The following three entries discuss how hymns may be identified in the literature of the New Testament. These hymns express the developing convictions of the Christian church, particularly the Christological confession that sets God the Son alongside God the Father, resulting in the praise of Jesus Christ.
Early Christian hymnody was influenced by the tradition of psalm singing in the temple. The hymns of the New Testament church served both a doxological and an apologetic function.
Singing hymns to deity was an established practice in the Greco-Roman world long before the emergence of Christianity. Christian hymns differed from pagan hymnody, however, in celebrating a redemptive historical event; they have a "prophetic" quality.
New Testament hymns to Christ celebrate what he did before Creation, his mission of incarnation and reconciliation, and his present exalted position as Lord of the universe. In so doing, they counter heretical ideas that were influencing some segments of the early church.