Ephesus and the Septuagint

Scott Aniol, Chair of the Worship Ministry Department of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and non-EP proponent:

If you were in Ephesus when Paul’s letter arrived, and you had a Bible in your church, it was a Septuagint. As you browsed through the Book of Psalms three terms would keep appearing in the titles and you would be quite familiar with them – psalmos, humnos and ode. In 67 Psalms the word psalmos is found eg Psalm 23; in 6 titles the word humnos appears eg Psalm 8; in another 35 Psalms ode is in the title eg Psalm 45. Furthermore, in 12 Psalms the words psalmos (psalm) and ode (song) are found together in the title e.g. Psalm 65, and in 2 titles psalmos (psalm) appears with humnos (hymn) eg Psalm 6. If you had studied the title of Psalm 76 all three terms are found in the Septuagint title, ‘For the end, among the hymns, a psalm for Asaph; a song for the Assyrian’. The Ephesian Christian would know that one Psalm could be a psalm and a song, or even a psalm and a song and a hymn together. All three terms were found in the titles of the Psalms and even in the title of one composition in the Book of Psalms. Paul exhorted them in biblical terms they were familiar with.


Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/singing-inspired-songs-ep-answers-only.93584/page-2, Comment 31


No Christ in the Psalms?

Rev. Henry Cooke of Ireland in the first preface to The True Psalmody:

“Now, while I set not up my own convictions as a rule or measure of the consciences of others, I cannot fail to pity those who can find, as they assert, so little of Christ in the inspired psalmody of the Bible, that they must seek and employ an uninspired psalmody as exhibiting Him more fully. Our Lord Himself found Himself in the psalms—(Luke 24:44, 45)—and thereby “opened His disciples’ understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” Surely what was the clearest light to their eyes, should be light to ours. And, truly, I believe, there is one view of Christ—and that not the least important to the tired and troubled believer—that can be discovered only in the Book of Psalms—I mean His inward life. No eye-witness of the outward man—though an inspired evangelist—could penetrate the heart. But the Spirit who “searcheth the deep things of God,” has, in the psalms, laid open the inmost thoughts, sorrows, and conflicts of our Lord. The Evangelists faithfully and intelligently depict the sinless Man; the psalms alone lay open the heart of “the Man of sorrows.” The most pious productions of uninspired men are a shallow stream—the Psalms an unfathomable and shoreless ocean.”

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/singing-uninspired-songs-non-ep-answers-only.93520/page-3, Comment 72

See also Comment 85 of the same thread

In the Context of Worship, He Has Appointed the Psalms

“When all this is said and done, it may be useful to highlight that none of this is mean to discourage the writing or singing of songs which are in praise of God. Many such songs — for example, ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ — have found their way into the affections of many of the Lord’s people and, providing the content is honouring to God, the writing of such songs and their performance can be seen as the valid exercise of a valid gift. However, the questions at issue concern when, where and how such songs are to be used.

After all, it is the Reformed understanding of worship that worship takes place when we draw near to God by calling upon his name. This worship consists of an act, or a series of acts, in which God speaks to us (in reading, preaching, and sacraments) and in which we present our offerings to God (in song and prayer – sometimes accompanied with vows and fasting). It is also the historic Reformed understanding that nothing is to be offered to God as worship without his explicit appointment – and that the songs which he has appointed which he has appointed to be offered in the context of worship are the Psalms!”

– Kenneth Stewart

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

For His Own Private Comfort

“We grant also, that any private Christian, who hath a gift to frame a spiritual Song, may both frame it privately, for his own private comfort, and remembrance of some special benefit, or deliverance. Nor do we forbid the private use of an Instrument of Musick therewithall: So that attention to the Instrument, does not divert the heart from attention to the matter of the Song.”

– John Cotton

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

Not in the Public Assemblies of the Church

“We do not deny that a private individual, filled with the spirit, is able to compose new hymns, for his own edification and that of others; but it does not follow that a song of this sort ought to be sung in the public assemblies of the Church.”

– John Brown of Wamphray

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

David’s Psalms Seem Plainly Intended

Now though spiritual songs of mere humane composure may have their use, yet our devotion is best secured, where the matter and words are of immediately divine inspiration; and to us David’s Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” which the apostle useth (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).”

– Preface to the 1650 Psalter

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

None but the Psalms of David to be Used in the Churches

“A number of godly men have composed spiritual songs for this purpose with a variety of melodies. It appears that Luther has been the first one to do so during the Reformation. His songs are still sung today with edification by the Lutherans in their churches, as well as privately by us . . . The decision of the Dutch Synods has been very correct indeed, namely, that none other but the Psalms of David are to be used in the churches.”

– Wilhelmus a Brakel

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/ep-only-in-corporate-public-worship.93273/, Comment 3

Known to the Whole Christian Church from the Beginning

“If anyone disapproved of the congregation singing, Father would say, “I am sure it is no secret to any Christian that it is a good thing and pleases God to sing spiritual songs.  The prophets and kings in the Old Testament praised God by singing songs to the accompaniment of cymbals and stringed instruments.  Psalm-singing has been known to the whole Christian church from the beginning.”

~Louise A. Vernon, Thunderstorm in Church, page 112

Common Objections to Exclusive Psalmody

Read here:


The Necessity of Singing the Psalms

Preface to the Bay Psalm Book (1640)

A discourse declaring not only the lawfulness, but also the necessity of the heavenly ordinance of singing Scripture Psalms in the churches of God.

The singing of Psalms, though it breathe forth nothing but holy harmony, and melody: yet such is the subtlety of the enemy, and enmity of our nature against the Lord, and his ways, that our hearts can find matter of discord in this harmony, and crotchets [i.e. fanciful notions] of division in this holy melody.

For there have been three questions especially stirring concerning singing. First, what psalms are to be sung in churches? whether David’s and other scripture psalms, or the psalms invented by the gifts of godly men in every age of the church. Secondly, if scripture psalms, whether in their own words, or in such metre as English poetry is wont to run in? Thirdly, by whom are they to be sung? whether by the whole churches together with their voices? or by one man singing alone and the rest joining in silence, and in the close saying amen…

Read more: https://purelypresbyterian.com/2017/01/02/the-necessity-of-singing-the-psalms/