Do you prefer hymns over psalms?

Status
Not open for further replies.

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
I like your point, brother, but we wouldn't have much of a need for a lot of the NT, if the OT were the only thing sufficient to know Christ. God chose to give us further clarifying revelation by giving us the NT, that we might believe, better understand, and see many more things of His will. If the OT were enough for us to know Christ and God's full plan of salvation, we wouldn't have a NT. The Psalms are awesome and founational, I just don't see why we would have to be limited to them.
The Psalms are a divinely inspired hymnal. The Lord did not believe it necessary to provide a New Testament divinely inspired hymnal. If He did, your point would be made. But the Psalter is sufficient as the songbook He left for His Church and did not find it necessary to inspire any other for the NT Church.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
That misses his point. I think Harley is saying because of the realities that Jesus HAS revealed in the NT, we can now see a clearer and fuller meaning of the Psalms that was Always there, but could only be seen as there when the veil was torn (shadowy). Jesus did not change the Psalms, but illuminated them for his bride.
Yeah, makes sense.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
Robert,

I believe Jeri handled this shortly after by posting commentary to the contrary, basically pointing out that commentators disagree.
I don't believe that adequately answers it to say "they disagree." The consensus by most Pauline scholars and commentators is that Colossians 1:15-20 and Philippians 2:6-11 are hymns. If Paul has hymns in at least two Epistles and commands us to sing "hymns, Psalms, and spiritual songs," I think the burden of proof is on the EP side. I have already provided data that is contrary to the claim the Church has always been EP.
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
I am tapping out of this discussion. My heart is in Genesis. It has been calling me back ever since I left to study this topic some more. I will pick back up with studying it soon.
I want to end it reiterating how much I love singing Psalms. I have been worshipping with congregations the last few months that only sing Psalms. It has been a great blessing for my wife and I to sing in unison with the Church God's inspired Psalms. At this moment, I remain unconvinced that we are only to sing Psalms. The question and statement about the "sufficiency of Psalms" keeps getting raised. To me, they are sufficient but it is more nuanced than that. I pray those in this discussion, no matter what side you land on, will sing to our God joyously and with all your heart.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
I am tapping out of this discussion. My heart is in Genesis. It has been calling me back ever since I left to study this topic some more. I will pick back up with studying it soon.
I want to end it reiterating how much I love singing Psalms. I have been worshipping with congregations the last few months that only sing Psalms. It has been a great blessing for my wife and I to sing in unison with the Church God's inspired Psalms. At this moment, I remain unconvinced that we are only to sing Psalms. The question and statement about the "sufficiency of Psalms" keeps getting raised. To me, they are sufficient but it is more nuanced than that. I pray those in this discussion, no matter what side you land on, will sing to our God joyously and with all your heart.
I treasure Genesis. Enjoy! See you soon hopefully.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
So I think this point has a lot of weight to it which is convincing to me:

Here is Paul's language to the Corinthians: What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 1 Corinthians 14:26

If Paul were talking about a common psalm from the cannon that all the church would have been familiar with, it wouldn't make sense that he is grouping these "hymns" in with other things like tongues, revelations, interpretations, etc. To me, Paul is making the case that these church members are bringing "new" things to the church that the rest are unfamiliar with, and they must be done orderly and decently.

Notice as well that Paul does not condemn the singing of these songs, but only says they should be done orderly and for the building up of the church.

How would you EP friends reply to this? Saying that the songs are psalms honestly doesn't make sense to me in the context Paul is addressing them.
Ryan, you must be using the ESV. Check out the Greek of what it translates “hymn”. (I’ll go ahead and tell you it’s “psalmos.”)
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I have yet tp see someone that holds to EP adequately answer this post.

Do you prefer hymns over psalms?
I'm not sure how you expect anyone to "adequately answer" speculation.

