Monday, April 10, 2017
“Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV).
The purpose of the assembly was to edify the participants. If there is confusion, edification finds poor soil to flourish. In the first century assemblies, there were inspired individuals who brought new songs and new teaching to the saved. Each assembly built upon the previous ones in order to encourage and support the membership. There were new songs to be learned. New truths to be revealed and confirmed with miraculous signs (Mark 16:20; Acts 2:43; 8:13; 2 Corinthians 12:12).
When Paul said, “each of you has a psalm” he referred to those who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to teach new songs to the infant body of believers. This was before all the conveniences and traditional things we enjoy today and take for granted.
Nothing is said about a “singing class” on Wednesday night so members could learn new songs before introducing them on Sunday morning. Neither is anything revealed about “Sunday morning” being an improper time to learn those inspired psalms. That is a late traditional view. The assembly being mentioned by Paul in chapter 14:23, 26 is the same one he introduced in 11:18, 20. Sometimes the “hand-me-downs” are not always clothing! People have a habit of passing on their views of “proper worship decorum.” Too often the standard followed is “what I like,” or “what I’m comfortable with” rather than a “thus saith the Lord.” The multitude of things introduced and accepted from the second century to the twenty-first is mind boggling.
We sometimes assume that the way we do things is the way it was done in the first century. Since four part harmony of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass is recorded as a thirteenth century practice, first century song leaders had to teach the congregation to chant the inspired songs being revealed. Since printing presses were future inventions, the inspired song leader taught the revealed words and melody rather than reading shape notes in a song book. He began with “solo” instructing. The Bible is silent about these inspired song leaders getting the pitch with a tuning fork, pitch pipe, or more modern iPhone app. If the song was revealed why not the pitch?
As one reads about the assemblies in the first century, it is amazing how absent the pages are in describing our practices which we read into them. The statement by Paul, “has a psalm,” when interpreted by thousands of different churches today, would fill volumes. Would this increase confusion or support edification?
“Let all things be done for edification.” (1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV).