The Instigator
ChristianDebaterBrad
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
DAN123
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Instrumental worship for New Testament Christians can be justified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,072 times Debate No: 17423
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (47)
Votes (1)

 

ChristianDebaterBrad

Pro

This is my first argument so if my format is not what the norm is on the sie please excuse and correct me. Although this is my first debate on this site this is far from my first debate on this topic.

What I'm proposing: New Testament Christians can worship God accompanied by instrumental use (only stringed instruments) and the bible is not silent on this matter.

Evidence of my proposition to be true:

Christians in the New Testament were plainly instructed to sing and do it from their heart, but from Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 the use of the term "psalms" is a clear indication of allowance of stringed instrument accompaniment within our song worship.

Things to make my position more clear:

Instruments of any kind that wouldn't allow the player to sing would not by definition be what God wants for New Testament worship.

The bible is NOT silent on instrumental use because of the word psalms.

All of the Old Testament Psalms that I know of were only accompanied by a harp, or possibly a lyre. The only indication I have is the footnote above the chapter but I have never seen one that explicitly said one was accompanied by anything other than a stringed instrument. Psalm 150 may talk about other instruments but that does not prove that the psalm itself was accompanied by the instruments that is mentioned within that chapter. Also, I would argue that Psalm 150 shows that God accepted in the Old Testament instrumental music alone WITHOUT the accompaniment of voices to be worship. I say this because David explicitly says to praise God on these instruments with no indication of singing as accompaniment and the only logical conclusion is what I'm proposing. One might argue that verse 6 which reads "Let everything that breathes praise the Lord" that this is specifically meaning singing. What you have to understand is that singing is praising but not all praising is singing. Also, within context of this chapter it makes more since to think that the "praise" in verse 6 is in reference to praise just instruments and instruments alone. If though the "praise" in verse 6 means to sing David is not saying sing with the accompaniment of the instruments he just mentioned to praise God with. If so, I would like to know where.

Questions to my opponent:

1) If stringed instruments allow the player to also sing and the word psalms by definition allows accompaniment of stringed instruments, where do you draw your conclusion of sing and sing only?

2) If you argue that we were only instructed to sing and sing only and that to do anything else while we sing (such as playing an instrument) is sinful, then would you agree that using a song book (reading while you sing) would be adding to the commandment of just sing only?

I hope to find another good debater and that if I'm right that I have enlightened someone to Truth found in God's word and that if I'm wrong someone will show me the Truth and where I am erring.

Thanks and I'm looking forward to the debate with whoever decides to be my opposition.
DAN123

Con


First of all I would like to thank Brad for issuing this challenge. And I would like for my opponent to know that I am glad to debate in Spirit and in Truth.


My opponent seems to argue in Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 the word “psalms” is a clear indication of stringed instruments in worship in the church. First of all, that does not mean an Old Testament psalm. The meaning of psalm is a song unto God. Secondly, God approves in the Old Testament SINGING WITH instrumental music (II Chron. 29:25).


Before the New Testament was completed, the church used the Old Testament scriptures as their primary source (Acts 17:11; 18:28, etc.). They had the very scriptures before them that approved and encouraged the use of instruments right down to the naming of specific types (2 Chronicles 29:25-26; Psalm 150). And at the time of the early church, instruments were available and many Christians had the talent to play them ... yet this talent was not exercised in worship! The Old Testament scripture was not followed.


Answers to the Questions:



  1. Question no. 1 is a very good question and I am happy to answer it. Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Matt. 26:30, James 5:13, I Cor. 14:15 etc. No mention of instruments here just singing only.

  2. What about song books? That is a good question; singing is a kind of music, is it not? Instrumental music is a kind of music. God specified the kind he wanted (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:9). A song book is not a kind of music! Here is a song book, what are you doing when you use it? You are singing! What is the command? Sing! You are still not doing anything other than what the command includes. People sometimes say, “Well, you say you do not have a piano. The Bible does not say anything about using a song book.” No. But the bible says sing, and when you use a song book you are not doing anything other than singing. That is the difference.


My first argument maybe a little short but as the debate goes I will make it longer. I look forward to the next round. God Bless.


Debate Round No. 1
ChristianDebaterBrad

Pro

My opponent's first claim is "The meaning of psalm is a song unto God," contesting
that a psalm excludes instrument accompaniment. I will need proof of this please to
back this claim up. According to Thayer's translation of a Greek-Latin lexicon prepared by Prof. C. L. Wilibald Grimm:

"Syn. humnos, psalmos, ode: ode is the generic term; psalm. and humn. are specific, the former designating a song which took its general character from O. T. 'Psalms' (although not restricted to them, see I Cor. 14:15, 26), the latter a song of praise. 'While the leading idea of psalm is a musical accompaniment, and that of hymn praise to God, ode is the general word for a song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any other subject. Thus it was quite possible for the same song to be at once psalmos, humnos, and ode' (Bp. Lightfoot on Col. 3:16). The words occur together in Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19." (From page 637.)

From this authority it clearly states that the word has not changed in meaning from it's prior Old Testament use. If so, please prove with evidence that I can evaluate and not just claim it changed.

___

Secondly, my opponent argues that 2 Chronicles 29:25 is a proof text that God in the OT allowed singing with instrumental music. Although I agree God did allow singing accompanied by STRINGED instruments in the OT, I see no allowance for anything beyond that. If my opponent wants to prove this he must give a different proof text. 2 Chronicles 29:25 reads: He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king's seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets. (NIV) My question is where is there any indication of singing in this text?