It is indeed speculative. There is no evidence that those "songs" are songs at all. Even if they are songs, there is no evidence they were sung in public worship. They could be (as I mentioned earlier) mnemonics. They could have been used as songs basic Christian belief to children, or to new converts. We just don't know. What we know is that there is no evidence of their use as worship.

These "songs" are indeed Scripture, meaning they are God-breathed. But where is the command to compose and sing like songs of our own? There is none.
 
Last edited:

De Jager

Puritan Board Freshman
Just a random couple of thoughts:

I find that the more my biblical literacy improves, the more that Christ jumps out of the Psalms. I find them to be full of Christ.

Also, we need to remember that YHWH has and always will be, triune. Worship in the OT was of the triune God (even though the people may not have realized) and worship in the NT is of the triune God. Any time we see the name of God in the Psalms, we must realize that this includes the three persons of the trinity. God was not one person in the OT and three in the NT. I find this is something that people don't necessarily explicitly believe, but implicitly. The NT helps us realize the triune nature of God even in the OT. God does not change.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The consensus by most Pauline scholars and commentators is that Colossians 1:15-20 and Philippians 2:6-11 are hymns.
Robert, I know you said you’re bowing out of this discussion, so I’m replying to your post not to try to drag you back in :) but just for future reference for people reading. Surely it’s better to say “The consensus of most modern scholars...” I am betting you won’t find any respected Puritan or Reformed commentary before x many years ago who thought this.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I don't believe that adequately answers it to say "they disagree"
There is disagreement because there is no evidence that the speculation is well-founded.
The consensus by most Pauline scholars and commentators is that Colossians 1:15-20 and Philippians 2:6-11 are hymns.
That does not surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone else.
If Paul has hymns in at least two Epistles
If is the key word.
and commands us to sing "hymns, Psalms, and spiritual songs," I think the burden of proof is on the EP side.
You began this sentence with an if and finished it by laying the burden of proof on the other side.
I have already provided data that is contrary to the claim the Church has always been EP.
Evidence that is evidently unsatisfying.

EDIT: I say the evidence is unsatisfying because it does not undo other data on the subject.
 
Last edited:

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I think I did answer the question by saying that it could be shown by good and necessary inference. As I rambled on to Ryan my memory served me better and I explained that a careful study through Kings and Chronicles tells the story of God’s giving the pattern of worship through David and the prophets Gad and Nathan, which included the commissioning of writing songs that we see gathered into the collection we call the Psalms to equip the singing of the church. All of this leads me, as it led the church up until enlightenment times, to the conclusion that in worship, God’s people were to sing these prophetic songs penned for the church and collected into a volume called The Book Of Praises. It would make the church EP from David until now.
You have not proven that anyone in scripture was EP. You have speculated such. Hab. 3:19 says "to the chief musician" as the headings in the Psalms say. The LXX calls the song of Habakkuk an "ode" if memory serves. It seems Habakkuk was not EP. Conjecture does not equal proof. When we point to examples of the singing of other songs than the Psalms in the Bible, EP cry something to the effect of "exception!" But can these be proven exceptions when scripture does not set EP as the rule? Perhaps what are called exceptions are better understood as the rule!

But let's accept the (unproven) premise that temple worship was EP. Many other practices of temple worship were done away with in Christ. How can it be proven that temple worship that established EP (in contrast to prior approval of singing other songs) was not also done away in Christ, thus again being inclusive (IP)?

Furthermore, you have been bouncing between the words EP and uninspired. You have challenged that other songs were acceptable as prophetic exceptions if I'm understanding you correctly. Yet how can we expect to find a non-inspired example in the Bible when the Bible itself is inspired?

We know that we are to praise God and we know that not all praise is inspired. We are to sing praises to God (Psalm 9:11). But you assume that to sing praises means to sing Psalms, when Psalms are a subset of praise, not praise a subset of Psalms. Again, this has not been proven, though I can prove that done praise is not inspired.

