“To begin with, it should be realized that present usage as regards the debated terms plays no part in fixing their sense. One can be misled by the seemingly familiar phraseology, and think forthwith of the hard and fast distinction now made between Psalms and hymns. But we are deciphering what was penned in AD 61 or 62, long centuries before any of the uninspired productions in the hymnals of today were extant. In order, therefore, to make these lines intelligible, we must transport ourselves back into that past to which Paul and his readers belong, and there undertake our exposition with open-mindedness and cautious discrimination.
As an approach toward identifying the poems intended by these designations, there is clear evidence at hand that all of them were divinely inspired, indited under the extraordinary influence of the Holy Spirit. Preliminary to what is deemed decisive proof, certain considerations which go to make this important claim a strong probability may be adduced.
1. First, in these verses the direction given is not to prepare or provide songs of praise, but only to sing them. On this we must be permitted to insist. But in the absence of an express warrant for so doing, would not these Asia Minor Christians have been chary about writing original hymns for rendition in worship, when the Psalter, written on the mountain-tops of inspiration, and full of the things of God, was everywhere, as is allowed, a congregational handbook? Is it likely that any, selfadvised and unaided, would have had the temerity or the desire to attempt such an innovation?”
From The Psalms in Worship, p129-130. by John Mcnaugher.
A SPECIAL EXEGESIS OF COL. III. 16 AND EPH. V.19, by John Mcnaugher, D. D., LL. D., Allegheny, PA