Psallo Demands Instrumental Music in Worship - My Preacher claims

"I have been always been taught that the Greek word psallo demands that we use instrumental music in worship. If you are correct and psallo does not include instruments then there is no difference between Psalms and Hymns. Therefore, wasn't Paul commanding us to sing hymns and hymns?" p9
glo, instrumental mus

This is quite typical of many responses from people who are continually told that Paul used the Greek word psallo to demand the use of instruments as part of a "musical" worship ritual. Therefore, our response will be generic and not writer-specific.

To the first question: No. We do not have a single translation (as far as I know) which translates Paul to include or even remotely permit instruments in what was clearly "spiritual" worship contrasted to external, sacrificial rituals which had no spiritual value. These were "headquarters" rituals which reminded the Jews that they had lost God's Covenant of Grace offered and rejected at Mount Sinai. The final rejection of God's Word and Kingship happened when Israel demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations (heathen).

Ephesians 5:18-19
Psalmos Psallo Melody

Speaking to one another "with that which is written for our learning"
Is the ANTITHESIS of "singing and making melody to ONE ANOTHER."
Singing of the time included making noise, cock's crow, frog's craok, door screech.
Psallo was entirely a warfare and polutted sexuality concept.

If Paul intended both sing AND Play the word is:

Anti-psallô, a stringed instrument in accompaniment of song, a. elegois phorminga  Ar.Av.218 .
Elegos , ho,, melody, orig. accompanied by the flute
Play is also katapsallô , stringed instruments

He used neither.  If Paul thought of melody as being tuneful the word would be:


Melos , eos, to, melê, ta, lyric poetry, choral songs opposite Epic or Dramatic verse, to which a song is set, tune, Arist.Po.1450a14; opp. rhuthmos, metron, Pl.Grg. 502c; opp. rhuthmos, rhêma, Id.Lg.656c; Krêtikon, Karikon, Iônikon m logou te kai harmonias kai rhuthmou ib.398d.

What Melic poetry like Sappho's [Lesbian] actually was is best comprehended in the light of Plato's definition of melos, that it is 'compounded out of three things, speech, music, and rhythm.' Sappho is said by Athenaeus, quoting Menaechmus and Aristoxenus, to have been the first of the Greek poets to use the Pêktis (pêktis), a foreign instrument of uncertain form, a kind of harp (cf. fr. 122), which was played by the fingers without a plectrum.

When the translators of the Greek Septuagint used the "psallo" based words they understood that they all had evil meanings: The Levites sang and played instruments as a way to panic the enemy into surrender or fleeing.
This is derived from warriors plucking the bow string and pretty vile people plucking harp strings to seduce a younger male:

The name of psaltery entered Christian literature in the 3rd century B.C. translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint where, in the Psalms, nebel was translated psalterion. Thus, Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous ensemble included the Aramic psantria. Notice, also, that the book of Psalms has also become known as the Psalter (or psalterium), from the hymns sung with this harp. Source

So, it was the translators of the Septuatint who used the "Psa" based words knowing fully well that in the Greek world the message was making war or making perverted sex.  Not all of the book of psalms are psalms

Psalmos also appears in the LXX as equivalent to the Hebrew word neginah [5058]. This Hebrew term is used to describe a wide variety of songs. Neginah is translated by psalmos in Lam 3:14 (song), in Lam 5:14 (music) and in Ps 69:12 (song). It is striking to observe that in the LXX translation of Lam 3:14 and Ps 69:12, psalmos, or its verbal form, is used for songs that are not only uninspired but are in fact the product of the wicked, even drunkards, who mocked God and His word. The Hebrew term neginah is used elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures of: the songs of the wicked, Job 30:9 (song); the inspired praise of God, Psalm 61 title (Neginah-a song performed on a stringed instrument); and the uninspired praisd of the Lord composed by King Hezekiah, Is 38:20 (my songs).

5059.  nagan, naw-gan´; a primitive root; properly, to thrum, i.e. beat a tune with the fingers; expec. to play on a stringed instrument; hence (generally), to make music:—player on instruments, sing to the stringed instruments, melody, ministrel, play(-er, -ing).

H5060 nâga‛ naw-gah' A primitive root; properly to touch, that is, lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphemistically, to lie with a woman); by implication to reach (figuratively to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy,

Psa 69:9 For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;
        and the reproaches
of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
Psa 69:10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.
Psa 69:11 I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb to them.
Psa 69:12 They that sit in the gate speak against me
        and I was the song of the drunkards

Negiynah (h5058) neg-ee-naw'; or nÿgynath neg- ee- nath'; from 5059; prop. instrumental music; by impl. a stringed instrument; by extens. a poem set to music; spec. an epigram: - stringed instrument, musick, Neginoth [plur.], song

Of the singing and harp playing prostitute in the garden of Eden.

Isaiah 23:16 Take an {1} harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet {2} melody, {3}sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.
Psaō [a_, but always contracted],  II. crumble away, vanish, disappear, S.Tr.678 (s. v. l.). (psaō, psaiō, psauō, psairō, psēkhō, psōkhō,
Psaiō , A. = psaō (q. v.), rub away, grind down
Psal-ma , atos, to, A. tune played on a stringed instrument, 
Psal-mizō , A. sing psalms, and psal-mistēs , ou, ho, psalmist
Paul said to SPEAK psalms
Psalmokha^rēs , es, A. delighting in harp-playing, of Apollo,
Psalmōd-ia , A. singing to the harp,
Psalmōd-os , ho, A. psalmist, LXX Si.47.9 cod.Sin., 50.18.
Psal-tērion , to, A. stringed instrument, psaltery, harp,trigōna ps.Arist.Pr.919b12, cf. Hippias(?) in PHib.1.13.31, Apollod. ap. Ath.14.636f, Thphr.HP5.7.6, LXX Ge.4.21, al.
Psal-tēs , ou, ho,A. harper, Men.495, Hippias (?) in PHib.1.13.7, 25, Macho ap.Ath.8.348f, LXX 1 Es.5.42, Plu.2.67f, 223f, cf. “kitharistēs ē ps.SIG578.15 (Teos, ii B. C.); epith. of Apollo, AP9.525.24. [Oxyt. in Att., parox. in Hellenistic Gr., Choerob. in Theod.1.187H.]
Psal-tikos , ē, on, A. of or for harp playing, ps. organon a stringed instrument, Ath.14.634f (of the magadis; andra psaltikēn agathon a good harpist, Ael. ap. Ar.Byz.Epit.84.8.
Psal-tos , ē, on, A. sung to the harp, sung of, LXX Ps.118(119).54.
Psal-tria , , A. female harper, Pl.Prt. 347d, Ion Trag.22, Arist.Ath.50.2, Men.319.4, Plu.Caes.10, al.
Psaltōd-eō , A. sing to the harp, LXX 2 Ch.5.13.
Psaltōd-os , on, A. = psalmōdos, ib.1 Ch.9.33, 2 Ch.5.12, al., v.l. ib.Si.47.9.

It is important to know that instruments have created division in Catholicism, Protestantism and in Judaism without any attempt to justify the action. In all cases, when division occured, some attempt to justify singers and musicians from the Levitical Musicians or an obsolete Lexicon has been made. , musi
Lipscomb wrote as late as 1878 that:
psallo, instrumental musi

> We do not think anyone has ever claimed authority from Scriptures to use the organ in worship. They only claim it is not condemned. It is used as an assister in worship...Prayer, praise, thanksgiving and making melody in the heart (mind) unto the Lord are acts of worship ordained of God, but no authority do we find for for the organ." (Sounding Brass and Clanging Cymbals, J. E. Choate and William Woodson". (p. 78).

> Of Australian Presbyterians;

When the issue was first brought up in the southern churches in 1874, one Session declared that they were "unanimously of the opinion that the use of such is both inexpedient and unscriptural and

think that those who have ventured to cast the apple of discord into our midst have much to answer for,"

and another considered that the introduction of organs "into the public worship of God is dangerous to the peace and purity of the Church."

The debate at the next Synod was the largest up until then, and the innovation was passed by a very slim majority. The dissents, appeals and protests lasted a few years, but the issue was finally settled in 1877,

the final dissent reiterating once more the regulative principle and concluding that it was "giving a place to instrumental music hitherto unknown to the worship of this Church."

The last church on the Taieri plain to have an organ introduced was East Taieri, near Mosgiel, in 1894. To a number of members, it was "equal to a sentence of excommunication,"

they now having "no Presbyterian church near Dunedin to which they can have access."

I believe that if you question the promoters of musical rituals you will find that they are getting their definition from Webster or books written by those who already use and promote instruments. The following links are several attempts to justify musical rituals from the Church Fathers but the information is wrong and therefore the conclusions are dangerously wrong:

Freed-Hardeman's Forum 1991 - Pro Music Side
Bill Swetmon on The Odes of Solomon
Bill Swetmon on Josephus and Psallo
Bill Swetmon on Gregory of Nyssa on Psallo
Bill Swetmon on Clement's "permission"
Clement on Clement's Denial

To the question or claim "wasn't Paul commanding us to sing hymns and hymns?"

On the contrary, if Paul thought that psallo included instrumental music in worship then he was obligated to write:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and singing with instruments in your heart to the Lord; Eph 5:19

I know how to "sing in the heart" as worship in spirit and truth but I just cannot picture playing a harp in the heart.

The name of spiritual canticle may be given not only to those that are sung inwardly in spirit, but also to those that are sung outwardly with the lips, inasmuch as such like canticles arouse spiritual devotion.

Jerome does not absolutely condemn singing, but reproves those who sing theatrically in church not in order to arouse devotion, but in order to show off, or to provoke pleasure. Hence Augustine says (Confess. x, 33):

"When it befalls me to be more moved by the voice than by the words sung, I confess to have sinned penally, and then had rather not hear the singer." Thomas Aquinas

Next, understand that these are three primary types of poetic material collected in the book of Psalms (Praises) just as the "books" of the Bible were collected in one bound volume. A Psalm might be "a prayer, a praise, a maskil, a miktam, a shiggaion." Some have much later additions of musical notation and therefore were psalms "which could be sung with a harp." Some are acrostic or proverbs. Some are historical. They are all part of the God-ordained "curriculum" and "prayer book" which is not devoted to celebration but, as Paul insists, "teaching and admonishing one another."

A psalm is not an "accompanied" hymn but one composed so that it can be musically performed. By analogy, the Declaration of Independence is not poetic: it was not composed so that it can be sung with a harp -- without a lot of work.

The Star Spangled Banner, on the other hand, is a poem which can be sung. Therefore, we might say that it is a psalmos: we can sing it "in the heart", we can recite or "speak" it out loud, we can sing it with an instrument or we can sing it without an instrument. However, the Star Spangled Banner could have remained in the archives and been historic without ever being put to music. Its value is not changed by how it is used. I sing it "in my heart" because I cannot sing it out loud.

In the same way, a psalm or psalmos can be "a sacred ode accompanied with the voice, harp or other instrument." Paul had the option of many instruments but he picked the voice (the harp of God in a lot of early literature) with the melody accompanied by the human heart. The noun form of what Paul commanded was:

Psalmos (g5568) psal-mos'; from 5567; a set piece of music, i.e. a sacred ode (accompanied with the voice, harp or other instrument; a "psalm"); collect. the book of the Psalms: - psalm. Comp. 5603 (an ode).

Proponents of musical rituals insist that a "psalmos" necessarily includes a mechanical instrument. However, even though scholarship denies that it included instruments at the time, even the inclusive definition of Strong could have been the understanding of Paul when he picked the "instrument" to accompany teaching with Biblical materials:

A sacred (inspired) ode
Accompanied by the
or other Instrument

Vincent, Word Studies: Concerning the noun psalmos as used in Col 3:16, Vincent says, "A psalm was originally a song accompanied by a stringed instrument... The idea of accompaniment passed away in usage, and the psalm, in New Testament phraseology, is an Old Testament psalm, or a composition having that character."