All this to say, I don't need to prove anything since EP has not even been proven as a rule. Scripture describes praise much more comprehensibly than you allow in your singing.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
You have not proven that anyone in scripture was EP. You have speculated such. Hab. 3:19 says "to the chief musician" as the headings in the Psalms say. The LXX calls the song of Habakkuk an "ode" if memory serves. It seems Habakkuk was not EP. Conjecture does not equal proof. When we point to examples of the singing of other songs than the Psalms in the Bible, EP cry something to the effect of "exception!" But can these be proven exceptions when scripture does not set EP as the rule? Perhaps what are called exceptions are better understood as the rule!

But let's accept the (unproven) premise that temple worship was EP. Many other practices of temple worship were done away with in Christ. How can it be proven that temple worship that established EP (in contrast to prior approval of singing other songs) was not also done away in Christ, thus again being inclusive (IP)?

Furthermore, you have been bouncing between the words EP and uninspired. You have challenged that other songs were acceptable as prophetic exceptions if I'm understanding you correctly. Yet how can we expect to find a non-inspired example in the Bible when the Bible itself is inspired?

We know that we are to praise God and we know that not all praise is inspired. We are to sing praises to God (Psalm 9:11). But you assume that to sing praises means to sing Psalms, when Psalms are a subset of praise, not praise a subset of Psalms. Again, this has not been proven, though I can prove that done praise is not inspired.

All this to say, I don't need to prove anything since EP has not even been proven as a rule. Scripture describes praise much more comprehensibly than you allow in your singing.
Quick question:
In your view, what songs could be brought before God as worship in the OT period?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Additionally, we can say with baptism, "prove that infants we baptized in the NT." We Presbyterians can say that the household likely had infants, but it can not be proven. If our hermeneutic dismissed the OT examples because they are OT, we would all be Baptists if we applied the same criteria of proof by example. We might also meet for worship on Saturday.

The arguments that necessitate a NT example when we have OT examples who were not EP seems like a kind of Reformed dispensationalism.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
What do you mean by this exactly? You don't need to prove anything unless the opposite side proves their point first?
I believe EP is a man-made position. Without proof of EP, I don't need to defend it when the Bible simply tells us to sing praises. In Col. 3:16, the point seems clear that the three words are mentioned to speak comprehensively of praise, not exclusively of Psalms which is more aligned to our OT example of singing praises.

I have a busy few days, so I probably won't contribute much more to the thread.

Blessings!
 

Regi Addictissimus

Completely sold out to the King
@Tom Hart I am not sure if you saw my previous post. I am taking a break from this discussion. First let me clarify something. I never argued for singing man-made hymns. I only provided data showing the early Church wrote hymns and extra-biblical Psalms to correct a false statement that was made. My hangup is the fact that there are other songs in the Scriptures. At this moment, I am quite convinced that Paul has hymns in his Epistles. I am not covering new ground with this view. There have been countless scholarly articles and commentaries on the Pauline Christological Hymns. This leads me to be persuaded that Paul has more in mind than the Psalms when he wrote "hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual songs" a few verses later.
For me, if I only sang Psalms the rest of my days, my heart would be overflowing with joy. As I stated previously, my wife and I exclusively sing Psalms in our family worship. I take no offense to those that hold to EP. I admire EP's dedication to the Scriptures. Now, I am done in this discussion. Continue fighting the good fight, brother.
 
Last edited:

Alan D. Strange

Puritan Board Senior
My position on this is no secret (especially since I am a general editor of a Psalter Hymnal), so I shan't link to writings of mine linked here before or re-argue points that I've argued here or elsewhere.

One thing here does rather surprise me, however, and I've not discussed it here (though I have elsewhere). Jesus Christ appears in the OT exclusively in typical form (WCF 7.5) and only "under the gospel" is Christ "held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy" (WCF 7.6). Expressions of several in this discussion, if I read them rightly, have tended to downplay this and speak as if reference to our Lord in His Incarnation is as explicit in OT times as NT.

If I've read this rightly, this is a misguided approach to redemptive history and biblical theology. Is Christ in the Psalms? Of course, and we rejoice in that! Bryan Estelle, our Hebraist for the TPH, is revising an essay on that to be published on our website (in progress). But to speak as if our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in the OT with the explicitness that belongs only to the anti-type in the NT is not correct and threatens to "level out" all of redemptive history and take away the vital development that we see therein (and in which we glory!).

Again, maybe I misread some of you, though having looked again at some responses, I see a tendency to flatten out redemptive historical development that neither the Reformed more broadly nor the Puritans more narrowly embraced.

Peace,
Alan
 
Last edited:

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
My position on this is no secret (especially since I am a general editor of a Psalter Hymnal), so I shan't link to writings of mine linked here before or re-argue points that I've argued here or elsewhere.

One thing here does rather surprise me, however, and I've not discussed it here (though I have elsewhere). Jesus Christ appears in the OT exclusively in typical form (WCF 7.5) and only "under the gospel" is Christ "held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy" (WCF 7.6). Expressions of several in this discussion, if I read them rightly, have tended to downplay this and speak as if reference to our Lord in His Incarnation is as explicit in OT times as NT.

If I've read this rightly, this is a misguided approach to redemptive history and biblical theology. Is Christ in the Psalms? Of course, and we rejoice in that! Bryan Estelle, our Hebraist for the TPH, is revising an essay on that to be published on our website (in progress). But to speak as if our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in the OT with the explicitness that belongs only to the anti-type in the NT is not correct and threatens to "level out" all of redemptive history and take away the vital development that we see therein (and in which we glory!).

Again, maybe I misread some of you, though having looked again at some responses, I see a tendency to flatten out redemptive historical development that neither the Reformed more broadly nor the Puritans more narrowly embraced.

Peace,
Alan
If I am reading you correctly it is ok to sing hymns over psalms? I am sorry I am not up to your view, in that if I am not mistaken their are some involved in the Psalter Hymnal who are EP :) Now again if I read your post correctly, are you in agreement with the RPW, and if so I am curious where in scripture is that justification? :)
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
My position on this is no secret (especially since I am a general editor of a Psalter Hymnal), so I shan't link to writings of mine linked here before or re-argue points that I've argued here or elsewhere.

One thing here does rather surprise me, however, and I've not discussed it here (though I have elsewhere). Jesus Christ appears in the OT exclusively in typical form (WCF 7.5) and only "under the gospel" is Christ "held forth in more fullness, evidence, and spiritual efficacy" (WCF 7.6). Expressions of several in this discussion, if I read them rightly, have tended to downplay this and speak as if reference to our Lord in His Incarnation is as explicit in OT times as NT.

If I've read this rightly, this is a misguided approach to redemptive history and biblical theology. Is Christ in the Psalms? Of course, and we rejoice in that! Bryan Estelle, our Hebraist for the TPH, is revising an essay on that to be published on our website (in progress). But to speak as if our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed in the OT with the explicitness that belongs only to the anti-type in the NT is not correct and threatens to "level out" all of redemptive history and take away the vital development that we see therein (and in which we glory!).

Again, maybe I misread some of you, though having looked again at some responses, I see a tendency to flatten out redemptive historical development that neither the Reformed more broadly nor the Puritans more narrowly embraced.

Peace,
Alan
I'm confused, what do you preach on when you preach Is. 53?
 

EvanVK

Puritan Board Freshman
Please excuse my density, but I'm not following...
Sorry, I thought you were trying to be ironic but apparently you were serious when you said EP is man-made. I enjoyed the irony of someone calling EP 'man-made' who is espousing man-made songs to be included in worship. It just struck me as amusing for some reason. Carry on. :cheers2:
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Sorry, I thought you were trying to be ironic but apparently you were serious when you said EP is man-made. I enjoyed the irony of someone calling EP 'man-made' who is espousing man-made songs to be included in worship. It just struck me as amusing for some reason. Carry on. :cheers2:
Hahaha, got it now. :) EP = man-made mandate.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top