What does the Bible say about singing?
Singing is part of our human experience. Songs have been used to express some of the deepest human joys and sorrows from the beginning of time. Of course, the Bible has a lot to say about music and singing. You may wonder what God thinks about that toe tapping song you sing every Sunday morning. What does the Bible actually say about singing? Hopefully, these thoughts will help answer your question.
Christian quotes about singing
“Every good gift that we have had from the cradle up has come from God. If a man just stops to think what he has to praise God for, he will find there is enough to keep him singing praises for a week.” Praise
“God loves to hear your singing – so sing.”
“We may sing beforehand, even in our winter storm, in the expectation of a summer sun at the turn of the year; no created powers can mar our Lord Jesus’ music, nor spill our song of joy. Let us then be glad and rejoice in the salvation of our Lord; for faith had never yet cause to have wet cheeks, and hanging-down brows, or to droop or die.” Samuel Rutherford
“The music of the gospel leads us home.”
“All of my life, in every season You are still God. I have the reason to sing. I have the reason to worship.”
Sing praises to God
There are many verses in Scripture that instruct us to sing to the Lord. But if you’re a follower of Jesus, you will want to sing to Him. It’s a natural overflow of your love and gratitude for God to sing to Him. Singing allows you the chance to express how you feel about God.
Come, let us praise the LORD! Let us sing for joy to God, who protects us! Let us come before him with thanksgiving and sing joyful songs of praise. (Psalm 95:1-2 ESV)
God is worthy of your praises. When you sing to Him, you’re declaring His greatness, His glory and that He has a first place in your life. Singing is an outpouring of your heart of thankfulness and love for God. Scripture tells us to sing to God. We can joyfully obey this command, all the while receiving benefits in our own heart when we do.
1. Psalm 13:6 (KJV) “I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.”
2. Psalm 96:1 (NIV) :Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.”
3. Psalm 33:3 “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.”
4. Psalm 105:2 (NASB) “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Tell of all His wonders.”
5. Psalm 98:5 “Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, in melodious song with the harp.”
6. 1 Chronicles 16:23 “Sing to the LORD, all the earth. Proclaim His salvation day after day.”
7. Psalm 40:3 “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.”
8. Isaiah 42:10 “Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them.”
9. Psalm 51:14 (NLT) “Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.” (What Jesus says about forgiveness)
10. Psalm 35:28 “Then my tongue will proclaim Your righteousness and Your praises all day long.”
11. Psalm 18:49 “Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.”
12. Psalm 108:1 “My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my being.”
13. Psalm 57:7 “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. I will sing and make music.”
14. Psalm 30:12 “To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”
15. Psalm 68:32 “Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord.”
16. Psalm 67:4 “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for You judge the peoples justly and lead the nations of the earth.”
17. Psalm 104:33 “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”
18. Psalm 101:1 “Of David. A psalm. I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise.”
19. Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of Your strength and proclaim Your loving devotion in the morning. For You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”
20. Psalm 89:1 “I will sing of the loving devotion of the LORD forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Your faithfulness to all generations.”
21. Psalm 69:30 “I will praise God’s name with song and exalt Him with thanksgiving.”
22. Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I give thanks to Him with my song.”
23. Psalm 61:8 “Then I will ever sing praise to Your name and fulfill my vows day by day.”
24. Judges 5:3 “Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I, even I, will sing to the LORD; I will praise the LORD, the God of Israel, in song.”
25. Psalm 27:6 “Then my head will be held high above my enemies around me. At His tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.”
26. Psalm 30:4 “Sing to the LORD, O you His saints, and praise His holy name.”
27. Psalm 144:9 “I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,”
28. Isaiah 44:23 “Sing for joy, you heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.”
29. 1 Corinthians 14:15 “So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.”
30. Psalm 137:3 “For our captors demanded a song from us. Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
God loves singing
Scripture doesn’t clearly say that God loves singing, but there are many commands for Christians to sing and worship God. So, this surely means that God loves singing. Someone once commented that Christianity is a singing religion because Christ’s followers are always singing about Him. It’s what made the early Christians unique. The Romans didn’t know what to do with these Christians who sang while being persecuted. In Acts, we read an account of how Christians sang while suffering in the early church.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here. (Acts.16:25-28 ESV)
Singing allows you to express not only your trust in God, but your need for God. Many early Christians who suffered sang songs of lament, praise, worship and love to God while undergoing hardships. Singing must be something God loves, because He gives those who are in the middle of trials a unique strength and courage to endure through singing.
31. Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”
32. Psalm 135:3 “Hallelujah, for the LORD is good; sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.”
33. Psalm 33:1 “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous; befitting is the praise of the upright.”
34. Psalm 100:5 “For the LORD is good, and His loving devotion endures forever; His faithfulness continues to all generations.”
35. Revelation 5:13 “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
36. Psalm 66:4 “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing the praises of your name.”
37. John 4:23 “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.”
38. Romans 12:1 “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
39. Leviticus 3:5 “Aaron’s sons will burn it on the altar along with the burnt offering that is on the burning wood, a fire offering of a pleasing aroma to the Lord.”
40. Acts 16:25-28 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
41. Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Why do we sing in worship?
Do you worry you don’t sound good when you sing? God made your voice, so good chance He wants to hear you sing even if you don’t think you sing well. It’s tempting to worry about how you sound, but that’s probably not that important to God.
Singing worship songs with other believers is one of the sweet privileges we have as followers of Christ. Corporate worship unites believers together to sing to God. It builds up the church and reminds us of the gospel that’s brought us together as one community. When you worship with other believers, you’re saying we’re in this together.
Another reason we sing in worship is to declare who God is. Psalm 59:16 says, But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. This psalm tells us we sing in worship because
- God is our strength
- He’s our fortress that guards us
- He’s our refuge when we’re having trouble
God not only wants us to sing, but He explains how we can worship together. Ephesians 5:20 says….addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (see Col. 3:16 for a similar command). This verse tells us that when we worship, we can worship with
- Spiritual songs
- Make melodies (probably new ones)
- Giving thanks(theme of our songs)
Benefits of singing
According to scientific studies, singing has emotional, physical and mental health benefits. Of course, the Bible would also say there are many spiritual blessings of singing. Why is singing so good for you? Here are just a few health benefits researchers say you gain when you sing.
- Stress release-Singing relieves your stress. Cortisol is like an alarm system in your body. It controls certain parts of your brain to react to fear, stress and mood changes. It’s produced by your adrenal glands. Researchers wanted to see if a person’s cortisol levels went down when they sang. They measured the cortisol levels in the singer’s mouth before and after they sang. Sure enough, the amount of cortisol dropped after the person sang.
- Helps fight pain-Researchers found that singing triggers the release of a hormone that increases your pain tolerance.
- Your lungs function better-When you sing you’re breathing deeply using the muscles of your respiratory system. It helps your lungs get stronger. People with chronic respiratory conditions get benefits from singing. It gives them more strength in their lungs and respiratory system so they could better deal with their condition.
- Sense of being connected-Singing with others has been found to reinforce a sense of bonding and community. People who sing together have a higher sense of well-being and meaningfulness.
- Helps you grieve-When you’re grieving a loss of a loved one, being able to sing about your grief helps you express your grief in a meaningful way.
42. Colossians 3:16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”
43. Ephesians 5:19-20 “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
44. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV) “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
45. Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”
46. Ephesians 5:16 “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
47. Psalm 59:16 “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.”
48. Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
49. Revelation 4:11 (KJV) “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
50. Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Spiritual benefits of singing
As you read the benefits of singing, you realize God, in His wisdom, knew humans needed singing for their health and wellbeing. Of course, as Christians, we know we sing to worship and honor God. Here are some spiritual benefits of singing.
- Singing helps us learn theology-As you sing old hymns that are rich in biblical truth, it helps you learn about your faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Theologically sound songs teach even little children deep truths from Scripture.
- Emotion connections to God-When you sing, you draw near to God and pour out your love to Him in song. You may sing a song of joy or lament. You may be convicted of your sins and sing a song of thanksgiving for Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for those sins.
- You memorize scripture-Many songs Christians sing are straight from the Bible. As you sing, you are learning Scripture.
- You join with other believers-Singing together with other believers unites your hearts together. As you sing together, it’s a little glimpse of heaven on earth.
- Singing helps you remember-When you sing a song, it brings to memory truths about God. We remember who he is and what he’s done for us.
- Singing gives you hope for the future-Songs about our heavenly home gives us hope for the future in a world where there are no more tears or pain.
51. Colossians 3:16-17 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
52. Psalm 16:11 (ESV) “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
53. 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 “The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. 12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.”
