The first pillar in the Biblical foundations of instrumental music in worship is the Psalms. When considering the Psalms and instrumental music, most instrumentalists think of Psalm 150, but there are actually a total of twenty-four psalms that mention the use of instruments in worship, either in the psalm heading or in the text itself. We won’t take the time to examine all those psalms, but let’s take a closer look at two of the more familiar psalms that mention musical instruments, Psalm 150 and Psalm 33.

Psalm 150 concludes the book of Psalms with a chorus of praise, including every family of instruments: woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings:

“Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre; Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pip. Praise Him with loud cymbals. Praise Him on the high-sounding cymbals.” Psalm 150:3-5

Pipe, trumpet, timbrel (or tambourine), cymbals, harp, lyre (similar to the harp), and stringed instruments, representing all four families of instruments and all used in praise of almighty God! Even though this psalm mentions instruments in each of the four families, note the conspicuous absence of singing. Commentators on this psalm have seen this as undeniable Biblical support for instrumental praise alone.
Psalm 33 is the first psalm to mention instruments, and connects the worship attitudes of joy, thanksgiving, and praise with the use of instruments:

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
(Psalm 33:1-3)


Take special note of the latter half of verse three in this particular psalm: “Play skillfully with a shout of joy.” We are to play skillfully as we worship the Lord.  The famous British preacher, Charles Spurgeon, comments on this verse, “It is wretched to hear God praised in a slovenly manner. He deserves the best that we have.” Let us remember this Biblical mandate to faithfully minister with excellence.

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