Also my opponent argues that Psalm 150 sets precedents for instruments that were okay in the OT to use to worship God. I will agree, but where in Psalm 150 does it say those instruments were to be accompanied by the voice? Nowhere. By definition of the word Psalm only allows stringed instruments and by example we only have David accompanying his Psalms with the harp (there might be one with a lyre too, which is basically a guitar). Just because Psalm 150 says instruments such as the "pipe" (NIV) to be praise of God, it only indicates that the music created from the instrument being played by the musician is sufficient enough as praise (without voice accompaniment). Verse 6 reads "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD." While praise could mean singing, praise here does not necessarily mean that. But, even if it did specifically mean sing, where is there any indication to sing with accompaniment the instruments that David just mentioned? Nowhere (other than the stringed instruments because David himself shows by example that Gd accepts his harp in accompaniment to his Psalms as well as by definition of Psalms).
___

My opponent lastly makes an argument that the early NT Church is never recorded as using
instruments within their worship. Since a psalm is a psalm whether it has stringed accompaniment or
not then to sing a psalm without a stringed instrument would fulfil the command found to sing in Ephesians 5:19. That's not to say that using a stringed instrument would not be allowed, because the word itself by definition allows that. The early church simply did chose not to use instruments because it was their liberty not to. It makes since that if the early church had the liberty to make the choice not to use the instrument that they wouldn't. The early church was constantly being persecuted and instruments would have probably alerted their persecutors if played to loudly. Why would they do that to themselves if they have a choice not too? Also, an argument that says since they didn't use instruments that it means it's wrong to use them is not even valid in the least bit.

___

I would like evidence from my opponent that the term "psalms" in Ephesians 5:19 and Col. 3:16 means "The meaning of psalm is a song unto God," and that by that definition that it excludes instrumental use (stringed).

Also, my opponent has dodged tried to dodge the contradiction in his own logic in answering my second question.
To recap, my second question was: If you argue that we were only instructed to sing and sing only and that to do anything else while we sing (such as playing an instrument) is sinful, then would you agree that using a song book (reading while you sing) would be adding to the commandment of just sing only? The contradiction in my opponent's logic lies in where he says "You are singing! What is the command? Sing! You are still not doing anything other than what the command includes." If you are using a song book you are singing AND reading, and I find nowhere about reading while you sing in Ephesians 5:19. It is not expedient that you read while you sing, it is just convenient. His logic of excluding an instrument because it is 'adding' to singing would also exclude using songbooks because it is adding reading to singing. This is illogical first because psalms allows instruments to be used and secondly because all logic would go against it.
DAN123

Con

A Cappella translates to the English phrase, “Of the Chapel.” That’s right; A Cappella music is the type of music found to be coming from chapels or church buildings. Now, if this is true (and we just proved that it is), then logic demands the opposite must also be true. In other words, music with instruments is the type which is not found in places where the church meets. So, if there is an instrument present and in use, the people there are not part of the church: people who use instruments in their worship music are not in the church built and bought by Christ (Romans 16:16).

Again, this historical evidence is not religiously binding. However, in light of this evidence, we should be fearful of changing anything regarding this facet of worship. This should be an effective catalyst in provoking us to a deeper and complete study of this topic, regardless of how difficult such study may seem.

Hebrews 13:15-16, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”

We are commanded to give the fruit of our lips as our praise. Giving the fruit of our fingers is strange fruit, and is thus condemned. God could leave it at this and it should be sufficient for us. However, God even gives us a glimpse as to why instruments are forbidden under the New Covenant.

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

In this passage, we see that our singing is teaching. Teaching is speaking. We must all speak the same thing (1st Corinthians 1:10). We must all speak truth (Ephesians 4:15). Everyone must be able to understand the message of our singing (1st Corinthians 14:15). So, it is Biblically demonstrated that our singing must be in truth, and that a clear, distinct message must be given in our singing. Can mechanical instruments do this? Paul didn’t think so.

1st Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”

The context of this passage may be charity, but it demonstrates how all the spiritual gifts, of the preceding and following passages, work together for harmony and unity: they present a clear message when in their proper place. When these gifts were misused, what was the result? Harmony was disrupted. The message of the church was unclear. What comparison did Paul use to represent destroying this unity? Since unity and a clear message is required in our singing, what comparison would be valid to show an unclear message in our singing? Mechanical instruments make the message unclear. Mechanical instruments destroy the very purpose God gave for our singing. On this argument alone, instruments are prohibited. However, some people with very hard hearts, and very selfish attitudes, will argue about this. Therefore, we will press onward with the second Biblical argument against the mechanical instrument; one against which no sincere person can argue.

Ephesians 5:18b-19, “[B]e filled with the Spirit; [s]peaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…”

This is obviously a command with the use of the verb, “be.” So, the question comes, “To whom is the command given?” “What is the grammatical construction of this passage as originally written?”

First, we must know the word under discussion. We are to both sing and make melody. We all know what singing entails, so let’s look at making melody.

ψάλλω
psallo
̄
psal'-lo
Probably strengthened from ψάω psao
̄ (to rub or touch the surface; compare G5597); to twitch or twang, that is, to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine worship with music and accompanying odes): - make melody, sing (psalms).

Many look at this definition, raise their hands in victory, and stop studying further. Is that safe? We see the definition for making melody. However, we need to look at the grammatical construction before we can know HOW to make melody. There are two points that need to be covered.

