Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
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(19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.—The same words are found in Colossians 3:16, with a notable difference of application. There the idea is of teaching: “teaching and admonishing one another;” here, simply of a natural vent for emotion, especially of thanksgiving, although probably here also “to yourselves” means “to one another,” and refers, perhaps, chiefly to public worship. The well-known passage in Pliny, “Carmen dicere inter se invicem,” describes alternate, possibly antiphonal, singing of such sacred music. Of the various kinds of this music, the “psalms” and “hymns” are easily distinguished. The “psalm,” as the word itself implies, is music with instrumental accompaniment, and can hardly fail to refer to the Old Testament psalms, familiar in Jewish worship, and as we know, used in the first instance we have of apostolic worship (Acts 4:24). On their frequent use see 1Corinthians 14:26; James 5:12. The “hymn” is purely vocal music, apparently of the whole company (see Matthew 26:30; Acts 16:25), more especially directed to praise of God, and probably designating the new utterances of the Christian Church itself. But the interpretation of the “spiritual song,” or “ode,” is more difficult. It is often considered as inclusive of the other two (as etymologically it might well be), but the genius of the passage appears to make it co-ordinate, and so distinct from them. From the use of the word “song,” or “ode,” as applied to lyric poetry, it may perhaps be conjectured that it describes more varied and elaborate music, sung by one person only—a spiritual utterance of one for the whole congregation. In a passage of Philo (2 p. 476)—quoted by Dr. Lightfoot on Colossians 3:16—on Jewish sacred music, we read, “He who stands up sings a hymn composed in praise of God, either having made a new one for himself, or using an ancient one of the poets of days gone by.” The Christian counterpart of this might well be the “spiritual song.” To some such utterance, under the name of psalm,” St. Paul seems to allude in 1Corinthians 14:26, a passage dealing expressly with special spiritual gifts. “Each one of you has a psalm.” Evidently it might be strictly a “hymn” or “psalm,” though in common usage (as here) it would be distinguished from both.

Singing and making melody in your heart.—The word rendered “making melody” is the verb corresponding to the “psalm” above, as singing to the “song.” This clause is not identical but co-ordinate with the last. That described audible and public melody; this, the secret utterance of music in the soul, whether accompanying the other or distinct from it.

5:15-21 Another remedy against sin, is care, or caution, it being impossible else to maintain purity of heart and life. Time is a talent given us by God, and it is misspent and lost when not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must double our diligence for the future. Of that time which thousands on a dying bed would gladly redeem at the price of the whole world, how little do men think, and to what trifles they daily sacrifice it! People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that stirred them more to redeem time. Be not unwise. Ignorance of our duty, and neglect of our souls, show the greatest folly. Drunkenness is a sin that never goes alone, but carries men into other evils; it is a sin very provoking to God. The drunkard holds out to his family and to the world the sad spectacle of a sinner hardened beyond what is common, and hastening to perdition. When afflicted or weary, let us not seek to raise our spirits by strong drink, which is hateful and hurtful, and only ends in making sorrows more felt. But by fervent prayer let us seek to be filled with the Spirit, and to avoid whatever may grieve our gracious Comforter. All God's people have reason to sing for joy. Though we are not always singing, we should be always giving thanks; we should never want disposition for this duty, as we never want matter for it, through the whole course of our lives. Always, even in trials and afflictions, and for all things; being satisfied of their loving intent, and good tendency. God keeps believers from sinning against him, and engages them to submit one to another in all he has commanded, to promote his glory, and to fulfil their duties to each other.Speaking to yourselves - Speaking among yourselves, that is, endeavoring to edify one another, and to promote purity of heart, by songs of praise. This has the force of a command, and it is a matter of obligation on Christians. From the beginning, praise was an important part of public worship, and is designed to be to the end of the world; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 14:15. Nothing is more clear than that it was practiced by the Saviour himself and the apostles (see Matthew 26:30), and by the primitive church, as well as by the great body of Christians in all ages.

In psalms - The Psalms of David were sung by the Jews at the temple, and by the early Christians (notes Matthew 26:30), and the singing of those psalms has constituted a delightful part of public worship in all ages. They speak the language of devotion at all times, and a large part of them are as well suited to the services of the sanctuary now as they were when first composed.

And hymns - It is not easy to determine precisely what is the difference in the meaning of the words used here, or to designate the kind of compositions which were used in the early churches. A "hymn" is properly a song or ode in honor of God. Among the pagan it was a song in honor of some deity. With us now it denotes a short poem, composed for religious service, and sung in praise to God. Such brief poems were common among the pagan, and it was natural that Christians should early introduce and adopt them. Whether any of them were composed by the apostles it is impossible now to determine, though the presumption is very strong that if they had been they would have been preserved with as much care as their epistles, or as the Psalms. One thing is proved clearly by this passage, that there were other compositions used in the praise of God than the Psalms of David; and if it was right then to make use of such compositions, it is now. They were not merely "Psalms" that were sung, but there were hymns and odes.

Spiritual songs - Spiritual "odes" - ᾠδᾶις ōdais. Odes or songs relating to spiritual things in contradistinction from these which were sung in places of festivity and revelry. An "ode" is properly a short poem or song adapted to be set to music, or to be sung; a lyric poem. In what way these were sung, it is now vain to conjecture. Whether with or without instrumental accompaniments; whether by a choir or by the assembly; whether by an individual only, or whether they were by responses, it is not possible to decide from anything in the New Testament. It is probable that it would be done in the most simple manner possible. Yet as music constituted so important a part of the worship of the temple, it is evident that the early Christians would be by no means indifferent to the nature of the music which they had in their churches. And as it was so important a part of the worship of the pagan gods, and contributed so much to maintain the influence of paganism, it is not unlikely that the early Christians would feel the importance of making their music attractive, and of making it tributary to the support of religion. If there is attractive music at the banquet, and in the theater, contributing to the maintenance of amusements where God is forgotten, assuredly the music of the sanctuary should not be such as to disgust those of pure and refined taste.

Singing - ᾄδοντες adontes. The prevailing character of music in the worship of God should be vocal. If instruments are employed, they should be so subordinate that the service may be characterized as singing.

And making melody - "Melody" is an agreeable succession of sounds; a succession so regulated and modulated as to please the ear. It differs from "harmony," inasmuch as melody is an agreeable succession of sounds by a single voice; harmony consists in the accordance of different sounds. It is not certain, however, that the apostle here had reference to what is properly called "melody." The word which he uses - ψάλλω psallō - means to touch, twitch, pluck - as the hair, the beard; and then to twitch a string - to "twang" it - as the string of a bow, and then the string of an instrument of music. It is most frequently used in the sense of touching or playing a lyre, or a harp; and then it denotes to make music in general, to sing - perhaps usually with the idea of being accompanied with a lyre or harp. It is used, in the New Testament, only in Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 14:15, where it is translated "sing;" in James 5:13, where it is rendered "sing psalms," and in the place before us. The idea here is, that of singing in the heart, or praising God from the heart. The psalms, and hymns, and songs were to be sung so that the heart should be engaged, and not so as to be mere music, or a mere external performance. On the phrase "in the heart," see the notes on 1 Corinthians 14:15.

To the Lord - In praise of the Lord, or addressed to him. Singing, as here meant, is a direct and solemn act of worship, and should be considered such as really as prayer. In singing we should regard ourselves as speaking directly to God, and the words, therefore, should be spoken with a solemnity and awe becoming such a direct address to the great Yahweh. So Pliny says of the early Christians, "Carmenquc Christo quasi Deo dicere secure invicem" - "and they sang among themselves hymns to Christ as God." If this be the true nature and design of public psalmody, then it follows:

(1) that all should regard it as an act of solemn worship in which they should engage - in "heart" at least, if they cannot themselves sing.

(2) public psalmody should not be entrusted wholly to the light and frivolous; to the trifling and careless part of a congregation.

(3) they who conduct this part of public worship ought to be pious. The leader "ought" to be a Christian; and they who join in it "ought" also to give their hearts to the Redeemer. Perhaps it would not be proper to say absolutely that no one who is not a professor of religion should take part in the exercises of a choir in a church; but thoro can be no error in saying that such persons "ought" to give themselves to Christ, and to sing from the heart. Their voices would be none the less sweet; their music no less pure and beautiful; nor could their own pleasure in the service be lessened. A choir of sweet singers in a church - united in the same praises here - "ought" to be prepared to join in the same praises around the throne of God.

19. (Col 3:16).

to yourselves—"to one another." Hence soon arose the antiphonal or responsive chanting of which Pliny writes to Trajan: "They are wont on a fixed day to meet before daylight [to avoid persecution] and to recite a hymn among themselves by turns, to Christ, as if being God." The Spirit gives true eloquence; wine, a spurious eloquence.

psalms—generally accompanied by an instrument.

hymns—in direct praise to God (compare Ac 16:25; 1Co 14:26; Jas 5:13).

songs—the general term for lyric pieces; "spiritual" is added to mark their being here restricted to sacred subjects, though not merely to direct praises of God, but also containing exhortations, prophecies, &c. Contrast the drunken "songs," Am 8:10.

making melody—Greek, "playing and singing with an instrument."

in your heart—not merely with the tongue; but the serious feeling of the heart accompanying the singing of the lips (compare 1Co 14:15; Ps 47:7). The contrast is between the heathen and the Christian practice, "Let your songs be not the drinking songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart" [Conybeare and Howson].

to the Lord—See Pliny's letter quoted above: "To Christ as God."

Speaking, &c.; in opposition to the vain chaff and lewd talkativeness of drunkards over their cups.

To yourselves; Gr. in yourselves, i.e. among yourselves, both in church assemblies and families.

In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; under these names he comprehends all manner of singing to mutual edification and God’s glory. The particular distinction of them is uncertain, but most take psalms to be such as anciently were sung with musical instruments; hymns, such as contained only matter of praise;

spiritual songs, such as were of various matter, doctrinal, prophetical, historical, &c.: see on Colossians 3:16.

Singing and making melody in your heart; not only with your voice, but with inward affection, contrary to the guise of hypocrites.

To the Lord; to the glory of God, not for the pleasure of the sense, or for gain, &c.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs,.... By psalms are meant the Psalms of David, and others which compose the book that goes by that name, for other psalms there are none; and by "hymns" we are to understand, not such as are made by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God; since they are placed between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost; and are put upon a level with them, and to be sung along with them, to the edification of churches; but these are only another name for the Book of Psalms, the running title of which may as well be the Book of Hymns, as it is rendered by Ainsworth; and the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples after the supper, is called an hymn; and so are the psalms in general called hymns, by Philo the Jew (n); and songs and hymns by Josephus (o); and , "songs and praises", or "hymns", in the Talmud (p): and by "spiritual songs" are meant the same Psalms of David, Asaph, &c. and the titles of many of them are songs, and sometimes a psalm and song, and song and psalm, a song of degrees; together with all other Scriptural songs, written by inspired men; and which are called "spiritual", because they are indited by the Spirit of God, consist of spiritual matter, and are designed for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all profane, loose, and wanton songs: these three words answer to the several titles of David's Psalms; from whence it seems to be the intention of the apostle, that these should be sting in Gospel churches; for so he explains speaking to themselves in them, in the next clause:

singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; singing, as it is a distinct thing from prayer, so from giving of thanks, which is mentioned in Ephesians 5:20 as another duty; it is not a mental praising of God, for it is called speaking, and teaching, and admonishing, but it is a praising of God with the modulation of the voice; and is rightly performed, when the heart and voice agree; when there is a melody in the heart, as well as in the tongue; for singing and making melody in the heart, is singing with, or from the heart, or heartily; of as elsewhere, "with grace", and which the Alexandrian copy reads here; that is, either with gratitude and thankfulness, or with grace in exercise; and the end in view should be the glory of God.

(n) De Mutat. Nomin. p. 1062. & alibi. (o) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 3.((p) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your {l} heart to the Lord;

(l) With an earnest affection of the heart, and not with the tongue only.

Ephesians 5:19. Accompanying definition to the just required “being filled by the Spirit,” as that with which this λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς κ.τ.λ. is to be simultaneously combined as its immediate expression: so that ye speak to one another through psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. What a contrast with the preceding ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία! Comp. Colossians 3:16.

λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς] not meditantes vobiscum (Morus, Michaelis), but it denotes the reciprocal speaking (ἑαυτοῖς, in the sense of ἀλλήλοις, as Ephesians 4:32, to each other), the oral interchange of thoughts and feelings, which—just because the condition is that of being filled by the Spirit—does not make use of the conversational language of ordinary life, or even of drunken passion, but of psalms, etc., as the means of mutual communication (dativus instrumentalis; Luther incorrectly renders: about psalms[267]). That, however, the apostle is here speaking of actual worship in the narrower sense (Olshausen), is assumed in opposition to the context, since the contrast μὴ μεθύσκ. οἴνῳ, ἀλλὰ πληρ. ἐν πν. does not characterize the λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς as taking place in worship, although in itself it is not denied that in worship too the inspired antiphonal singing took place. See 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Niceph. Call. xiii. 8: τὴν τῶν ἀντιφώνων συνήθειαν ἄνωθεν ἀποστόλων ἡ ἐκκλησία παρέλαβε.[268] The distinction between ΨΑΛΜΌς and ὝΜΝΟς consists in this, that by ΨΑΛΜ. Paul denotes a religious song in general bearing the character of the O. T. psalms, but by ὕμν. specially a song of praise (Plat. Legg. viii. p. 700 B, opposed to θρῆνος), and that, in accordance with the context, addressed to Christ (Ephesians 5:19) and God (Ephesians 5:20). Properly ΨΑΛΜΌς (which originally means the making the cithara sound) is a song in general, and that indeed as sung to a stringed instrument (see Spanheim, ad Callim. p. 55); but in the N.T. the character of the psalm is determined by the psalms of the O. T., so called κατʼ ἐξοχήν (1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Jam 5:13). According to Harless, the two words are not different as regards their contents, but ΨΑΛΜΟῖς is the expression of the spiritual song for the Jewish-Christians, ὕμνοις for the Gentile-Christians. An external distinction in itself improbable, and very arbitrary, since the special signification of ὕμνος, song of praise, is thoroughly established, and ψαλμός also was a word very current in Greek, which—as well in itself as more especially with regard to its sense established in Christian usage in accordance with the conception of the O. T. psalms—could not but be equally intelligible for the Gentile-Christians as for the Jewish-Christians. See also Rudelb. in the Zeitschr. f. Luth. Theol. 1855, 4, p. 634 f. According to Olshausen, ψαλμοί are here the psalms of the O. T., which had passed over from the synagogue into the use of the church. But worship is not spoken of here; and that the Christians, filled by the Spirit, improvised psalms, is clear from 1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26. Such Christian psalms and hymns are meant, as the Spirit gave them to be uttered (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6),—phenomena doubtless, which, like the operations of the Spirit generally in the first age of the church, are withdrawn from our special cognizance.

καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευμ.] Inasmuch as ᾨΔΉ may be any song, even secular, ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΑῖς is here added, so that by ᾨΔΑῖς ΠΝΕΥΜ. is denoted the whole genus, of which the ψαλμοί and ὝΜΝΟΙ were species. πνευματικαῖς defines the songs as proceeding from the Holy Spirit, as θεοπνεύστους. Pind. Ol. iii. 18: θεύμοροι νίσσοντʼ ἐπʼ ἀνθρώπους ἀοιδαί. It is to be observed, moreover, that Paul does not require a constant λαλεῖν ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς κ.τ.λ. on the part of his readers, but, in contradistinction to the heathen ἈΣΩΤΊΑ in drunkenness, as that which is to take place among the Christians instead of drunken revelry with its dissolute doings.

The cumulation ψαλμ. κ. ὕμν. κ. ᾠδ. πν. belongs to the animated and urgent style of discourse. See Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xxviii. f. Comp. also Lobeck, Paralip. I. p. 60 f.

ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν τῇ καρδ. ὑμ. τῷ κυρίῳ] co-ordinate with the preceding λαλοῦντες κ.τ.λ., containing another singing of praise, namely, that which goes on in the silence of the heart. The point of difference lies in ἐν ταῖς καρδ. ὑμ., as contradistinguished from the preceding ἙΑΥΤΟῖς. Usually this second participial clause is regarded as subordinate to the previous one; it is held to affirm that that reciprocal singing of praise must take place not merely with the mouth, but also in the heart (τῇ καρδίᾳ ψάλλει ὁ μὴ μόνον τὴν γλῶτταν κινῶν, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸν νοῦν εἰς τὴν τῶν λεγομένων κατανόησιν διεγείρων, Theodoret). But how could it have occurred to Paul here to enter such a protest against mere lip-praise, when he, in fact, represents the psalm-singing, etc., as the utterance of the being filled by the Spirit, and makes express mention of ΠΝΕΥΜΑΤΙΚΑῖς ᾨΔΑῖς, in which case, at any rate, the thought of a mere singing with the mouth was of itself excluded. The right view is found substantially in Rückert (who, nevertheless, already here imports an “always”), Harless, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius, Schenkel.

τῷ κυρίῳ] to Christ, Ephesians 5:20.

[267] Pliny, Ep. x. 97: “Carmen Christo quasi Deo dicunt stecum invicem” (ἑαυτοῖς).

[268] A collection of church-hymns is of course not even remotely to be thought of in our passage; and it is to go in quest of a reason for suspecting our Epistle, when, with Schwegler, the mention of ψαλμοὶ κ.τ.λ. is designated as surprising.

Ephesians 5:19. λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς: speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Lachm. inserts ἐν before ψαλμοῖς; Tr and WH place it in the margin, on the authority of [578] [579] 17, 672, Vulg., Jer. πνευματικαῖς is bracketed by Lach., but is to be retained, as being found in all authorities with the exception of a very few—[580], d, e, etc. The AV and the other old English Versions render ἑαυτοῖς “yourselves,” and the RV gives this a place in the margin. But in all probability ἑαυτοῖς has the reciprocal sense = ἀλλήλοις, as in Ephesians 4:32 (cf. Jelf, Greek Gram., § 654, 2). The idea is not that of meditation, but that of converse. There is nothing, however, to suggest the thought of actual worship. The sentence specifies one of the ways in which the condition of being “filled with the Spirit” would express itself. In their intercourse one with another their language would not be that of ordinary convention, far less that of base intoxication, but that of spiritual devotion and thankfulness. Reference is made by many commentators to Pliny’s well-known report of the practice of the Christians of Bithynia and Pontus—carmen Christo quasi Deo dicunt secum invicem (Ep., x., 97); but what is in view there is responsive praise in the Lord’s Day worship. Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are mentioned again in Colossians 3:16. What the distinctions are, if any, between the three terms has been considerably disputed. ψαλμός is a religious song, especially one sung to a musical accompaniment, and par excellence an OT psalm; ὕμνος is properly speaking a song of praise; ᾠδή is the most general term, applicable to all kinds of songs, secular or sacred, accompanied or unaccompanied (cf. Trench, Syn., p. 279; Light. on Colossians 3:16). The three words are brought together here with a view to rhetorical force, and it is precarious, therefore, to build much upon supposed differences between them. There is nothing to warrant Harless’s idea that the ψαλμός is the spiritual song for Jewish-Christians and the ὕμνος for Gentile-Christians; or Olshausen’s supposition that the term ψαλμοῖς is to be limited to the OT psalms which had passed over into the Christian Church. There were Christian psalms—psalms which the Holy Spirit moved the primitive Christians to utter when they came together in worship (1 Corinthians 14:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26), as He moved them to speak with tongues (Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46; Acts 19:6). It is probable, therefore, that these are intended here, especially in view of what has been said of being “filled by the Spirit”. If the terms, therefore, are to be distinguished at all, the case will be simply this—that the ψαλμοί and the ὕμνοι are specific kinds of ᾠδαί πνευματικαί, and that the former are the Christian psalms which worshippers were inspired to sing, and which no doubt would be like the familiar psalms of Israel, while the latter were songs of praise to Christ or to God. On this view the adj. πνευματικαῖς is attached to the ᾠδαῖς not merely to differentiate these ᾠδαί as religious and not secular, but to describe them as inspired by the Holy Ghost.—ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ Κυρίῳ: singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. The ἐν of the TR is supported by [581] [582], most cursives, Syr.-Harcl., Arm., etc. It is omitted by [583] [584] [585], Orig., etc., and is deleted by LT[Tr]WHRV. For τῇ καρδίᾳ, Lachm. prefers ταῖς καρδίαις, which is given by [586]3[587] [588] [589] [590], Vulg., Boh., Syr. ψάλλοντες, properly = playing on a stringed instrument, and then = singing, especially to an instrument (Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Jam 5:13). The τῷ Κυρίῳ will have its usual reference, viz., to Christ. The question, however, is whether this clause is to be taken as coordinate or as subordinate. Does it add something to the previous λαλοῦντες clause, or simply explain and extend it? The latter view has been accepted by many from Theodoret downwards, who understand the point here to be that the speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs was not to be a formal thing or a matter of the lips only, but the utterance of the heart, “with the heart” (RV). But this would be expressed rather by ἐκ τῆς καρδίας or κατὰ τὴν καρδίαν. The rendering “heartily” also would be easier if there were no ὑμῶν. Besides the contrast in the context is not between lip-praise and heart-praise on the part of Christians, but between Christian converse expressing itself in praise, and the vain or profligate talk of the heathen. Hence (with Harl., Mey., Ell., Alf.), it is best to give ἐν its proper sense of in, and to understand the clause as referring to the melody that takes place in the stillness of the heart. It specifies a second kind of praise in addition to that of the λαλοῦντες—the unvoiced praise of meditation and inward worship.

