Praise be to the God of creation who gives many ways to worship Him. Music is a method, procedure, means, channel, process, or an avenue to accomplish this.
I am convinced that the Greek words used in Ephesians 5:19 permits instrumental accompaniment. These words are as follows:
- A) Psalm (Greek - PSALMOS) has a meaning of singing with instrumental accompaniment.
- B) Hymn (Greek - HUMNOS) means singing a praise to God.
- C) Song (Greek - ODE) means a general word for a song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any subject. Thus, here the adjective "spiritual" is added.
It is possible for the same song to be all three of the above, at the same time!
The following list is a summary of professionals in the field of etymology (study of word origins and their development), as
well as those who study historical facts.
(1) “Sung with musical instruments” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, p. 1136).
(2) “Denoting ‘music on stringed instruments’ or more generally, ‘songs adapted to such music’” (Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Moody Press).
(3) “Song, psalm: to stringed instrument” (Karl Feyerabend, Ph.D., Greek-English Dictionary, McKay co., 1918).
(4) “The psalm (PSALMOS) is the melody produced on the musical instrument (ORGANON). The song (ODE) is the utterance of melody (MELOS) through the mouth with words. Hymn (HUMNOS) is the praise offered to God” (Gregory of Nyssa, 370 A.D.).
(5) “A harp-song taken from Jewish religion by the Christians... (Music Lovers Ency., Doubleday & Co., p. 662).
(6) “Song of (hence the song sung to) a stringed instrument...” (The Columbia Ency., Columbia University Press, p. 1450).
(7) “Song accompanied by a stringed instrument, psalm” (A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D., by A. Souter, Oxford, Clarendon Press). Psallo: (verb) “I play on the harp (or other stringed instrument;” psalmos (noun), “a psalm, that is a song of praise, etc., to God, with an accompaniment on the harp,” (A. Souter, A Pocket Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, Oxford, Clarendon Press).
(8) “To be uttered with a musical accompaniment” (Hitchcock’s Analysis of the Holy Bible, p. 1137).
(9) “To be recited to the accompaniment of musical instruments” (Golden Ed. of the Holy Bible, Consolidated Pub.)
(10) “Primarily a stringed instrument, but by association of ideas it came to mean the song sung to the accompaniment of the stringed instrument.” (Abingdon Bible Commentary, p. 509).
(11) “To sing, accompanied with instruments - Rom. 15:9; I Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; James 5:13: (Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament, Wilcox and Fallett Co., p. 109).
(12) “Playing on a stringed instrument, and then, singing, especially to an instrument. Rom. 15:9; I Cor. 14:15; James 5:13” (Expositor’s Greek New Testament, Vol. 3, Eerdman Publishers).
(13) “Sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments” (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, p. 589).
(14) “A song sung to a harp accompaniment” (Word Origins, Funk Publishers, p. 276).
(15) “Calculated not merely to be sung; but to be accompanied, in the singing, by instruments” (History of the Bible, Polyglott Bible, Fessenden Co., p. 49).
(16) “In Hebrew and Greek the root meaning is to play instrumental music, and then to sing to musical accompaniment” (A. Coken, Ph.D., Psalm, Soncino Press, p. 10).
(17) “A hymn accompanied by stringed instruments” (Oxford Companion to Music, Oxford University Press, p. 759).
(18) “A song sung to the accompaniment of a harp...passed into Latin...and into English...” (Ronald Bridges & Luther A. Weigle, The Bible Word Book, Thomas Nelson & Son).
(19) “By later writers, a hymn, or ode sung accompanied by a harp” (James Donnegan, A New Greek and English Lexicon, Pbl. 1843, p. 1396).
(20) “In later writers, a sacred song sung to musical accompaniment, I Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16” (A Manual Greek Lexicon of the N.T., G. Abbott Smith, p. 456, 487).
(21) “To sing praise with musical instruments,” I Cor. 14:15; Rom. 15:9; James 5:13; Col. 3:16” (Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible).
(22) “Sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument” (Rationalist Encyclopedia).
(23) “Psalm is properly a ‘song with musical accompaniment’” (Eph., Feign-Kinsman Dictionary of the Bible, p. 441).
(24) “A song or hymn accompanied by a stringed instrument” (Peake’s Bible Commentary, p. 366).
(25) “A psalm (Hebrew and Greek words) was a poem of set structure to be sung to the accompaniment of stringed instruments” (Catholic Ency., p. 534).
(26) “Psalmos, a translation of the Hebrew MIZMOR, meaning a poem sung to the accompaniment of stringed instrument” (Universal Jewish Ency., p. 15, Vol. 9).
(27) “Signifies primarily playing on stringed instrument, or the song accompanied on such an instrument” (Jewish Ency., Vol. 10, p. 241).
(28) “It means poems played to music of (stringed instruments).” (Dictionary of the Bible, Hastings).
(29) “This Greek word is ‘music of strings’... Hebrew words indicate...accompaniment” (Dictionary of the Bible, Jenkin Vantage Press, p. 177).
(30) “Lyrical pieces to be sung to a musical instrument.” (Bible Dictionary Teachers’ Ed., Smith-Peloubet, p. 539).
(31) “PSALMOS, a translation of the Hebrew specific term MIZMOR, meaning, ‘a song set to stringed instruments’” (John Franklin, A Guidebook to the Biblical Literature, Ginn & Co., N.Y., p. 433).
(32) “Signifies, first, the action of playing any harp-like instrument, then the music thus produced, and finally the song sung to the accompaniment of a harp-like instrument” (Ency. Dictionary of the Bible, McGraw-Hill, N.Y., p. 1954).
(33) “The ‘psalm’ (Eph. 5:19) may be understood in general as ‘a sacred song chanted to the accompaniment of instrumental music’” (Alvah Harvey, D.D., LL.D., Ephesians, Philadelphia, 1887).
(34) “It is used of a song as accompanied by any instrument, not merely stringed instruments” (James Stewart Perowne, Old Testament Revision Committee, Psalms).
(35) “A jubilant song of praise to accompaniment of music...applicable to any piece designed to be sung to a musical accompaniment” (Encyclopedia Biblica, p. 3921).
(36) “The leading idea of psalm is a musical accompaniment.” (Thayer’s Addition, Grimm/Wilke’s Greek-English Lexicon, p. 637).