From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Sep 03 1998 - 12:23:01 EDT

At 11:56 PM 9/2/98 -0500, Erl Morrell-Stinson wrote:

>Non-instrumentalists argue that PSALLO is an exclusive word that means
>"sing" and therefore does not mean "sing and play". Thus, they argue, it
>is wrong for us to sing praises to the accompaniment of the instrument.

I've never run into the concept of an "exclusive word" except in the
theological circles to which you refer. Is there a formal meaning for this
concept? How do they establish that a word is an "exclusive word"?

Whatever an "exclusive word" is, the Septuagint plainly uses PSALLO in
contexts where singing and playing instruments is involved. Here are just
the first few verses that I found:

Psal 33:2 Sing praises to Him (PSALETE AUTWi) with a harp of ten strings.
Psal 71:22 To You I will sing praises (PSALW SOI) with the lyre, O Holy One
of Israel.
Psal 147:7 Sing praises to our God with the lyre (PSALETE TWi QEWi hHMWN EN

This same verb is used four times in the New Testament, but never with
explicit connection to playing instruments:

Roma 15:9 (NASU) and for the Gentiles to glorify God for His mercy; as it
is written, "Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles,
And I will sing to Your name."

1Cor 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.

Ephe 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Jame 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? [Then] he must pray. Is anyone
cheerful? He is to sing praises.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other words for "to sing" in
Greek, such as ADW, which is used in Rev 5:8 in connection with harps:

Reve 5:8 (NASU) When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and
the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp
and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they ^sang (ADOUSIN) 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.

So I think it's fairly clear that the Bible uses both PSALLO and ADO in
connection with instruments, in both the Old Testament (especially the
PSAL-ms) and the Revelation. At least the word PSALLO is used in the New
Testament in connection with praise to God.

Incidentally, just as I don't believe in exclusive words, I don't believe
in inclusive words either. Just because PSALLO is used together with
instruments in one place, that doesn't prove that it refers to singing with
instruments when it is used in the New Testament. But if I may depart from
the Greek a little, there's nothing in the Bible that talks about pews,
hymnals, organs, candles, offertories, choir robes, steeples, ushers,
church programs, formal sermons, or many other things that we commonly
assume are not prohibited in our churches just because they are not
mentioned explicitly in the bible.

By the way, if you want to brush up your Greek, take a look at "Little
Greek 101", shown in my signature.


Jonathan Robie

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