A Helpful Insight about Singing from How Hebrews 2:12 Uses Psalm 22:22

December 18, 2013

Whenever the NT uses the OT, we are given insight into how God wants us as NT believers to use the OT and profit from it. By the way it cites Psalm 22:22, Hebrews 2:12 provides a helpful insight concerning our understanding of biblical teaching about singing.

In Psalm 22, David writes,

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (22:22).

The Hebrew text for this verse reads:

  WTT אֲסַפְּרָ֣ה שִׁמְךָ֣ לְאֶחָ֑י בְּת֖וֹךְ קָהָ֣ל אֲהַלְלֶֽךָּ׃

The writer of Hebrews cites this text when he writes,

“Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (2:12)

Comparing these passages, we learn that the NT has “sing praise” where the OT has “praise.” The Holy Spirit thus reveals to us that Psalm 22:22 was actually a statement about singing and not just about praising God through ordinary speech.

This observation should teach us that we should not be dogmatic that other references in the Psalms, which are inspired song texts, to praising God necessarily mean just ordinary speaking praise to Him. As Hebrews 2:12 reveals, it is very possible that such statements also may mean singing praise to Him instead of just speaking it.

One text where this is especially likely is Psalm 35:18 because David uses in this verse the exact same form of the same verb that is rendered “praise” in Psalm 22:22 to speak again of God being praised among a congregation of people:

Psa 35:18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

  WTT א֭וֹדְךָ בְּקָהָ֣ל רָ֑ב בְּעַ֖ם עָצ֣וּם אֲהַֽלְלֶֽךָּ׃

If not in any other place, we can at least be confident that Psalm 35:18 is also a reference to singing praise to God and not just speaking praise to Him.

When, therefore, we seek to study comprehensively biblical teaching about singing, we must include Psalm 22:22 and very likely also Psalm 35:18 as biblical texts about singing.

 

Rajesh

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