Commentary on Ephesians 5:18-21
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Verse 18 – “And be not drunk with wine…” – This speaks of Paul telling the readers by the Holy Spirit that we should not be controlled by alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages have caused massive health, physical, mental, moral, and spiritual problems for individuals and society at large. The results of alcohol consumption can easily be traced to have caused marriages to be destroyed, children and spouses that have been abused, and lives that have been lost in automobile accidents, etc. More than half the people in prison can trace their crime back to alcohol consumption. The Bible says in Proverbs 23:31-33 – “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things”. It should not come to a surprise that the Bible teaches its readers that “at the last it biteth like a serpent”. It would appear that Satan is once again involved and that alcohol should be avoided.
“…wherein is excess…” – The world will make what appears to be a little bitty sin into a mountain that will be heavy enough to destroy your life and those around you. Excess of any sin will lead to a life that is shipwrecked and misery, and aloneness will be sure to follow.
“…but be filled with the Spirit” – This speaks of being controlled by the Spirit constantly, moment by moment. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that a Christian can have a greater love and intimacy with God. The Holy Spirit gives an increase of power and boldness to witness to others, greater wisdom and faith, victory over sin and temptation, increase power in prayer, renewed zeal for helping and serving others, and deep joy in spiritual happiness because of Christ.
Verse 19 – “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” – This refers to worship as it regards to praising, songs, and singing. Worship is an expression of a Christian’s heart toward God as shown through song and praise. As Christians worship Him, they are drawn into His presence and experience His touch in their lives. There is an old saying that, “Christian music gives soul to our hearts, and wings to our thoughts”.
“…singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” - When Christians make and sing melodies from their heart towards the Lord, it enables and strengthens their relationship with Him and helps them to trust and depend more on Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Verse 20 – “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father…” – All things come from God. God the Father is the gift-giver. Everything that Christians have, possess, and own comes from the Father. Christians need to be careful not to put their faith and trust in the gifts that they have been given, but rather to be thankful for the One who gave the gifts. The relationship to the gift-giver should always take precedence over any material gift that has been given.
“…in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – This verse proclaims the Source of all blessings, and the means by which these blessings have come upon the human race as well. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings, the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord, Emmanuel, the Anointed One, the Prince of Peace, the Light of the World, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Son of God, the Word, the Son of Man, the Morning Star, and the Alpha and Omega!
Verse 21 – “Submitting yourselves one to another…” – This tells the believer that proper spiritual submission is always horizontal and never vertical as it refers to believers, meaning that we submit one to another. Christians should always esteem others as better than themselves. Philippians 2:3-5 – “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. Submitting to others is a badge to the Christian which glorifies God as we walk in Him.
“…in the fear of God” – Meaning that all vertical submission must be to God Alone, never to man. When a man has a proper “Fear of God”, he will have a heavy concern about God and the things of God. When a man has “Fear of man”, he will have heavy concerns about other people. The Bible says in Psalm 111:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” and in Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction”.
It is clear to the Bible believing Christian that having the “Fear of the Lord” is the beginning of both wisdom and knowledge. The Bible teaches that fools despise wisdom, which is what people are for those that reject God and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. “When a genuine fear of God governs the hearts of His children, we will be able to acknowledge His presence at all times and in all things. - A quote by Alistair Bedd”.