Know What You Sing and Play, Sing and Play What You Know

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I’m a huge sports fan. I know Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball; I know the football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio; I can name the NY Mets starting lineup from the first game of the 1969 World Series; and I know Jim Thorpe actually never lived in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. But until recently I didn’t know that Jubal, the son of Lamech and Adah and a descendant of Cain, was known as the “the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe” (Genesis 4:21) and he may very well have been the inventor of music as we know it. I also didn’t know until recently that a lyre was a ten string instrument. I was also surprised to learn that the “organ” or “pipe” in Biblical times was the instrument we now call the “flute.”

So as a life-long musician and long time worship leader why didn’t I know these simple biblical truths about music and instruments in the Bible? The truth is I just never thought it was that important. But my opinion on that  changed about a year ago when I was singing “Days of Elijah” and realized I had no idea what “Out of Zion’s Hill salvation comes” meant. That small wake-up call made me realize that I was singing a song that I didn’t know the true meaning of, and I was singing about a time in history that I didn’t have a musical grasp of. And that’s just not acceptable for someone called to lead worship.

So now when I’m worshiping with music and singing you won’t catch me saying things like “God I give you all of my attention all the days of my life,” because I know I don’t. I won’t sing a song ever again that I don’t understand. And now I will be able to hold a conversation about Old Testament instruments because I now consider these things to be at least equally important to memorizing the 53-man roster of the 2007 New York Giants football team.


John Amodea has more than 35 years of experience in the music industry. His more recent music experience…

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