Speaking to yourselves in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual
By psalms are meant the Psalms of David, and others which compose the book that goes by that name, for other psalms there are none; and by "hymns" we are to understand, not such as are made by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God; since they are placed between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost; and are put upon a level with them, and to be sung along with them, to the edification of churches; but these are only another name for the Book of Psalms, the running title of which may as well be the Book of Hymns, as it is rendered by Ainsworth; and the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples after the supper, is called an hymn; and so are the psalms in general called hymns, by Philo the Jew F14; and songs and hymns by Josephus F15; and (twxbvwtw twryv) , "songs and praises", or "hymns", in the Talmud F16: and by "spiritual songs" are meant the same Psalms of David, Asaph and the titles of many of them are songs, and sometimes a psalm and song, and song and psalm, a song of degrees; together with all other Scriptural songs, written by inspired men; and which are called "spiritual", because they are indited by the Spirit of God, consist of spiritual matter, and are designed for spiritual edification; and are opposed to all profane, loose, and wanton songs: these three words answer to (Myryv Mylht) (Myrwmzm) the several titles of David's Psalms; from whence it seems to be the intention of the apostle, that these should be sting in Gospel churches; for so he explains speaking to themselves in them, in the next clause:
singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord;
singing, as it is a distinct thing from prayer, so from giving of thanks, which is mentioned in ( Ephesians 5:20 ) as another duty; it is not a mental praising of God, for it is called speaking, and teaching, and admonishing, but it is a praising of God with the modulation of the voice; and is rightly performed, when the heart and voice agree; when there is a melody in the heart, as well as in the tongue; for singing and making melody in the heart, is singing with, or from the heart, or heartily; of as elsewhere, "with grace", and which the Alexandrian copy reads here; that is, either with gratitude and thankfulness, or with grace in exercise; and the end in view should be the glory of God.
F14 De Mutat. Nomin. p. 1062. & alibi.
F15 Antiqu. l. 7. c. 12. sect. 3.
F16 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 94. 1.