By Guy N. Woods
It is not scriptural for a congregation to engage in humming during
the Lord’s supper, nor at any other time during public services. Humming
is not an acceptable substitute for singing, and is wholly unauthorized
in New Testament worship.
(1) It springs from improper motives. People who engage therein do
so for the express purpose of producing an emotional situation which
they prefer to the Lord’s own arrangement. Those who thus do are more
interested in aesthetics (which pleases them), than in following the New
Testament (which pleases God). The desire for such innovations
evidences an abandonment of any real desire to do exactly what God says,
for the reason that he says it. In so doing, they follow their own
wills, and not the will of God.
(2) It is utterly without divine sanction. There is no hint of such
practice in the records of the worship of the New Testament church, and
it is a human devise intruded into divine service, the design of which
is to please man, and what ground may any such devises be excluded?
(3) The divine will is clearly and unequivocally expressed in these
areas. Paul wrote, “Speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord”
(Ephesians 5: 19); “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all
wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and spiritual
songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. And whatsoever ye do,
in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
to the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16, 17) “I will pray with
the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (I Corinthians
14: 15). Singing is thus specifically enjoined; to sing in the
meaning of the word here used (adoo) involves lyrical participation (cf.
Thayer), whereas, humming is “to sing with closed lips and without
articulating,” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary); the obligation which
these passages set out requires words; therefore, it is not possible to
discharge the duty they enjoin by humming.
(4) In our singing, we are commanded to participate in praise which
enables us to speak, to teach, and to admonish; none of these duties is
possible in the exercise of humming; therefore, humming, in our worship,
is wrong. To add humming to the observance of the Lord’s supper is to
compound the error, such being wholly unauthorized. There is as much
justification for the addition of instrumental music to the observance
of the Supper as there is for humming. Neither has New Testament
sanction, and both ought and must be vigorously opposed if we are to
maintain a pure faith and a faultless practice.
- Guy N. Woods; - via the
Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the
Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. Ken Chumbley preaches for
this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: