Is Dancing a Sin?

dancing a sin in view of Psalm 150:4 and Luke 15:25?”

is easily recognized—that which is questionable is a weight (or a
drag). Christians are told to “lay aside every weight, and the sin
(small faith) which so easily ensnares 
us, and let us run with indurance 
the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author
and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1, 2). “How can 
a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed 
according to Your  Word”
(Ps. 119:9). “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust
of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

be interested in the comments of the late Robert J. Little, (former
Radio Pastor of Moody Bible Institute) to the question.

first mention of combining music and song in the worship of God seems to
be Exodus 15:20, where Miriam and the women of Israel replied to the
song of Moses with a kind of chorus, using timbrels (or tambourines) to
accompany the music, while they also danced. This was not social
dancing, and there was no mingling of men and women.”

the time of David, music became part of worship (2 Sam. 6:15; 1 Chron.
23:5; 25:1 ‑6), and was adopted into the Temple service from its
first establishment (2 Chron. 5:12). The New Testament says nothing
about the use of music in the church unless 1 Corinthians 14:7 be
considered an obscure reference to it. But that passage seems to be
speaking more of music accompaniment in heaven. For most of the Church,
the use of music in worship has not been repugnant, although some groups
do not permit it.”

the contrary, Ellicott’s Commentary says:

though adopted into religious worship by many nations, sanctioned by the
present passage (Exod. 15:20), by the example of David (2 Sam. 6:16),
and by expressions in the Psalms (149:3; 150:4), has never found an
entrance into Christian ceremonial, unless among a few fanatic sects.
The reason of this is to be found in the abuses which, through human
infirmity, became by degrees connected with the practice, causing it to
become unfit for a religious purpose. In the primitive times, however,
solemn and stately dances were deemed appropriate to festival periods
and religious rejoicings, and among the more moral tribes and nations
had nothing unseemly about them.”

summary, we may note:

In the cases of the dancing led by Miriam (Exodus 15) and the dancing in
which David participated (2 Sam.l 6), mixed groups were not involved; men
and women were separated. The same was true of the kind of dancing
described in Judges 21:19‑21. Apparently men normally were not

The dancing was in many cases spontaneous, to express their unbounded joys
and only their purity of motive kept it from becoming indecent, as seems
clear from David’s answer to the criticism voiced by his wife. However,
this illustrates something of the danger of even such dancing, which was
intended to glorify God and not to gratify any fleshly desire.

Where purity of motive and devotion to God were not the chief
characteristics, the dancing soon degenerated into sin, as can be seen
from Exodus 32:6, 19, 25.

Dancing, though practiced to a degree, was not incorporated into any
divinely appointed ritual.

Apart from the direct references to dancing, the ethics of Christianity
teach separation from a social custom which, if not usually corrupt,
easily lands itself to moral collapse. Dancing can be dangerous, and even
disastrous, spiritually.

dancing often excites fleshly desires which can easily lead to taking
liberties which would not be taken at other times. Also one may submit to
minor indignities while dancing which can be followed later by more overt
acts. Since various forms of social dancing have been at times a prelude
to immorality, it would seem that a believer would want to seek more
spiritual ways of social pleasure. At the very least, it would seem to be
a weight or “drag”—see Hebrews 12:1 again.

from Here’s Your Answer by Robert J. Little, ©1967 Moody Press.
Used by permission