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5) Eph 5:18–21: Paul had already enjoined the church community in Ephesus to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” through humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerance (Eph 4:2–3).
Since “being filled” (plēroō) expresses unity with God and the wholeness his salvation brings, Paul called all believers to make ourselves available as vessels for the presence and power of God.
The Greek text of this passage begins with two imperatives (commands): “Do not be intoxicated with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.”
Paul then employed a string of verbal nouns (participles) to delineate the result of being Spirit-filled:
Do not be intoxicated with wine…but be filled with the Spirit
- speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs;
- singing and praising in your hearts to the Lord;
- being thankful always for all [things] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God,
even as to the Father;
- being submissive (hypotassō) to one another in reverence of Christ.
“Being submissive” (hypotassomenoi) appears in masculine plural form. In New Testament (NT) Greek, that can encompass either men or a group of both genders. It cannot apply to only women.
Consequently, Paul declared that Spirit-filled people submit to each other.
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a) Read Eph 5:18–21. How can you tell if you are being filled with the Spirit and exhibiting reverence for Christ?
Go to Submissive to One Another (Eph 5:21–24)
[Related posts include Submissive to One Another (Eph 5:21–24); Sacrificial Love (Eph 5:25–30); Obedience in the Lord (Eph 6:1); Life-Long Honor (Eph 6:2–3); Nurturing and Training (Eph 6:4); Effects of the Fall Reversed (Rom 5:12–21 and Rom 16:1–12); Domineering Women (1 Tim 2:12–14); A Minority Religion (1 Pet 3:1–2); In the Spirit of Sarah (1 Pet 3:3–6); and Living Together with Understanding (1 Pet 3:7–9)]
[Click here to go to Women and Marriage Throughout Redemptive History; or to Chapter 8: Pain and Desire (Genesis 3:16, 20)]
 Snodgrass, Ephesians, 290.
Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 639. Wallace and Black both note that—based upon the grammar—one cannot separate v. 21 from the preceding verses.
Longenecker, Galatians, 297.
David Alan Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 37.