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The LSJ lexicon defines ψαλμός as "twitching or twanging with the fingers," "mostly of musical strings", "the sound of the cithara or harp," and "later, song sung to the harp, psalm."

It defines ψάλλω as "to touch sharply, to pluck, pull, twitch", "mostly of the strings of musical instruments, play a stringed instrument with the fingers, and not with the plectron", "sing to a harp", and "Pass., of the instrument, to be struck orplayed."

Occurrences of G5568 ψαλμός and G5567 ψάλλω:

1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

Ephesians 5:19 KJV Speaking to yourselves in psalms (ψαλμοίς) and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody (ψάλλοντες) in your heart to the Lord;

The Apostolic Bible Polyglot translates ψάλλοντες as "strumming" in Ephesians 5:19.

"speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual odes; singing and strumming in your heart to the Lord;"

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.(ψάλλω)

Since ψάλλω and ψαλμός is used to refer to instruments in the Septuagint, classical, and koine Greek as well as to singing with and without an instrument, does this indicate that the early Christians would have used musical instruments to accompany their singing?

2 Answers

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answered by (260 points)

It would seem to.

However, you state that that these words "refer to ...singing...without an instrument" as one valid use.   I'm not saying that can't be true but was wondering if you know of any examples where ψάλλω and ψαλμός definitely refer to singing without an instrument?

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answered by (1.1k points)
It matters not whether the early Church employed musical instruments.  (For that matter, they did, indeed, use instruments; for what is man when he sings, other than a musical instrument.)

This question pertains specifically to the policy of the Protestant denomination calling itself "The Churches of Christ" (COC).

By disallowing the use of musical instruments on the basis that there is no evidence that the fledgling church used musical instruments, the COC effectively rejects the applicability to the present era of the New Covenant of ALL Scripture written prior to the Incarnation.  Thus, the COC sets aside Moses, the Prophets, and the Lyrical books, including the Psalms.  If the Pastor of a COC congregation teaches from Moses, the Prophets, or the Psalms, he shows himself a hypocrite.

Two indisputable facts determine the matter:

(1) The Incarnate Christ declares the Scripture to be a coherent whole, no part of which may be set aside, John 10:35.

(2) The Psalmist repeatedly enjoins the use of musical instruments in worship of the Lord God.
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