By psalms may be meant David's psalms, or such composures as were fitly sung with musical instruments. By hymns may be meant such others as were confined to matter of praise, as those of Zacharias, Simeon, &c.
2. Thomas Manton. Among his many works is an excellent commentary on the book of James. Manton makes some interesting commentary upon James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms:
Others question whether we may sing scripture psalms, the psalms of David, which to me seemeth to look like the cavil of a profane spirit. But to clear this also. I confess we do not forbid other songs; if grave and pious, after good advice they may be received into the Church. Tertullian, in his Apology, showeth that in the primitive times they used this liberty, either to sing scripture psalms or such as were of a private composure.
But that which I am to prove, that scriptural psalms may be sung, and I shall, ἐκ περισσοῦ, with advantage over and above, prove that they are fittest to be sung.
1. That they may be sung may be proved by reason; the word limiteth not, and therefore we have no reason to make any restraint. They are part of the word of God, full of matter that tendeth to instruction, comfort, and the praise of God, which are the ends of singing; and therefore, unless we will bring a disparagement upon the scriptures, we cannot deny them a part in our spiritual mirth.
Manton believed that 'other songs' could be sung. He also makes reference to the comments in Tertullian's apology supporting this position from Church history.
3. Matthew Poole - In his commentaries on Ephesians 5:19 & Colossians 3:16 we discover that Poole is not convinced of the exclusive pslamist's position.
Ephesians 5:19 - In psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; under these names he comprehends all manner of singing to mutual edification and God's glory. The particular distinction of them is uncertain, but most take psalms to be such as anciently were sung with musical instruments; hymns, such as contained only matter of praise; spiritual songs, such as were of various matter, doctrinal, prophetical, historical, &c.: see on Col 3:16.
Colossians 3:16 - Then the use of the word, and the manner of expressing their thankfulness to God amongst themselves, is in singing to his praise psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs. He doth not say, teaching and admonishing from these, (as elsewhere, Acts 8:35 28:23), but in them; implying it is a peculiar ordinance of Christ for Christians to be exercised in holy singing, as James 5:13, with an audible voice musically, Psalms 95:1,2; 100:1,2; Acts 16:25, as foretold, Isaiah 52:8, with Romans 10:14.
But what is more especially found fault with, in the singing that is now practised, is making use of hymns of human composure. I am far from thinking that the book of Psalms should be thrown by in our public worship, but that it should always be used in the Christian church to the end of the world: but I know of no obligation we are under to confine ourselves to it. I can find no command or rule of God’s word that does any more confine us to the words of the Scripture in our singing, than it does in our praying; we speak to God in both. And I can see no reason why we should limit ourselves to such particular forms of words, that we find in the Bible, in speaking to him by way of praise, in metre, and with music, than when we speak to him in prose, by way of prayer and supplication.
1. The terms 'Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs' inEphesians 5:19 & Colossians 3:16 do not refer to the 150 Psalms of the Book of Psalms.
2. Old Testament and New Testament saints did not live by this exclusive psalmist rule.
3. The angels and glorified saints did not sing the psalms.
4. There are possible remnants of hymns/canticles/doxologies quoted in the New Testament.
5. Progressive Revelation argues against Exclusive Psalmody.
6. Exclusive Psalmody leads to different levels of worship.
7. The Exclusive Psalmist's position requires them to reject ever singing the 'very best song' in public worship.
8. If 'inspired praise' is required then an equally valid argument could be made for 'inspired praying' and 'inspired preaching' in public worship.
9. The early New Testament Church did not believe in Exclusive Psalmody.
10. The Reformers at Geneva did not believe or practice Exclusive Psalmody.