New Testament Lyrics, 1st Timothy 3:16

There are a number of koine greek New Testament scholars that are convinced Paul wrote these words to Timothy as a type of memory verse, which could be recited in meter and maybe even fit in a tune. Some linguists think the verse is truly a song, some consider it simply Paul’s attempt at writing greek prose. Whatever the case, there are six facts, which Paul states are in direct relation to why the church of the living God is a place that should affect our behavior in godliness (KJV) and/or worship (ISV). It is not a coincidence that there are songs in our hymn books that fit with the theme of each of these six “mysteries”.

  1. He was manifested in the flesh – Christmas songs
  2. Justified in the Spirit – Resurrection songs
  3. Seen of angels – Songs about his temptation, gethsemane prayer and ascension.
  4. Preached among nations – Evangelistic songs
  5. Believed on in the world – Christian songs of various cultures
  6. Received up in glory – Songs about Heaven/Glory

Have you got a song from making melody to the Lord in your heart?

One description of early Christian behavior comes from Pliny, the governor of Bithynia and client of the Roman emperor Trajan. After hearing suspicious reports about the practices and meetings of Christians, he made an inquiry and found that they “were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god” (Letter 10.96). Pliny’s statement harmonizes with God’s word, “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord” (Eph 5:19; see also 1Cor. 14:26, Acts 16:25). So since this is the case, where are the hymns in the New Testament? How can they be found? Most biblical scholars use the method of form criticism—looking for clues that suggest a biblical passage that had an earlier use other than its current literary location—to locate hymns that have found their way into New Testament texts. These include: parallel statements, vocabulary that is distinctive to the author, the frequent use of pronouns, and elevated prose. Using this critical criteria, we can likely conclude that such passages as Phil 2:5-11, Col 1:15-20, 1Tim 3:16, 2Tim 2:11-13, Heb 1:1-3, and 1Pet 2:21-25 may very well have had earlier literary lives as actual hymns sung by early Christians.

The theme of 2Tim. 2:11-13 is almost like a battle-cry, and we are very familiar with how songs affect soldiers, here is Rick Renners version of it, 

If we are killed like He was killed,

Then we shall live again as He now lives;

If suffering is forced upon us,

Then we’ll reign with Him like nobility;

If we deny or forsake Him,

He will deny us of our rewards;

If we believe not or grow faint-hearted,

Still He abideth faithful.

He cannot, cannot, cannot deny — Himself!

Can you sing with confidence like you are committed to staying in the fight until the victory is yours and the long-awaited prize is finally in your hands?

The Many Ways to Rejoice, Philippians 4:4-10

Rejoicing in the Lord, v4 & v10. Was it possible that Paul sang his “thanksgiving”? v6. For certain, he saw a way to joyfully express his gratitude for other Christians, v1. Can you count the ways and/or opportunities you have in rejoicing? Jesus did this in the Spirit, Luke 10:21-23. Is it possible that he sang these words? There are many different ways people can express “rejoice always”, it must be very varied, since Jesus rejoiced, and Paul wrote this instruction to a church full of different kinds of people, not to an individual. How do you rejoice? Surely you sing on more than just Sunday?

The book,  “Anatomy of an Illness”, describes the author being diagnosed with arthritis that had essentially crippled him. He was told it was not curable. But the doctors were wrong. He found a therapy that, coupled with nutrition and vitamins, all but ended his debilitation. What was it? Watching old slapstick comedy movies like Laurel and Hardy. His objective: laughter. Maybe, just maybe the author had Philippians 4:8 in mind? There are still some decent comedians that maintain a sense of morality. There is even a couple of “G” rated comedy movies still on sale. Not everything the world produces is sinful, some of it is very helpful, see Php. 4:8.

A joyful heart is good medicine. ~ King Solomon (Proverbs 17:22)  Whether you giggle, chuckle, or just laugh out loud, you laugh! Laughter, or simply smiling, releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness. Researchers in Japan have discovered that laughter actually lowers red blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Laughter has been shown to have positive effects on the immune system, and reducing platelet aggregation and vascular inflammation. Many health professionals allow this theory in documented journals, suggesting that laughter may also help the overall healing process in cancer therapies. Who knew? That’s easy—God did, and He told you! When you don’t’ feel joyful, when the cares of the daily grind are getting you down, try laughing. Why did our Sunday School teacher, lead us in the song, “If you’re happy and you know it”? Because the Lord’s brother James wrote, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (James 5:13) By the way, have you ever recorded yourself singing, and then listened to the play-back? It makes me laugh every time!

There are three abilities God gave humanity, and NOT any other animal in creation. Firstly, the ability to pray, secondly, the ability to laugh, and lastly that ability to sing. That’s right, birds & whales do not sing, they communicate. Scripturally, singing is described in the Bible as pertaining only to stars, God (Zeph 3:17) human beings. Not even angels are described as singing, but they are “chanting”. Many people question the uniqueness of humanity’s ability to sing. It may seem strange to ask if angels sing, people often allude to the Christmas story: “The angels sang to the shepherds when Jesus was born, didn’t they?” The problem is that singing by angels is not mentioned in the biblical Christmas story. In fact, there is very little scriptural evidence that angels do sing.

