Ephesians 5:19
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

King James Bible
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Darby Bible Translation
speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting with your heart to the Lord;

World English Bible
speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Young's Literal Translation
speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,

Ephesians 5:19 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Speaking to yourselves - Speaking among yourselves, that is, endeavoring to edify one another, and to promote purity of heart, by songs of praise. This has the force of a command, and it is a matter of obligation on Christians. From the beginning, praise was an important part of public worship, and is designed to be to the end of the world; see the notes on 1 Corinthians 14:15. Nothing is more clear than that it was practiced by the Saviour himself and the apostles (see Matthew 26:30), and by the primitive church, as well as by the great body of Christians in all ages.

In psalms - The Psalms of David were sung by the Jews at the temple, and by the early Christians (notes Matthew 26:30), and the singing of those psalms has constituted a delightful part of public worship in all ages. They speak the language of devotion at all times, and a large part of them are as well suited to the services of the sanctuary now as they were when first composed.

And hymns - It is not easy to determine precisely what is the difference in the meaning of the words used here, or to designate the kind of compositions which were used in the early churches. A "hymn" is properly a song or ode in honor of God. Among the pagan it was a song in honor of some deity. With us now it denotes a short poem, composed for religious service, and sung in praise to God. Such brief poems were common among the pagan, and it was natural that Christians should early introduce and adopt them. Whether any of them were composed by the apostles it is impossible now to determine, though the presumption is very strong that if they had been they would have been preserved with as much care as their epistles, or as the Psalms. One thing is proved clearly by this passage, that there were other compositions used in the praise of God than the Psalms of David; and if it was right then to make use of such compositions, it is now. They were not merely "Psalms" that were sung, but there were hymns and odes.

Spiritual songs - Spiritual "odes" - ᾠδᾶις ōdais. Odes or songs relating to spiritual things in contradistinction from these which were sung in places of festivity and revelry. An "ode" is properly a short poem or song adapted to be set to music, or to be sung; a lyric poem. In what way these were sung, it is now vain to conjecture. Whether with or without instrumental accompaniments; whether by a choir or by the assembly; whether by an individual only, or whether they were by responses, it is not possible to decide from anything in the New Testament. It is probable that it would be done in the most simple manner possible. Yet as music constituted so important a part of the worship of the temple, it is evident that the early Christians would be by no means indifferent to the nature of the music which they had in their churches. And as it was so important a part of the worship of the pagan gods, and contributed so much to maintain the influence of paganism, it is not unlikely that the early Christians would feel the importance of making their music attractive, and of making it tributary to the support of religion. If there is attractive music at the banquet, and in the theater, contributing to the maintenance of amusements where God is forgotten, assuredly the music of the sanctuary should not be such as to disgust those of pure and refined taste.

Singing - ᾄδοντες adontes. The prevailing character of music in the worship of God should be vocal. If instruments are employed, they should be so subordinate that the service may be characterized as singing.

And making melody - "Melody" is an agreeable succession of sounds; a succession so regulated and modulated as to please the ear. It differs from "harmony," inasmuch as melody is an agreeable succession of sounds by a single voice; harmony consists in the accordance of different sounds. It is not certain, however, that the apostle here had reference to what is properly called "melody." The word which he uses - ψάλλω psallō - means to touch, twitch, pluck - as the hair, the beard; and then to twitch a string - to "twang" it - as the string of a bow, and then the string of an instrument of music. It is most frequently used in the sense of touching or playing a lyre, or a harp; and then it denotes to make music in general, to sing - perhaps usually with the idea of being accompanied with a lyre or harp. It is used, in the New Testament, only in Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 14:15, where it is translated "sing;" in James 5:13, where it is rendered "sing psalms," and in the place before us. The idea here is, that of singing in the heart, or praising God from the heart. The psalms, and hymns, and songs were to be sung so that the heart should be engaged, and not so as to be mere music, or a mere external performance. On the phrase "in the heart," see the notes on 1 Corinthians 14:15.

To the Lord - In praise of the Lord, or addressed to him. Singing, as here meant, is a direct and solemn act of worship, and should be considered such as really as prayer. In singing we should regard ourselves as speaking directly to God, and the words, therefore, should be spoken with a solemnity and awe becoming such a direct address to the great Yahweh. So Pliny says of the early Christians, "Carmenquc Christo quasi Deo dicere secure invicem" - "and they sang among themselves hymns to Christ as God." If this be the true nature and design of public psalmody, then it follows:

(1) that all should regard it as an act of solemn worship in which they should engage - in "heart" at least, if they cannot themselves sing.

(2) public psalmody should not be entrusted wholly to the light and frivolous; to the trifling and careless part of a congregation.

(3) they who conduct this part of public worship ought to be pious. The leader "ought" to be a Christian; and they who join in it "ought" also to give their hearts to the Redeemer. Perhaps it would not be proper to say absolutely that no one who is not a professor of religion should take part in the exercises of a choir in a church; but thoro can be no error in saying that such persons "ought" to give themselves to Christ, and to sing from the heart. Their voices would be none the less sweet; their music no less pure and beautiful; nor could their own pleasure in the service be lessened. A choir of sweet singers in a church - united in the same praises here - "ought" to be prepared to join in the same praises around the throne of God.

Ephesians 5:19 Parallel Commentaries

Library
April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Cross References
Psalm 95:2
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

Acts 16:25
But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

1 Corinthians 14:15
What is the outcome then? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

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

Revelation 5:9
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

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