What is the scriptural warrant to confine song in public worship to Psalms only?

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chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Given the context of this passage, wherein a clear sequence of events regarding the cleansing of the temple and the restoration of worship is involved, a recapitulation view of v. 30 is incredible because there is no mention of the sacrifice in the recap.

I would still like to see significant prose passages where the syntax is recapitulative.

You have mustered two commentators who do not see the syntax my way. That's fine. I believe they are wrong, and am willing to engage in a linguistic and exegetical argument to prove it. But I now see that that is not going to happen. If the debate is structured as a massing of authorities (rather than an engagement of the material) such that he who has the largest library wins, I'm not interested. I was eagerly looking forward to this thread because in the other one, you were permitted to merely assume the EP position, and others bore an unrealistic burden. I thought that here, EP would have to make a positive case. Instead, I see that EP is still permitted as an assumption that governs the interpretation of any and all verses. I'm not interested in continuing such a debate, as a) it does not submit to the request of the OP, and b) it sheds no light on the strength of the EP position. I entered these debates because I was new to the very concept of EP, and wanted to see the argument worked out to assist me in my own thinking. I suppose that in a sense I got what I came for.
So, thanks.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
In light of Pastor Brooking's post, are there any EP proponents who would like to interact with the OP? This has been entirely a "one-man stand" for the whole thread, which I'm sure can be quite tiring.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Waiting until one more knowledgeable jumps into the thread, I will take another stab at the OP to see what a different perspective does. This is an overly simple argument, but I think has the potential to take us right up to the door step of the EP position. If one disagrees with the following propositions, let's start there.

1. I think I do not have to attempt to prove the PRW; I am assuming that this will be largely taken for granted as the interpretation here. If one disagrees at this point, then the EP discussion is wholly fruitless. Thus, fundamental axiom: All elements in worship need a positive command in scripture; that which is circumstantial thereunto (e.g., time and place of worship, etc.) is left to be governed (not capriciously) but in accordance with the light of nature. That which lacks positive command is not to be performed.

2. None will question that we are commanded to sing; this is plain and evident.

3. Also, I don't think any will question that we are commanded to sing psalms; ergo, whatever one currently thinks about Exclusive psalmody, do any disagree with the fact that we are nevertheless required to sing the canonical psalms? This, I think, is an important thing to note: confessionally speaking, it seems there are only two (potentially) allowable positions -- Exclusive Psalmody, and Inclusive Psalmody; I don't think "Absolutely-No-Psalmody" could be justifiable. Although I am sure I am about to find out from a very learned and godly pastor here that they, indeed, do so practice; in which case, I welcome the correction.

4. Therefore, unless we argue that there are two distinct elements of worship -- a.) the singing of psalms, and b.) the singing of other things (both of which must be done) -- then we arrive at the conclusion that, at least in some manner, the content of song does fall under the purview of the RPW.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you, Paul, for a very clear presentation of the position.

Would you mind clarifying one minor point -- it may become quite significant:

Do all elements of worship require a positive command, or would (scripturally) historical precedent suffice? That is, must we limit our evidence to the didactic material of the Bible, or could we accept the actions of the church in the Bible as exemplary?

As to the case you build, I'm not sure that I can follow you to the conclusion (therefore of #4) you draw. 1) We have particular inspired content for public prayer given. 2) Public prayer is not limited to that which is inspired. 3) And yet we do not divide between these two things and say we have two separate elements of worship: inspired prayer and uninspired prayer. Why must song be different?
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Clark,

Can you provide an example of an element based upon precedent? I would be hesitant to answer yes or no without more specific information.

What you say about prayer not being divided into two different elements is good; I should certainly have spoken more accurately. Re: prayer, I tend to agree with many of the puritans that the Lord's Prayer is not a set form for public service, but is rather a rubric to direct us how to pray; for there are many other things in scripture which we are clearly commanded to pray for, not being directly spoken to in the Lord's Prayer, except perhaps in summary form. I do not want to develop these thoughts too far, so as not to lose the narrow focus of the thread; but we are commanded to pray for the things contained in the Lord's prayer, and for other specific items as well: I don't have problems with this objection in my own mind since I do not see the Lord's prayer as a set form, but rather a perfect example.

Just so to help me understand where you're coming from (since this specific question is more pertinent to the other thread): do you believe that we are commanded to sing/compose other songs, or just allowed to? In other words, would I be violating the RPW by omitting duties required if I did not compose/sing new songs?
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Off the top of my head, I can think of precedent for the sermon, but not an explicit command to explain and apply the text for the congregation. Again, this is just off the top of my head. I could well be wrong here. Do you know of such a command?

On the Lord's Prayer, I agree with you that it is set forth primarily as an exemplar. After all, Matt 6:9 tells us to pray "like this" (οὑτως -- in this manner). Luk 11:2, on the other hand, tells us "When you pray, say ..." which certainly at the very least permits a liturgical use, In my humble opinion. The WLC is of the same opinion:

Q. 187. How is the Lord's prayer to be used?
A. The Lord's prayer is not only for direction, as a pattern, according to which we are to make other prayers; but may also be used as a prayer, so that it be done with understanding, faith, reverence, and other graces necessary to the right performance of the duty of prayer.
I would definitely be arguing for permissibility only -- the non-EP position of the other thread would have to be successful in order to argue for obligation. I don't believe they will be able to definitively muster such a case. Do please bear in mind as well, as I've tried to announce throughout this discussion, I'm new to the concept of EP, and am working through this matter in my own mind. I'm not taking this position so much out of conviction ... yet. I'm wrestling through the issues. That's why I very much appreciated the way you set forth your case.

I agree about not letting the prayer thing get us off topic. I only raised it as an example that seemed to work against the semi-sylogistic way you set forth your case. If it can be used as an inspired liturgical prayer, and yet not all public prayer is inspired, and yet we don't divide the two and consider them different elements, then I don't see why we should be forced to that bifurcation in the case of song.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
or at least could have been uninspired.
Facts only please. We know for a fact (1) that the Psalms were appointed to be sung in worship, and (2) that the Psalms are inspired. Unless it can be demonstrated that songs of an uninspired nature were employed by the OT church then exclusive inspired psalmody is established.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Regarding the sermon, Christ indeed commanded his ministers to teach (Matt. 28:20), and these apostles in turn appointed men to teach and watch over the flock (Tit. 1:9, Gal. 6:6, etc); we have the examples of Christ and the apostles as to how this is to be done; also of Ezra, who explained the plain meaning of scripture to the people as a faithful minister. So I would claim that the element itself is not established by example, but that the practical understanding of how the element is done is so established.