Probably the clearest passage on this issue is Job 38:7, which says that, at the creation of the world, “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” In the parallelism of the Hebrew poetry, the “morning stars” are equated with the “angels,” and the singing is paralleled by the joyful shouts. It seems fairly straightforward: the angels could sing. However, the Hebrew word translated “sang” doesn’t always denote music. It can also be translated as “resoundingly cried,” or “rejoiced.”  Revelation 5 is another passage that may indicate that angels sing. Verse 9 speaks of beings that “sang a new song” in heaven. These beings that sing are the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures—possibly angelic beings, but they are not specifically called such. Then in verse 11 “the voice of many angels” is heard. But now the words are “said,” not specifically “sung.” The words of the angelic host in verse 12 are quite similar to the words of the song in verse 9, but the words of the angels are not explicitly called a song. What about the Christmas story? (Luke 2:13-14) “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God . . . .’” Note, again, that the words of the angels are “said,” not specifically “sung.” Since singing is a type of speaking, the passage does not rule out the idea that the angels sang—but neither does the passage put the question to rest. Perhaps it was more of a “chant” than a melodic song? God has created humanity with an innate connection to music and singing, especially in regard to worship. How do you rejoice?

Praise is Born out of Fellowship (Acts 2:42-47)

Many Christians do not praise God, as they should, simply because they do not experience fellowship (sharing) with God and His people to the extent that God wants them to share, so they miss out on the beautiful power, love and unity that promotes praise. The first Christians were DEVOTED to fellowship. Being devoted (v42) to fellowship is seen in many ways, and the end-result is PRAISE. Christians shared in basically 5 different ways:(v42-46)

1, Apostolic teaching (Acts 14:22)

2, The Breaking of Bread (1st Cor. 11:20-26)

3, Prayer (Colossians 4:2)

4, Meals, (1st Corinthians 10:30-31)

5, Possessions & Goods (1st Timothy 6:18-19)

Praising (v47) God is what angels and shepherds did at the birth of Christ’s physical body, now it is what Christians do at the birth of his spiritual body, Lk. 2:13-20. 

How does the church today emulate this?

Jesus & his disciples used a hymn to sing to God, before Jesus gave his body as a sacrifice, Mt. 26:30. Do you know the significance & purpose of praise during solemn moments? Or is praising God only experienced when you are rejoicing?

The unity of Christ and his family/body, is seen by God, while in praise. It is not just a demonstration of unity, it is where unity is experienced. Read carefully Hebrews 2:11-12. Do you realize that the Spirit of Christ wants to praise The Father while his family is praising Him?

Another verse that proclaims the praise of Christ with his body on earth is found in Romans 15:8-9. The past tense and future tense of this passage points us to the reality of our unity in praise, lasting through millennia. Which will continue right on into eternity when Jesus comes again. Should we understand Ephesians 5:19 as…“Singing & Making Melody to the Lord with Your Heart”   or  “Singing & Making Melody with the Lord in Your Heart” ?

Mary Sang About God (Luke 1:46-55)

v46-47. The basis of Mary’s heart-felt reaction in meeting Elizabeth was her faith in God’s word from an angel. This song of Mary, is similar to the song of Hannah in 1st Samuel 2:1-10. “Magnify” in the greek language is megalunō – “to enlarge something or someone”. Rejoice in greek is agalliaō – “to jump for joy”. So this picture is saying that Mary sang, to make God look great big in her happiness. God’s word to Mary was a promise, and when she met Elizabeth, she saw evidence which assured her of things unseen & a conviction of her hope in the promise of God’s word, see Hebrews 11:1. Her reaction in singing was not because of the angel’s voice in Nazareth, or the trip to Judea, or from Joseph’s love, but actually in her meeting with Elizabeth. Because Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant, telling her about John (a fetus) leaping within her womb. Assuring Mary that God was big enough to handle any problem the fulfilment of her promise might present.

v48, To be referred to as “blessed” (makarizo) is to be regarded with great respect. This regard does not entail love. Mary is honored but she is not worshiped. Love is the difference. This is not the usual word for ‘blessed’ (makarios) that Jesus uses in the beatitudes. So this prophecy was fulfilled and is kept in an obvious way to this day, as Mary is very well respected in the world. But do we as Christians have respect for her? If we do, how do we show it? Mary will remain the most famous respected woman the world has ever known. There are even statements in Islam’s Koran about the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Nativity where Mary is referred to as “pure”. James 5:11 has the same word (makarizo) for “the regard”, which 1st century christians & apostles had for ancient prophets and Job himself. In this context, Mary’s status is equated with all faithful children of God. Consider what Jesus says about the greatness of John the immersionist in Matthew 11:11. Mary’s blessedness is indeed global and throughout all earthly generations, being different than ours, but, when we consider eternity, being blessed here is not worth comparing to the blessedness of citizens of Heaven!

v49-55, God’s holiness, mercy and strength, are the virtues of God which Mary sings about. These attributes of God, cause the poor to be helped and the rich to be forsaken. When we sing, these are valuable qualities to keep in mind and be grateful for in our hearts. These songs are not for proud people, but rather, people that fear God, see v50. Fearing God is healthy, but fearing his judgment is indicative of not having the love of God in your heart, see 1st John 4:17-18. There are basically two kinds of fear mentioned in the New Testament. Fear as in deep reverence and awe, the other kind of fear is acting cowardly and afraid. Where is there shown any deep reverence (fear) in our songs of worship today? Some Christians sing like they are timid and scared of being heard. They mutter through hymns like their just humming them. Is this the kind of “fear” God deserves? How do you think Mary sang this song? You should be sure that it was nothing short of beautiful and boisterous! Just like her love for God