[578] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[579] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.

[580] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[581] Codex Mosquensis (sæc. ix.), edited by Matthæi in 1782.

[582] Codex Angelicus (sæc. ix.), at Rome, collated by Tischendorf and others.

[583] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[584] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[585] Autograph of the original scribe of א.

[586] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[587] Codex Alexandrinus (sæc. v.), at the British Museum, published in photographic facsimile by Sir E. M. Thompson (1879).

[588] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[589] Codex Boernerianus (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Dresden, edited by Matthæi in 1791. Written by an Irish scribe, it once formed part of the same volume as Codex Sangallensis (δ) of the Gospels. The Latin text, g, is based on the O.L. translation.

[590] Codex Porphyrianus (sæc. ix.), at St. Petersburg, collated by Tischendorf. Its text is deficient for chap. Ephesians 2:13-16.

19. to yourselves] R.V., one to another. The Gr. admits either rendering (see above on Ephesians 4:32); but the parallel, Colossians 3:16 (“teaching and admonishing, &c.”) is clearly for the R. V. here, as the much most natural reference there is to mutual edification.

It has been thought that we have here a suggestion of responsive chanting. But this is most precarious, to say the least; the words being fully satisfied by the thought of the mutual spiritual help, most real and powerful now as then, given on any occasion of common spiritual praise. The first disciples thus “spoke one to another” in the united outburst of ascription and praise, Acts 4:24. Still, it is interesting to remember that responsive hymn-singing was, as a fact, used very early in Christian worship. In the famous Letter of Pliny to Trajan (written between a. d. 108 and a. d. 114), where the worship of the Christians is described, we read; “they are used to meet before dawn on a stated day, and to chant (carmen dicere) to Christ, as to a God, alternately together (secum invicem).” See Alford’s note here.

psalmshymnsspiritual songs] It is impossible to fix precisely the limits of these terms; nor does the character of the passage, full of the spirit rather than the theory of praise, demand it. But there is probability in the suggestion that the psalm was generally a rhythmic utterance, either actually one of the O. T. psalms, or in their manner; the hymn, a rhythmic utterance of praise distinctively Christian; and the spiritual song, or spiritual ode, a similar utterance, but more of experience or meditation than of praise. The canticles of Luke 1, 2, would thus rank as psalms; the inspired chant of the disciples (Acts 4) as a hymn; and the possibly rhythmic “faithful words” in the Pastoral Epistles (see esp. 2 Timothy 2:11-13) as spiritual odes.

