Kingdom of God
- Colossians 3:16
- " . . . teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
- It is first questioned, "Is it a good rule to follow that one ought to speak when
the Bible speaks and to keep silent where it is silent?" If the answer to this
question is "yes," then Col. 3:16 is cited along with Eph. 5:19 and Heb. 2:12 to
show that the New Testament is explicit, singing is never referred to accompanied by
musical instruments. Therefore, it is argued, since it has already been agreed that one
ought to keep silent where the Bible is silent, Christians will not have hymn singing
accompanied by musical instruments. This conclusion is made an issue of faith, fellowship,
and acceptance for eternal life among some Church of Christ assemblies.
- The Church of Christ position is virtually an argument from silence. Since the Bible
does not mention singing accompanied by musical instruments, therefore, it is argued, it
is wrong. The onus is rather on the Church of Christ to demonstrate that it is forbidden.
- It is interesting that this legalistic interpretation of Scripture brings problems for
the Church of Christ in the following areas:
- While musical instruments are decried, congregational singing is often commenced with
the aid of a tuning fork or a pitch pipe, but neither of these devices are mentioned in
the New Testament.
- Four part harmony singing is not mentioned in the New Testament but it is a regular
feature of Church of Christ worship today.
- Contemporary hymns are sung by the Church of Christ but it is acknowledged that the tune
structure of these hymns is not the same, for example, as the Hebrew chants sung in the
- The Greek word "psalmos," means "a song of praise (on an
instrument)".1 Bullinger comments on the word as follows: "a touching, twang,
e.g. of a bowstring; of stringed instruments, a playing, music; in later usage, a song as
accompanied by stringed instruments . . . ".2
The denotations of the word "psalm" in Col. 3:16 is a complete refutation of the
Church of Christ's position. "Psalmos" is also used in Eph. 5:19 and 1 Cor.
- Robert Young, Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible, (London: Lutterworth
Press, 1965). Return
- Ethelbert W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek
Words, (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons Limited, 1957), pp. 610, 611. Return