Are You Being Filled With the Spirit or Something Else?

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:15-21 (NASB) Read verses 20-21 on the site.

In Ephesians 5:18 Paul commands, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,“ At first glance that may read or sound like Paul is saying, “instead of getting drunk, do these religious things,” which he lists in vv19-21….

However, as we know, the proper way to interpret Sacred Scripture is by keeping what we are studying in context foremost. Here, the context tells us that the Apostle Paul is making a contrast that the Ephesians would have understood perfectly. Let’s go deeper.

Here is the Greek for v18, “καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν Πνεύματι”. Here is my translation, “And do not become drunk with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled by the spirit.” That’s pretty straightforward. The words translated in the NASB as “not get drunk” and by me as “not be drunk” are μὴ μεθύσκεσθε. The word μὴ or  is used here to make this a negative command to not do something. The word translated here as “be drunk” or “get drunk” is  μεθύσκεσθε which is the present tense, imperative mood, passive voice form of μεθύσκω or methuskō, which literally means to soak something to make it more elastic. This term came to mean becoming drunk to the point of being controlled by alcohol. The present,imperative passive form, in this context, would be talking about a way of life. Since Paul was telling the Ephesians not to do this then this is a command to not pattern ones life according to this.  View article →