Because Solomon had that kind of excelling musical wisdom concerning collections of musical sounds, we have further biblical support to hold that our understanding that Solomon excelled in musical wisdom concerning kinds of instrumental music is correct because kinds of instrumental music by definition both produce and are collections of musical sounds.

Conclusion

Based on what God has revealed in 1 Kings 4:29-32, we can know and say with certainty that some kinds of instrumental music (namely, at least Solomonic Israelite kinds of instrumental music) are objectively better than other kinds of instrumental music (namely, at least all Egyptian kinds of instrumental music at the time of Solomon).


Photo Credit: D. Hendrix

See also On the Excellence of Solomon’s Temple, Its Musicians, and Their Music

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

Friends, I’m looking for thoughtful feedback on the possible pros and cons of the following train of thought:

I have been studying the subject of the Bible and music intensely for the past twelve years. I have been working on a book on that subject for several years now.

Because I want to profit as many people as possible and as soon as possible with all my work in this area, I am considering disseminating the material of my book in a lengthy series of blog posts instead of an e-book or a printed book.

Doing it as a series of blog posts allows me to instantly make my work available all over the world and gives me total control of everything about how that material is formatted and does so at no additional cost to me. It also allows me to continually revise anything in my work on an instantaneous, ongoing basis.

It also removes inherent limitations that other formats have with what can be included (for example, printed books cannot provide live links to other articles on my site as well as on other sites; illustrations by necessity have many limitations that would not be true on a blog post).

Thoughts?

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

“Christ is Risen! Hallelujah!” by John S.B. Monsell is a hymn about Christ’s resurrection and exaltation that I do not remember ever singing before this year. I have been blessed in singing this hymn in my devotions on several mornings this year!

Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah! Christ is risen from the dead.
Gratefully our hearts adore Him as His light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before Him, Rising up from grief and tears.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah! Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ is risen! all the sadness of His earthly life is o’er;
Thro’ the open gates of gladness He returns to life once more;
Death and hell before Him bending, He doth rise, the Victor now;
Angels, on His steps attending, glory ’round His wounded brow.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah! Christ is risen from the dead.

Christ is risen! henceforth never death or hell shall us enthral;
We are Christ’s, in Him for ever we have triumphed over all;

All the doubting and dejection of our trembling hearts have ceased;
‘Tis His day of resurrection, let us rise and keep the feast.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah! Christ is risen from the dead.

Copyright © 2011-2024 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.