The parsing code (key to grammar) in the Textus Receptus, the Byzantine, AND the Westcott-Hort texts for ψάλλω is: V-PAP-NPM. In fact, in all three texts, a variant of ψάλλω is used to show it is a different part of speech. Rather than ψάλλω, all use ψαλλοντες (psallotes). The lexicons only give the root word. This tells us that we absolutely must see why a variant is used. For that we need just a smidgen of Greek grammar; we need to know exactly what that parsing code means.

Ψαλλοντες is present tense and active voice, with an imperative, participial mood. Ψαλλοντες is nominative in case, plural in tense, and masculine in gender.

Being a present tense verb (but not perfect tense which would apply only to a one time action), Ψαλλοντες is valid each time one engages in the action of the predicate. The active voice ties this verb directly to a specific means of fulfilling the action; in this instance a specific, named instrument. The mood is an imperative (command), and requires a participle’s conjugation (which in turn requires a case, tense, and gender). In other words, to use this word, a specific instrument must also be named. The only instrument authorized for us in worship is the human heart; we must pluck our heartstrings with our singing.

A nominative case verb has nothing to do with the main clause (subject and predicate) of the sentence but ψαλλοντες is rather setting up the circumstance for the sentence’s meaning; describing how the subject and predicate work together. The main clause of this passage is, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” Since many have been hoodwinked to think they can find authority for mechanical instruments in there, as well, I will deal with this in a moment. Ψαλλοντες is plural. Since ψαλλοντες is both plural (2nd person) and imperative, all are commanded to ψαλλοντες each time there is music. If ψαλλοντες applies to a piano, harp, or any other stringed, mechanical instrument, and it is already proven to apply to all worshipers, then all must play that specific instrument or be in violation of the imperative. This same principle even prohibits choirs! Greek is not like the Latin in that everything is either masculine of feminine. If this ψαλλοντες applied to mechanical instruments, the gender would be neuter. Since the gender is masculine, you can rest assured this speaks of people: and masculine gender can apply to both males and females when used in the plural, as is the case with the word, “mankind.”

Now, let’s turn our attention to the main clause; specifically the subject noun, ψαλμός (psalms). Here is the parsing code for ψαλμός: N-DPM. It is a noun, dative case, plural, and masculine gender.

The dative case, in this instance, is specifically “dativus instrumenti.” This simply means that the method to complete the predicate action must be given; i.e., “singing.” It does not say sing and play as proponents of the sinful instrument need it to say if their position were true. Even though in times past the psalms were played, now they are to be sung with the voice.

The given conjunction in Strong’s definition for psalms is “or,” not “and.” Instruments are not required. The voice, alone, is an acceptable option. If definitions are different or conflict with each other (or could), it is up to us to determine correctly which option is the truth of God’s Word, and which is a lie. We must use context. We must not violate other passages of Scripture.

Moreover, according to Ephesians 5:19, the Psalms were to be spoken; not played. If you refuse to accept this, it will be between you and God when He sends you to Hell at the judgment, for I have told you the truth.











Debate Round No. 2
ChristianDebaterBrad

Pro

I only have 8,000 characters to address all your points so if I'm going to address what I see as most crucial.

You said:

"A Cappella translates to the English phrase, "Of the Chapel." That's right; A Cappella music is the type of music found to be coming from chapels or church buildings. Now, if this is true (and we just proved that it is), then logic demands the opposite must also be true. In other words, music with instruments is the type which is not found in places where the church meets. So, if there is an instrument present and in use, the people there are not part of the church: people who use instruments in their worship music are not in the church built and bought by Christ (Romans 16:16)."

My rebuttal: The phrase "A Cappella" is not found within any context of the New Testament explicitly. Also, it isn't even found implicitly, and this is especially true in Ephesians 5:19 where the word "psalms" is used which based on many scholarly sources (see Thayer's revision to Grimm's Lexicon, or just Grimm's lexicon) that "psalms" means with the accompaniment of a stringed instrument/how it was used in Old Testament times (thus, exemplified by David a psalm can be accompanied or not accompanied by a stringed instrument and still be a psalm). My argument comes from a word you can actually find within the verse that I did not take out of context. Your argument relies on you first putting in "A Cappella" then basing your argument from there. A false premise will always conclude a false conclusion.
___
You said:

"Again, this historical evidence is not religiously binding. However, in light of this evidence, we should be fearful of changing anything regarding this facet of worship. This should be an effective catalyst in provoking us to a deeper and complete study of this topic, regardless of how difficult such study may seem."

My rebuttal: For the reader, binding means: the act of fastening, securing, uniting, or the like (http://dictionary.reference.com...).

Anyways, if it's not binding then don't say we should be fearful, you just said the historical "evidence" (that we have been discussing) isn't binding, so it shouldn't make us fearful.
___
You said:

Hebrews 13:15-16, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."

We are commanded to give the fruit of our lips as our praise. Giving the fruit of our fingers is strange fruit, and is thus condemned. God could leave it at this and it should be sufficient for us. However, God even gives us a glimpse as to why instruments are forbidden under the New Covenant.

My rebuttal: Sure, I don't disagree that we should do what Hebrews 13:15-16 but you are quick to think this is referencing singing. I'm sorry that you can't see the argument I've made out of Ephesians 5:19. You are framing an argument... The verse says "let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." IF this means sing (IF!) it still doesn't forbid instruments. If you can't disprove my point from Ephesians 5:19 then by your logic the scriptures contradict themselves.
___

You said:

"Colossians 3:16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

In this passage, we see that our singing is teaching. Teaching is speaking. We must all speak the same thing (1st Corinthians 1:10). We must all speak truth (Ephesians 4:15). Everyone must be able to understand the message of our singing (1st Corinthians 14:15). So, it is Biblically demonstrated that our singing must be in truth, and that a clear, distinct message must be given in our singing. Can mechanical instruments do this? Paul didn't think so."