The Britannica notes that:

"Music, like the word, also may have symbolic meaning. The basic elements out of which musical symbolism is built are sounds, tones, melodies, harmonies,

and the various musical instruments,
among which is the human voice.

Sound effects can have a numinous (spiritual) character and may be used to bring about contact with the realm of the holy. A specific tone may call one to an awareness of the holy, make the holy present, and produce an experience of the holy. This may be done by means of drums, gongs, bells, or other instruments. The ritual instruments can, through their shape or the materials from which they are made, have symbolic meaning. The Uitoto in Colombia, for example, believe that all the souls of their ancestors are contained in the ritual drums. (See liturgical music BM members.)

If the psalmos could be sung with the voice it did not demand the harp. If the verb form Psallo in the older Attic sense could be the twitching or twanging of anything it did not demand a mechanical or lifeless instrument. Paul described speaking or the human voice as the accompaniment to the inspired ode.

Paul put the psallo or plucking in the heart and not on the harp. And there is almost universal agreement that in the Koine Greek of that time, psallo actually excluded stringed instruments.

If both psalmos (noun) and psallo (verb) demands a harp Paul should have written:

Speaking to yourselves in odes accompanied by the harp, and hymns without a harp and spiritual songs, singing and singing with the harp in your heart to the Lord; Eph 5:19

This would not make much sense. Because Jesus demanded that our worship be "in spirit and in truth" Paul the faithful servant replaced carnal instruments with spiritual instruments:

1. The first possibility is that one "makes melody" or psallos "in the heart" and directs it to God. The Psalms were specifically chanted and memorized so that the "heart" would be so filled to the overflowing with "Spirit" that one sang the Psalm in the heart instead of a "Jello Jingle." Many Jews, Muslims and Christians still do this. This allows the prescribed practice to take place and in a few years everyone knows a lot of the Bible.

2. Next, one might vocalize the Psalmos with the human voice. For instance, Paul commands that we "speak" or preach the Psalmos in order to "teach or admonish one another" as well as to "speak to ourselves." Ask the preacher but he won't allow you to play the harp while he preaches. But, why will he do it when Jesus is speaking?

2. Finally, the Psalmos might be accompanied with the harp or flute. Consistent with Paul's understanding of Hebrew, if melody included a mechanical instrument in worship he was under obligation to specify which instrument.

Therefore, no definition of Psalmos demands that songs be "performed" with the voice or harp. If the song can be sung with the accompaniment of the human voice, the melody or psallo can be in the heart being plucked by the human voice.

The "instrument" is not inherent within the Greek word. Therefore, if we want to "accompany" the Psalmos it is absolutely necessary to define which instrument is to be used: the human voice or a mechanical instrument which Paul defines as "carnal or lifeless." We know that the poems which we call "praises" or Greek "Psalms" were much later appended with a heading which defined how the poem might be chanted to a tune which might be of only five notes. We are informed that the Jews chanted the prose Hebrew Bible but began chanting the poetic portions after the Return from Captivity.

Early Presbyterian Psalters, by analogy, set the Psalms to metere so that they could be sung with what harmony existed in the 1600s which was not much. Modern psalms, even when performed with an instrument, span a very small range of notes which does not permit the "dog barks" and "water drips" inherent in the discord of modern complex harmony.

Again, a psalmos is a "sacred ode" which does not include an instrument any more than a Rock tune defines an instrument. My kids used to hum "don't rock the boat" without an instrument.

This is made clearer by the word ode:

Ode (g5603) o-day'; from 103; a chant or "ode" the gen. term for any words sung; while 5215 denotes espec. a religious metrical composition,

and 5568 still more spec. a Heb. cantillation): - song.

