Just like the term ‘Music,’ Gospel music has been given diverse definitions based on differing individual parameters for deciding what it means or entails.
Music can be said to be a series of sounds organized in time, employing melody, harmony, tempo etc. usually to convey a mood (Wiktionary’s British English dictionary definition).
Both the skill of singing and that of playing instruments are therefore part and parcel of the art called MUSIC.
In the Bible, we see the first musician and the first mention of music in the book of Genesis (chapter 4, verse 21). His name was Jubal, the son of Lamech. The bible describes him to have been a player of stringed instruments and the father of all who do so (as the first to play them).
Reading the old testament scriptures, it isn’t uncommon to find one form of music or the other talked about. Music (songs or instruments or both) was used for ceremonial purposes, thanksgiving to God, lamentation, etc. In fact, music played spiritual roles also. Prophets often used it to flow in prophecy. We also see David in the old testament scriptures bringing relief to the demon-possessed Saul by playing a harp.
However, after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we see very little mention of music, especially in connection to the roles they played in the old testament. We also see no mention of the phrase ‘gospel music,’ although Paul in Ephesians 5:19 Instructs believers to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with their hearts to the Lord.
Although the new testament teaches singing spiritual songs and making melody to God from our hearts, it doesn’t place much emphasis on music and it doesn’t accrue to music most of the roles and significance placed on it in the old testament.
This is important to note because this post addresses ‘gospel music,’ and not just ‘music’ on a general note.
According to the Bible, the gospel is a single message; the message of salvation by faith in Jesus, the Messiah and son of God (John 3:16-18, 20:31). The gospel is the message of God’s plan for humanity to partake in immortality with him in paradise by believing in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of his son Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 1:16-17). A believer of this message then receives the Holy Spirit as a proof of his salvation/righteousness (Ephesians 1:13-14).
This is what the gospel is (the good news of how God saves through Jesus).
With all of these put into consideration, what then do you believe should be called GOSPEL MUSIC?
Also having in mind that sounds of instruments are also music and not just songs/singing, do you consider any particular instrument sound to be gospel?