Ephesians 5:18
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

King James Bible
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Darby Bible Translation
And be not drunk with wine, in which is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit,

World English Bible
Don't be drunken with wine, in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

Young's Literal Translation
and be not drunk with wine, in which is dissoluteness, but be filled in the Spirit,

Ephesians 5:18 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

And be not drunk with wine - A danger to which they were exposed and a vice to which those around them were much addicted. Compare notes on Luke 21:34. It is not improbable that in this verse there is an allusion to the orgies of Bacchus, or to the festivals celebrated in honor of that pagan god. He was "the god of wine," and during those festivals, men and women regarded it as an acceptable act of worship to become intoxicated, and with wild songs and cries to run through streets, and fields, and vineyards. To these things the apostle opposes psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, as much more appropriate modes of devotion, and would have the Christian worship stand out in strong contrast with the wild and dissolute habits of the pagan. Plato says, that while those abominable ceremonies in the worship of Bacchus continued, it was difficult to find in all Attica a single sober man. Rosenmuller, Alt. u. neu. Morgenland, in loc. On the subject of wine, and the wines used by the ancients, see the notes on John 2:10-11. We may learn from this verse:

(1) that it was not uncommon in those times to become intoxicated on wine; and,

(2) that it was positively forbidden. All intoxication is prohibited in the Scriptures - no matter by what means it is produced. There is, in fact, but one thing that produces intoxication. It is "alcohol" - the poisonous substance produced by fermentation. This substance is neither created nor changed, increased nor diminished, by distillation. It exists in the cider, the beer, and the wine, after they are fermented, and the whole process of distillation consists in driving it off by heat, and collecting it in a concentrated form, and so that it may be preserved. But distilling does not "make" it, nor change it. Alcohol is precisely the same thing in the wine that it is in the brandy after it is distilled; in the cider or the beer that it is in the whisky or the rum; and why is it right to become intoxicated on it in one form rather than in another? Since therefore there is danger of intoxication in the use of wine, as well as in the use of ardent spirits, why should we not abstain from one as well as the other? How can a man prove that it is right for him to drink alcohol in the form of wine, and that it is wrong for me to drink it in the form of brandy or rum?

Wherein is excess - There has been much difference of opinion about the word rendered here as excess - ἀσωτία asōtia. It occurs only in two other places in the New Testament, where it is rendered "riot;" Titus 1:6; 1 Peter 4:4. The "adjective" occurs once Luke 15:13, where it is rendered riotous. The word (derived, according to Passow, from α a, the alpha privative (not), and σώζω sōzō - to save, deliver) means that which is unsafe, not to be recovered; lost beyond recovery; then that which is abandoned to sensuality and lust; dissoluteness, debauchery, revelry. The meaning here is, that all this follows the use of wine. Is it proper then for Christians to be in the habit of drinking it? "Wine is so frequently the cause of this, by the ungrateful abuse of the bounty of providence in giving it, that the enormity is represented by a very strong and beautiful "figure" as contained in the very liquor." Doddridge.

But be filled with the Spirit - The Holy Spirit. How much more appropriate to Christians than to be filled with the spirit of intoxication and revelry! Let Christians, when about to indulge in a glass of wine, think of this admonition. Let them remember that their bodies should be the temple of the Holy Spirit, rather than a receptacle for intoxicating drinks. Was any man ever made a better Christian by the use of wine? Was any minister ever better suited to counsel an anxious sinner, or to pray, or to preach the gospel, by the use of intoxicating drinks? Let the history of wine-drinking and intemperate clergymen answer.

Ephesians 5:18 Parallel Commentaries

Library
April 22. "Christ is the Head" (Eph. v. 23).
"Christ is the head" (Eph. v. 23). Often we want people to pray for us and help us, but always defeat our object when we look too much to them and lean upon them. The true secret of union is for both to look upon God, and in the act of looking past themselves to Him they are unconsciously united. The sailor was right when he saw the little boy fall overboard and waited a minute before he plunged to his rescue. When the distracted mother asked him in agony why he had waited so long, he sensibly replied:
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

God's Imitators
Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children'--Eph. v. 1. The Revised Version gives a more literal and more energetic rendering of this verse by reading, 'Be ye, therefore, imitators of God, as beloved children.' It is the only place in the Bible where that bold word 'imitate' is applied to the Christian relation to God. But, though the expression is unique, the idea underlies the whole teaching of the New Testament on the subject of Christian character and conduct. To be like God, and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Against Foolish Talking and Jesting.
"Nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient."-- Ephes. v.4. Moral and political aphorisms are seldom couched in such terms that they should be taken as they sound precisely, or according to the widest extent of signification; but do commonly need exposition, and admit exception: otherwise frequently they would not only clash with reason and experience, but interfere, thwart, and supplant one another. The best masters of such wisdom are wont to interdict things, apt by unseasonable
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sensual and Spiritual Excitement.
Preached August 4, 1850. SENSUAL AND SPIRITUAL EXCITEMENT. "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."--Ephesians v. 17, 18. There is evidently a connection between the different branches of this sentence--for ideas cannot be properly contrasted which have not some connection--but what that connection is, is not at first sight clear. It almost appears like a profane and irreverent juxtaposition
Frederick W. Robertson—Sermons Preached at Brighton

Cross References
Leviticus 10:9
"Do not drink wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons with you, when you come into the tent of meeting, so that you will not die-- it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations--

Proverbs 20:1
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.

Proverbs 23:20
Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;

Proverbs 23:30
Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine.

Proverbs 23:31
Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it goes down smoothly;

Proverbs 23:32
At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper.

Luke 1:15
"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb.

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