Psallo is best translated by chant,
not sing.
The Greeks sharply distinguish chanting (psalmodia)
from singing (tragoudi).
The first is a sacred activity;
the second, a secular one. In English, unfortunately,
the distinction is not sharp.. Constantine Cavarnos

This is why Paul made the "speaking or preaching to teach and admonish" an exteranl act of "chanting." To prevent it from being just another secular assembly, Paul demanded that the "singing and melody" be internal and directed to God.

We clearly understand that when the Jews "sang" in the synagogues they did not sing four-part harmony or use instrumental music in worship. Rather, they chanted or cantillated or "spoke" the Biblical text.

Therefore, if these definitions mean anything, to "ode" we do not "meditate" upon the message, nor sing it in the modern sense nor do we sing it with a harp. The ode in the Hebrew sense must be chanted. Paul used the word "speak" to one another and this does not mean sing with or without an instrument. Singing, in Paul's mind, was chanting in a style which made understanding the Biblical text clear to the groups of people.

The Psalms were originally written as poems to praise God by telling others what God had done in God's own words. Isaiah has God insisting that we must return God's Words to God after recycling through another hearer before His "water cycle" will work (Isaiah 55).

Notice how this external teaching and internal singing was carried out among the Jews:

O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1
Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world. Isaiah 12:5

This is why Paul did not say "sing to one another with Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual song, singing and making melody in the heart." Rather, Paul clearly said to "speak to one another" with the Words of Christ. The result would be singing and melody in the heart. The word "speak" is to say or preach and no person who demands instrumental music in worship while Christ is speaking would remotely permit the same thing while he is speaking.

The Approved Example of Jesus Christ

One writer notes that in addition to speaking where the Bible speaks we should also "sing where the Bible sings." We claim to "preach Jesus" and this means that we must tell others what Jesus both did and said. We have his approved example and necessary inference for our form of speaking the revealed word. Paul supplies the absolute command. "Thou are without excuse O man" if you tell others that psallo demands instruments.

At the Passover," they did not "psallo" or make melody but chanted a hymn.

This is the "approved example" of Jesus Himself:

And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Matthew 26:30

Humneo (g5214) hoom-neh'-o; from 5215; to hymn, i.e. sing a religious ode; by impl. to celebrate (God) in song: - sing an hymn (praise unto).

Being inspired, Paul used the equivalent word:

Hymnos (g5215) hoom'-nos; appar. from a simpler (obsol.) form (to celebrate; prob. akin to 103; comp. ); a "hymn" or religious ode (one of the Psalms): - hymn

Ado (g103) ad'-o; a prim. verb; to sing: - sing

The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament notes that:

"In the NT there is still no precise differentiation between ode, psalmos, and humnos. e.g., in Col.3:16 or Eph.5:19, in contrast to a later time, when ode (canticum) came to be used only for biblical songs (apart from the Psalms) used in liturgy. From the NT passages we may gather the following elements in the concept or the Christian ode as also confirmed from other sources.

"a. Odai are the cultic songs of the community. They are not sung by the individual, but by the community gathered for worship.. .

Of a piece with this is the anonymity or the early authors, as also the attachment to OT tradition. Only in the 2nd century are the authors sometimes mentioned. In the Didascalia, 2, p..5.29, we can still read:

'It thou desirest hymns, thou hast the Psalms of David."'

"b. The ode is inspired. This is shown by the epithet pneumatikos, though it does indicate more generally its religious character. . . . With the inspiration or hymns is linked their improvisation, e.g., in I C. 14:26 (cr. Acts 4:24); Tert. adv. Marc., 5,b; Apolog. 39,18."

That is, the hymns or odes or psalms might be recited in different ways. However, there is no room for self-inspired "Bible" to use in spiritiual worship.

What Jesus demanded of those worshipers He honors:

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." John 4:24

What was the Spirit resource for worship according to Jesus:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

What Paul Demanded of the worshipers in Ephesus

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

These are all the inspired text of the Bible and are therefore "Spirit" or the product of Jesus Christ as Spirit or Word.