I will address the other part of your post a bit later; I have to head for a while, but there are certain things I would like to say in response if you're willing to continue the discussion a bit.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks, that's very helpful. I'll give some thought as to whether there are other elements that seem to be established by precedent rather than command. I can't think of any off the top of my head.

I would certainly like to continue, and don't mind a slow pace. It permits more careful reading and reflection. A quick back and forth, while perhaps more exciting, is a recipe for misunderstanding. Thanks.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Paul,

In the interest of precision, one of the subtopics we are discussing is whether the RPW requires command, or if precedent suffices. I don't think this is really off topic, since the whole matter comes down to the RPW, and we need to clarify something about that principle, as it may be very significant for the debate. I appreciate your references with respect to the sermon, and think them sufficient. I promised to try to think of other examples. I know we have an explicit command for the benediction in Num 6, but what about the salutation (OP DPW 3.4) or the invocation (OP DPW 3.5)? Again, please understand that I'm not being contentious here. I'm trying to learn something. Are there commands for these elements, or are they established by precedent?
Thanks.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Please demonstrate with sound exegesis the validity of this claim.
1. Both Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 are written in the context of inter-relationships between brethren.

2. The statements are concerned with quality of communication between brethren and provide directions as to how this is to be carried out being filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph. 5:18, and with the rich indwelling of the word of Christ, Col. 3:16.

3. The specific actions prescribed in the these passages is "speaking" and "teaching and admonishing." These are not official ministerial actions, but a private duty which believing brethren owe to one another. Hence the context does not directly refer to corporate instituted worship but to everyday Christian service; nevertheless the principle it conveys is no doubt directly applicable to corporate instituted worship where brethren are required to inter-relate and communicate together in specific acts of worship to God.

4. "Psalms, hymns, and songs" do not form the materials which are to be spoken and taught, but the foundation upon which one is to speak and teach. These "psalms, hymns and songs" are the foundation upon which brotherly communication is to be based. It is therefore assumed by the apostle that these "psalms, hymns, and songs" were known to the people to whom he wrote, and that they formed a ready source out of which speech and instruction might flow. He does not tell them to compose "psalms, hymns, and songs," nor to specifically confine their words to these already existing compositions, but simply to speak and instruct in them -- the dative undoubtedly referring to the source of speech rather than to the words to be spoken.

5. As it has been established that the "psalms, hymns, and songs" were already known to the people to whom Paul wrote, it becomes necessary to fix the point of reference. The fact that the combination of three specific words is identical in two different letters to two different churches leads to the conclusion that the combination of terms was a customary way of referring to a body of "hymnodic" literature which was already in use in these churches. The only hymnodic literature which is known to exist amongst the early churches, and which was entitled to be regarded as an authoritative source of instruction, is the Old testament book of Psalms. That the book of Psalms is the point of reference is established by the following facts:

(1.) That the Psalter repeatedly identifies its compositions as "psalms, hymns, and songs."

(2.) The New Testament abounds in references to the Psalms as being [1.] full of the Holy Spirit, and [2.] containing the word of Christ. In fact in the previous chapter of the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul had just quoted Ps. 68 to instruct the Ephesians in the principle that grace has been given to every member of the body of Christ.

(3.) The "psalms, hymns and songs" to which the apostle refers are qualified by the adjective, "spiritual," and in every instance where this adjective is applied to the believer's faith and life it refers to what is given by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual man is a man living and led by the Spirit, a spiritual gift is a gift endowed by the Spirit, a spiritual thing is something which the Spirit teaches, a spiritual sacrifice is a sacrifice provided by the Spirit. There is only one instance in which the word "spiritual" is used to refer to something less than that which belongs to the Holy Spirit, and that is Eph. 6:12, where it is applied to a quality of wickedness which the believer is to struggle against.

(4.) The Book of Psalms is a part of canonical Scripture and the holy Scriptures are the foundation upon which all instruction is to be based in the Christian life, 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

6. The apostle appeals to a certain condition of heart in which brethren are to instruct each other. It is a heart that sings to God with grace. He is not urging them to sing to one another, for the singing is specifically said to be something which is done "in the heart." Rather, he is urging them to speak to one another with the devotional spirit which they employ when they sing in gratitude to God.

7. Having guided them in their every day conversation to speak to and instruct one another "in psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual," and to do so with the same spirit of devotion as when they sing these "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" to God, it is obvious that the ordinary practice of these churches was to sing "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" to God. As it has already been established that the words "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" must refer to the Old Testament Psalter, we are led to the conclusion that these congregations ordinarily sang the Old Testament Psalter in devotion to God.
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would still like to see significant prose passages where the syntax is recapitulative.
Dear brother, you are the one making the objection and are therefore obliged to substantiate your objection. You are required to show that the rule you are invoking has no exceptions in the case to which you are applying it. Given time restraints I don't have the opportunity to compile such a list for such a trivial point. Anyone who has studied any language knows that you don't base a whole theoretical argument on a single grammatical rule, especially when it is understood that all rules have exceptions.

May I ask what you think the "song of the Lord" could be referring to in verse 27, which happens to precede the verse upon which you base your claim for uninspired songs, even though the text makes no such claim?
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
I would still like to see significant prose passages where the syntax is recapitulative.
Dear brother, you are the one making the objection and are therefore obliged to substantiate your objection. You are required to show that the rule you are invoking has no exceptions in the case to which you are applying it. Given time restraints I don't have the opportunity to compile such a list for such a trivial point. Anyone who has studied any language knows that you don't base a whole theoretical argument on a single grammatical rule, especially when it is understood that all rules have exceptions.

May I ask what you think the "song of the Lord" could be referring to in verse 27, which happens to precede the verse upon which you base your claim for uninspired songs, even though the text makes no such claim?
In reverse order, I don't know what the "song of the Lord" is.

On the other matter:

1) I don't think it is a trivial point, since you hung your entire case on a particular understanding of this verse.

