Question #121

Where does the Bible say that you are not to play instruments in worship?

I have a friend in which we get together and play musical instruments and I truly wanted for us to go around to different churches and play and sing. He attends a Church of Christ church and I am a Baptist, formerly Assembly of God. Although we do get together and play religious based songs he says he cannot play and sing in a church due to his beliefs that instruments do not belong in worship in church. I am trying to understand why he believes this way, but I am afraid to ask him because I don't want to create any animosity between us as we do have a good time when we get together and play and sing. My question is, can you show me where it is in the Bible that you are not to play instruments in worship?

The Answer:

Thanks for your inquiry and your willingness to seek the teaching of scripture concerning the use of mechanical instruments in the worship of God. Before proceeding to outline for you where you can find the answer, let me assure you that your friend would not create animosity. As you seek the truth in a good spirit I am certain that he will respond in the same manner. Additionally, I would like to address your attention on the website to the home page on, specifically the section titled “Plan of Salvation.” I am certain your friend would be honored to discuss that with you as well.

Here are the sections of the website that deal with what the scripture teaches concerning the use of mechanical instruments in worship. There is no passage that specifically forbids their use; their non-use is established by a “specific” command that negates all else. This is discussed in the material listed.

  1. Class: Questions, Lesson 8, Instrumental Music in Worship
  2. Questions and Answers, Numbers 7, 35, 55, 98, 140, 177, and 178.

Thank you again for you interest and your good spirit.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)