Hymns "was that part of the Hallel consisting of Psalms 113-118; where the verb itself is rendered 'to sing praises' or 'praise' Acts 16:25; Heb 2:12. The Psalms are called, in general, 'hymns,' by Philo; Josephus calls them 'songs and hymns.'" Vine on Humneo

We noted above that a Psalmos is

a sacred ode accompanied with the voice,
a sacred ode accompanied with the harp or
a sacred ode accompanied with the other instrument; a "psalm")

Therefore, Paul had three known options which were well known to him:

Sing sacred odes with the voice
Sing sacred odes with the harp
Sing sacred odes with the flute

Which option Paul demanded:

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

Which options Paul excluded:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and (singing with a harp) in your heart to the Lord; Eph 5:19

This last option is the clear clue that the melody, being internal, does not carry the meaning of literal harps -- you cannot play a harp in the heart.

Parallel of Word and Spirit so that he cannot be misunderstanding

It will help to see that melody to the Ephesians meant grace to the Colossians. Because they could never confuse "grace" with playing a harp, Paul helps to further remove Christian "speaking" from Pagan singing.

What was the Spirit resource for worship according to Paul:

In the Ephesian letter the demand was to fill up with "Spirit"
In the Colossian letter the demand was to use the Word of Christ.

Therefore, by "Spirit" Paul means the Word of Christ which is "Spirit and Life" (John 6:63). It never in Scripture and history meant self-composed songs or theatrical performance.

Look at at the parallel statements in Ephesians and Colossians:

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

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. Colossians 3:16

Because the Spirit in the prophets was The Spirit of Christ (1 Peter 1:11; Revelation 19:10), the words in the Psalms are the Words of Christ.

While many Psalms are harshly judgmental, the goal is not some kind of charismatic ecstasy created by "singing" but teaching the Old and New Testament revelation. No assembled person has been well served by a leadership which allows them to graduate from high school without understanding the Old Testament. God Incarnate, Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul insisted that they way to do that is to sing or chant the inspired Biblical text to "teach and admonish" one another.

Before you can get past the Holy Spirit and Paul and make psallo authorize instruments so powerfully that it is worth dividing churches over, ask yourself how grace demands a harp.

Paul did not use the word PSALLO to the Colossians. Therefore, if he intended to command instruments in worship he failed to properly teach the Colossians. It is customary with Paul to teach the same principle in different ways. To help us understand that "Spiritual worship" is not "body" worship, Paul substitutes the word GRACE to explain the "musical" way of speaking God's Word one to another -- in or out of assembly.

Parallel of Word and Spirit

God gives people ability to minister in serving other people. However, God - being God - gives people the oracles of God to speak:
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;
if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth:
that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

If we use "talent" to compose and speak or sing our own oracles then only we get the glory, and isn't that the goal? However, if we go use our talent to minister to a lonely person in a nursing home then God still gets the glory because he gave the power to slave or "deacon" to others. And there is no one to applaud.

The "oracles" are revelations from God:

This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us: Acts 7:38

An "oracle" is:

Logion (g3051) log'-ee-on; neut. of 3052; an utterance of God: - oracle.

In Ephesians Paul demands that we "fill up" with the spirit beforre we are competnent to "speak psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" which are all inspired.

In Colossians Paul demands that we "fill up" with the Word of Christ Who was the "Spirit of the prophets" (1 Peter 1:11).

Jesus said "My Word is Spirit and Life" John 6:63. Did you know that the pagans believed and believe that the "gods" lived inside of the musical instruments. Therefore,

When men tell you to consult mediums (knowing ones) and spiritists (using the familiar spirit or drum from an old wineskin), who whisper (coo and chatter) and mutter (stomp and complain), should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult (necromancer) the dead on behalf of the living (congregation)? Is 8:19

To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Isaiah 8:20

Therefore, to sing our own compositions, use human talent or human instrumental skills is to violate clear Biblical commands and show disrespect for the Words of Christ. Indeed, musical worship in the Old Testament was the sign of not caring about the Word of God.