2) If we follow your reasoning out, we might as well not bother with linguistic analysis of a passage. After all, we can't apply any rules to understand it, since every rule will have an exceptions. -- And yet you are graciously speaking with me, fully expecting me to apply the rules of grammar in understanding your words. :think:

3) I'm not basing a "whole theoretical argument on a single grammatical rule." Rather, I'm contesting your argument. I'm suggesting that the ordinary rules of Hebrew syntax stand against your interpretation. That would seem to put the burden on you to demonstrate that it is an exception. Since the only thing that drives you to see it as an exception is the EP principle, and since the EP principle is based, per your own argument at the beginning of this thread, on this verse, it seems the only reason it might be taken as an exception is that you want it to be one.

I can appreciate your time constraints. Feel free to disregard my request. I just wanted to see why you interpreted it the way you did, insisting on it being recapitulative.

Rev. Winzer, at times our discussions have gotten to the edge of civility. I most sincerely hope that you do not regard me as just being argumentative. I very much respect your erudition (and your conviction). I simply have not yet been convinced of your position. That is, after all, the purpose of debate. If debate is merely flexing our intellectual muscles, it is worse than useless. I am very much interested in pushing the debate forward for precision and certainty (for my own benefit at the least). I hope you do not mind my pushing you in this way. But I completely understand the need to limit one's time for such a pursuit. As I said to Paul, I don't mind a slower pace to the debate. I actually think it would be more productive.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Clark, I am sorry I don't yet have time to adequately respond to your last post addressed to me; but I assure I will do so when I have time. For now, however, let me pretend to be Rev. Winzer for a moment respecting your last post. If I misrepresent him, I welcome his correction when he is able.

He is not basing his whole case upon the Chronicles passage; it is not a matter of, "We sing Psalms because they sang psalms there." Rather, we find in that passage a representative command for what Hezekiah's reform ordered sung in the public temple worship. Thus, when we acknowledge that content of song falls under the oversight of the RPW, we must look for a place in scripture where an explicit command is given for what to sing; we find one such case here. And because we don't find any other such cases of explicit command in scripture, we thus limit ourselves to this instance.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Paul,
Thanks, and I feel sure Rev. Winzer would approve of your statement. But as the OP asked for scriptural warrant, and the only place from which warrant was offered was here, the position is hanging on this passage (at least in my understanding of the case). In other words, it is clear from other passages that we are to sing. Whether how or what we are to sing is established by this passage or not is what is at issue. If not from this passage, then from which? And if from this passage, then the exegesis of this passage is crucial (only more crucial, perhaps, is the resolution to our sub-point on command vs. precedent).
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
In reverse order, I don't know what the "song of the Lord" is.
It seems to me it would be something worth knowing before settling on a decision with reference to v. 28.

1) I don't think it is a trivial point, since you hung your entire case on a particular understanding of this verse.
Brother, please read my first post again. I was putting forward the case for exclusive psalmody "simply." There was no claim of writing a complete substantiated thesis. 2 Chron. 29 was simply adduced as a proof text to establish what was sung in the OT. Further, it was adduced in connection with 2 Sam 23, which shows the function of David as psalmist of Israel. One may also refer to the Psalms themselves, where the superscriptions commit them to the chief musician. Now, you are liberty to question all this. Fair enough! But let's keep everything in proportion.

I'm suggesting that the ordinary rules of Hebrew syntax stand against your interpretation.
As the questioner you need to demonstrate that. And as the questioner of your question I have already noted that even if your grammatical rule were accepted it does not establish your objection, for the simple reason that verses 29, 30 include repeated actions (to which I have received no response). In other words, I am willing to concede your grammatical interpretation for the sake of the argument because to me it is neither here nor there; it does not prove anything; you cannot prove from it that uninspired songs were employed.

Rev. Winzer, at times our discussions have gotten to the edge of civility. I most sincerely hope that you do not regard me as just being argumentative.
(Please call me Matthew.) I only considered that your were being argumentative on that point of Hebrew grammar, where, from my perspective, it makes no difference. Good discussions push boundaries. I anticipate brethren will challenge one another on points of difference because we are our brother's keeper, and I am thankful we can do so in the spirit of brotherly kindness. I pray it might continue. If I have fallen short of that standard please forgive me. Blessings!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If not from this passage, then from which? And if from this passage, then the exegesis of this passage is crucial (only more crucial, perhaps, is the resolution to our sub-point on command vs. precedent).
Plesase remember that this was part of a cumulative argument, and that the cumulative argument only sought to establish one basic point, which was the inspired quality of song in Old and New Testament.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
I have to admit that you are a master of flipping the onus of proof back upon your opponent :). Whether or not you've legitimately done so or not, I need to ponder. Let me mull over your post for a while before responding.
 

Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Dear Matthew,

Thank you for taking the time to lay this out for us. I, too, appreciate your stamina. While I find your conclusions entirely plausible, and agree with much of what is stated, I will attempt to demonstrate some ways in which I am convinced that it falls short of proof. In my quotes I've left out the points that I think I agree with completely, or where disagreement was not clear enough to bring up - perhaps by my own misunderstanding. The paragraphs below are the ones I've found some disagreement, at least in the nuance of assertions made.

