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Does the Bible provide any rules or even any indication about what kind or style of music is appropriate, both for worship and in general?

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Yes, it says "do it and do it loud!" <smile> –  Lawrence Dol Aug 24 '11 at 1:52
    
As far as worship music is concerned much of this is covered by another question: What is the role of music in corporate worship? –  Waggers Aug 24 '11 at 7:13
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2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

Given the premise that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" ([2 Tim 3:16][1]), and recognizing that the scripture to which Paul refers is the Hebrew scripture (since the NT had not yet be formulated), it is be reasonable to examine what pleased God in worship in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament frequently mentions use of song, musical instruments and dancing in praise and worship. A great example is Psalm 150:

1 Praise the LORD.[a] Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.

2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.

3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

Sounds like a lot of instruments in there, including brass, woodwind, percussion and strings.

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I don't think the Bible makes any mention of musical style. What it does say is to "Make a joyful noise unto the lord" (KJV), Psalm 100.

Modern music of course is usually accompanied by words, and the Bible of course does have much to say about words. "Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth" Ephesians 4:29, which could apply any popular music.

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+1 for that last sentence. I'd give more than one for that alone if I could. –  Mason Wheeler Aug 24 '11 at 1:59
    
The Bible very clearly makes mention of musical style (Psalm 150). The notion that words would be by their nature is baffling. Scripture is nothing but words. The Psalms are full of word-based worship. Are you claiming that singing is inappropriate for worship? If not, could you clarify? –  Ray Aug 24 '11 at 2:07
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@Ray: Psalm 150 offers a list of musical instruments. I don't see any mention of musical style, in the sense of hymns vs contemporary worship, or country vs rap vs rock'n'roll. And I did not say anything against music with words. You need to read my answer again. I simply show that the Bible says that "no unwholesome talk" should come from our mouths. Many songs in popular culture are full of "unwholesome" lyrics, thus a Christian who takes this scripture to heart ought to avoid such music. –  Flimzy Aug 24 '11 at 2:10
    
So, if I understand correctly, you would allow that one could sing, say, a modern hymn in church? I wasn't sure if I understood correctly; hence the request for clarification. –  Ray Aug 24 '11 at 2:17
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@Ray: Absolutely. I enjoy singing in church. My second paragraph is more a commentary on popular music than on worship music--although clearly worship music shouldn't have "unwholesome" lyrics, either! –  Flimzy Aug 24 '11 at 2:21
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