Should believers listen to worldly music?

To begin with, there is nothing like “Christian music.” The word “music” simply refers to pleasant sounds or tunes. There is no Christian sound or tune. Music (sounds & tunes) is formed by man, in his interaction with his environment, not God.


In the same way, there is no worldly MUSIC. Music is neutral, neither good nor bad. Music is simply melody, harmony and pleasant sounds. While there is nothing like Christian music or worldly music, there are Christian and worldly SONGS. This is because songs have to do with lyrics set to a tune. Words are involved. What determines what is Christian and what is worldly is WORDS. Christian songs will therefore contain words which speak of Christ’s work in Redemption, while worldly songs will contain the thinking of the world in form of lewd, unchaste lyrics.


There is a spirit (mode of thinking) of this world and it works in unbelievers:


Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)

1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.


1 John 2:15-1-6 (NKJV)

15 do not love the world (the Greek actually says “do not love worldliness”) or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world (worldliness), the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world (worldliness) —the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is NOT OF THE FATHER but is OF THE WORLD.


Because there is a way the world thinks, it will reflect in their songs, using swearwords etc. The believer is to avoid such songs. Those ones that inspire sin, hatred, promiscuity, lukewarmness in the things of God etc. But rather, the believer is to seek songs that edify. Christian/Gospel songs which teach the Gospel, what Christ has done, and inspire faith, hope, fervency etc.


Ephesians 5:17-20 (NKJV)

17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,


So we have Christian/spiritual songs which edify the believer and worldly songs which do not. But we also have a third type of songs – neutral songs. These songs are neither good nor bad, neither Christian nor worldly, neither spiritual nor carnal. They are neutral because they neither edify nor are unedifying. Examples are the national anthem, school anthem, songs about nature, struggles of life and overcoming them, even love songs from spouses to their partners. These are platonic, and cause no harm. The believer is not instructed to avoid these type of songs. They don’t contain lewd nor worldly lyrics, neither do they teach the Gospel. But when it comes to songs which are CLEARLY inspiring worldly thinking, the believer should stay clear from them, not for the sake of his salvation, but for his mind’s sake. We are instructed to guard/protect our hearts from all that seeks to corrupt it.


Proverbs 4:23 (NKJV)

23 Keep your heart with all diligence,

For out of it spring the issues of life.


What is in your heart will consequently affect your life. So we must be cautious of the kinds of songs we feed our minds with.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2021.


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