2. The statements are concerned with quality of communication between brethren and provide directions as to how this is to be carried out being filled with the Holy Spirit, Eph. 5:18, and with the rich indwelling of the word of Christ, Col. 3:16.
I admit some confusion here. It's agreed that quality is in view here, but on what basis is mode not? Furthermore, if mode (psalms, hymns and songs) are not in view then how could this be a statement supporting EP? This isn't so much an argument against what's said as a lack of understanding of how it can be applied consistently to the argument.
4. "Psalms, hymns, and songs" do not form the materials which are to be spoken and taught, but the foundation upon which one is to speak and teach. These "psalms, hymns and songs" are the foundation upon which brotherly communication is to be based. It is therefore assumed by the apostle that these "psalms, hymns, and songs" were known to the people to whom he wrote, and that they formed a ready source out of which speech and instruction might flow. He does not tell them to compose "psalms, hymns, and songs," nor to specifically confine their words to these already existing compositions, but simply to speak and instruct in them -- the dative undoubtedly referring to the source of speech rather than to the words to be spoken.
There seems to be a leap here. On what do you base the statement that it is the foundation and not materials? Perhaps defining what you mean by "materials" and "foundation" would be helpful. It would seem that "material" would fit your position better if you claim that the material is the psalms themselves. Based on this assertion it is then asserted that Paul "assumed" something. On what grounds? How can we assume that these "psalms, hymns and songs" were already known? Does the text SAY that? By your final sentence in this paragraph, are you saying that the dative undoubtedly is referring to this speech having as its source the Holy Spirit? Or, are you saying that, in order for the Ephesians to teach their brothers these songs they must have existed already? I hadn't thought of that nuance before. It's possible, but seems unlikely because of the nuance of "speaking," not instruction or teaching so much as speaking, uttering, telling, etc (though it is used for preaching on occasion).
5. As it has been established that the "psalms, hymns, and songs" were already known to the people to whom Paul wrote, it becomes necessary to fix the point of reference. The fact that the combination of three specific words is identical in two different letters to two different churches leads to the conclusion that the combination of terms was a customary way of referring to a body of "hymnodic" literature which was already in use in these churches. The only hymnodic literature which is known to exist amongst the early churches, and which was entitled to be regarded as an authoritative source of instruction, is the Old testament book of Psalms. That the book of Psalms is the point of reference is established by the following facts:
This is where it comes across as if a possibility is stacked on a possibility resulting in a plausibility being presented as proof. This is quite possible. But the OP demands Scriptural proof. I don't see how it has been established that the Ephesians already knew the words to all of these. To base further argumentation on this premise appears to build on a shifting foundation. Furthermore, why must this refer to a "body of hymnodic literature" rather than three well known forms of worship? It doesn't take a large amount of exegetical prowess to discover that pslams, hymns and songs/odes have differing nuances and therefore Paul's command here may very well refer to psalms that exist, hymns that exist and a type of song that is spiritual in nature. Spiritual here does not necessarily sweep all three nouns. It most naturally includes songs and only songs, but very well may include the others. The nature of "songs" is such that they could easily included cultic songs, necessitating Paul to limit them to songs of a spiritual nature. This understanding fits nicely with the context of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Even if my understanding is somehow faulty, it does point to an insufficiency in proving EP from this passage for the burden remains on the EP position. It can also be asserted, because of the nature of the word "songs," that other forms of lyrical composition than Psalms may be in view here. I'm not asserting that here, merely pointing it out as it appears to make this passage useless in proving the EP position.
(3.) The "psalms, hymns and songs" to which the apostle refers are qualified by the adjective, "spiritual," and in every instance where this adjective is applied to the believer's faith and life it refers to what is given by the Holy Spirit. A spiritual man is a man living and led by the Spirit, a spiritual gift is a gift endowed by the Spirit, a spiritual thing is something which the Spirit teaches, a spiritual sacrifice is a sacrifice provided by the Spirit. There is only one instance in which the word "spiritual" is used to refer to something less than that which belongs to the Holy Spirit, and that is Eph. 6:12, where it is applied to a quality of wickedness which the believer is to struggle against.
Incidentally, TDNT has an incredible write up on this, if anyone is interested. Be prepared to invest some time though (the section on the adjective is short though).
As mentioned above, "spiritual" more naturally is identifying with "songs." It can include the others, but cannot be offered as proof that it does because the Greek is not clear on this. Therefore if, as I have asserted above, it is only "songs" that are considered spiritual, it fits well within both the context of the text and the culture to make this distinction. Only those filled with the Spirit are equipped to discern "spiritual songs" from worldly songs. On this note, all that is necessary is the admission that my assertion is possible. If it is then, as noted, this verse is not suitable for proof of the EP position. Of course, bringing the RPW in puts more emphasis on showing what is commanded, rather than what is not. I'll address this further below.
6. The apostle appeals to a certain condition of heart in which brethren are to instruct each other. It is a heart that sings to God with grace. He is not urging them to sing to one another, for the singing is specifically said to be something which is done "in the heart." Rather, he is urging them to speak to one another with the devotional spirit which they employ when they sing in gratitude to God.
I included this because I didn't see how it was a necessary statement in the discussion. I find that I agree with it, but wondered if I missed something. Clarity?
7. Having guided them in their every day conversation to speak to and instruct one another "in psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual," and to do so with the same spirit of devotion as when they sing these "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" to God, it is obvious that the ordinary practice of these churches was to sing "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" to God. As it has already been established that the words "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" must refer to the Old Testament Psalter, we are led to the conclusion that these congregations ordinarily sang the Old Testament Psalter in devotion to God.
They very well may have ordinarily sang them. But even the word "ordinarily" leaves room for other songs. Furthermore, this assertion is based on the assumption that prior assertions have already been proven. As stated earlier, possibilities built upon possibilities are merely plausibilities. And, taken far enough, plausibilities built upon plausibilities ultimately become impossibilities. The assertions here present much that is possible, but continue to build a binding doctrine on those possibilities as they are offered as proof. At this point, I would assert that Ephesians 5:19 offers a possible rendering that supports EP, but is insufficient to prove the position.

In light of Paul's helpful comments I also offer this for discussion as it appears to be key: "Spiritual songs" in Ephesians could mean either inspired songs, as Matthew proposes, or songs of a spiritual nature in opposition to a worldly nature. The OP lays the burden on EP to prove that it means inspired songs - specifically psalms. It would seem at first that the RPW gives this a more forced perspective. What I mean is that if it is not Psalms, then it is something else we are commanded to sing. But what this seems to be coming down to, if one holds to the RPW, is that whoever is wrong is in sin. We are either commanded to sing Psalms only, or we are commanded to sing songs of a spiritual nature in addition to the Psalms. If the latter is the case then we sin if we do not "speak" all three to one another. If the former, then we sin if we speak anything other than psalms. Is this not accurate?
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
4. Therefore, unless we argue that there are two distinct elements of worship -- a.) the singing of psalms, and b.) the singing of other things (both of which must be done) -- then we arrive at the conclusion that, at least in some manner, the content of song does fall under the purview of the RPW.
I'm not sure there needs be two elements in order to satisfy the RPW. If the element is singing of praise to God, then the inclusion of Psalms in those songs that can be used would be not an element to themselves.