Parallel of Melody and Grace

Grace means:

Charis (g5485) khar'-ece; from 5463; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act .. figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude)

As Colossians 3:16 uses speaking to teach or admonish one another, grace is used by Paul to explain the quality of that speech:

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:6

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.Ephesians 4:25

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying (teaching), that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Ephesians 4:29

We don't use instrumental music in worship when we discuss the Bible with our friends, nor do we sprinkle our tongues with a salt shaker. The meaning of the internal "grace" or "melody" or "singing to the Lord" is also defined by:

Chario (g5463) khah'ee-ro; a prim. verb; to be "cheer"ful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off...

Paul used this word to the Colossians:

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5

Paul implicated musical instruments and speaking in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 to describe their disorderly assembly which "did more harm than good" (1 Cor. 11:17).

External melody is derived from the plucking, scraping or grinding to bits of something. The excited harpist literally beat the instrument to death trying to get it to speak to him. This is why Paul demanded "internal melody" and defined it as speaking with grace in the heart.

Melody in the Old Testament:

O king, this wondrous spectacle. For though the ironshod dart would draw no blood from them, they with the thyrsus, which they hurled, caused many a wound and put their foes to utter rout, women chasing men, by some god's intervention. Then they returned to the place whence they had started, even to the springs the god had made to spout for them; and there washed off the blood,

while serpents with their tongues were licking clean each gout from their cheeks.

Wherefore, my lord and master, receive this deity, whoe'er he be, within the city; for, great as he is in all else, I have likewise heard men say, 'twas he that gave the vine to man, sorrow's antidote. Take wine away and Cypris flies, and every other human joy is dead.

The Bacchae by Euripides warns against making war against the gods:

Plucking the bowstring to panic the enemy was the first "melody" used in warfare. The harp may have evolved from the bow or the bow may have at first been a musical sound maker. By violently plucking the string one grasps the power to do harm to others.


Though I fear to speak my mind with freedom in the presence of my king, still must I utter this; Dionysus yields to no deity in might.


Already, look you! the presumption of these Bacchantes is upon us, swift as fire, a sad disgrace in the eyes of all Hellas. No time for hesitation now! away to the Electra gate!

order a muster of all my men-at-arms, of those that mount fleet steeds, of all who brandish light bucklers,

of archers too that make the bowstring twang; for I will march against the Bacchanals. By Heaven this passes all, if we are to be thus treated by women.

In the Greek, if Paul commanded us to "make melody" we would have to ask him: "With what?" He might say, "Accompany the song with your voice" or "accompany the song with a harp." He would have to prescribe the specific instrument or the command to psallo would not be complete.

Melody in the Old Testament also shows that the instrument is always named:

And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre (Lucifer) sing as an harlot. Isaiah 23:15

Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten;

make sweet melody,
sing many songs, that thou mayest
-------be remembered. Isaiah 23:16

Take thou away from me

the noise of thy songs;
for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. Amos 5:23

Melody, in these instances, means the music which has been specifically composed so that they can be sung with instruments much like melody in the New Testament:

Zimrah (h2172) zim-raw'; from 2167; a musical piece or song to be accompanied by an instrument: - melody, psalm.

This definition of Hebrew melody does not specify the instrument. The instrument might be the tongue or harp or flute.

The primary act was external melody and the voice followed the lead of the instrument. Another Hebrew word is:

Zamar (h2167) zaw-mar'; a prim. root [perh. ident. with 2168 (to prune a vine) through the idea of striking with the fingers]; prop. to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, i. e.

play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: - give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

Chalal (h2490) khaw-lal';to wound,... profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one's word), denom. (from 2485) to play (the flute): eat (as common things), gather the grape thereof, take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

In the New Testament, the instrument is also named: the human voice which joyfully and cheerfully speaks the inspired words of Christ to teach and admonish. Complex harmony nor instrumental music has any possible role to play in "worship in spirit and in truth."