The frame you have used is unbelievable. First, the instrument can teach the tune/pitch of a song. Other than that, I agree with everything you say up to where you say:

"Can mechanical instruments do this? Paul didn't think so."

Where do you even find that the point of mechanical instruments are to do this? I agree Paul didn't think instruments could "speak truth" but that doesn't make them wrong. Where are you pulling that since we are told with our singing to do these things that since an instrument can't do the following things you mentioned (and there is no where that even concludes that they are meant to do that) that they are wrong?
___

You used as evidence:

"1st Corinthians 13:1, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."

Since I only think stringed instruments are allowed in New Testament worship, there is no contention. Also, this is a simile referencing back to not having charity... To say that this is Paul saying instruments are wrong is not valid. It would be like me saying when someone hits a wrong chord in a song that it sounds bad, therefore I have said striking chords altogether is WRONG. That's 100% illogical.
___

You said:

"In other words, to use this word, a specific instrument must also be named. The only instrument authorized for us in worship is the human heart; we must pluck our heartstrings with our singing."

It is by definition of "psalms." - Any stringed instrument.

But someone may say, does not the American Standard Version's rendering, "singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord," necessarily mean that the heart is the instrumental means by which the melody is made? Not at all. Such an interpretation depends upon defining the word "with" as means. A look in any dictionary will reveal at least eight or ten definitions for the word "with." One of these is "accompanied by," and it seems clear that this is what is meant by the ASV in Eph. 5:19. Compare 1Cor. 14:15 where the construction is parallel in the original as well as in the English: "I will sing with the spirit..." Non-instrument advocates never contend that this verse refers to singing that is done "with the spirit" rather than the voice. All can see that it means, "I will sing with (accompanied by) the spirit..." If the singing in 1 Cor. 14:15 can be audible (which it obviously is) and still be with the spirit, then both the singing and the making melody in Eph. 5:19 can be literal and audible and still be with the heart! If not, why not? Thus, the meaning of the ASV is, "singing (vocal) and making melody (audible, vocal or instrumental) with (accompanied by) your heart to the Lord." This perfectly harmonizes with the versions already quoted.
http://www.wordsfitlyspoken.org...
___

"Since ψαλλοντες is both plural (2nd person) and imperative, all are commanded to ψαλλοντες each time there is music. If ψαλλοντες applies to a piano, harp, or any other stringed, mechanical instrument, and it is already proven to apply to all worshipers, then all must play that specific instrument or be in violation of the imperative. "

I agree, we must all sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. The definition of psalms though calls that when an instrument is used (within our liberty by definition and OT example of that definition) that it ACCOMPANIES, therefore not must everyone play to fulfill the definitions imperative to accompany. The imperative you use is linked back to "speaking" or the idea of singing the three types of songs we have in Ephesians 5:19, not the allowance of stringed instruments by the definition of psalms. The use of the instrument is optional based on the definition of psalms.
___

Thayer's translation of a Greek-Latin lexicon prepared by Prof. C. L. Wilibald Grimm. would totally disagree with what you are saying. He says (b/c there is no evidence) that psalms means the same as it did in OT usage.
DAN123

Con

This person was presented with arguments that cannot be argued. Therefore, he just thinks they do not exist. Everything I said must happen, must happen for the very reasons I said it must happen. In spite of his mental gymnastics to change the Bible into a god after his own image, the Bible is still there, and it still proves his position to be sinful. He actually said psalms do not have to be accompanied by an instrument, then he waffled and said all psalms, by definition, are done with instruments. He is contradicting himself. This is the best proof he is in abject error.

The Greek word for "psalm" ("psalmos", or verb form, "psallo") did indeed have the original, or radical meaning "to pluck", "to touch", "to strike", or "to twang". At one point during the evolving history of the Greek language it did connote plucking on a stringed instrument. If we assume for the sake of argument that it had this meaning during the time of writing of the New Testament, the question remains, "What instrument was to be plucked during the singing?". The instrument is not inherent in the word. The context must be examined to answer this question.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:18-20)

The instrument of choice is already specified by the Lord - the heart. The "heartstrings" are to be plucked. The graceful melody produced by this instrument of divine origin exceeds the appealing melody produced by any instrument of human origin. Since the instrument to be "plucked" has been specified, what authority do we have for changing it?

Language Authorities

J.H. Thayer (1828-1901) was Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at the Divinity School of Harvard University. He also served on the revision committee that produced the American Standard Version of the New Testament.

In 1885 A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament was published, which reflected Thayer’s translation, revision, and enlargement of an earlier work involving the labors of C.G. Wilke and C.L.W. Grimm. In its day, Thayer’s work was the finest lexicon available, and still is of considerable value.

In discussing psallo, after commenting upon the word’s use in classical Greek, and in the Septuagint, he notes that "in the N.T. [psallo signifies] to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song. . . " (p. 675).

The first edition of W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Wordswas issued in 1940 in four volumes. In 1952 a one-volume edition was published. F.F. Bruce, Head of the Department of Biblical History and Literature at the University of Sheffield, wrote the Foreword for that production. Therein, Prof. Bruce praised Vine’s work. He stated that the “Greek scholarship was wide, accurate and up-to-date.” He noted that the author had a “thorough mastery of the classical idiom,” a “close acquaintance with the Hellenistic vernacular,” and an awareness of the influence of the Septuagint upon the New Testament.