Brian
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I would still like to see significant prose passages where the syntax is recapitulative.
I had some moments this evening to look through the Hebrew Bible and I think the following passages require a non-sequential sense: Gen. 12:1; 24:65; Ex. 32:29; 33:5; Judg. 19:6; 1 Kings 21:4.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
or at least could have been uninspired.
Facts only please. We know for a fact (1) that the Psalms were appointed to be sung in worship, and (2) that the Psalms are inspired. Unless it can be demonstrated that songs of an uninspired nature were employed by the OT church then exclusive inspired psalmody is established.
So you are saying that prior to David, song was not an element of worship?

It is not yet established by claiming it is, it is only established if it is directly commanded, or it is by good and necessary conclusion derived from what is commanded.

Some of the logic seems to hinge on it having always been so for the church, yet nowhere do I see this in the history of the OT church more perfectly impossible than prior to the inspired text having been given.

I especially see no use of inspired songs during worship even from the time of Moses down to David.

So either the position is that singing was not an element of worship prior to David (and more specifically, his inspired Psalms being recorded after rising to the throne) or that inspired songs were not the Psalms. It would be up to those that are stating the affirmative to demonstrate whichever of these positions must be true, or it would seem the syllogism fails.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Matthew and Paul,

I believe this post will show that I’m not being obstinate, since I am about to concede something very significant to you. Before I do, however, let me defend a bit of what I have been maintaining. Yes, Matthew, at least a couple of the references you offered are non-sequential (I’m thinking of Gen 12:1 and 33:5). That would not, in and of itself invalidate my concern. The reason we know this is non-sequential, and so an exception, is that the context demands that we understand it this way. That would mean that you would be required to show that the context demands a non-sequential understanding. I.e., sequence is the default. Further, repetitive action is not uncommon in worship contexts. The notion that they “bowed and worshipped” more than once should not surprise us in the least. In other words, the repetition of the phrase is hardly a convincing proof that v. 30 is a recapitulative summary -- in fact, I still don’t think it is recapitulative. That being said, I believe I will have to concede to you the larger point, which should put this particular passage to rest in our discussion.

Your challenge, Matthew, led me to try to find out what the “song of the Lord” is. Our English translations (even your KJV :D) tend to obscure the cross references. But if we look to 2 Chr. 7, we clearly see the Solomonic model on which Hezekiah’s reform was based. Certain phrases make it evident that the Chronicler wanted us to link these two chapters. While in 2 Chr. 7:6 it is “the instruments of the song of the Lord”, these instruments are the very ones David appointed. It is a reasonable assumption that the song of their employment in 7:6 is also the song of 29:27, almost certainly Davidic, and most probably a Psalm. Now, while v. 30, I believe, is NOT recapitulative, the song of v. 27 DOES appear to be the song of v. 28. And since we can assume that the song of v. 27 is Davidic, so is that of v. 28. The reason I did not think it trivial to investigate this is that v. 30 seems to appoint something different from vv. 27-28. Given 2 Chr. 7, the difference in view is probably that a PARTICULAR Psalm was in view in vv. 27-28, whereas Psalms IN GENERAL were in view in v. 30. While I’m now conceding that v. 28 is Davidic, I hope you can see why I was insisting on wrestling through this, rather than just assuming v. 28 was from the Psalms. The text points to some sort of difference between vv. 27-28 and v. 30, and uncovering that difference was actually crucial to uphold your assumption. It wasn’t trivial at all (and, hey, why did you make ME do all the legwork to prove YOUR point? :p ).

I’m still wrestling with the larger issue (EP). And I would like for our discussion should continue. Specifically, I’d like to investigate the following things: 1) Does RPW require explicit command, or is biblical precedent sufficient? From the nature of your case, I would think precedent should suffice, assuming that the precedent is not unapproved.

2) Is inspiration all that you are requiring? I ask this because of a couple of your later posts, in which you insist that the larger point you were establishing by 2 Chr. 29 was that the material was inspired. If inspiration is all you are maintaining, I’m wondering why you limit the material to the Psalms, as the entire Bible is inspired, and there are more songs than this. Also, the nature of your argument, I think has legitimately put ONE ELEMENT of the onus on me. You maintain that all biblical worship song is inspired. Though technically that would require you to show each and every instance and prove your case, I believe that would be an unreasonable request. I think, in this instance, my side ought to bear the burden of demonstrating otherwise. That said, however, it will still be incumbent on you to show that our exegesis of a passage brought forward is false. So we’ll bear the burden of finding passages; you’ll bear the burden of showing that they are actually examples proving your rule. I believe this is fair.

Another investigation I’d like to consider working through is this: 3) Part of your argument has pointed to Jewish worship practice. If it can be shown that the Jews did sing material besides the Psalms, while it wouldn’t disprove your case (as appeal must be to our only Rule of faith and practice), it might weaken the assumption. Elsewhere at least, you have argued for continuity with synagogue practice (and rightly defended that continuation on the basis of our Savior’s attendance without disapproval [historical precedent, not command]). If songs besides the Psalms were sung in the synagogue, how would that affect your case?

Please understand that EP, were I to embrace it, would require so much of me -- dramatically life changing things -- that I do not want to rush carelessly into such a position. I’m not simply opposed to it. If I am persuaded that this is what God requires, I’ll submit. But I want to be VERY certain. The reason I point this out is that I am about to begin arguing again -- even though I’ve just conceded one line of the argument. My doing so could come across as being obstinate. That’s not it at all. I do want to strive against EP -- as hard as I can. But this is only because, if it is truth, it will be unassailable. Thank you for taking the time to defend your position.

Paul, in one of our back-and-forth’s, you asked if I were arguing for permissibility or obligation. I said, “permissibility”. But given the very position of EP, I’m sure you are arguing for IMpermissibility. I was wondering if you had considered our DPW 3.6 (emphasis mine):

6. As it is the aim of public worship to glorify God, prayer and praise should predominate in congregational singing. Let every member of the church take part in this act of worship. It should be performed not merely with the lips but with the spirit and the understanding. Since the metrical versions of the Psalms are based upon the Word of God, they ought to be used frequently in public worship. Great care must be taken that all the materials of song are in perfect accord with the teaching of Holy Scripture. Let the tunes as well as the words be dignified and elevated. The stately rhythm of the choral is especially appropriate for public worship. No person shall take a special part in the musical service unless he is a professing Christian and adorns his profession with a godly walk.
This seems to be self-consciously written against an EP position. It diminishes the metrical versions. It uses “frequently” instead of “exclusively”. And it only requires the same of a song as it requires of a sermon (perfect accord). Would you mind giving your thoughts on this? I’m asking with the same spirit you asked me. I’m only trying to get a sense of where we are in our thinking.

