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Ephesians 5:18-21 meaning...

These verses from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians offer a comprehensive guide on living a Spirit-filled life within the Christian community.

  • Being Filled with the Spirit

The passage begins with a contrast between two ways of living:

Avoiding Drunkenness: Paul advises against being drunken with wine, which leads to dissipation. This caution reflects a broader theme in Scripture about the dangers of excess and the negative consequences of overindulgence.

Being Filled with the Spirit: In contrast to the negative effects of drunkenness, believers are urged to be filled with the Spirit. This implies a continual and intentional surrender to the Holy Spirit, allowing His influence to permeate every aspect of one's life.

  • Expressions of a Spirit-Filled Life

Verses 19 to 21 outline the various expressions of a life filled with the Spirit:

Speaking to One Another: The community aspect of the Christian life is highlighted. Believers are encouraged to communicate in ways that uplift and edify, including speaking in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Singing and Making Melody: Music becomes a vehicle for expressing devotion and praise. It is not just an external display but involves making melody in one's heart to the Lord—an internal attitude of worship.

Giving Thanks Always: A spirit of gratitude permeates the Spirit-filled life. Believers are called to express thanksgiving continually, acknowledging God's goodness in all circumstances and attributing thanks in the name of Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Subjecting Yourselves to One Another: The passage concludes with a call to mutual submission within the Christian community. Believers are encouraged to willingly yield to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Significance for Today

Spiritual Intoxication: The contrast between being filled with the Spirit and being drunken with wine highlights the importance of intentional choices in one's lifestyle. Believers are called to seek a different kind of "intoxication"—a spiritual filling that brings joy, wisdom, and holiness.

Community Building: The emphasis on speaking to one another, singing, and mutual submission underscores the communal nature of the Christian life. These actions contribute to building a vibrant and supportive Christian community.

Gratitude in all Circumstances: The call to give thanks always challenges believers to maintain an attitude of gratitude, recognizing that thanksgiving is not contingent on favorable circumstances but is a response to God's character.


Colossians 3:16: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your heart to the Lord." This verse from Colossians parallels the idea of using music and communication to teach and encourage one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you." The theme of giving thanks in all circumstances resonates with the call to thanksgiving in Ephesians.

Conclusion: Ephesians 5:18-21 presents a holistic vision of a Spirit-filled life within the Christian community. It calls believers to be intentional about their choices, to actively contribute to a positive and uplifting community, and to cultivate a heart of gratitude. As believers embrace the Spirit-filled life outlined in these verses, they participate in the ongoing work of God's transformation in their lives and in the community of faith.

See also: vs 15-16, & 25-27

Ephesians 5:18-21. Don’t be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God, even the Father; subjecting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.


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