The key to the interpretation of the term "naked" in this and the following verse is found, we judge, in verse 21, where we read that "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." From his fall, his transgression, therefore, until he was clothed in a coat of skin, Adam was naked before God. The term "naked" will thus express his moral condition consequent upon his sin - his moral exposure, so to speak, before the all-searching eye of a holy God. While in a state of innocence he was happy, surrounded as he was with every token of the goodness of his Creator; but as soon as he had eaten of the forbidden fruit his eyes were opened (v. 7), and knowing now good and evil he obtained a conscience, and, alas! a condemning conscience. The result was that he knew he was naked, could not conceal his moral condition (v. 7), and forthwith - as many of his descendants have continued to do ever since - attempted to cover up his state by a human expedient. But the moment God drew near, Adam felt the vanity of his subterfuge, and sought to hide himself from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. He knew, we repeat, that as a sinner he was naked, and could not screen himself from the just judgment of God, of which he had been forewarned. (Chap. 2:16, 17.) But grace wrought, and grace provided what Adam could not, by any efforts of his own, obtain: God clothed him in his nakedness, and clothed him with the skin of an animal upon which death had been brought. The meaning of the skin may perhaps be gathered from Leviticus 7:8, where it is said that the priest that offereth any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered." The coat of skin wherewith Adam was clothed was surely, therefore, a figure of the fact that only Christ can cover our moral nakedness before God.
Some objection has been taken to our explanation of the term "naked" in 2 Cor. 5:3, in the April number. It was taken as a contrast between the disembodied state and being clothed with the resurrection body - "our house which is from heaven." The ground of this interpretation was in the word "we": "if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." Great difference of judgment has ever prevailed on the subject; and it is quite possible that "naked" may refer to those who will be left behind at the Lord's coming; that is, to the unconverted. In this case, it will be equivalent to being without Christ.
In the judgment of many the sense of this passage is better seen with a different punctuation. Thus: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another; in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Nor can we doubt, because of its harmony with the teaching of Scripture in other places, that this sets forth the correct interpretation. As to what were the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, there is no means of knowing with certainty. But of this we may be sure - that they were different channels through which joy in the Lord ascended to Him in praise and adoration. They might have been - at least some of them - compositions, inspired for the occasion in the first energy of the Spirit, or they might have been, as now, the meditations of pious souls flowing out in psalms, hymns, or songs.