Thanks again guys,
chb
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So you are saying that prior to David, song was not an element of worship?
In the progress of revelation instituted worship was by nature moveable while it was focussed on a tabernacle. Once the people took possession of the promised land there was a specific place where God had determined to put His Name -- Jerusalem, where instituted worship would become permanent through the building of the temple. It was David's privilege as the man after God's own heart to settle the service of the temple, though his being a man of war prohibited him from actually building the Lord a house. All subsequent reforms of instituted worship were thus conscientiously undertaken by following the pattern established by David.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Clark,

I do apologize for not having been able to address your previous post to me yet; regarding your most recent, however, unless I am mistaken this comes solely from the OPC Directory, right? I do not believe this section to be in the Westminster Directory for Publick Worship. Thus, being a member of an OPC congregation, I recognize this as the practice of my church and must rest content therewith. I am fine with this.

I do think I will have a bit of time later tonight where I can more thoughtfully interact with some of your other points; and again, I thank you for your patient interaction.

Briefly regarding the permissibility/requirement aspect; my understanding of the RPW and of God's commands concerning worship is that our practice is to be that which is commanded, not just that which is permissible.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Dear Clark,

Thankyou for your post; the meekness and gentleness of Christ which you have displayed is humbling and disarming.

(and, hey, why did you make ME do all the legwork to prove YOUR point? :p ).
I'm sorry if my time restraints have put a burden on you, but it does seem to have paid off. :)

1) Does RPW require explicit command, or is biblical precedent sufficient? From the nature of your case, I would think precedent should suffice, assuming that the precedent is not unapproved.
It requires precept or precedent, but it must be such as contains "divine warrant" in it. In other words, one must be able to say that God "prescribes" this and not simply "permits" it.

2) Is inspiration all that you are requiring? I ask this because of a couple of your later posts, in which you insist that the larger point you were establishing by 2 Chr. 29 was that the material was inspired. If inspiration is all you are maintaining, I’m wondering why you limit the material to the Psalms, as the entire Bible is inspired, and there are more songs than this.
We are asking, What songs? So the issue of inspiration is explicit while melodic composition is implicit. This means that we establish, first, that "inspiration" is the quality of song required, and secondly, that it must be a "song" of inspired quality.

Also, the nature of your argument, I think has legitimately put ONE ELEMENT of the onus on me.
Yes, it is impossible for an advocate to prove the non-existence of that for which there is no evidence.

If songs besides the Psalms were sung in the synagogue, how would that affect your case?
If it could be shown that such additions were not a human tradition like Corban or washings, it would significantly affect the case for EP.

Please understand that EP, were I to embrace it, would require so much of me -- dramatically life changing things -- that I do not want to rush carelessly into such a position.
That is perfectly understandable. Those who have embraced EP will sympathise as to the sacrifices involved in terms of ecclesiastical communion. It is not a winsome practice, but I can assure you that it is rich in spiritual communion with Christ in His sufferings and glory. May our gracious God be your Guide! Blessings!
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I admit some confusion here. It's agreed that quality is in view here, but on what basis is mode not? Furthermore, if mode (psalms, hymns and songs) are not in view then how could this be a statement supporting EP? This isn't so much an argument against what's said as a lack of understanding of how it can be applied consistently to the argument.
There are two levels of reference in the verses under discussion. The first is an implicit premise and the second is an explicit prescription. The implicit premise is that these churches ordinarily sing "psalms, hymns and songs spiritual" in gratitude to God. The explicit prescription is to speak to and teach one another with the same spirit of devotion. It is the level of implicit premise which is used in the EP argument to show the relevance of Paul's instructions to corporate instituted worship. If Paul encouraged the brethren to speak to another in the devotional spirit of that inspired melody which they sang to God, then it is beyond doubt that they ordinarily sang to God in inspired melody.

On what do you base the statement that it is the foundation and not materials?
The apostle employs the dative instead of the accusative. The dative is the case of indirect object and the accusative the case of direct object. The NT uses the accusative to describe what was spoken, e.g., parables, the word of God; the dative is used to describe the instrument of speech., e.g., tongues, the Hebrew dialect. Because the apostle uses the dative he is referring to the instrument to be used in speech rather than the matter to be spoken. It is the authoritative and influential devotion of the "psalms, hymns, and songs spiritual" which is to be spoken to one another, not necessarily the very words themselves.

I don't see how it has been established that the Ephesians already knew the words to all of these.
When one tells another to speak in English it is undoubtedly because that is what they both know.

Furthermore, why must this refer to a "body of hymnodic literature" rather than three well known forms of worship?
Conjecture upon conjecture has been made with respect to the difference between these three terms, but level-headed commentators simply note that they are synonymous and can be used interchangeably to refer to the same object. In Colossians (chapter 1:9, 11) the apostle employed triadic expressions to refer to "revelation" and "enablement." There are slight differences of sense to the three terms, but so far as writer and reader are concerned they all refer to the same object or process. If the reference in the same book in chapter 3:16 is accepted as another instance of triadic expression, then "psalms, hymns, and songs" should be taken as synonymously describing the same object.

Spiritual here does not necessarily sweep all three nouns.
True; but once they are accepted as synonymous there is no reason not to take the adjective as qualifying all three nouns conglomerately. Andrew Lincoln comments (Word Biblical Commentary on Eph. 5:19), "Their synonymity makes it all the more likely that the adjective penumatikais, "spiritual" although agreeing in gender with only the last in the series, embraces all three terms," and then references BDF*135[3]. It is noteworthy that "spiritual" appears in the same syntactical position in Col. 1:9, and is understood by translators and commentators to qualify both nouns which precede it. If it is the natural reading in that place there is no reason why it should not be the natural reading just a couple of pages later.

