New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:18 drunk with wine. The first command here could better be translated: “Do not begin to be drunk with wine.” Since even a small amount of an intoxicant has a damaging effect on the brain, this command in effect calls for total abstinence from alcohol. Proverbs 23:31 warns against even looking on the wine, lest it tempt one to drink.
5:18 filled. The connotation of “filled” here is “be being filled.” That is, the filling with the Spirit is not a once-for-all experience, like the baptism of the Spirit into the body of Christ. Instead, we are urged to be continually being filled with the Spirit—that is, controlled by the Spirit. In a way analogous to how alcohol may control a person’s thoughts and actions, the better way is to allow the Holy Spirit to have control. The word “filled” is the same as “fulfilled.”
5:19 Speaking to yourselves. Ephesians 5:19-21 illustrates what the Spirit-filled life will be. Ephesians 5:19 applies not so much to congregational singing, as to “melody in your heart.” Such a life will be fruitful (Ephesians 5:9), active (Ephesians 5:16), understanding (Ephesians 5:17), joyful (Ephesians 5:19), thankful (Ephesians 5:20), and submissive (Ephesians 5:21). It will also be bold in witnessing (Acts 4:31).