54. Hebrews 13:15 “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”
55. James 4:8 “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
God sings over us
There are several verses in the Bible that tell us that God sings. It’s no surprise since he created man(and women) in his image(Genesis 1:27) and humans like to sing. Who hasn’t belted out a tune in the shower or while driving your car? Here are several verses that show God sings over us.
56. 3:17 (NLT) “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
57. Job 35:10 “But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, who gives songs in the night.”
58. Psalm 42:8 “The LORD decrees His loving devotion by day, and at night His song is with me as a prayer to the God of my life.”
59. Psalm 32:7 “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”
Singers in the Bible
There’s a long list of singers in the Bible. Here are just a few.
● The first musician in the Bible was Jubal, the son of Lamech. Now these are the singers, heads of fathers’ households of the Levites, who lived in the chambers of the temple free from other service; for they were engaged in their work day and night. (1 Chronicles 9:33 ESV)
● When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. (2 Chronicles 20:21 ESV)
● Jesus and His disciples were eating the Passover meal. After eating the bread and wine, we read. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26 ESV)
60. 1 Chronicles 9:33 (NKJV) “These are the singers, heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites, who lodged in the chambers, and were free from other duties; for they were employed in that work day and night.”
61. 1 Kings 10:12 “And the king made of the almug wood supports for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also lyres and harps for the singers. No such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.”
62. 2 Chronicles 9:11 “The king made the algum wood into steps for the house of the LORD and for the king’s palace, and into lyres and harps for the singers. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah.)”
63. 1 Chronicles 9:33 “And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.”
64. Psalm 68:25 “In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the young women playing the timbrels.”
65. 2 Chronicles 20:21 “After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
66. 1 Chronicles 15:16 (NASB) “Then David spoke to the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their relatives as the singers, with musical instruments, harps, lyres, and cymbals, playing to raise sounds of joy.”
Examples of singing in the Bible
One of the first songs recorded in the Bible is found in Exodus 15. The Israelites escaped Egypt by crossing on the dry ground of the Red Sea as God pushed back the water on either side. As the Egyptian army pursues the Israelites, they get stranded in the middle of the walled up Red Sea and are completely destroyed. When Moses and the people realize they’ve been delivered, they burst into song.
Exodus 15:1-21 shares the complete song they sang to celebrate God’s deliverance. The first verse of Exodus 15: 1 says, Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. (Exodus 15:1 ESV)
67. Revelation 14:3 “And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”
68. Revelation 5:9 “And they sang a new song: “Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
69. Numbers 21:17 “Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well, all of you sing to it!”
70. Exodus 15:1-4 “Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. 2 “The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3 The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. 4 Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.”
What about that toe tapping song?
Scripture instructs us to sing. It also tells us what to sing and to whom we should sing.
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.(Col. 3:16 ESV)
It’s important to discern whether the songs we sing fit these criteria. We sometimes sing songs with a catchy tune that lacks true biblical depth. Everyone has experienced this, and knows that even if the song isn’t bad, it just doesn’t allow us to have a spiritually significant time of worshiping God.
There’s nothing wrong with a toe-tapping song if it’s a Biblically based worship song that’s written in a way that allows for corporate worship. God isn’t as concerned about the tempo as He is about our hearts. Some of the best corporate worship songs are those we sing with other believers to honor and thank God.
Great worship songs to sing
If you’re looking for some Biblically based worship songs, look no farther than these classic songs.
- How Great Is Our God-Chris Tomlin
- This Is Amazing Grace-Phil Wickham
- 10,000 Reasons-Matt Redman
- Come Thou Fount-Robert Robinson
- And Can It Be-Charles Wesley
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)-Chris Tomlin
- Behold the Throne of God Above-Bob Kauflin
- Behold Our God-Sovereign Grace Music
- Christ Our Hope In Life and Death-Keith & Kristyn Getty
- All I Have Is Christ-Keith & Kristyn Getty
Over at least a dozen times, Scripture tells us to sing to the Lord, to worship Him with a new song, to enter His presence with singing. These commands are repeated over and over. Interesting enough, Scripture instructs us to sing more than it tells us to baptize, or share the gospel. The act of singing gives us the chance to remember the gospel, show honor to God, express thankfulness, to memorize scripture and to unite with other believers in worship. Singing connects us emotionally with God and allows us to express our love for Him.