I included this because I didn't see how it was a necessary statement in the discussion. I find that I agree with it, but wondered if I missed something. Clarity?
This points to the "heart" attitude of the brethren as they speak to one another. The purpose of pointing this out is to correct the prevalent idea that it is prescribing singing to God as a corporate act of worship. It is rather assuming that the brethren ordinarily sang to God in worship, and directs them to carry that attitude over to their speech one with another.

They very well may have ordinarily sang them. But even the word "ordinarily" leaves room for other songs.
Well we must leave room for the "extraordinary" when dealing with the apostolic era because of the formative phenomena active in the churches of that time, as indicated by 1 Cor. 14.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
A summary of the discussion so far (as of post #83 -- sorry I didn't get the latest stuff in here)

I’m leaving out my contributions, as they ultimately went nowhere. But I’ve tried to organize the discussion as it has proceeded to this point. This is not in order, but grouped under topics. In each bullet point below, the basic letter or number is the argument offered by the EP side, such as A. or 1. The opponents bullets are primed, such as A’. or 1’. My own comments in the course of the outline are marked with double asterisks. I hope this helps us clear the field and see where we are. I found quite a few loose ends.

The Basic Case
A. The EP case begins with the statement: All song in biblical worship is of inspired quality.
A’ The opposition wants demonstration
of this point, and notes that evidence of Psalm use is not proof of the “only” in the EP position.
**But it should be noted that the nature of the EP case is negative in this regard (there are no uninspired examples). And since one cannot prove a negative, it is left to the opposition to provide counter examples.**
1. However, both OT and NT examples have been presented.
1’. EP has generally dismissed those examples, usually as having been historical anomalies, rather than arguing them out (We’ll hold Deut 31 and Eph 5 as separate items in this summary, though the former is treated the same way).
**It seems that EP does bear the onus here, and has been negligent in the discussion in this regard. By virtue of the negative approach, dismissal of counter-evidence is not sufficient. You are asking us to accept a principle for the sake of argument, so you must give us the courtesy of serious and adequate treatment of counter examples.**
2. Another point the opposition raised was pre-davidic worship. EP makes an assumption that pre-davidic worship was inspired.
2’. EP’s response: “that it could have been uninspired doesn’t prove that it was”
**This is pushing the envelope of the “for the sake of argument” agreement.**

Particular examples:
A. Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 were actually presented in FAVOR of the EP position.
1. The formula was said to refer to the three-fold division of materials in the Psalter.
2. And πνευματικός was said to refer to inspiration by the Holy Spirit
A’. The opposition asked for proof of both of these points.
1’. Prove it
2’. Prove it
3’. Alternative interpretations of πνευματικός are available
3. EP then asked for demonstration
of this.
a’. The opposition provided Strongs and TDNT as evidence.
a. EP dismissed Strongs and ignored TDNT, and argued that because it “can” mean something else does not suggest that it “does”.
**EP has missed the fact that they made the assertion that πνευματικός refers to inspiration, and therefore must demonstrate conclusively that πνευματικός MUST mean inspiration. If it can reasonably be interpreted otherwise that would seem to invalidate this reference for their case.**

B. EP developed their case with regard to Eph 5:19 as follows:
1. The context is relational, not primarily worship. And so, this is a matter of lay actions.
2. What is in view is the quality of communication, which is effected by union with Christ through the Holy Spirit.
2’. Why is the mode of communication excluded?
3. Psalms, hymns and songs are not materials of but are rather the (preexisting) foundation for that communication.
3’. [COLOR=”DarkRed”]Why is material excluded?[/COLOR]
4. Formulaic nature of the list suggests that it is a customary way of referring to preexistent hymnodic literature of the church (Psalms):
a. The only such literature we have is the Psalms, which are canonical (of inspired quality)
b. The Psalter repeatedly identifies its compositions as “psalms, hymns and songs.”
**This is one I would like to see demonstrated.**
c.. The adjective “spiritual” indicates inspiration
**This is illegitimate, given the opposition’s prior request for demonstration of this point. Reasserting it does not prove it**
**Opponents suggest that the stacking of probabilities does not lead to more certainty, but to less**
d.. NT uses Psalms heavily as a foundation for theology and edification, which is presumably offered in support of point 3. above.
5. This is not corporate worship, but communication from a singing heart. Though when in corporate worship, the Psalms must be used for the reasons cited above.

Existing Compositions
A. NT singing was with existing compositions
A’. This is a tacit admission that they may not have been Psalms.
1. Not really. The reference is to particular Psalms known to have had particular use.
2. Even so, it would not provide warrant for new compositions
**This line of reasoning belongs on the other thread**

Davidic Material
A. Only the Psalms can claim this pedigree (a matter of calling/ordination and inspiration)
A’. Less than half the Psalms are attributed to David
B’. Some songs are best understood as exilic compositions
B. EP rebuttal
1. Hebrews refers to some of these as Davidic
**Note: The example offered comes from Ps. 95, not from one adduced as exilic by opponents**
2. Even if not Davidic, Davidite, and so inspired
3. Cannot be proven to be exilic

Mixture of material requires two elements
A. If some song is inspired and other song isn’t, then we need to establish a separate element of worship.
A’. No more than praying inspired and uninspired prayer requires such.

Deuteronomy 31:19-23
A’. Opponents offer Deut. 31:19-23 as an exception which undermines EP’s negative case.
A. EP says it is historically limited (confined to theocratic nation)

B’. Opponents respond
1. It is broadly Redemptive-Historical in content
2. It contains the components of ordinary worship
a. Preaching the word
b. Singing of the people as unto the Lord
c. Installation of an elder
d. Presence of the Spirit of God
e. Call to repentance and faith
B. It contains a sacrifice in an exceptional place -- indicating its exceptional character.

C. Not written by David (**Seems to beg the question**)
C’. Jesus said that Moses wrote of him

Other texts are of inspired quality
A’. Other texts inspired (The Magnificat [Luke 1:46-55], the Benedictus [Luke 1:68-79], the Nunc Dimittis [Luke 2:29-32], the Cantate Domino from Isaiah 42, and the Surge Illuminare from Isaiah 60)
A. Historically limited

Metric Psalms are only approximations
A’. Metrical versions are only approximations of the inspired text
A. A practical matter, not germane to the OP.