In his popular work, Vine, in commenting upon psallo (under “Melody”), notes the classical sense, the Septuagint usage, and then says: “… in the N.T., to sing a hymn, sing praise” (1997, p. 730).

In another book, Vine explained the matter more fully.

“The word psallo originally meant to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, or to sing with the accompaniment of a harp. Later, however, and in the New Testament, it came to signify simply to praise without the accompaniment of an instrument” (1951, p. 191 – emp. added).

In 1964. the prestigious Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (edited by Kittel, Friedrich, and Bromiley) issued from the press. The article which dealt with psallowas written by Gerhard Delling. Relative to Ephesians 5:19, Delling contended that the literal use of psallo, as “found in the LXX, is now employed figuratively” (Kittel, et al., p. 499).

In an abridgement of this work, published in 1985, Bromiley expressed it this way: “. . . psallontes does not now denote literally playing on a stringed instrument” (p. 1226).

In the revised edition of the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, David Howard of Bethel Theological Seminary, commented upon psallo.

Psallo originally meant to play a stringed instrument; in the LXX it generally translates zimmer and ngn. In the NT it refers to singing God’s praises (not necessarily accompanied by strings)” (p. 314).

In the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament, Balz and Schneider write: “In the NT psallo always refers to a song of praise to God” (p. 495).

In his popular work, Word Meanings in the New Testament, Ralph Earle comments on psallo in Ephesians 5:19.

“‘Making melody’ is one word in Greek, psallontes. The verb psallo meant first to strike the strings of a harp or lyre. Then it meant to ‘strike up a tune.’ Finally it was used in the sense ‘to sing’” (p. 333).

It is important to remember that these men were affiliated with denominational groups that employ instrumental music in their worship. They have no motive for misrepresenting the facts of this issue. Their testimony, therefore, is compelling indeed.

First of all, Brad Obviously does acknowledge what is the meaning of the “old Testament psalm” but he doesn’t acknowledge what is the meaning of the “new Testament psalm”

Kurfees ultimately quotes 17 different lexicons to ensure a broad sampling of the reputable, scholarly world. He condenses the observed changes in psallo's definition over time as follows:

1. Radical meaning, "To Touch", regardless of the particular object touched, the latter not inhering in the word.

2. Meaning as applied in Greek literature:

  1. To pluck the hair.
  2. To twang the bowstring.
  3. To twitch the carpenter's line.
  4. To touch the chords of a musical instrument, that is, to make instrumental music.
  5. To touch the chords of the human heart, that is, to sing, to celebrate with hymns of praise.

The radical, or root meaning of the word meant "to touch", and it was first used in reference to touching, or "plucking the hair". If one insists on going back to the original meaning of "psallo", because they hope it will authorize instrumental music, imagine their surprise to learn that it instead authorizes a congregation full of people singing, while stroking their beards and pulling at each other's hair!

Clearly, the question we must ask ourselves is, "What was the meaning of psallo at the writing of the New Testament?". As was already noted, Thayer, although occasionally misrepresented, limits the New Testament meaning to singing with no instrumental accompaniment. The separate lexicons of Liddell and Scott, Robinson, Bagster, Sophocles, and Thomas Sheldon Green also indicate similar definition during the writings of the Septuagint and New Testament (Kurfees 9-15). Among these names are the most prestigious names in New Testament Greek scholarship; therefore, we conclude that misinformants notwithstanding, closer study of the subject proves that instrumental music is not inherent, but it is rather excluded by the New Testament usage of psallo. The arguments raised previously based on the text alone, additionally bolster this conclusion.

References:

  • Kurfees, M. C. Instrumental Music in the Worship or the Greek Verb Psallo. Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, TN. 1975. 1911, orig.

Debate Round No. 3
ChristianDebaterBrad

Pro

I NEVER said all psalms by definition MUST be done with instruments. I said the definition allows for accompaniment of stringed instruments. If you want to play my words go ahead, I don't really care if you want to distort what I'm saying. What I'm saying (so the reader doesn't get confused by my opponent's playing of my words) is I agree with Thayer's/Grimm's definition of psalmos (psalms).

From Thayer's translation of a Greek-Latin lexicon prepared by Prof. C. L. Wilibald Grimm, and I quote:

"Syn. humnos, psalmos, ode: ode is the generic term; psalm. and humn. are specific, the former designating a song which took its general character from O. T. 'Psalms' (although not restricted to them, see I Cor. 14:15, 26), the latter a song of praise. 'While the leading idea of psalm is a musical accompaniment, and that of hymn praise to God, ode is the general word for a song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any other subject. Thus it was quite possible for the same song to be at once psalmos, humnos, and ode' (Bp. Lightfoot on Col. 3:16). The words occur together in Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19." (From page 637.)

My opponent gives Thayer's definition of psallo (the verb form of psalmos) but doesn't give the noun's (psalmos/psalms) definition by the same individual, Thayer and Grimm (Thayer obviously agreed with Grimm's definition because the only places Thayer revised Grimm's definition were with the brackets in the quoted definition above). Why? Because if my opponent did he would see that psalms, by definition, "took its general character from O. T. 'Psalms'" , and logically speaking the OT psalms had some psalms that were accompanied by instruments and some that weren't, and as far as we know (and can only logically assume) all pleased God. But when only viewing Thayer's definition of psallo my opposition wants to claim the instrument is the heart. He is distorting evidences because he is not giving Thayer's full position on the matter.

