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Hymns in the NT
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
A hymn is a song in praise of a deity. In addition to being used for worship, early Christian hymns likely were used to teach doctrine to new converts through antiphonal singing (Bruce, Commentary on Ephesians, 285).In the New Testament, the word umnos appears only in Eph 5:19, Col 3:16, Acts 16:25, and Heb 2:12; the verbal form of umnos occurs in Matt 26:30 and Mark 14:26. Pliny, in a letter to Trajan, mentions that Christians regularly sang hymns to Christ as a God (10.96–97).Examples of possible Christian hymns include Phil 2:5–11, Col 1:15–20, Eph 1:3–14, Eph 5:14, 1 Tim 3:16, and 1 Pet 1:3–5. Among biblical scholars, there is no agreement on whether these texts are hymns, confessional statements, or merely the author’s own exalted prose (see, e.g., Fee, “Philippians 2:5–11,” 29–46).The Gospels of Luke and John both contain passages of extended poetic language. The songs in the infancy narrative of Luke—Mary’s song (Luke 1:46–55), Zechariah’s song (Luke 1:67–79), the angel’s praise (Luke 2:14), and Simeon’s praise (Luke 2:28–32)—all reflect the style of hymns of praise found in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Pss 8; 19; 29; 33; 100; 103; 104). The songs in Luke also reflect more contemporary Jewish hymnology, like that found in 1 Maccabees (Smith, “First Century Christian Singing,” 1–15). The opening verses of John’s Gospel (1:1–18) present a highly patterned praise of Christ’s incarnation. The passage’s poetic qualities suggest that it might have been used as a hymn (Ryken, Words of Delight, 452–55).The book of Revelation contains numerous lyrics of praise to God and the Lamb (e.g., Rev 4:8, 11; 5:9–10), 12), 13b). Some scholars classify these liturgical texts as hymns.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Hymns in the New Testament
Hymns in the New Testament (ὕμνος, hymnos). A hymn is a song in praise of a deity. In addition to being used for worship, early Christian hymns likely were used to teach doctrine to new converts through antiphonal singing (Bruce, Commentary on Ephesians, 285).In the New Testament, the word umnos appears