I think it would be worthwhile to go back through this and clean up requests for demonstration. For this reason, I’ve marked EP requests in green and Opposition requests in dark red.

Moderator Edit
Clark -- I do apologize, but I simply have not had time to today to adequately work on editing this with you; I have posted it in your original form.
 
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Wannabee

Obi Wan Kenobi
Very well articulated answers Matthew. Thank you. As I formed my thoughts in the last post, and in light of your response, it seems that the picture is becoming clearer. I am becoming more convinced of my own position, but also gaining new respect for EP. I've learned a great deal. Also, when we arrived at our current church they were singing hymns and some contemporary songs, but no psalms. Because of prior discussions we began singing psalms several months ago. It is a rich blessing that I attribute to those here who have challenged me in my own thinking. Again, thank you.
I don't have as much to say this time, as I think it was adequately dealt with in my prior post. But I'll reformulate a little of it here, and, in light of the different tangents, attempt to keep quotes that will help with the context of discussion.

When one tells another to speak in English it is undoubtedly because that is what they both know.
Yes, but that doesn't mean he tells them what to speak.
Conjecture upon conjecture has been made with respect to the difference between these three terms, but level-headed commentators simply note that they are synonymous and can be used interchangeably to refer to the same object. In Colossians (chapter 1:9, 11) the apostle employed triadic expressions to refer to "revelation" and "enablement." There are slight differences of sense to the three terms, but so far as writer and reader are concerned they all refer to the same object or process. If the reference in the same book in chapter 3:16 is accepted as another instance of triadic expression, then "psalms, hymns, and songs" should be taken as synonymously describing the same object.
I would urge caution here. The statement "level-headed commentators..." implies, by necessity (in light of this debate), that those that disagree are not level-headed. Though unintended, this is a common means of undermining someone else's position by writing them off without dealing with what they actually have to say.
First, what commentators?
Second, in light of the fact that I provided several "level-headed commentators" who disagree with the EP position (post #41), this request is more than fair.
Third, if Paul (the HS) had intended such specificity, then why not use the article to stress his point? The anarthrous nouns here do not lend themselves to the united specificity espoused by EP.
Fourth, the construction in Col 1:9 is a valid observation, but is it really conclusive?
Spiritual here does not necessarily sweep all three nouns.
True; but once they are accepted as synonymous there is no reason not to take the adjective as qualifying all three nouns conglomerately. Andrew Lincoln comments (Word Biblical Commentary on Eph. 5:19), "Their synonymity makes it all the more likely that the adjective penumatikais, "spiritual" although agreeing in gender with only the last in the series, embraces all three terms," and then references BDF*135[3]. It is noteworthy that "spiritual" appears in the same syntactical position in Col. 1:9, and is understood by translators and commentators to qualify both nouns which precede it. If it is the natural reading in that place there is no reason why it should not be the natural reading just a couple of pages later.
This gets back to the lynchpin in the discussion, doesn't it? If all three are psalms, then you're right. But this must be proven, which has yet to be accomplished. For emphasis, I'm assuming you consider Lincoln to be level-headed. He also continues:
The songs which believers sing to each other are spiritual because they are inspired by the Spirit and manifest the life of the Spirit. But spirituality should not necessarily be identified with spontaneity, and all forms of Christian hymnody found in the early church are likely to have been in view, from liturgical pieces that had already established themselves in the churches’ worship, of which Phil 2:6–11; Col 1:15–20; Eph 5:14; 1 Tim 3:16 may provide some examples which have found their way into the NT, to snatches of song freshly created in the assembly (346).
[emphasis mine]
Again I propose that the construction lends itself to setting "songs spiritual" apart from the odes (same word) sung in pagan worship. Context of both Ephesians and the culture in which they lived, as well as exegesis, lends itself well to this understanding.

Unless I am mistaken, the pressure continues to be placed on this as a hinge upon which the EP door must swing. If "songs" here is not synonymous with "psalms" then EP cannot stand the scrutiny of Scripture. For the sake of the OP, this must be proven so. For the sake of our ministries, we must subject our consciences to the verity of Scripture. I remain convinced that "odes" in Ephesians 5:19 refers to lyrics outside of the canon, though not outside of the truths contained therein because of the qualifier (spiritual).
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Yes, but that doesn't mean he tells them what to speak.
My point about the dative-accusative distinction is that he is not telling them what to speak, but with what to speak. They would need to have been conversant with the instrument of speech in order to employ it.

I would urge caution here. The statement "level-headed commentators..." implies, by necessity (in light of this debate), that those that disagree are not level-headed. Though unintended, this is a common means of undermining someone else's position by writing them off without dealing with what they actually have to say.
No, they are simply not thinking in this instance with the level head of those who see what is plainly written before them. In numerous cases commentators will venture a guess only to fall back on the synonymous view. Judging by the fact that the various conjectures have only multiplied options, it is obviously something which cannot be determined, and therefore wisest to be left alone.

First, what commentators?
Second, in light of the fact that I provided several "level-headed commentators" who disagree with the EP position (post #41), this request is more than fair.
There is no basis for calling the synonymous view something distinctly EP. As far as I know Lincoln is not EP; his commentary is a good place to start. Besides noting the triadic expressions in Colossians, he also draws attention to the fact that the apostle synonymously uses two of the words -- psalm and song, in their verbal form in the last clause.

As noted, most commentators who venture a guess as to the differences usually qualify by stating that the words are used either synonymously or interchangeably -- Bruce, Salmond, Lightfoot, Trench, Hodge, etc. Hodge, for example, says that the terms were "loose," before going on to provide one more possibility as to the differences of meaning. If we added them all up I think there would be some ten to fifteen different schemes, which should show the impracticality of trying to fix the meaning of the terms. It is somewhat futile as various Old Testament Psalms are decribed by all three terms

Third, if Paul (the HS) had intended such specificity, then why not use the article to stress his point? The anarthrous nouns here do not lend themselves to the united specificity espoused by EP.
Not sure whence you are deriving your idea of the definite article.

Fourth, the construction in Col 1:9 is a valid observation, but is it really conclusive?
It provides an example of the same syntax being used in the same letter. The person who chooses to understand the use of "spiritual" in different ways is bound to provide some reason for so doing.
 
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