In the Old Testament, the primary use of music in Biblical times centered in the worship of God. The Hebrews would often worship the Lord with song tied to special events, like after God parted the Red Sea leading the Hebrews out of captivity from Egypt or when the Ark was returned to Jerusalem. King David organized temple worship designating qualified Levite men to present songs of praise to the Lord using instruments. In the Temple, music was presented by choirs, complemented by lyres and cymbals. Lyres are stringed instruments, similar to harps, with a U-shape frame. The soft nature of these instruments would indicate that worship was simple and moderate in expression, opposite of the common practices of other civilizations in the worship of their gods.
The New Testament gives us several examples of the practice of music and song as an expression of worship while not providing us with much specific instruction about the role of music in the church or as part of Christian life. Most likely, the early Christians, many who were recent converts of Judaism, sang and played songs that were familiar to them, just as is often the case with us today.
We find what appear to be early forms of Christian hymns in several of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament epistles. In the Book of Acts, we find a description of early Christian singing.
Because of these examples found in both the Old and New Testament, we can correctly surmise that music has always played a role in the worship of God. The letters of Ephesians, Colossians and James each contain verses commanding that singing be part of the church gathering and teach us that songs of praise are an appropriate part of our worship of God.
It is quite natural for us to express our worship of God through song. When we focus our attention on God through music and lift our voices in song to the Lord, we are using music for the good purpose which God intended it—to glorify Him who is worthy of all our praise.