Was David Authorized To Use Instrumental Music?

It is written:

“Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David…”. (Amos 6:5).

Many believe that the Prophet Amos shows God’s disapproval with David for introducing instrumental music in worship.

The respected Bible commentator Adam Clarke wrote:

“I believe that David was not authorized by the Lord to introduce that multitude of musical instruments into the Divine worship of which we read, and I am satisfied that his conduct in this respect is most solemnly reprehended by this prophet; and I farther believe that the use of such instruments of music, in the Christian Church, is without the sanction and against the will of God; that they are subversive of the spirit of true devotion, and that they are sinful. If there was a woe to them who invented instruments of music, as did David under the law, is there no woe, no curse to them who invent them, and introduce them into the worship of God in the Christian Church? I am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God; and have had reason to believe that they were productive of much evil. Music, as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity. The late venerable and most eminent divine, the Revelation John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists said, in his terse and powerful manner, “I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither Heard nor Seen.” I say the same, though I think the expense of purchase had better be spared.” (Adam Clarke, Commentary, E-Sword Edition)

Regardless of whether or not David had Divine authority to introduce instrumental music in worship in the Old Testament, God in the New Testament has only authorized a capella music (vocal-without instrumental accompaniment) in the New Testament Church (cf. Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 5:18-19). Indeed, Christians refused to use instruments of music in worship for over six hundred years!!

Are you part of a church that worships as God’s Word teaches?

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