NEW TESTAMENT MUSIC: WHAT DOES PSALLO MEAN?

When defending the doctrinal position that the music in the church is singing, the other side grows tired and claims I’m beating a dead horse. Well it’s not dead. The horse is very much alive.  The topic is very important. And the Greek supports the position that the singing of psalms is singing only, and not the plucking on strings and playing harps. Take a look at the lexical authorities in the following graphics.

Kittle’s TDNT on Psallo
1. Ancient Secular Greek suggested playing or plucking strings.
2. Old Testament LXX suggested playing or plucking strings.
3. New Testament Koine Greek “does not denote literally playing on a stringed instrument.” Kittle’s Abridged, p1226.
Images from Kittles will be in comments.

Psallo went through a semantic change from Old Testament Greek to New Testament Greek.

Definition: “Semantic change (also semantic shift, semantic progression, semantic development, or semantic drift) is the evolution of word usage—usually to the point that the modern meaning is radically different from the original usage.”

It’s very similar to the way the musical instrument called a Lyre evolved into the world “lyric” which has only to do with the words of a song and does not suggest plucking on an instrument.

 



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