About Singing

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

James 5:13
Christians are taught to sing praises to God and to sing songs that encourage and teach each other (Eph 5:19-21). To a complete newcomer, this might seem an odd thing to do. On the other hand, if you have ever attended any religious assembly it's likely that you have either observed or participated in this activity, so it may not seem so alien. Since the New Testament does give us this instruction, you will find us doing this if you visit one of our regular assemblies.

But if you do observe us, you will probably notice something that may surprise you: we sing without the assistance of a piano, organ, guitar, or other similar instruments. Again, this may strike one as odd without knowing the reason, and some might even presume it was due to budgetary constraints, though this is not the case.

The true reason is overtly simple, though perhaps not intuitive if you are not already familiar with our more general approach to understanding the Bible's teaching. That is, that we sing this way because that is the way we find that the disciples in the first century sang. In or out of the New Testament records, you won't find examples of Christians singing any other way for literally hundreds of years after Christ. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox Church still conducts their singing this way, and have since they broke from the Catholic Church a thousand years ago. So it is not quite as unusual as you might initially think.

So why are we even talking about it?

16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

I Corinthians 4:16-17
There are two primary reasons we're telling you about this. The first is simply because it's a question that often comes up when people see and hear us sing. But second, because it is so visible, it's an example of and an opportunity to explain our humble, simple approach to doing what God wants: when we find what the apostles and disciples of Jesus did in their time, that is what we do. We know that they pleased God, and we want to as well.

That's why, for the most part, this article talks about what we do, rather than what we don't. It's why the title of this page is "About Singing" and not "About Instruments." We search, find, and take hold of what the writers of the New Testament said and did, and don't worry about the rest.

So while it's not the first or most important thing we want you to know, and you may still not completely understand the reasoning, take from it that the way we sing is just one of many things we do to emulate those saints of long ago, and one of the many ways we try to follow in their footsteps.