Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sing and Make Melody, but Not with Your Mouths or Hands

I'm no Hebrew or Greek expert, but when I just read Psalms 27:6, it clicked in my head that Paul was probably alluding to it when he wrote Ephesians 5:19.

Psalms 27:6d - (HCSB)
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Ephesians 5:19b - (HCSB)
singing and making music to the Lord in your heart,
If this is correct, unless the Psalmist was declaring that only his making music was to the Lord, but not his singing, then the subclause "to the Lord [in your heart]" belongs to both the "sing" and the "make music" sides of the conjunction, and not just the "make music" side. In other words, this rendering:
sing to the Lord [in your heart] and make music to the Lord [in your heart]
is the more correct rendering than:
make music to the Lord [in your heart], and sing
This view agrees with the grammatically-specific wording of Ephesians 5:19 to "speak" to one another, not to "sing". In other words, taking the verse at its strictest sense, we are not to sing at all, but to speak to one another, while our singing and making melody is done strictly in the heart.

This also agrees with the technically-correct grammatical rendering of its sister passage in Colossians 3:16, which tells us that we should be "singing with grace in your hearts" (KJV), not with your mouths.

Unless, of course, Paul did not mean "only in the heart", the way many of us have taught it for decades.

What's my point? My point is that if we're going to make a whole doctrine out of the technical grammar of the verse, we can't just go half-way. We've gotta be consistent. And this approach that limits making music to be in our hearts only but not in outward forms also limits our singing to being in our hearts only and not in outward forms. If my logic or my understanding of the wording is wrong, please correct me. But don't just react because this touches on a pet doctrine of yours; please honestly evaluate my logic and the wording of the passages.

1 comment:

Chyntt said...

Recently I came across these two quotations from http://biblecommenter.com/matthew/26-30.htm

Barnes' Notes:
And when they had sung a hymn - The Passover was observed by the Jews by singing or "chanting" Psalm 113-118. These they divided into two parts. They sung Psalm 113-114 during the observance of the Passover, and the others at the close. There can be no doubt that our Saviour, and the apostles also, used the same psalms in their observance of the Passover. The word rendered "sung a hymn" is a participle, literally meaning "hymning" - not confined to a single hymn, but admitting many.

and Clarke's Commentary:
And when they had sung a hymn - Υμνησαντες means, probably, no more than a kind of recitative reading or chanting. As to the hymn itself, we know, from the universal consent of Jewish antiquity, that it was composed of Psalm 113:1-9, Psalm 114:1-8, 115, 116, Psalm 117:1-2, and 118, termed by the Jews הלל halel, from הללו־יה halelu-yah, the first word in Psalm 113:1-9. These six Psalms were always sung at every paschal solemnity.