Dr. Couch, in Ephesians 5:19 we are told by Paul to speak to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Are we supposed to do this literally, and if so how?
ANSWER: This is not a moral command. It has to do with the heart of the fellowship time of the believers in the church. "Hymns and spiritual songs" is what we all do in churches right now, hopefully! We have to avoid a legalistic approach to such words by Paul and the other apostles. This is to be the spiritual result of the Holy Spirit making such sharing real as Paul says in verse 18. He adds "making melody with your heart to the Lord; and giving of thanks ..." (v. 20).
In my Ephesians commentary just out I made this statement on the passage: "The greatest unsaved vocalist on earth is totally incapable of making a pleasing melody to God from the inner recesses of the soul. One has to be in close fellowship with the Lord to be controlled by the Holy Spirit for this to happen. Yet the Spirit-filled (controlled) believer can scarcely be restrained from such activity, whether a good vocalist or not. The 'heart' is what speaks to the Lord."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch