Bible Question:

I listen to a lot of secular music and do not necessarily think its wrong or right to do so as long as there are no explicit, evil or corrupt lyrics contained in the particular song. However, my friend has just attended a seminar that said secular music is from the devil and the artists who sing the songs sign pacts with his agents etc. I haven't found the evidence of this anywhere in the Bible. How does listening to secular music affect our Christian walk and what does the Bible have to say about this?

Bible Answer:

Have you wondered if listening to secular music is wrong? The answer is that it is not necessarily wrong. It depends on two principles. Much has been said and written about the type of music to which Christians should listen. Objections exist about the volume of secular music, the lyrics, the  types of instruments played, and the style of music. But the discussion about secular music can be summarized by two principles.

Listening to Secular Music — What does the Bible Teach?

Listening to Secular Music — What does the Bible Teach?


The Biblical Principle

First, Philippians 4:8 gives us the most important biblical principle.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (NASB)

Philippians 4:8 tells us that God wants us to listen to things that are honorable, right, and pure. He wants us to listen and think about that which is praiseworthy or spiritually honorable. God is very specific, and His standard eliminates many things that are heard on radio, television, the internet, CDs, videos, and other media.  That is, Philippians 4:8 says we should dwell on what is honorable.

Ephesians 5:3-4 helps us identify some things that are not honorable, right, and pure. That is, things our ears should not hear and we should not think about.

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4 (NASB)

The Greek word for “immorality” is porneia. This Greek  word includes a wide variety of sexual sins. This means that not only should we not watch pornography, we should not be thinking about or hearing music that suggests or describes these sexual activities. We should not buy CDs and videos that will cause us to see nudity and sexual activity.

Then we are told to flee things that are impure or greedy. These two words mean we should not dwell on music and shows that discuss and expose us to nudity (Genesis 9:20-24), half-naked people, sexual acts, rape, and a desire for material wealth and material things. We are to avoid all forms of filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting. This would include humor and jokes that contain sexual content, male and female body parts, and sexual behavior.

God has asked us to listen to holy things. Christians are also warned to not intentionally watch or view the nudity of others (Genesis 9:20-24). Those who display their naked bodies are committing shame acts according to Isaiah 20:4 and Revelation 16:15.

Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame. Revelation 16:15 (NASB)

We should not be listening or reading about sexual content, gore, hate, anti-God content, gossip, sexual humor, and other evil content.

Therefore, it is not difficult to answer the question “Is it wrong to listen to secular music?” When the lyrics of secular music are in violation of the biblical principles above, then we are to flee or have nothing to do with the music. Here are a few examples. The lyrics of country songs may describe pre-marital sex, the wife leaving her husband, or one spouse cheating on the other. Much of rock music and music videos suggest sexual activity, partial or complete nudity, and filthy language. Such lyrics and sexual preoccupation are supposedly “loving” behavior. That was once the excuse to justify the behavior but now these is no excuse. It is called free speech. They want to openly, publicly promote such lyrics. These are acts of a wicked and godliness society. 2 Timothy 2:22 makes it clear that believers are to flee youthful lusts. So is it okay to listen to secular music? The answer is that it depends upon the lyrics and what is shown in the videos.

Songs and Lyrics Approved By God

In sharp contrast 1 Chronicles 15:19-22 reveals that the music once experienced in God’s temple included singers and various instruments such as cymbals, harps, and lyres. Verse 22 indicates there was a music director who trained the singers. 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 reveals the singers of the temple wore special clothes. It adds trumpets to the list of musical instruments that were played. Then verses 13-14 reveal that the glory of God appeared while the music was sung.  That indicated that God approved of the music. Psalm 150 provides a more extensive list of musical instruments.

But what type of lyrics were sung? Many of the psalms were sung by David, the people, and the temple singers. Psalms 120-134 were songs of ascent. In addition, the message is that God did not object to the musical instruments listed in Scripture when used in services that praised Him.

So, the second principle is that the lyrics God approved can be found in the Psalms. We can be confident that God did not approve of the lyrics of much of today’s secular music since it is laced with sex, lust, and so much self-centeredness. Yet, the words and the visual is how we should determine what would violate the first principle. For example, classical music without words would be acceptable. Musical scores to movies often are acceptable. Handel’s Messiah would be acceptable. These are just a few examples.


God wants us to see and hear things that do not include sinful behaviors. We are not to listen and enjoy anything that will corrupt our morals. Listening to such music or watching such material day after day will desensitize you to sin and you will find it easier to sin.

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33  (NASB)

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. Galatians 6:7 (NASB)

The last passage is simply a warning. God’s principles are true, and if we ignore them we are deceived. Therefore, listen to music that complies with the Biblical principles mentioned above.

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