Bible Verses about dancing will give us insight into when and whether it is appropriate for a Christian to dance or not.
We often wonder what can be wrong with it. Dancing can be so enjoyable. You put the music on, and you just want to dance around the room.
It feels good to get up and move. To get your wiggles out. But there are times when it isn’t appropriate, and we need to be mindful of those times.
So let’s see what we can learn from God’s Word about Bible Verses about dancing, and what dancing does for the body of Christ. The answers may surprise you!
Bible Verses about Dancing for the Lord
There is some good news about dancing. When we worship the Lord, we are to make music and dance to the Lord!
“Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!” Psalm 149:4 ESV
And we are to bring out the instruments of music too! Bring your tambourine, stringed instruments, and your flute. This one makes me smile since I played the flute.
I haven’t played it recently, but it has been during worship at church when I have. It has been such a joy to play my flute for the Lord.
“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with stringed instruments and flute!” Psalm 150:4 NIV
In 10 Effective Prayer Strategies as a Busy Mum, Hannah talked about doing a prayer walk in which she almost danced. So I say: pray, sing to the Lord, and dance with joy!
Bible Verses about Dancing: Good Celebrations
Whenever the Israelites experienced victory in battle or significant events in history, they had a celebration that included dancing. They had joy in their hearts and were thankful that God had provided safety or provision.
When David returned from a victorious battle, “the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing, and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.” 1 Samuel 18:6 ESV
God had given David the ability to lead an army well and fight battles. He did this so well that his name was well known, and the people would sing and dance in celebration.
And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is not this David the king of the land? Did they not sing to one another of him in dances, ‘Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands?” 1 Samuel 21:11 ESV
“And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.” 2 Samuel 6:16
After the Israelites experienced the miracle of crossing the Red Sea on dry land, they danced to the Lord and praised Him in song for delivering them from the Egyptians.
Aaron’s sister led the dancing with her tambourine in hand.
“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” Exodus 15:20 ESV
“And then there is the salvation of the prodigal son who had come home to his father’s house. The father was waiting for the son to return to him, and when he did, he had a party with ‘music and dancing.'” Luke 15:25 ESV
A celebration for those who were lost to God and now are found in salvation is a great reason to dance!
Bible verses about dancing FAQ’s
What does the Bible say about dancing to God?
Dancing to God is great, and encouraged in multiple verses in the Bible. David often praised the Lord by dancing. However, it needs to be dancing in response to rejoicing in God. If you put anyone else before God, dancing is seen as not good (Example: Exodus 32:19 where people are worshipping Baal by dancing.)
What did Jesus say about dancing?
The Greek word for dance, orchos, was used twice in the New Testament, in Matthew and Luke, about the same story. After Jesus performed miracles, and people asked if he was the Messiah, he spoke about the pharisees, comparing them to children. Luke 7:31-32 says, “They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other: “‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance, we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’” He was saying that the Pharisees were ignorant on the fact that Jesus was in fact Messiah. This was more about how the Pharisees were missing out on the big picture, but dancing was used as an example of a positive thing.
Is dancing against the Bible?
The words for dancing, in both the Old and the New Testament, are almost all seen in a positive light. Dancing is connected to rejoicing. The only times the Bible speaks negatively about dancing is when people are worshipping someone other than God, or when it leads to a negative consequence (such as the serving of John the Baptist’s head on a platter in Mark.)
Are there times when dancing isn’t okay biblically?
Yes, there are times when dancing with the wrong intentions can get us into sin ourselves, cause others to sin, and have unintended consequences that we didn’t plan on.
We know Biblically that there are times to dance, as well as times to not dance, from Ecclesiastes 4:9: A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
1. Worship of other things
When there is the worship of things other than God, dancing is NOT appropriate. The attention is directed to the created thing.
And this is what Moses saw when he came down from the mountain after obtaining the 10 Commandments from God. The people tired of waiting for Moses and decided to pool their resources, build a golden calf, and dance around it (Exodus 32:19 ESV).
Worshipping things other than God put them at the center of our lives instead of Him. We are to worship God and Him alone.
2. Combined with drinking
Dancing, paired with drinking wine or alcohol, can lead to unrighteous behavior that affects us and others. While drinking wine or alcohol is not forbidden in the Bible, there are references to how it can affect you.
The wisdom in Proverbs 23:30-35 speaks to how wine is deceptive, seems smooth, but in the end, it is like a poisonous snake that can lead to addiction. And those who are “lead astray by it is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1 ESV
An example of drinking and dancing was the Amalekites, who had defeated the Philistines. These were not people who loved God. They were celebrating their victory and all the plunder or goods that they had taken in their defeat of the Philistines.
“They were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing.” 1 Samuel 30:16 ESV
Wedding at Cana
We know that there was drinking at the Cana wedding, where Jesus performed his first miracle by turning the water into wine. In the Jewish wedding tradition, there was lots of dancing, and they drank wine.
This is an example of where people did dancing in combination with drinking. Jesus didn’t condemn the wedding fun. It would have been a social embarrassment for this couple to have run out of wine. Instead, Jesus helped the family save face by providing more wine.
The point here is that we don’t have a clear direction that drinking and dancing are not allowed. Celebrate and have fun. But we need to proceed with caution in these situations.
Remember, we want to be wise in how much alcohol we consume.
Paul said in Ephesians 5:18, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and humans and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts.” (NLT).
As Christians, we should be filled with the Holy Spirit and enjoy making music in our hearts for the Lord.
Because of the addictive nature of alcohol, we may want not to drink it at all. Then we can enjoy the wedding fun without any ill effects of the wine!
Weddings can be fun with dancing and without wine. My son and daughter-in-law had dancing at their wedding, and they served no alcohol.
There were plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and lots of good food to consume. The wedding was held at a Christian camp, so alcohol was not allowed.
But everyone had a good time and enjoyed celebrating the wedded couple!
3. Sensual Pleasure
Everyone loves a birthday party. It can be fun celebrating the person with games, gifts, and cake.
Before King Herod’s birthday, he had put John the Baptist in prison because he was against his illegal marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife.
He wanted to put John to death but feared what the people were saying about him being a prophet.
Yet when Herod’s birthday came, “the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod.” Matthew 14:6 ESV
The word for pleased here in Greek means to excite emotion. His stepdaughter was dancing in a way to arouse pleasure within her step-father.
Her dance pleased him so much that He promised to give her anything she wanted. So her mother, Herodias, told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter!
Can you imagine being at this birthday party? All kinds of rich food and drinking seems harmless. Then entertainment is brought on with the provocative dance of the king’s step-daughter.
And then the bloody head of a man is brought in on a platter! Definitely not the ending to the party that I would expect.
When dancing is sensual in nature and done to excite another, this is not appropriate for a Christian. It leads to far greater consequences than we intend by enjoying dancing at the party or event.
Bible Verses about Dancing
In Bible verses about Dancing, we have learned that dancing in celebration of the Lord, what He has done for us in victorious battles, and miraculous events are totally appropriate.
Therefore, we can dance at birthdays, weddings, and other joyous occasions.
However, we need to be careful as there are certain times that dancing can get into a territory that could cause us to sin or others to sin. Be aware of your surroundings and if you are at a party that contains worship of other things, drinking, or sensual dancing, listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling you.
If things seem to be getting out of hand and the Holy Spirit is prompting you to leave, thank your host/hostess for a wonderful time and head home.
Enjoy dancing with the best intentions, kick off those shoes, and have fun, especially if you are spending time dancing for the Lord!
Cindy is a writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a wife to Dave for 33 years, a mother of two grown kids who serve the Lord, one son-in-love, one daughter-in-love, 4 wonderful grandchildren and foster grandchild. She is a full-time Information Services manager by day and a writer at night. She teaches a women’s Bible study at her church and runs the sound for worship.