You said: "The instrument of choice is already specified by the Lord - the heart. The "heartstrings" are to be plucked. The graceful melody produced by this instrument of divine origin exceeds the appealing melody produced by any instrument of human origin. Since the instrument to be "plucked" has been specified, what authority do we have for changing it?"

First, my opponet doesn't even know his own (fallicious) argument. My opponent has insisted the 'heart' is the deemed instrument to pluck, which I credit to my opponent that at least the word 'heart' can be found within the text of Ephesians 5:19 (which just cause I find a word doesn't credit my position of an argument if I take it out of it's intended use), BUT I ask my opponent to please give me book, chapter, and verse to where we are to pluck our "heartstrings." I have addressed this issue in earlier posts and shown very logically why this isn't true but my opposition didn't address my contention so I'm not repeating myself. If my opposition uses his argument of the 'heart' being the instrument, I urge the reader of the debate to go to my previous rebuttal of this logic and read how it's illogical to say the 'heart' is the instrument ' in Eph. 5:19 but rather, singing is to be done heartily. Also, what is the heart? It's our intellect, our mind. Acording to Mark 7:21, which I will quote "For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, (ASV)" I would say I'm correct. So, I could say by his logic (he is making up terms, ie "heartstrings" which is not found in the bible) it would by a synonym of "heartstrings" to say I'm to pluck my "mindstrings" or my "intellectstrings." The argument to pluck your heart/heartstrings is a Red Herring fallacy as well as a fallacy of composition (see fallacy of composition http://www.nizkor.org...) I'll explain his logic in terms of it being a fallacy of composition:

Hearts are instruments to be plucked for God. People have hearts, so people are to pluck their hearts as instruments for God. This is fallicious because hearts may be instruments to be plucked for God and people may have hearts but that doesn't limit them to their hearts as their only instrument to be plucked for God. But as I'm inclined to say again, in previous posts and as well as this post, I have proven the heart is not an instrument (in the sense my opponent wants to make it out to be) and is not to be plucked.

My opponent goes on ranting about "psallo" changing meaning. I don't really care what any scholar claims without evidence. Let him produce evidence that the word did in fact change and I'll consider, just sources making claims that words changed doesn't prove anything. The reason Thayer's definition is best for psalms is because he let's it define itself by the Old Testament usage of the word. He didn't claim it went on to only mean sing with no instruments BECAUSE there is no evidence of this being true. Some would argue that the early New Testament Church didn't use instruments, therefore it must have changed in meaning. First, this logic is easily deemed a fallacy of Post Hoc (see here http://www.nizkor.org...). A false premise leads to a false conclusion and without evidence my argument stands to disprove my opponent's logic. Secondly, my argument proposes the early church knew that psalms could be accompanied by stringed instruments or not, it was within their liberty (freedom or choice) to choose not to use them. The circumstantial evidence of the early churches non-use of instruments does not suffice as evidence to prove my opponent's stance.

If psalms changed in meaning we should have other proof texts (not just biblical, but probably biblical as well) that prove it did change in meaning from it's Old Testament use, not just claim it changed. Claiming it changed without any evidence is we call begging the question (read up http://www.nizkor.org...). This evidence would have to explictly say in some way that instruments were forbidden in terms of psalms!

My opponent has been using fallicious arguments and has been illogical. He has dodged arguments I have proposed in opposition to him such as the 'instrument' in Ephesians 5:19 being the 'heart'.

I urge the reader of this debate to weigh the evidence and not be persuaded by sources to claim words changing in meaning without the source producing evidence such as proof texts (biblical and non-biblical) that the word did in fact change. Since I think it's only logical to assume my opposition believes that t 'psalm' changed in meaning then the burden of proof falls on him to produce evidence of his claim (see burden of proof http://www.nizkor.org...)

If I struck up a conversation to a complete stranger on the street and mentioned 'psalms', do you think they would think just singing, or would think oh yeah like David's psalms that were sometimes accompanied? Exactly, if people come to the latter conclusion it certainly has not changed meaning, unless my opponent wants to say psalms meant the OT usage, then when Ephesians 5:19 was written meant just sing, and once again changed meanig to mean with instruments. WOW. If that's true, all I'm going to say is why would God confuse us like that!? He wouldn't. This last paragraph assumes the stranger has the knowledge of the character of the Old Testament psalms and doesn't buy into ancient words changing meaning without some kind of evidence that they did.

1Corinthians 14:33
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

I urge the reader to vote pro.



DAN123

Con

I dont know about Brad, but i think he's trying to lost me in his words. He is trying to prove ONLY that stringed instruments are the only ones allowed in worship and i say based on definition of pslams and on the greek wordBeing a present tense verb (but not perfect tense which would apply only to a one time action), Ψαλλοντες is valid each time one engages in the action of the predicate. The active voice ties this verb directly to a specific means of fulfilling the action; in this instance a specific, named instrument. The mood is an imperative (command), and requires a participle's conjugation (which in turn requires a case, tense, and gender). In other words, to use this word, a specific instrument must also be named. The only instrument authorized for us in worship is the human heart; we mustpluck our heartstrings with our singing. But based from your statements you deny this and builds up false satements. Oh and Brad the BOP is in your side! And I only "psallo" in the argument because I thought that you would understand that psalms are to be spoken not played, unfortunately you did not. Very well let's move on to the debate.

(1)Instruments(specifically stringed ones) are only authorized in singing psalms. Paul told Christians to sing
"psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" in worship. If instrumental music is justified
by using the definition for psalms, then instruments can only be used when
singing psalms. "Hymns and spiritual songs" do not have that inherent meaning,
so where is the authority to use instruments in songs other than psalms?

