What are Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by MLCOPE2, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. Types of Psalms in the Psalter

    31 vote(s)
  2. Categories of songs

    46 vote(s)
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  1. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    It seems that one of the disagreements between EPers and nonEPers is based on Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 regarding whether or not Paul is addressing types of psalms or categories of songs.

    The purpose of this thread is two-fold: 1) A poll to determine which of the views you believe to be valid, and 2) to discuss why you believe your view is exegetically valid.

    *This is not intended to be a debate but a discussion (positive affirmations only please :))*
  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  3. markkoller

    markkoller Puritan Board Freshman

    found here Special Exegesis by McNaugher
  4. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    A third option would be a threefold repetition akin to "iniquity and transgression and sin" (e.g. Exodus 34:7) or "signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds" (e.g. 2 Cor. 12:12) or "the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments" (e.g. Deut. 6:1, 7:11), just to name a few.
  5. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    From the OPC Q&A web site:
    There is another argument: We are commanded to preach the Word. It is essentially part of the Regulative Principle. Yet my sermons, quoting from the inspired Word, are not inspired. Why, then, must that heightened expression of worship - singing the praises of God - be limited to the Old Covenant Psalter?
    I know the answer given by the exclusivists - Ephesians 5:19 and its parallel in Colossians 3:16. Covenanters argue that those three words, "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," are all used in the Septuagint with reference to inspired writings. Is argumentation from this translation of the O.T. valid? The New Testament writers knew this translation and quoted from it. But in its translating it was far from faithful to the Masoretic text. Furthermore, as in English, so in Hebrew, words often change in meaning through usage over time.
    I have an old commentary on Colossians by Bishop J. B. Lightfoot, dated 1879, which deals with Col. 3:16 at some length. Let me quote him on those three words. He quotes from some ancient writers and concludes: "In other words, while the leading idea of 'psalmos' is a musical accompaniment and that of 'umnos' praise to God, 'ode' is a general word for a song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or of another subject. Thus it was quite possible for the same song to be at once 'psalmos,' 'umnos' and 'ode'. In the text the reference in 'psalmois' (plural of 'psalmos'), we may suppose, is specially, though not exclusively (1 Cor. 14:26), to the Psalms of David, which early would form part of the religious worship of the Christian brotherhood. On the other hand, 'umnos would more appropriately designate those hymns of praise that were composed by the Christians themselves on distinctly Christian themes, being either set forms of words or spontaneous effusions of the moment. The third word 'odais' gathers up the other two, and extends the precept to all forms of song, with the limitation however that they must be spiritual ('pneumatikai')." I've used English letters to convey the Greek words. I've put them originally and finally in quotes since e-mail does not allow italics). I think, from Lightfoot's scholarly comments, that using these three Greek words to prove exclusive psalmody on the basis of their use in the Septuagint is rushing to a questionable conclusion.
  6. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    That bumper music wasn't EP.
  7. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    "Before we consider the question of how these passages relate to public worship, we first will consider the question “what does Paul mean by psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?” This question is very important, for many advocates of uninspired hymnody (who claim to adhere to the regulative principle) point to this passage as proof that uninspired hymns are permitted in public worship by God. When examining passages such as Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, one should not make the common mistake of importing our modern meaning or usage of a word, such as hymn, into what Paul wrote over nineteen hundred years ago. When a person hears the word hymn today, he immediately thinks of the extra-biblical non-inspired hymns found in the pews of most churches. The only way to really determine what Paul meant by “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” is to determine how these terms were used by Greek-speaking Christians in the first century.

    When interpreting religious terminology used by Paul in his epistles, there are certain rules of interpretation which should be followed. First, the religious thinking and world view of the apostles was essentially from the Old Testament and Jesus Christ, not Greek heathenism. Therefore, when Paul discusses doctrine or worship, the first place to look for help in understanding religious terms is the Old Testament. We often find Hebrew expressions or terms expressed in koine Greek. Second, we must keep in mind that the churches that Paul founded in Asia consisted of converted Jews, Gentile proselytes to Old Testament Judaism (God-fearers), and Gentile pagans. These churches had a Greek version of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. When Paul expressed Old Testament ideas to a Greek-speaking audience, he would use the religious terminology of the Septuagint. If the terms hymns (humnois) and spiritual songs (odais pheumatikais) were defined within the New Testament, then looking to the Septuagint for the meaning of these words would be unnecessary. Given the fact, however, that these terms are rarely used in the New Testament and cannot be defined within their immediate context apart from a knowledge of the Old Testament, it would be exegetically irresponsible to ignore how these words are used in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament.