Never in the history of the church did anyone worry about the meaning of the word Paul used - Psallo - until it was protested that instrumental music in worship conflicts with "worship in spirit and in truth." Consistent with the foreordained plan to introduce instruments, it is just amazingly easy to claim Christian love spirituality and abuse the Words of Christ and Paul.

How about Pharisees and Sectarians?

In addition to failing to understand Jesus and spiritual worship, or Paul and making melody in the heart, the attempt to introduce instruments by mishandling the Word of Christ seems to produce some harsh charges that those who do not use instruments are somehow really evil. There is a long list of evil words thrown against those who refuse to be lovingly forced to dance when they pipe.

The strangest detour into strong delusion is that one is a sectarian if they will not allow others to force them into worship rituals using theatrical performance and mechanical instruments. Therefore, to help understand that those who add instruments always created the new sects, we offering the following:

The view "held in toto" for all of these centuries is that Psallo does not permit mechanical (carnal or lifeless) instruments. Nor does "worship in spirit and in truth permit instruments." The literature, pro and con, is in agreement.

The view of our branch of Protestants (Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians) held the vew in toto against musical instruments. Many Baptists and Presbyterians still do.

The American Restoration Movement brought this view with them and did not invent it. This is still the official Catholic view although they have often been forced into theatrical performance to appeal to the carnal mind.

A sectarian is one who creates "a division and the formation of a party or 'sect' in contrast to the uniting power of 'the truth,' held in toto; 'a sect' is created "generally with the expectation of personal advantage."

The first Christian churches to add instruments and try to force them into the churches in the South needed no Biblical authority: they just needed more members to compete with others. Therefore, those who added instruments were the sectarians.

Musical churches, from time to time, try through "unity forums" to evangelize non-musical churches. Those who through weakness fall for the teaching, in turn attempt to evangelize others to their view. To that extent, they are the new sectarians. This is proven by the acknowledgement that "we need to attract new members" where paying the bills is one motive. The only ones who have an "expectation of personal advantage" are the staff clergy which needs more and more members as it grows."

The people with a Biblical background and a spiritual sensibility could not, therefore, be the Pharisees or Sectarians because they have no expectation of a financial gain, and instead have the expectation of being labeled "racist Pharisees" and, to the extent it is legally possible, eleminated (Machiavelli) or exterminated (Hitler).

What about modern Presbyterians?

"It has always been common among the advocates of this Popish mode of worship,

to meet the objections of simple minded Protestants to the organ,

with the retort that their scruples were the relics of fanatical prejudice,

and rustic ignorance.

The resort to this species of reply appears the more ill-considered, when we remember that

Dr. Girardeau is supporting the identical position held by all the early fathers,

by all the Presbyterian reformers, by a Chalmers, a Mason, a Breckinridge, a Thornwell, and by a Spurgeon. Why is not the position as respectable in our author as in all this noble galaxy of true Presbyterians?

Will the innovators claim that all these great men are so inferior to themselves? See Source

No true scholar would attempt to create a sectarian party using the word "psallo" as the authority to change the worship rituals and, at the same time, diminish the character of those who oppose instruments and will do so until Jesus comes in the air to collect the "tiny drop of juice, out of the one almost-rotted grape, out of the one cluster, out of the one vine, out of the one vineyard which He Himself planted." (Isaiah 5).

Instrumental music in worship is wrong for the same reason it was wrong to Job, Amos, Isaiah and Ezekiel: it silenced the Words of God to keep their spiritual demands away from the people who would follow Jesus as He fed the 5,000 but would not follow Him to the cross.

Kenneth Sublett

Click for more on Psallo

Instrumental Music in Worship Index

Home Page

E-mail - questions or comments welcome


<img src="/cgi-bin/Count.cgi?df=piney/counter_Psallo3.html.dat">



strumental music is worship, psallo, Zamar, Psalm, singing, hymns, spiritual songs, musical worship, Imusical worship tea4ms, Hohenwald, Te

nnessee, Kenneth L. Sublett, Lewis County