(2) Could not sing without mechanical instruments. If the only way to sing a psalm
is with an instrument, then how did Jesus and the apostles recite psalms without
instruments (Lk. 20:42; Rom. 3:9-18)? How could they have respected the
inherent meaning of the word without using an instrument every time they
either sang or referred to psalms? Or did they use a harp every time they quoted
a psalm? The fact is, it is possible for a person to sing, recite or read psalms
without instrumental accompaniment. The psalms may have been sung with
instruments in the Old Testament, but Paul specified how they were to be used
in New Testament worship, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and
spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…" (Eph. 5:19; see 2
also Col. 3:16). If the inherent meaning of "psalms" requires mechanical,
instrumental accompaniment, there would be no other way to sing or read a
psalm.
(3) The context says to sing. The Greek word for psalms in Ephesians 5:19 is
psalmos, which comes from the root word psallo ("to twitch, twang, or to move by
touching"). The argument is that since the definition of psallo once carried the
meaning to play on a stringed instrument, then we can use instruments today.
But that is not the only meaning of the word. "In the N.T., ‘to sing a hymn, to
celebrate the praises of God'" (Thayer's). The inherent meaning is to twitch or
twang something. YES, it was used to refer to musical instruments in the Old
Testament, but how is it applied in the New? How did Paul tell Christians to
psallo or to use psalmos? By "singing and making melody in your hearts." Today's
meaning of psallo is "to sing; to chant" (Kyriakides) and "to chant, sing religious
hymns" (Sophocles). And psalmos is "a set piece of music" (Strong's); "a sacred
song" (Vine's). These definitions agree with the New Testament. Which
instrument have Christians been told to use: the heart or the harp?

In his last statement my opponent said:
"I urge the reader of this debate to weigh the evidence
and not be persuaded by sources to claim words changing in meaning without the source producing
evidence such as proof texts (biblical and non-biblical) that the word did in fact change. Since I think
it's only logical to assume my opposition believes that t 'psalm' changed in meaning then the burden
of proof falls on him to produce evidence of his claim (see burden of proofhttp://www.nizkor.org......)"

My opponent here is saying that i have the BOP and i have the responsibility. Well i already showed it
yet you do not read it. I am very disappointed on this debate and on my opponent. He failed to read and
understand my arguments and only stands in his false statements. My opponent says i have dodged his arguments
when he is the one who does it. He boasts about his "logic and his ability to point out fallacies" but he doesn't acknowledges his
own mistakes and fallacies and he himself is in abject error. He relies more on Thayer and Grimm I would answer this
by agreeing that instrumental music is authorized by the dictionary.

However, the instrument is different than many believe. The Scriptures plainly reveal that they we are to use our hearts as the instrument while we are "singing", not playing a mechanical instrument (Ephesians 5:19). Furthermore, even the dictionaries point to the type of music, rather than the type of instrument.

The dictionaries are helpful even in this study. The introduction of mechanical instruments into the definitions make the study misleading if you do not compare God's words with man's. A dictionary is an aid to HELP you understand the meaning of words. However, we must allow God's word to teach us (II Timothy 3:15; cf. Luke 24:27), not a dictionary.

Allowing a dictionary to determine truth is foolish.For example, the King James Dictionary says to Baptize is "to dip or dye a thing".If you were to run with that definition you would ignore the Scriptures, which show baptism is an immersion in water (Acts 8:35-38, Romans 6:3-6, and Colossians 2:12).You must allow God's word to define itself.
Debate Round No. 4
ChristianDebaterBrad

Pro

Other definitions by Strong and Vine give definitions in favor of my argument.

Anyways, you've danced once again around my points which is fine.

Since we are definitely having a semantic war, let me just point out one thing to the reader that my opponent said:

"The Greek word for psalms in Ephesians 5:19 is
psalmos, which comes from the root word psallo ("to twitch, twang, or to move by
touching")."

This is TOTALLY false, the root word of psalmos (noun) is not the verb form of itself psallo (verb)!!!

"Both psallo and psalmos come from the same root psao. Psao means "to rub, wipe; to handle, touch" (Thayer, p. 675). (Also see here http://www.blueletterbible.org... under "Root Word Etymology")

If the reader has read the entire debate I feel like touching on the rest of my opponent's points is like beating a dead bird.

I urge a pro vote once again for at least me giving RIGHT and ACCURATE word origins in a debate over semantics.
DAN123

Con

i don't know about my opponent but as i read the website (http://www.blueletterbible.org...) he said that refute my argument was not effective, did not even refute my argument, helped me a lot to DESTROY his false doctrine.He said ""The Greek word for psalms in Ephesians 5:19 is
psalmos, which comes from the root word psallo ("to twitch, twang, or to move by
touching")."

This is TOTALLY false, the root word of psalmos (noun) is not the verb form of itself psallo (verb)!!!

"Both psallo and psalmos come from the same root psao. Psao means "to rub, wipe; to handle, touch" (Thayer, p. 675). (Also see here http://www.blueletterbible.org... "Root Word Etymology")"
.


I even chuckled to find out that Brad is hiding the true meaning od "psao" I URGE THE READERS TO READ THIS CAREFULLY (THIS WAS TAKEN TO THE ACTUAL WEBSITE).

