|Volume 24 Number 7 July 2022
“Is it scripturally permissible to use a pitch pipe in Christian worship?” Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are the primary New Testament passages to which the student of the Bible turns to validate the type of music that God authorized for Christian worship. Respectively, they read, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (NKJV) and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” These two verses authorize singing wherever and whenever Christian worship transpires. Consequently, God did not authorize instrumental music for use in Christian worship. Incidentally, “singing” is so specific that other forms of vocal expression are not authorized either, such as humming, whistling or imitating musical instruments.
Unlike musical instruments that accompany singing in many religious services today – though not authorized by God – the pitch pipe is silent during singing. If the pitch pipe were used – for instance, in an attempt to play it – during singing, it would be equally unauthorized and as sinful as using instruments of music along with singing Christian hymns.
The pitch pipe – as long as it isn’t used as though it were a musical instrument, such as a harmonica – is merely one of many expedients to worship and not itself a part of worship. Other expedients to Christian worship may include sound systems, songbooks, artificial lighting, pews, projectors, meetinghouses, blackboards, whiteboards, bedsheet sermons, air conditioning/heating, etc. Instrumental music, tamping, clapping and vocal sound effects are not expedients to worship because they are forms of music excluded by God because He specifically authorized a particular kind of music – singing.
Who Were the Women at the
Foot of the Cross of Jesus?
“Who were the women at the foot of the cross of Jesus?” The pertinent New Testament verses are as follows. “And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (Matthew 27:55-56 NKJV). “There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem” (Mark 15:40-41). “But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things” (Luke 23:49). “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His  mother, and  His mother’s sister,  Mary the wife of Clopas, and  Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).
Matthew, Mark and Luke note that several women and other acquaintances viewed the cross from afar. The Gospel according to John, then, notes four women who made their way to the foot of our Lord’s cross: Jesus’ mother, Mary; Mary’s – here –unnamed sister; Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. We acknowledge that some students of the Bible question from the ambiguous wording whether three or four persons stood at the foot of the cross. Note below brother Guy N. Woods’ summation and explanation of the query.
The text, either in Greek or English, leaves in doubt whether there were three women here or four; whether “his mother’s sister,” is to be distinguished from “Mary the wife of Clopas,” or, whether “his mother’s sister” is in apposition to “Mary the wife of Clopas,” and thus but one person. The former is the much more likely supposition. To identify “his mother’s sister,” as “Mary the wife of Clopas” would be to say that there were two sisters in the same family named Mary – a most improbable likelihood; it would mean that John failed to mention his own mother who was one of the godly sisters serving Jesus and so the preponderance of evidence supports the view that there were four women in this group, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary’s sister (not named here, but believed to have been Salome, the mother of John), Mary the wife of Clopas (not to be confused with Cleopas, Luke 24:18), and Mary Magdalene. This latter woman was so named from the fact that she was from Magdala in Galilee. She has been often confused with the sinful woman of Luke 7:39. She was not that person; she had been delivered from demoniacal possession by the Saviour and thenceforth she served the cause of the Lord effectively. (Luke 8:2, 3.)
Women and men watched the crucifixion from a distance. Four women, though, approached the foot of the cross of our Lord on Calvary’s hill. The apostle John named three of them and identified the unnamed woman as the sister of Jesus’ mother – His aunt.
Woods, Guy N. A Commentary on the Gospel according to John. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1989.