Another suggested distinction is that a psalm (Gr., psallein, to play,) demanded instrumental accompaniment, a hymn did not. But this cannot be sustained in detail.

“Psalm-singing” (see further 1 Corinthians 14:26; James 5:13) is thus a primeval element in not only Christian worship but Christian common life; for the Apostle here evidently contemplates social gatherings rather than formulated services; similar occasions to those formerly defaced by “excess of wine.”

The history of psalmody and hymnody in the Church cannot be discussed, however briefly, here. See articles on Hymns, in Smith’s Dictionaries (of the Bible and of Christian Antiquities). We may just note that (1) Pliny (quoted above on this verse) speaks already of Christian hymnody, very early cent. 2; (2) St Justin, rather later cent. 2, in his account of Sunday eucharistic worship makes no distinct allusion to it; but (3) a century later the allusions are frequent. See e.g. Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. v. 28, 7:30. The “earliest known Christian hymn” is a noble Greek hymn, in anapæstic metre, to the Son of God, by St Clement of Alexandria, at the end of his Pædagogus (middle of cent. 3).

Spiritual songs”:—not necessarily “inspired,” but charged with spiritual truth.

making melody] Lit. “playing instruments” (psallontes, psalm). This seems to assume the use of lute or flute on such occasions.

in your heart] Both voice and instrument were literal and external, but the use of them both was to be spiritual, and so “in the heart.” No other use of either, in and for worship, can be truly according to the will of God (John 4:24).

to the Lord] Who is either directly or indirectly addressed in the song, and to Whom every act of the Christian’s life is related.

Ephesians 5:19. Λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς, speaking among yourselves) The antithesis is, to the Lord; comp. Colossians 3:16, note. The Spirit makes believers eloquent[86] [disertos].—ψαλμοῖς, in psalms) of the Bible, of David, new and unpremeditated, with the addition of an instrument.—ὕμνοις, in hymns) to be used in the express praise of God.—ᾠδαῖς) songs, which are or may be sung on any sacred subject.—πνευματικαῖς, spiritual) not worldly, as those of the drunkards are.—τῷ Κυρίῳ, to the Lord) Christ, who searches the hearts.

[86] Beng. says this in contrast to Horace’s praise of wine, as making eloquent, “Fæcundi calices quem non fecere disertum?”—ED.

Verse 19. - Speaking to one another. Literally, this would denote antiphonal singing, but this is rather an artificial idea for so simple times. It seems here to denote one person singing one hymn, then another another, and so on; and the meetings would seem to have been for social Christian enjoyment rather than for the public worship of God. In the Epistle to the Colossians it is, "Teaching and admonishing one another with psalms," and this has more of the idea of public worship; and if it be proper to express joyful feelings in the comparatively private social gatherings of Christians, it is proper to do the same in united public worship. In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. The precise meaning of these terms is not easily seen; "psalms" we should naturally apply to the Old Testament psalms, but the want of the article makes the meaning more general, equivalent to "songs with the character of the psalms;" hymns, songs celebrating the praises of the Divine Being, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; "spiritual songs" or odes of a more general cast, meditative, historical, hortatory, or didactic. But these must be "spiritual," such as the Holy Spirit would lead us to use and would use with us for our good. The two clauses correspond: "be filled with the Spirit;" "speaking in spiritual songs." Receive the Spirit - pour out the Spirit; let your songs be effusions sent forth from your hearts with the aroma of the Holy Spirit. Singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; i.e. to the Lord Jesus. Some have argued that while ἄδοντες denotes singing, ψάλλοντες means striking the musical instrument. But ψάλλω is so frequently used in a more general sense, that it can hardly be restricted to this meaning here. The great thought is that this musical service must not be musical only, but a service of the heart, in rendering which the heart must be in a state of worship. Ephesians 5:19Speaking to yourselves (λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς)

Rev., one to another.

The A.V. is literally correct, but is open to the misinterpretation each one communing with himself. The meaning is as in Colossians 3:13, and Rev. is better.


See on 1 Corinthians 14:15.

Hymns - spiritual songs

See on Colossians 3:16.

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