Lexicon Results
Strong's G5567 - psallō
ψάλλω

Transliteration

psallō

Pronunciation

psä'l-lō (Key)
http://www.blueletterbible.org...; type="application/x-shockwave-flash">http://www.blueletterbible.org...; />

Part of Speech

verb

Root Word (Etymology)

Probably strengthened from psao (to rub or touch the surface, cf ψώχω (G5597))

TDNT Reference

8:489,1225

Vines

View Entry

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) to pluck off, pull out

2) to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang

a) to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate

b) to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc.

c) to sing to the music of the harp

d) in the NT to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.

you see how the instigator is very choosy in his words. I hope the truth will win and i hope The instigator would find out what is the truth about the music in the N.T.

Debate Round No. 5
47 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
What was your last argument trying to propose? I didn't follow it...
Posted by DAN123 5 years ago
DAN123
Brad, would you post you argument as late as possible. I am very busy in school. So, Pls. understand
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
If you have issue with the definition of psalms then you have an issue with Thayer and Grimm who define it that way because there is no evidence of the word ever changing meaning, as I explain in depth in the debate.
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
Now one might say well then everyone must play... This is not true either. What is sing and make melody in reference too? Well, it is in reference to the three psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that we must sing. The imperative and participal nature of the verse is ONLY in reference to singing. Also, by definition of psalms that they are of the nature of the Old testament psalms that make allowances for accompaniment of instruments. Everyone can sing a psalm, but in now way does the definition of psalms or the structure of Eph. 5:19 put an imperative participal nature of playing instruments.

Don't confuse the end of the verse either, going back to sing and make melody. All Paul is saying is as you do these things (sing and make melody) do it from your heart. He is not saying we are required to play instruments, but when we do, make sure it is for the right use.

I could get into how the instrument is an aid as well but unless you want to discuss that I think there is enough here to discuss already.
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
Ephesians 5:19 is not saying pluck your heart as an instrument... You are trying to make this verse figurative in places where it is not meant to be... The NIV does a good job at what is meant where it reads "Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,"

This is not saying the instrument is your heart, but that when you sing and make music (or melody) that you do it from your heart, or in other words, do it heart-felt. You want to say singing is literal and audible and that the make melody (music) is figurative and not audible arbitrarily. A fundamental law of reading the bible or langugage in general is to take it literal unless where contect forbids it. This context does not forbid a literal "make melody" if you would see that it is saying do it in a heart-felt way. No where does it say the heart is the instrument, and nowhere can you pull that from this verse.

Some translations say "with your heart to the Lord" instead of "from"...

This is a bit confusing at first, and your view may look suitable at first glance, but when cross-examining 1Corinthians 14:15, which has the same sentence structure we can easily determine the heart is not the instrument. 1Cor. 14:15 reads " So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding."

We can see "with" here doesn't mean we actually sing only using our spirit, if that was the case then we would have no authority to use our lips or vocal chords. What it is actually saying is, and you know this to be true " So what shall I do? I will pray with (accompanied by) my spirit, but I will also pray with (accompanied by) my understanding; I will sing with (accompanied by) my spirit, but I will also sing with (accompanied by) my understanding.

I would agree if you don't do these things in a reverend way accompanied by your spirit and understanding that it is vain worship though. The same is with Eph. 5:19.
Posted by Ahijah 5 years ago
Ahijah
Brad said, "Also, I see nothing from this definition that talks about plucking the heart."

Plucking is the definition of melody. And the instrument in the verse is the heart. You can not see the truth in the verse. You think because the definition of melody says, to play a stringed instrument, or to pluck the strings, that gives you cause to play a stringed instrument. But you have discarded the instrument God says to play, the heart. You wrestle these scriptures to your own destruction.

The Bible says to sing with your lips. And to make a melody with your heart. So, the Bible gives us the instrument when it says the heart. You want it to say more than this to suite your own desires. But it says the instrument we are to play is the heart. It is the heart today, yesterday and forever. Any person that desires to do God's will can read this simple verse (Eph. 5:19) without the help of a Greek dictionary. And they will see the instrument the Bible says to make a melody with. (THE HEART :)
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
"This indicates that the meaning had changed by the writing of the New Testament, such that the connotation of musical accompaniment had been lost. The meaning had changed to a metaphorical plucking of the human heart strings, which is singing."

No it doesn't indicate it had 'lost' anything, only that in this definition instruments weren't mentioned. Also, I see nothing from this definition that talks about plucking the heart. I touch on this is my last argument and uncover that you haven't shown Thayer's (as well as Grimm's) full view concerning this subject. I also talk about how it's illogical to think the heart is the instrument in my last post as well as previous posts within the debate itself.

Anyways, debating in the comments is pointless so I will leave it at that.
Posted by DAN123 5 years ago
DAN123
We first give Thayer's definition of psallo in FULL, which is as follows:

psallo (from psao, to rub, wipe; to handle, touch); a. "to pluck off, pull out"; etheiran, the hair. b. "to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang"; specifically xordev, "to touch" or "strike the chord, to twang the strings" of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate; and absolute "to play on a stringed instrument, to play the harp", etc.; Septuagint for niggen and much oftener for zimmer "to sing to the music of the harp"; in the New Testament "to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song."

That is his definition verbatim and in full, without giving his list of references to either the classic authors or the New Testament.

First notice that the significance of the phrase, "in the New Testament". This indicates that the meaning had changed by the writing of the New Testament, such that the connotation of musical accompaniment had been lost. The meaning had changed to a metaphorical plucking of the human heart strings, which is singing.
Posted by DAN123 5 years ago
DAN123
From my observation Brad shows a great ignorance in the meaning of the word psalms.
Posted by ChristianDebaterBrad 5 years ago
ChristianDebaterBrad
rather that our*
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
ChristianDebaterBradDAN123Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had many arguments that where refuted, and the questions he asked where answered.