As a foundation, as Christians, I hope you will agree that we have nothing but God’s Word in the form of the Bible by which to rule our lives. If we cannot go somewhere for our absolute truths, morals and directions by which we are to live our lives, then we are left up to our own minds and imaginations to guide us. Clearly, as totally depraved and fallen man, we cannot rely on ourselves; and so clearly again, there must be something else, which, again as Christians, must be the Bible, our rule of what to do and what not to do.
So now, let’s examine the idea of choirs and music/worship as it has become today.
First, if you search your KJV, you’ll find no instance of the word “choir”. Now, you might say that is a translation issue, because there are verses that talk about “singers”. Looking at, what I believe is, the terrible NIV, there are five verses that have the word translated as “choir”: 1 Chronicles 15:27; Nehemiah 12:31; Nehemiah 12:38; Nehemiah 12:40; Nehemiah 12:42. Going back to the KJV, 1 Chronicles 15:27 and Nehemiah 12:42 use the word “singers”; the other 3 verses use the word “company”. Nowhere does it indicate, that what was there was what we today consider a choir, especially in the form of some “worship” service; and in fact the “company” words used are describing just a group of folks that gave thanks; so the idea of a group of singers, organized and practiced to perform a song at some given gathering is nowhere to be found in the Bible.
So let’s examine how the first century Church met together in fellowship as the Church:
Acts 2:41-47 – “41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Here we see biblical fellowship: doctrine and fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers. No choirs; no “worship” (organized/pre-prepared music) times. In fact, the earliest of Church gatherings were in people’s houses as shown in Acts 2:46 above, which even if singing was involved (which it might have been), would have not been like what music and the productions of it have become today in organized churches.
Here is a document of quotes from our Christian forefathers regarding instrumental music in worship. I know it’s a little long, but I hope you’ll take the time to read it and get some perspective as to what they thought about music and worship (we do not necessarily vouch for the rest of the site): What Early Christians Believed About Using Instrumental Music
Then please read the following document about what is worship (worship in spirit and in truth; we do not necessarily vouch for the rest of the site): Sermons From John – Worship In Spirit And Truth
“Worship” has become the musical part of a church service, which worship is not. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, worship in this case is defined as “Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; or the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving and the like.” Our lives if we are living in obedience to God are worship. So, today’s definition of worship has been twisted into something it’s not.
Now, let’s step back a moment and contemplate today’s music inside organized churches. Each Christ-mass and Easter, besides every other Sunday’s prepared songs, big productions are put together, with soloists, orchestras and perhaps plays. If you think about them, are they not big displays of pageantry? Do not the audience and even the people in the musicals or songs focus on how well a soloist does, or who gets the solo, or how well the orchestra sounded? Are not the soloists huge centers of attraction during there performances; and in reality, are their solos not much more than performances? Are not these “services” even called “performances”, or even “shows”? In reality, how are they different than any other secular show? What about all of the politics behind the scenes with who’s going to get a solo and who’s not? Where is a true gospel message, pointing out people’s sins, their depravity and them being hopelessly bound for hell save Christ, and calling them to repentance? Do you think one of these production would ever do such a thing? Who would come to something like that?
These questions must be considered; and if we are to have the Bible as our rule of life and Christian fellowship, the examples from the Bible of how the early Christians proceeded, the lack of direction from the Bible to have such things as choirs occurring, and that these choir times are mostly only performances, must also be considered.
I know this might strike to the heart of soloists or participants in the music of today’s “churches”, and at how those have spent a lot of their time. But I hope that unless it can be shown from the Bible where these things are justified that anyone reading this will pray about and consider their perspective on these things.
May the Lord guide all of our thoughts, words and actions for the glory of His name.