Purpose Statement for Music

I am giving the sermon in our church this weekend and I am going to be speaking on the Biblical perspective of music.  I want to give the definitive statement of the purpose of music.  In preparation I came up with the following purpose statement for music that I want to post out here to get feedback on.  Here you go!

“Music is a creation of God and has existed in the heavenly realm even before the creation of the world; it currently is, and will be used in the heavenly realm for eternity to bring praise, worship and glory to God. God sowed music into the fabric of the world for His purposes, to be used by mankind for the purpose of God’s glorification.”

4 Responses to “Purpose Statement for Music”

  1. June 30, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    “Music is a creation of God…” – Agreed. And…He doesn’t just randomly create things so, I also agree that He created music for His purpose (whatever that may be – see below). Where I get a little mixed up is with what is implied behind the purpose statement, especially seeing something you wrote in a previous post, “Therefore anything, any music, that deviates from the purpose to glorify God is an aberration of its original intent. That thinking excludes a lot of music in the world, but I believe it to be true.” I looked up aberration in the dictionary: departing from the right or usual course. So, anything that “deviates from the purpose to glorify God…” is not right. Now, I may be reading a little too much into this, but that sounds to me like there is “right” music and “wrong” music or good and evil music.

    I think music itself is neutral. Notes, timing, beat, etc. cannot be either right or wrong, good or evil. Same with music style; jazz, rap, rock, classical and yes, even country cannot either be good or evil.

    For instance the song “Glorify Your Name” sounds exactly like “Sweet Home Alabama” musically (at least, to me). We can find an entire line of a ‘Christian’ song or musical piece repeated exactly in a secular one, and yet both were composed independently. So, the note structure does not define whether the music is inherently one thing or the other.

    I may be getting in too deep here – I’m just not sure I can agree that the only purpose for music is to glorify God. There are even many references in the Bible of music being used for other purposes: funerals, weddings, to send men out, to welcome them home; things which the Jewish culture still practices.

    I certainly can consent that lyrical content can make music evil or holy, but then that means I have to judge every song I listen to Christian or secular.

    I read something recently that I think is well put and I think the real point is this…
    “Like all things that were formed as part of God’s original Creation, music makes a great servant but a lousy master. In fact, it can become just another god in the life of any human being that pulls us away from a pure devotion to and service of God Himself. Listening to Christian music can become just as much a god as secular music can become. Indeed, it’s probably easier for it to become so because we can explain away an excessive preoccupation with it as being ministry, service, ‘listening to God speaking’ or ‘allowing the music to transform me’.
    Music that demands more time to be played and heard is an overcomer not the overcome, the god that we worship rather than the toy that we play with.”

    So, I guess what I’m saying is if the mission statement posted didn’t have the last 11 words I’d say “Agreed”.

    From Ruffled Feathers 🙂

  2. June 30, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    I wrote a paper on music in grad school ( http://ijot.com/papers/slater_music_ethics.pdf ), looking at what a lot of folks have said about it. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Music, because it is composed of tone and rhythm, functions only in time. In heaven, where time is likely not as it is here, the music with which we are familiar probably can’t take place. Just as many things on earth are mere shadows of heavenly things, so music is likely a shadow of some magnificent form of communication (or communion) utilized in heaven.”

    I don’t agree with everything I wrote in that paper any more, but there is a lot there to wrestle with. 🙂

    I do find it interesting how little music there is in heaven, according to Revelation. The creatures “say” rather than “sing,” for example. There are instruments, but they are rare. Our communication in heaven, I think, will be so much more robust and beautiful and eloquent than the most awesome earthly music.

    Music, in my opinion, is verbal communication on steroids. Luther said that those who sing pray twice.

    Colossians 3:16 (my current favorite verse on music) says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” That shows that music is a very good medium with which to teach and encourage ourselves and our brothers and sisters in the Lord. I think music is primarily a gift from God to us, to help us encourage our hearts to worship the Lord and to encourage those around us by beautifully speaking truth to our hearts and to those around us.

    I elaborated on this verse in a blog post I wrote: http://www.boundlessline.org/2007/08/worship-whats-t.html

    There is so much I don’t know about music, but these are some of my thoughts. It’s a mysterious gift, isn’t it? 🙂

  3. July 1, 2008 at 8:05 am


    Your observation about music being used for many different purposes in the Bible is an excellent one. In fact, God instructs us on what kinds of songs to sing in situations such as those where we mourn:

    Proverbs 25:20
    “He who sings songs to a heavy heart is like him who lays off a garment in cold weather and like vinegar upon soda”

    Wow. So singing the wrong song at the wrong time is sin. (This is a great passage to provide instruction to those in a position to lead others in song.) As you can see, God acknowledges that music can be soothing to a hurting soul.

    I think your feathers are ruffled from your perspective of what “worship” is or isn’t. I gather that when I say that music must be done to glorify God that you must think that I am saying music has to be directional toward God to be God-honoring. I am not saying that. I think that a hike in the mountains, appreciating creation can be glorifying to God. We are enjoying His creation in that circumstance. I think the birth of a child is glorifying to God. I think laughing with friends can be glorifying to God. I think enjoying music can be glorifying to God. He created it and we should enjoy creation.

    Genesis 3:8
    “And they heard the sound of the Lord GOD walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”

    It seems God was enjoying His creation. I think that’s what God wants us to do.

    The heart of the matter is the intent behind it. It’s like a gun. The gun is not inherently evil or good. But the intent of use can make it so. That said the analogy falls apart because God didn’t create guns. He did create music.

  4. July 1, 2008 at 8:11 am


    Wonderful obeservations. Music is a gift from God! It is not neutral!


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