Ephesians 5:19 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Ephesians 5:19, NIV: "speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,"

Ephesians 5:19, ESV: "addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart,"

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

Ephesians 5:19, NASB: "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord;"

Ephesians 5:19, NLT: "singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts."

Ephesians 5:19, CSB: "speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord,"

What does Ephesians 5:19 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In verse 18 Paul taught believers to be controlled by the Spirit. How does this look? This verse offers three expressions.

First, Paul mentions "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." This could include both reading passages of Scripture aloud, spoken poetry or the singing of music, whether in a small group or larger group of believers. Three types of songs are mentioned. Psalms refer to the Old Testament songs sung by Jews and shared among Christians. Hymns were likely more formal songs, meant to instruct, similar to the one quoted by Paul in verse 14. Spiritual songs may refer to more spontaneous, call and response music. These would be the equivalent to "contemporary" music, following cultural styles, yet focused on God-honoring lyrics. Paul notes all styles of music can be used to honor God as long as God is the focus.

Singing is only occasionally mentioned in the New Testament, but does play an important role in the early church. Paul and Silas sang hymns in prison (Acts 16:25). Paul wrote about singing to the Roman believers (Romans 15:9) to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 14:15), and to the Colossians (Colossian 3:16). James commanded believers to sing praise to God (James 5:13). Revelation notes expressions of singing (14:3; 15:3–4). Finally, Paul adds "making melody to the Lord with your heart."

Believers can both sing with the voice, and live with a "song" internally. God instills joy within those controlled by the Spirit.