The Music of the Church

Adult Sunday School – Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church

April – May 2002


Class #1


I.  Introduction/Our Purpose and Goals – Pastor Meyers (Type "A" Levite [1 Chron. 23:2-6])


2 Chronicles 29:25-30

• To help you understand and appreciate the rich heritage of worship music which the Church has inherited over the centuries;

• To learn Biblical and aesthetic principles of good worship music;

• To understand the worship music philosophy of our church;

• To develop a framework for making judgments about worship music;

• To answer specific questions you may have about our worship and hymnody;

• To help you be a better participant in corporate worship.


II.  Introduction II – Mr. Bill Hoover (Type "B" Levite [1 Chron. 16:4-7])


III. Introducing Church Music – Levite Meyers (Teaser)


A. The Holy Spirit makes us speak and sing (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:17-19).


1.  The Spirit is not associated with silence in the Scripture; on the contrary, when the Spirit manifests his presence one hears noise, particularly words and music (Job 32:18; Matt. 3; Acts 2:4; John 3:8; 3:34; 6:63; Eph. 5:18-19; 6:17)


2.  The Son is the Word of the Father, and the Holy Spirit gives breath to the Word, making it audible and therefore musical.  The Father is the Author, the Son is the Word of Father, and the Holy Spirit is the Breath of God (Ps. 33:6; Job 33:4; 1 Cor. 2:6-14; and therefore the Music of God).


3.  The Spirit makes the Word musical—both when spoken (a “low” musical form) and when sung (a “higher” level of musical transformation). Whenever words are spoken, they have a musical quality.


a.  The Spirit glorifies the Word by causing it to be sounded through human “instruments."


b.  The Spirit also gives the gift of musical instruments to the community for assisting, accompanying, and glorifying the human voice (1 Chron. 15:16; 16:42; 2 Chron. 5:13; 7:6; 2 Chron. 29:26-27; Ps. 4:0; 6:0, etc.; and Rev. 5:8; 14:8; 5:2).


4.  “Spiritual worship” therefore is not inner or immaterial worship (as opposed to external and physical worship), but rather Spiritual worship (worship which the Holy Spirit inspires) is found where the believing community faithfully speaks/sings (and by implication hears) with accompanying musical instruments to glorify the environment (2 Chron. 7:1-6 [cf. Dan. 3:5, 7, 19, 15]).


5.  The Holy Spirit, therefore, works to bring together communities that are formed around the spoken/sung music of the Word.  Singing to and with others with accompanying musical instruments knits hearts together and creates faithful Spiritual communities (back to Col. 3:16 & Eph. 5:17-19). 


B.  Whenever the Spirit moves us to speak/sing the musical sound has (at least) seven dimensions or qualities:


1. Dynamics (Loud and soft)

2. Timbre (tone of voice)

3. Tempo (fast and slow)

4. Melody (pitch: high and low; frequency or vibrations per second of its sound waves)

5.  Harmony (choral structure: how two or more pitches sound at the same time)

6.  Rhythm (the duration of musical sounds and their relationship to each other in time)

7. Form (the complex structure, shape, or flow of a sentence or song or musical piece; or how the other six qualities are arranged)


C.  The Spirit raises up men and women to learn how to glorify the Word with the music of their voices and instruments.


1.  Every Christian must be schooled by the Spirit in the Church community to learn how to speak and sing gloriously.  This is necessary for the maturity of individual Christians and church communities.


2.  The history of Church music is the history of the Spirit’s musical work in the community of saints; but at times, of course, this history will also give evidence of man’s failure, even rebellion against the Spirit’s work of glorification and musical maturity.