“God has given us a record of His majesty in the holy Scriptures.”
–John Calvin, Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (trans. Arthur Golding; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/1973), 180. Calvin is preaching on Ephesians 2:11-13.
“We should be satisfied with the benefits of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that when we are grafted into His body and made one with Him by belief of the gospel, then we may assure ourselves that He is the fountain which never dries up, nor can ever become exhausted, and that in Him we have all variety of good things, and all perfection.”
–John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1974), 355.
“To speak of Christ’s love as ‘surpassing knowledge’ means that it is so great that one can never know it fully. We can never plumb its depths or comprehend its magnitude. No matter how much we know of the love of Christ, how fully we enter into His love for us, there is always more to know and experience.
And the implication, in the light of the following words, is that we cannot be as spiritually mature as we should be unless we are empowered by God to grasp the limitless dimensions of the love of Christ.”
–Peter T. O’Brien, The Letter to the Ephesians, PNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 264.
“In Ephesians 5, the apostle Paul requires musical instrumentation in worship. He says there that we are to be ‘speaking to [one another] in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord’ (Eph. 5:19). The translation in the heart would better be rendered as with the heart. We would say ‘singing and making melody with all our hearts.’
This is not an arbitrary choice; we can tell this contextually. The short phrase ‘making melody’ is a rendition of a word that means to pluck a string–psallo. Going over a song in our hearts is something we have all done. Singing silently can be done–even though it is frustrating, and is always looking for an outlet.
But very few of us have played the oboe in our hearts, or played a trumpet or piano there. Doing that kind of thing is way too close to playing air guitar. Telling the Ephesians to play the violin in their hearts would be a little bit odd. So Paul tells the Ephesians to sing and play stringed instruments–just the kind of thing that the psalmist would exhort Israel and all the nations to do.
This is music out loud. But the driving force of the exhortation reveals the motive for instruments, and the motive for robust singing. We are told to sing with all our hearts. This kind of heart attitude looks around for ways to make it better, richer, louder. The same kind of thing comes out in Colossians.
As the word dwells in us richly, the music should come out richly. A rich interior life cannot result in a poverty-stricken musical expression. We are here to worship God. We have music before us that is designed to help us with this. We should stand on the balls of our feet, eager to express in song what we believe God has done for us. After all, He is worthy.”
–Douglas Wilson, “Instruments in Worship,” (accessed on 9/17/2009).