    When we examine the Septuagint, we find that the terms psalm (psalmos), hymn (humnos), and song (odee) used by Paul clearly refer to the Old Testament book of Psalms and not to ancient or modern uninspired hymns or songs." (Exclusive Psalmody: A biblical Defense, Brian Schwertley)

    ---------- Post added at 04:46 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:45 PM ----------

    Bushell writes:
    Psalmos occurs some 87 times in the Septuagint, some 78 of which are in the Psalms themselves, and 67 times in the psalm titles. It also forms the title to the Greek version of the psalter. Humnos occurs some 17 times in the Septuagint, 13 of which are in the Psalms, six times in the titles. In 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Chronicles and Nehemiah there are some 16 examples in which the Psalms are called ‘hymns’ (humnoi) or ‘songs’ (odai) and the singing of them is called ‘hymning’ (humneo, humnodeo, humnesis). Odee occurs some 80 times in the Septuagint, 45 of which are in the Psalms, 36 in the Psalm titles.[19]

    In twelve Psalm titles we find both psalm and song; and, in two others we find psalm and hymn. “Psalm seventy-six is designated ‘psalm, hymn and song.’ And at the end of the first seventy two psalms we read ‘the hymns of David the son of Jesse are ended’ (Ps. 72:20). In other words, there is no more reason to think that the Apostle referred to psalms when he said ‘psalms,’ than when he said ‘hymns’ and ‘songs,’ for all three were biblical terms for (the) psalms in the book of psalms itself.”[20] To ignore how Paul’s audience would have understood these terms and how these terms are defined by the Bible; and then instead to import non-biblical modern meanings into these terms is exegetical malpractice.

    ---------- Post added at 04:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:46 PM ----------

    Bushell also says:One of the most common objections against the idea that in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 Paul is speaking of the book of Psalms is that it would be absurd for apostle to say, “sing psalms, psalms, and psalms.” This objection fails to consider the fact that a common literary method among the ancient Jews was to use a triadic form of expression to express an idea, act, or object. The Bible contains many examples of triadic expression. For example: Exodus 34:7—“iniquity and transgression and sin”; Deuteronomy 5:31 and 6:1—“commandments and statutes and judgements”; Matthew 22:37—“with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (cf. Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27); Acts 2:22—“miracles and wonders and signs”; Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16—“psalms and hymns and spiritual song.” “The triadic distinction used by Paul would be readily understood by those familiar with their Hebrew OT Psalter or the Greek Septuagint, where the Psalm titles are differentiated psalms, hymns, and songs. This interpretation does justice to the analogy of Scripture, i.e., Scripture is its own best interpreter.
  8. nwink

    nwink Puritan Board Sophomore

    Col 3:16 "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."

    My question for non-EPers...would it really be right to teach or admonish another Christian with the words of a modern hymn or a praise song? I think this verse also implies that one way we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us is through the singing of His Word.
  9. Tripel

    Tripel Puritan Board Senior

    Certainly. Just as we can be taught and admonished with the words of Augustine, Calvin, Spurgeon, Schaeffer, etc
  10. nwink

    nwink Puritan Board Sophomore

    That's where we differ. If Spurgeon wrote a song that can be Biblically proven to be in error, is it ok for the elders to allow the congregation to sing that song? Should the elders allow the congregation to be taught and admonished/corrected while they take man-composed hymns/music in their hearts during corporate worship and sing those to the Lord?
  11. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    How loudly should one sing the Psalms?
  12. markkoller

    markkoller Puritan Board Freshman

    From W.W. Barr, The Psalms and Their Use

  13. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    Piercing screams are preferred. ;)
  14. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    Indeed! However, I hope the RPW proscribes any Banshee wailing (for seekers and all) :lol:
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Yes it was. EP has to do with worship on the Sabbath. It wasn't intended for Sabbath worship.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  16. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    This seems like an invalid argument. To say that when the writers of scripture used the Septuagint they were using a less than faithful translation is saying that the Holy Spirit erred in transmitting truth through the Septuagint to the new testament authors. This doesn't hold water. While it is true that the Septuagint is not the most faithful translation of the Masoretic text it is also true that when the new testament authors used sections of it in the writing of scripture (as they often did) those parts were 100% faithful to what God said.
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    That's not really correct. Even if these texts are interpreted as referring to categories of songs they still do not provide a warrant to compose songs to be sung in corporate worship. The exclusive aspect of the EP argument depends entirely on the restrictive nature of the regulative principle.
  18. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I agree. The question then becomes is Paul quoting the Septuagint at this point?
  19. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I don't think it is held that Paul is quoting the Septuagint, but that the use of the word "hymn" in the Septuagint is a more reliable indicator of what the word meant to Paul and his audience than the modern definition of the English term.
  20. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    I don't quite follow. If a hymn or a spiritual song refers to something other than a psalm (of a different category than psalm), then it does in fact warrant the use of non-inspired songs in worship (that is, unless, some other inspired song book exists outside the psalter which is titled "Hymns and Spiritual Songs"). I don't believe that is what Paul is referring to here. I believe that this is in reference to the psalter, but if it isn't (which has yet to be shown by proper exegesis) then a case can be made for the use of uninspired hymns/songs in worship.
  21. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Unaware as I was of the nature of this thread - I started my own on the same subject. I am happy to abandon my own thread, and post here. The below is what I wrote:

