Mike makes an interesting point here and applies it to some practices in today’s churches. He weaves several of Paul’s letters together with a look at the Greek to make the point. I personally was following the contemplative tide for a few years or so back in the early 80’s even teaching these practices in church. Thankfully, I was drawn out and back to the Biblical Reformed study and application of God’s Word. Many I know still sincerely follow those paths, some even guided by those who claim to be Spiritual Directors. The field there is filled with good intentions which are hard to change.
The KJV has the verses this way:
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Back in the 1600’s the emphasis probably was on literal drunken “excess”.
But as you read Old John Gill’s comment on verse 19 and examine the contemporary “worship” praise music which has replaced not only direct Psalm singing but virtually all doctrinally sound hymns in our church services. Both Mike’s comment and Gill’s thoughts are a call to us to think about our practices.
Ephesians 5:19 John Gill
Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs,…. By psalms are meant the Psalms of David, and others which compose the book that goes by that name, for other psalms there are none; and by “hymns” we are to understand, not such as are made by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God; since they are placed between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost; and are put upon a level with them, and to be sung along with them, to the edification of churches; but these are only another name for the Book of Psalms, the running title of which may as well be the Book of Hymns, as it is rendered by Ainsworth; and the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples after the supper, is called an hymn; and so are the psalms in general called hymns, by Philo the Jew (n); and songs and hymns by Josephus (o); and שירות ותושבחות, “songs and praises”, or “hymns”, in the Talmud (p): and by “spiritual songs” are meant the same Psalms of David, Asaph, &c. and the titles of many of them are songs, and sometimes a psalm and song, and song and psalm, a song of degrees; together with all other Scriptural songs, written by inspired men; and which are called “spiritual”, because they are indited by the Spirit of God, consist of spiritual matter, and are designed for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all profane, loose, and wanton songs: these three words answer to תהלים שירים מזמורים the several titles of David’s Psalms; from whence it seems to be the intention of the apostle, that these should be sting in Gospel churches; for so he explains speaking to themselves in them, in the next clause:
singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; singing, as it is a distinct thing from prayer, so from giving of thanks, which is mentioned in Eph 5:20 as another duty; it is not a mental praising of God, for it is called speaking, and teaching, and admonishing, but it is a praising of God with the modulation of the voice; and is rightly performed, when the heart and voice agree; when there is a melody in the heart, as well as in the tongue; for singing and making melody in the heart, is singing with, or from the heart, or heartily; of as elsewhere, “with grace”, and which the Alexandrian copy reads here; that is, either with gratitude and thankfulness, or with grace in exercise; and the end in view should be the glory of God.
(n) De Mutat. Nomin. p. 1062. & alibi. (o) Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 3. (p) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1.
Quoted from E-Sword HD
(Sorry for the long repost, but hopefully that addition is helpful)
by Mike Ratliff
15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21 (NASB)
In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,“ At first glance that may read…
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