This is in reply to Robert’s comment.
You continue to make the fatal mistake of confusing disobeying a command with doing more than is commanded. Had Noah made the ark with knotty pine, he’d have plainly violated the command. Had he brought along shovels — a subject on which God was quite silent — there’d have been no violation. And I’m sure the shovels were needed and that Noah brought them.
The thing about language is that it doesn’t always admit of precise rules. A command to do “X” might mean “X and X only” or might mean “X and whatever else you consider appropriate to accomplish my purposes.”
I recently asked my son to go to Taco Casa and bring me back 3 hot beef burritos — and he kindly did just that. But he also brought back some tacos for himself. Did he disobey? Obviously, not. I didn’t intend for him to go hungry. I simply had no instructions as to what he might eat for himself. Had he brought back 20 hot beef burritos, he’d have been disobedient — unless we have 6 hungry teens here who also needed feeding.
And the fact that he bought himself tacos is not even arguably an aid or expedient to bringing me my burritos. You see, you don’t always need stated permission (even though he was spending my money). Rather, in this case, his “authority” was found in the nature of our relationship, not in the command.
It’s just contrary to the nature of human language and human relationships to imagine that “sing” somehow specifies a cappella or instrumental. After all, the fact that we have to say “a cappella” to prevent our own language from being ambiguous makes plain that “sing” doesn’t mean “sing a cappella.” But then neither does it mean “sing with an instrument.” Rather, it means “sing.” If I invite friends over to sing Beatles tunes with me and some friends, no one has violated the terms of the invitation by bringing a guitar. Just so, “psallo” in koine Greek indicates neither the use of an instrument nor the absence of an instrument.
You are reading far more into the language than is there. The only way you can get to the conclusion that instruments are prohibited is by showing that the SCRIPTURES require that all worship of God be by express authority and that the authority granted does not authorize instruments as an aid or an expedient.
If you have children, I suggest that you tell them they can only do those things that you command, give examples for, or that are necessarily inferred from your commands. See how well that works in parenting.
“Mommy said to go upstairs and play. Therefore, even though my sister has broken her leg, I’ll not tell mommy because watching out for my sister isn’t necessarily implied in ‘go … play.'”
Sometimes, you just have to raise them right and give them the freedom to use the good sense that God gave them. And this is where the Spirit comes in and why worship in Spirit and in truth makes so much sense. God is willing to trust us to be faithful children because he lives in us through his Spirit.
The last several posts in this series show that the scriptural argument for the Regulative Principle utterly fails. It’s built on the abuse of verses that have nothing to do with such a concept. The Regulative Principle exists neither in logic, the nature of language, nor the scriptures. Rather, it’s a human invention.
The fact is that the use of an instrument is a matter left to human judgment, empowered and guided by the Spirit, within broad scriptural guidelines. There are limits. Among them are the standards of 1 Cor 14 and Heb 10 that the assembly encourage, strengthen, comfort, and edify. And there is the statement of Jesus that under the new covenant, worship will be in Spirit and in truth. And the statements in Heb 8 – 9 that one mark of the inferiority of worship under the Law of Moses was the imposition of external regulations.
What accomplishes those things in a given situation is very culture-dependent. Evidently, in the Greco-Roman culture, in at least some places and at some times, instrumental music tended to lead to an association with pagan revelry.
Of course, the pagan world did not have a well-established Christian subculture with a rich heritage of Christian music that is very far removed from debauchery and revelry. And this heritage goes all the back to Bach.
This is the dona nobis pacem from Bach’s Mass in B Minor. It means “give us peace.” And there’s nothing the early church Patristics say against instrumental music that applies to this work.