    In observing the discussions that go on concerning the topic of Exclusive Psalmody the emphasis on both sides (at least from a Reformed perspective) is that of the Regulative Principle of Worship. But what appears to me is that what is really being debated is the interpretation of certain passages in the Scriptures.

    Therefore, instead of discussing the application of the Regulative Principle of Worship, I would like to take a different track. To discuss the interpretation of various passages in Scripture concerning Exclusive Psalmody to see if such an understanding is Biblical. In order to do this we all need to be on the same page concerning the principles of the interpretation of Scripture. Thus, I would ask all who would respond here to submit to the Westminster Confession (or London Baptist Confession) which says:

    Thus, the question is posed to both EP and Non-EP'ers alike - How do you define your understanding of the passages in question from the Scriptures?

    Ephesians 5:19: Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

    How does the Bible define the bold above? Psalms? Hymns? and Spiritual Songs?

    I think that we all would agree that the word "Psalms" means the Book of Psalms? Those who may disagree will have to explain why such is not the case.

    The heart of the matter is this word found in the Scriptures called "Hymns." How does the Bible define the word?

    I will put forth one argument that I believe is compelling concerning the interpretation of this word, "Hymns."

    In the Greek the word that Paul uses here, and in Colossians 3:16, is the word "ὕμνοις" transliterated "humnois." The word is used in the New Testament in only two passages - here in Ephesians, and there in Colossians. So we are at an impasse concerning the interpretation of the passage.

    (In Mt 26:30 and Mark 14:26 the verb form is used "ὑμνήσαντες" hymnesantes in which all commentators - EP and non-EP alike - claim that Jesus and His disciples were singing exclusively from the Psalter - what is called the "Egyptian Hallel" - Psalms 113-118.)

    We can, however, look at how the word, "ὕμνοις" is used in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (called the Septuagint, or, LXX). In doing so, we can come to an understanding of how the Hebrew words were commonly understood by those who translated them into Greek.

    There are 18 uses of the word "ὕμνοις" in the Greek translation of the LXX. Sixteen of them are found in the Psalms. A sampling of them would be:

    2 Ch 7:6, ...ἔλεος αὐτοῦ ἐν ὕμνοις Δαυιδ... "mercy of Him in the hymns of David..."

    Here we find that the Church was singing exclusively the hymns that David wrote.

    Neh 12:46, ...ᾀδόντων καὶ ὕμνον καὶ αἴνεσιν τῷ θεῷ... "sing a hymn of praise to God..."

    They sang "hymns of praise to God" given to them by David and Asaph.

    Ps 39:4, ...καινόν ὕμνον τῷ θεῷ... "a new hymn to God."

    This is often interpreted in an eschatological sense - that is - that these "new hymns" are the new songs sung by the Church today - "Amazing Grace", "And Can It Be", etc... However, the accusative singular found here, as well as the context, lends the interpretation of the phrase "new hymn" to be the Psalm itself. That is, what the Psalmist is singing is the "new song/hymn." This is evident in the other uses of "new song" so I will pass on from here.

    Ps 71:20, ἐξέλιπον οἱ ὕμνοι Δαυιδ τοῦ υἱοῦ Ιεσσαι, "this ends the hymns of David the son of Jesse."

    The Psalter here is referred to as the "hymns of David."

    Ps 75:1, εἰς τὸ τέλος ἐν ὕμνοις ψαλμὸς τῷ Ασαφ ᾠδὴ πρὸς τὸν Ἀσσύριον, "in the end the hymns, psalms of Asaph songs with the (harp?)"

    Here we have all three classifications that Paul uses in Ephesians and Colossians - "hymns, psalms, and songs (odes)." The three terms here specifically refer to the Psalter.

    Is 42:10, ὑμνήσατε τῷ κυρίῳ ὕμνον καινόν ἡ ἀρχὴ αὐτοῦ δοξάζετε τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἀπ᾽ ἄκρου τῆς γῆς... "Sing to the Lord a new hymn in the beginning of Him and Praise the name of Him to the ends of the earth..."

    Here is an eschatological reference wherein Isaiah is foreseeing the Gentiles will sing the praises of God just as the Israelites. The Gentiles will come into the same salvation as the Jews, vs 6, then they will also posses the same songs, vs 10. It is a new thing for the Gentiles to do so, because the oracles of God were given only to Israel, and, the "new hymns" were also the peculiar treasure of the Jews. However, in the New Testament the praise of God is opened up to the Gentiles, and now they partake of the praises of God in the Psalter. Before, the Jews were unable to sing God's praise in a strange land, Ps 137:2-4. But, now, in the New Testament, the songs of Holy praise and joy will be sung to the ends of the earth.

    I find there are interpretative difficulties in trying to understand the term "hymns" as used by Paul in his epistles to mean anything other than the Psalms of David. One could even look at 1 Corinthians 14:26 and see that "hymns" and "songs" are included in the word "Psalm."

    The challenge, then, is for the non-EP group to come up with an interpretation of the passages in question without assuming the modern day understanding of the term "hymn." But, instead, showing that the 1st Century Christians understood the term as not being the Psalter.

    I look forward to an interesting discussion.


    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  22. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    What about Dr. Pratt's take on the RPW?

    The Regulative Principle
    by Dr. Richard L. Pratt, Jr.
    The regulative principle is currently the subject of no small controversy in Reformed circles. Some Reformed thinkers and churches have appealed to it to bar the use of contemporary praise songs in public worship, some to insist on the use of Psalms only, and some even to eliminate musical instruments. Partially in response to this, others have determined that the regulative principle is unbiblical, and that it should be abandoned altogether.

    I would like to suggest that all these viewpoints are incorrect. The regulative principle is quite biblical, if it is properly understood and applied. Unfortunately, today it is very often misunderstood and misapplied, such as by those who would use it to prohibit the use of modern praise songs or of instruments.

    I think it is helpful to conceive of the regulative principle in terms of the following various emphases:
    1. Worship was more tightly regulated by Old Testament Law than were many other areas of life. This gives credibility to the belief that we should be more concerned with specific scriptural teachings regarding worship than we should about its statements on other areas of life such as car mechanics, grocery shopping, etc. Thus, the motivation behind the regulative principle is correct.

    2. The Westminster Confession of Faith 21.1 provides a very common statement of the regulative principle:

    “The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by
    Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be
    worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the
    suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way
    not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.”

    The word “prescribed” has frequently led to the types of narrow assertions listed above, i.e., that we ought not to sing songs other than the Psalms or to use musical instruments in worship. A more helpful formulation of the regulative principle is: “We must have positive biblical support for all that we do in worship.” This formulation keeps us from a Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, or other model. But it also acknowledges the hermeneutical complexities of deriving directives for worship from the Bible.

    3. The regulative principle was developed primarily: a) to exclude Roman Catholic idolatry from worship; and b) to protect the liberty of conscience against the enforcement of Anglican liturgical orders. These two concerns are just as relevant today as they were when the regulative principle was developed — we must continue to reject idolatry and to protect liberty of conscience.

    4. To apply the regulative principle appropriately today, we cannot simply repeat the way it was applied in earlier centuries. Rather, we must identify the idols and attacks on liberty of conscience that are present among our churches today. This will differ from church to church and from time to time. One of the principles which the Reformation embraced was ecclesia semper reformanda est — the church is always reforming. This means that we cannot represent the Reformed tradition without re-presenting it. Simply to repeat it is not to represent it at all.

    5. What idols do we have in our churches today? Each church must answer this question with sincere self-evaluation. It is worth noting in this regard that our modern churches frequently employ five popular models which involve much idolatry. Evangelicals tend to reduce the throne room experience of worship to: a) a classroom for learning; b) a family reunion for mutual encouragement; c) a welcome wagon for visitors and seekers; d) a therapist’s couch for psychological healing; and/or e) a variety show for entertainment. None of these models is entirely wrong, but when any of these becomes the central model for worship, it also becomes idolatrous.

    In many Reformed churches today, the idol is intellectualism. We turn worship into a classroom for learning. This emphasis on intellect was appropriate in earlier historical periods, and may become necessary again some day. But just as Hezekiah destroyed Moses’ bronze serpent because it became and idol, we must destroy the tendency toward intellectualism that has become an idol in worship for many of us. There are other worship idols as well, and these must become the focus of our attention as we apply the regulative principle today.

