10th April 2021

Let joyful music help your Bible study

David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.
1 Chronicles 15:16 (NIV)

Here we are in lockdown again, and some of us are left completely alone and we cannot meet every week as we used to. So how do we keep in touch and remain cheerful? Thanks to the Internet we have several different ways we can still encourage each other, and there is more – we have God’s gift of wonderful uplifting music.

Consider, for example, the Psalms. Although none of the ancient music notations are with us, the inspiring texts do have modern settings. Modern technology and the Internet make it possible to listen to music from the ages, at any time. 

I was able to find choirs singing in four part harmony, following the Psalms from the Great Bible of 1539, the very first authorised edition of the Bible in English, authorised by King Henry VIII. You can also follow along with the words: I found Psalms 1-25, with modern English spelling, on a Bible research site. On another site I discovered Psalms 26-150 in the original 16th century spelling, directly from the Great Bible. Good luck reading that one!

I found other Bible passages, set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, known collectively as Bach’s sacred cantatas and Bach’s church cantatas. All I had to do was click on ‘readings from the bible’ and I found references to all of Bach’s cantatas and their Bible passages set to music. 

Look up and listen to these many lovely cantatas on the Internet, and as the choirs sing from the Lutheran Bible of 1534 you can follow the words translated into English and see where New Testament passages fit in with the Lutheran liturgical calendar. 

Bach based more than three quarters of his huge number of compositions (more than 1,000) on texts from  the Bible. Before beginning a composition Bach prayed: ‘Jesus, help me show your glory through the

music I write.’ – No wonder he is called the Fifth Evangelist!

Lord, thank you for the gift of wonderful, uplifting music. Help us to show your glory in our lives and through the gifts you give to each one of us, in Jesus’ name,

Study by Michael Dandridge



About the writer:
Michael Dandridge attends the Southampton congregation of Grace Communion International.

Local congregation:
Hythe & Dibden Parish Hall
West St
SO45 6AA

Meeting time:
Saturday 11:00am

Local congregational contact:
Peter Noon
Email: southampton@gracecom.church

Word of Life contact: