Is it all right to play guitars in church in worship services?

Creation Tips Teen Topics: Bible advice for Christian teens
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Is it OK to play guitars in church?

Girl playing guitar

Q. Is there anything wrong with playing guitars in church worship services?

A. Some pastors love guitars — others hate them. Yet guitars have a strong biblical history.

The first mention of musical instruments is early in the history of the world. Genesis 4:21 describes Jubal as “the father of all such as handle the harpe and organ” (King James Version, 1611, and The Geneva Bible, 1599.)

The harp mentioned in Genesis is not exactly the modern orchestral harp, which dates only from 1810, but it was a similar instrument on which the player plucked strings.

Music historians think the harp is the oldest musical instrument. Drawings of people with harp-like instruments appear in the cultures of ancient Sumeria and Egypt. The harp was the forerunner of the lyre and guitar, and the ancient lyre was a cross between a harp and guitar.

Here are two beautiful old hymns played on guitar by John C. on YouTube: My Jesus I l Love Thee, and What a Friend We Have in Jesus. This is superb God-honoring music by a guitarist using his talents to glorify Jesus.

Ancient Sumerians used the harp widely. Ancient guitars called nefers appear in drawings from the earliest days of Egypt, as do instruments called nangas — which were a cross between a guitar and harp.


The harp has a strong history in the Bible of use in praising God. For example, Psalm 33:2 says to “Praise the Lord with harp”, and David used the harp to make an evil spirit leave Saul (1 Samuel 16:23).

The word harp in the Bible is generally the Hebrew word kinnowr (kin-OR), which means “to twang”. In Daniel 3, the Aramaic word for the harp is qitros, which is the same root for the word guitar.

As the Book of Genesis tells us Jubal was “the father of all such as handle the harp,” this obviously extends to all plucked instruments — instruments that “twang”: harps, guitars, lutes, lyres, and anything like them. So playing guitars in church is following a long biblical tradition.

The type of music that churches play and sing in their worship services should concern pastors more than the instruments used.

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