Christian rock: Glorifying or the Devil's Handiwork? Part 2-Songs and Instruments

If you are just joining us, you may want to start with the introduction over here:

Let's look today at some of the most common verses that teach what to sing:

Ephesians 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I always start off by looking up the key words in my Strong's Concordance for the KJV.

Psalms is #5568-psalmos-psalm, hymn of praise
Hymns is #5215-hymnos-hymn, song of praise
Spiritual is #4152-pneumatikos-spiritual, pertaining to the Spirit
Songs is #5603-ode-song 

Somehow, that wasn't as helpful as I was hoping it would! But maybe my problem is that I am making this much more difficult than it needs to be. In two places, I am told to sing hymns of praise and songs that are spiritual. Sing them in public and private.  And BE THANKFUL.


Next, I usually check to see what John MacArthur says. I have his study Bible and I love to get his opinion on things. 

Let's start with his commentary in Colossians 3:16 and dwell in you richly

"Dwell" means "to live in" or "to be at home," and "richly" may be more fully rendered "abundantly or extravagantly rich." Scripture should permeate every aspect  of the believers life and control every thought, word and deed. This concept is parallel to being filled with the Spirit in Eph. 5:18 since the results of each are the same. In Eph. 5:18, the power and motivation for all the effects is the filling of the Holy Spirit; here it is the word richly dwellng. Those two realities are really one. The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. This emphasizes that the filling of the Spirit is not some ecstatic or emotional experience, but a steady controlling of the life by obedience to the truth of God's Word.

I liked this: The Holy Spirit fills the life controlled by His Word. 

then his commentary on Eph. 5:19
speaking to one another:
This is to be public. 
Old Testament psalms put to music, primarily, but the term was used also of vocal music in general. The early church sang the Psalms.
Perhaps songs of praise distinguished from the Psalms which exalted God, in that they focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.
spiritual songs:
probably songs of personal testimony expressing truths of the grace of salvation in Christ.
making melody:
literally means to pluck a stringed instrument, so it could refer primarily to instrumental music, while including vocal also.
in your heart to the Lord:
Not just public, but private. The Lord Himself is both the source and the object of the believer's song-filled heart. That such music pleases God can be seen in the account of the temple dedication, when the singing so honored the Lord that His glory came down (2 Chr. 5:12,14)

I am glad to know he doesn't refer to "hymns" as the hymns we sing in church today. That is obviously not what they sang. I was reading an argument for non-rock type music and he was saying that if we aren't singing the old traditional hymns then we are sinning because we are told to sing the hymns....what?

Anywho.  We will come back to these passages in Ephesians and Colossians but for now, let's look at that passage in 2 Chronicles that MacArthur mentioned...

2 Chronicles 5:11And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place]: (for all the priests [that were] present were sanctified, [and] did not [then] wait by course:
12 Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD;
14So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

That was quite the worship going on at the temple dedication! 
Pay attention to how the inspired author closes book  Five (and the rest of the book) of Psalms (and these type of praises with instruments are very common when you are reading psalms...)

Psalm 150
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Here is what the 1828 Webster's Dictionary says about these instruments:

       1. A musical instrument used by the ancients, hollow and made of brass, somewhat like a               kettle-drum; but the precise form is not ascertained.
2. A mean instrument used by gypsies and vagrants, made of a steel wire, in a triangular form, on which are passed fie rings, which are touched and shifter along the triangle with an iron rod held in the left hand, while it is supported in the right by a ring, to give it free motion.

psalteries:PSAL'TERY, n. [Gr.] An instrument of music used by the Hebrews,the form of which is not now known. That which is now used is a flat instrument in form of a trapezium or triangle truncated at the top, strung with thirteen chords of wire, mounted on two bridges at the sides, and struck with a plectrum or crooked stick.

harpsH`ARP, n.
1. An instrument of music of the stringed kind, of a triangular figure, held upright and commonly touched with the fingers.

trumpetsTRUMP'ET, n.
1. A wind instrument of music, used chiefly in war and military exercises. It is very useful also at sea, in speaking with ships. There is a speaking trumpet, and a hearing trumpet. They both consist of long tubular bodies, nearly in the form of a parabolic conoid, with wide mouths.

2. In the military style, a trumpeter.

timbrel: n. [L. tympanum.] An instrument of music; a kind of drum, tabor or tabret,which has been in use from the highest antiquity.

n. [L. organum; Gr.]
3. The largest and most harmonious of wind instruments of music, consisting of pipes which are filled with wind, and stops touched by the fingers. It is blown by a bellows.

Here is what Strong's says about these instruments: On some of these I forgot to include the Hebrew words themselves, but you get the idea...

Cymbals were always translated from this word: (Hebrew) 4700-pair of cymbals
Psalm 150 -(Hebrew) 6767-swarm of locusts or cricket; whirring, buzzing; (fishing) spear; cymbals translated cymbals 3x, locust 1x, and shadowing spears, 1x.

Notice that the "loud cymbals" and "high sounding" cymbals are taken from the same word as the whirring or buzzing of locusts and crickets.

always translated from (5035) nebel: (wine) skin; water jar, jug, pot )of clay); lyre, harp (stringed instrument.

except for in the book of Daniel where it comes from (6460) pesanterin: harp (triangular stringed instrument)

instruments of ten strings: (Hebrew) 6218-group of ten instruments; instrument with ten strings

harp was very self explanatory, but was also translated lyre, lute, zither

lyre- from Daniel 3-5443- triangular instrument with four strings

many times in the Old Testament, trump or trumpet comes from this word: (Hebrew 7782) -
        sopar: trumpet, ram's horn

in Hosea  and many other references it comes from this word: (2689)- hasosera: trumpet, a metal instrument used for signaling and music

Other times include:
Exodus 19:13-(3104) yobel: ram's horn; (Year of) Jubilee
Numbers 29:1- (8643) ferua: trumpet blast, battle cry
Ezekial 7:14-(8619)- taqoa: trumpet, for battle signals

Matthew 6:2-(4537)- salpizo: to sound a trumpet, announce with a trumpet
I Corinthians 15: 15 and52, Matthew 24:31, I Thess 4:16- (4536)salpinx: trumpet

(8596) everywhere but Psalm 68:25 which is (8608)
8596- top-tambourine, timbrel; setting, jewelry; some sources uncertain in meaning.
8606-tapap- to tap (play) a tambourine; to beat (the breast)

always translated from (5748)
5748- ugab-flute

Though not in this passage, there are references to a dulcimer in the book of Daniel.
(5481) sumponya: musical instrument; sources vary widely; a wind instrument: pipe, bagpipe, double flute; a stringed instrument: dulcimer; a percussion instrument:drum, cymbal

I think it is safe to say that praising God included a vast array of instruments, musicians and at times, a lot of volume. There was dancing involved many times and the people lifted up their voices to God in praise and thanksgiving.

We cannot be sure of what instruments they played, but based on this research, it sounds like harps, guitars, bass, drums, cymbals, wind instruments. It doesn't sound like God is too picky when it comes to the instruments themselves that are acceptable for worship.

So is it the rhythm itself?

Coming soon: Rock Rhythm-is it sinful?
What the anti-rock guys have right.
Plus more!

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