    6. What are the attacks on liberty of conscience in worship today? It is difficult to identify such attacks today because we have so much freedom to choose between one church or another. Conscience can be followed in the situations in which most of us find ourselves today. Ironically, perhaps the closest thing in Reformed circles to the Anglican book of prayer is the insistence of some on particular practices such as Psalm singing. The biblical support for insisting that Psalms be sung (and sometimes exclusively) in every worship service is weak to say the least. In effect, it reflects the convictions of some being forced on others. This violates the regulative principle, and must be rejected in the spirit of the reformation.

    It is time for those devoted to continuing the Reformation to revive commitment to the regulative principle. The regulative principle has characterized our tradition for centuries, and we must stop yielding exclusive claim to it to those who have idealized its past applications. We should move forward by applying it in new ways so that we may worship God in the Spirit and in truth
  23. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    This offers no exegetical response to the passages in question.
  24. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    I can't see how Dr. Pratt's description and analysis of the RPW makes any sense in parts.

    He writes this,

    "I would like to suggest that all these viewpoints are incorrect. The regulative principle is quite biblical, if it is properly understood and applied. Unfortunately, today it is very often misunderstood and misapplied, such as by those who would use it to prohibit the use of modern praise songs or of instruments."

    So in essence the RPW is Biblical, however it is being misapplied today. Well that's a possibility for sure - even good principles can be misapplied out of zeal, etc..

    He says the RPW is biblical when properly understood and applied, unfortunately to him it appears the Westminster Divines and Reformers who championed it neither properly understood nor applied it properly because, de facto, they did exclude non-inspired [modern] songs and instruments.What he terms as current "misapplications" were de facto the RPW developers' "applications".

    While it is possible that they got the principle right and applied it wrongly, is it likely, were they so dim? Or, in truth if we define the RPW and its application a la Pratt, are we really talking about the same RPW as the historically held RPW at all? Do we not in fact have a different principle?

    Why does he say the principle is being misunderstood and misapplied "today"? If he is correct the RPW has never been properly understood until now not even by those who formalized it in the confessions!

    He says in conclusion that we should "revive" commitment to the RPW - but do so by essentially ignoring how it has been applied in the past by the Reformed churches. Given the historic way in which the RPW was applied and his rejection of it, is he not in fact concluding that we should "replace" it? I can understand that a new situation may arise that require it to be augmented or its applications changed slighty, I just can't see how you can go from "x application" to "non-x application" and still have the same principle lying behind those applications, which is what he is surely suggesting. The RPW has clearly been specifically applied in the ways he says it should not be specifically applied. How is rejecting the former application with opposite applications reviving the principle and not in fact replacing it with a new principle, surely the two applications are so different, indeed opposed that the underlying principle itself must be different?

    Now everyone is at liberty to create a new principle of worship if they wish, I'm just keen that if they do so that they do not continue to identify it with the historical RPW.
  25. seajayrice

    seajayrice Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sorry. I thought Pratt's hermenutic might add to the discussion with an eye to avoiding eisegesis.
  26. calgal

    calgal Puritan Board Graduate

    Acts 17:10-11 "Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."

    Dr. Pratt was dead on that there is a desire to get away from Catholic practices in the early Reformation. This would bias the findings of fallible men unless you want to elevate the Westminster Divines to the level of prophet. And If you claim Semper Reformanda, why not allow inspired hymns and spiritual songs?
  27. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    No need to be sorry, it made interesting reading.

    I also thought this statement was bizarre, and very surprising from virtually any Reformed theologian.
    There is fully as much biblical support for singing Psalms in every service as there is to sing anything in every service. Sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs at the very least means sing psalms......whatever else it means it means that and I find it bizarre that Pratt would suggest otherwise. These are the two main texts that would give positive warrant for singing in public worship in a New Covenant context and as they give that positive warrant they equally give the same degree of positive warrant at the very least to sing psalms.
  28. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    That same type of argumentation can be taken to any extreme that one wishes: Why not allow women elders? Why not ordain homosexuals? Why not this or that? Semper Reformanda should be in the direction of more pure and biblical worship, not a license for inclusivism.
  29. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    It seems to me that this is the pressing question that needs to be answered if progress is to be made in these discussions.
  30. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the modern day understanding. "Hymn" was one of the best attested words in the Greek speaking world at the time of the New Testament. To virtually every Greek, Roman, or quite frankly, anyone other than a learned Jew well steeped in the LXX (probably less than 0.00000001% of the population) it would mean "ode" or "song" usually with specific reference to Homer, Hesiod, or Pindar. To think otherwise would be like me saying "bacon" and assuming that my entire audience would jump to the conclusion that I meant round slices of ham (as in Canada) instead of strips of bacon.

    Actually, my scenario is probably 100x more likely than the LXX hymn argument.
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