Monday, January 26, 2015

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day
We know with great certainty that the Psalms are inspired (breathed in of God) because 2 Timothy 3:16 attests to the fact that they are theopneustos (2315).

 

 

Usefulness of the Sepher Tehillim—part 2

Usefulness of the Sepher Tehillim—part 2
            The Book of Psalms is the only divinely inspired book of songs available for use and should be respected and used in the light of the fact it is the word of God concerning musical praise.  There are several psalmists who contributed to the Psalter, but the church musician is reminded that the real author of the collection is the blessed Holy Spirit.
            Although it is sometimes astonishingly purported that David penned the entire Book of Psalms, it is known that he did not since the inscriptions (superscriptions or headings) of the psalms, which are a part of the original compositions, name several other authors.  Also, many of the psalms were written after David's death.  It is important that the church musician realizes the seriousness of regarding the inscriptions as either spurious or as later additions of the redactors of Scripture.  There is no conclusive evidence that any of the inscriptions were added unofficially at a later date as uninspired material.  On the contrary, they contain the te'amim and would have been chanted just like any other part of the Psalm texts.

 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day
Although we do not have knowledge that the te’amim were written as a Melos (single unit) with the texts of each psalm, it is highly likely that they were.

 

Usefulness of the Sepher Tehillim—part 1

Usefulness of the Sepher Tehillim—part 1
             There is an enormous amount of literature concerning the Book of Psalms.  These sources include writings from ancient to modern times and range from technical to devotional.  The Book of Psalms is the most ancient complete collection of mono-theistic lyric and didactic poetry extant today.  It is probably the greatest ancient religious poetry ever written.  These songs written about God have had an unmeasurable influence on mankind from antiquity to present.
            We now have available to us the ancient poems and melodies that the Hebrew nation sang unto God centuries ago.  The Book of Psalms is really the Sepher Tehillim or the Scroll of Praises unto God.  The Hebrew title is most appropriate since the central theme of these ancient songs is praise unto God.  The twenty-first century church musician should therefore make sure that the tenor of church music remains praise unto God.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thought for the Day


Thought for the Day

Although the study of music worship in the Old and New Testament is not strictly a study of Jewish music purse, We should always remember that the worship music of the First and Temple was executed by the ancient Jews.  Therefore, they are probably the only people on this earth who really understand the significance of this music worship tradition.

 

 

 

INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 4


INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 4 
 
             Jesus mentioned the Book of Psalms in Luke 20:42 where he used the words biblos psalmos (976, 5568).  Jesus knew what these words meant, and he also knew of the ancient Hebrew tradition of singing the psalms with instrumental accompaniment.  The word psalmos is also mentioned in Acts 1:20, 13:33 and 35 as well as in the two famous Scriptures in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16.  This is noteworthy since Ephesians 5:19 is used by some authors as the proof text for the New Testament prohibition of instrumental music.  It seems risky to use either Scripture as a prohibition of instrumental music since they both command the New Testament Christian to sing psalms.
            In light of the long tradition of singing the Psalms with instrumental accompaniment, St. Paul would have had to specifically  say "Do not use instruments when you sing" in order for his Epistles to the Ephesian and Colossian churches to  have not been misunderstood if he was condemning the use of instruments with Psalm singing.  Since the Hebrew traditions were carefully handed down from generation to generation, every Hebrew knew how the psalms had been performed for thousands of years.  We have no Biblical or extra Biblical evidence to believe that the psalm singing tradition had been superseded by the New Covenant.  Furthermore, there is no Scripture in the New Testament that even vaguely prohibits the use of instruments in public worship.  There is also no scriptural proof whatsoever that the word psalmos had a different meaning in the New Testament.  As a matter of fact, in I Corinthians 14:26 Paul attests to the continued tradition of psalm singing by the New Testament church at Corinth.  In verse twenty-six he warns the Corinthian church that everyone cannot expect his favorite psalm to be sung in the church but rather that everything must be done in order when he said, "Let all things be done unto edifying."
 
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Thought for the Day


Thought for the Day
We should remember that although the musical practice of the old Testament Jewish Temples was silenced more than once during the history of the ancient Jewish people, we should not assume that this musical worship tradition was forgotten or that it was not taken up again when Temple worship was restored.  Furthermore, we should not assume that the New Testament writings did not reflect those ancient musical traditions

INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 3

INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 3  

            If the words psallo and psalmos had changed meaning in the New Testament dispensation, and if they clearly represented only singing without any use of instrumental accompaniment whatsoever, then why did St. Paul mention psalms, making melody, and singing in the same passage of Scripture?  To make the meaning of the words clear, let's review their standard meanings.  Psalms (psalmos 5568) meant a Hebrew cantillation for voice and instruments.  Singing (aido 103) was a verb meaning to sing.  The words translated as “making melody” (psallo 5567) meant to twitch or twang or touch (play) on the strings of a musical instrument.  With these standard definitions of psalms, singing, and making melody, these words make logical sense in Ephesians 5:19.  If aido and psallo would have had the same meaning St. Paul, the great master of languages, would not have used both words in the same verse. If these words represent the same action (singing) then the verse should be rendered singing and singing in your heart.  Such a thesis does not seem to be tenable.

            There is also the argument that instrumental music was only a part of the old covenant and that it was not religiously "proper" under the new covenant since the sacrificial system was not continued after the death and resurrection of Christ.  It is true that the highly developed system of instrumental music of the Jews was silenced at the time of the destruction of the second Temple in A.D. 70.  Although this was a dark time for the Jewish music, it does not indicate a New Testament prohibition of the use of instruments in Christian worship.  The persecuted New Testament church was scattered and worshipped sometimes in "secret" which possibly accounts for some of the lack of instrumental music by the New Testament church.  Three things are apparent concerning instrumental music in the New Testament:  (1) it is not mentioned as much in the New Testament as in the Old Testament; (2) many groups of believers worshiped without the aid of instrumental music, and (3) the highly developed music system of the Temple did not continue in the early church.  However, instrumental music is mentioned in the New Testament and is never forbidden in the New Testament writings.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

We have a tendency to always look at New Testament Scripture through “Western eyes” rather than through the “eyes” and “understandings” of those who first read the Pauline Epistles. From our “Western” misunderstandings we often form erroneous musical conclusions.

 

INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 2

INSTRUMENTS WERE USED WITH N. T. SINGING-part 2 

            There are some writers who purport that the word psallo, or psalmos for that matter, does not necessarily denote singing with the use of musical instruments.  Some authors say that the words psalmos and psallo are taken from Koine or Biblical Greek (instead of classical Greek) and that in Biblical Greek the words are generic names for singing.  These authors often ask, why did the scholars who translated the K.J.V. render psallo as "singing" and "making melody"?  To this question I would reply why did the K.J.V. translators render the kinnor as a harp and the nebel as a psaltery instead of properly identifying the kinnor as a hand-held lyre and the nebel as a hollow bodied harp?
            Those who do not believe in the use of instruments in the church further complicate the argument by stating that the Greek writers new the significance of the Greek verb psallo and therefore would never have used it to implicate instrumental music.  Their reasoning is that the ancient Eastern Greek Church did not use instruments in public worship.  The reader should be reminded that these New Testament references to music do not involve the ancient Greek or the Hellenistic Greek Church but instead the ancient Hebrew tradition of singing the psalms accompanied by musical instruments.  Not only did the writers know of the "Greek" traditions they also no doubt knew that the Hebrews had always used instruments in conjunction with their psalm singing.