Eph 5:15-17 What have Paul’s words in this epistle taught us about the importance of our Christian walk as opposed to our Christian beliefs? See Eph 2:10, 4:1,17, 5:2,8,15. What does he call those who are not careful about their Christian walk? See Eph 5:15,17. In what parable did Jesus speak of the same thing? See Mat 7:24-27. What does he mean by (literally) “redeeming the time” (Eph 5:16)? If we take no heed for our souls and are not careful to use the time and opportunities God gives us to be conformed to His image now, why should we expect that there may not be time to do so later? See Eph 5:16b, Luke 12:16-21, Barnes’ notes below. See also Col 4:5-6 for the same expression applied to our relationships to others. What is the will of the Lord (Eph 5:17)? See 1 Thess 4:3a.
Eph 5:18-20 How is getting drunk with intoxicating drink or high on drugs somehow the opposite of being filled with the Holy Spirit? Think: another name for strong drink is “spirits” (see also 1 Cor 12:13) and the Greek word for witchcraft is pharmakeia, which also means the use or administering of drugs, from which we get our word pharmacy. What is the difference between being baptized in the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit? See 1 Cor 12:13, Acts 1:5, 11:16, Eph 1:13-14, 4:30; Ex 31:3, Mic 3:8, Luk 1:15,41,67, Acts 2:4, 4:8,31, 9:17, 13:9,52. Note: a person is only baptized in the spirit once, at the time of conversion when God seals him with His Spirit for the day of redemption and he becomes a member of Christ’s Church. The first instance of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was on the day of Pentecost, the day the Church was born. However, there may be very many subsequent “fillings” of the Spirit (and indeed, many people were filled with the Spirit before the day of Pentecost), for just as the wind fills a ship’s sails to empower it to move forward, so does God’s Spirit fill us to empower us to do His will. Carefully compare Eph 5:18-20 with the parallel passage in Col 3:16-17; what insight do you glean about the means by which one is filled with the Spirit? See especially Col 3:16a and confer John 6:63. What do Eph 5:19 and 20 teach us about the importance of 1) godly song and 2) thanksgiving? Is there a connection between these and being filled with the Spirit?
Read the parable of the ten virgins in Mat 25:1-13. In what ways does it communicate the same admonitions Paul has made in the verses of this study? Think: what does the lamp represent (see Ps 119:105)? the oil (see 1 Sam 16:13)?
From Barnes Notes on the New Testament:
Ephesians 5:16. Redeeming the time The word rendered here as “redeeming,” means “to purchase; to buy up” from the possession or power of anyone; and then to redeem, to set free — as from service or bondage. Here it means, to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes. Because the days are evil Because the times in which you live are evil. There are many allurements and temptations that would lead you away from the proper improvement of time, and that would draw you into sin. The sentiment is, that we ought to be solicitous to improve our time to some useful purpose, because “there are, in an evil world, so many temptations to waste it.” Time is given us for most valuable purposes. There are things enough to be done to occupy it all, and no one need have it hang heavy on his hands. He that has a soul to be saved from eternal death, need not have one idle moment. He that has a heaven to win, has enough to do to occupy all his time. Man has just enough given him to accomplish all the purposes which God designs, and God has not given him more than enough. They redeem their time who employ it:
(1) in gaining useful knowledge;
(2) in doing good to others;
(3) in employing it for the purpose of an honest livelihood for themselves and families;
(4) in prayer and self-examination to make the heart better;
(5) in seeking salvation, and in endeavoring to do the will of God.
We are to redeem time from all that would waste and destroy it—like recovering marshes and fens to make them rich meadows and vineyards. There is time enough wasted by each sinner to secure the salvation of the soul; time enough wasted to do all that is needful to be done to spread religion around the world, and to save the race. We should still endeavor to redeem our time for the same reasons which are suggested by the apostle—because the days are evil. There are evil influences abroad; allurements and vices that would waste time, and from which we should endeavor to rescue it. There are evil influences tending to waste time:
(1) in the allurements to pleasure and amusement in every place, and especially in cities;
(2) in the temptations to novel-reading, consuming the precious hours of probation to no valuable purpose;
(3) in the temptations of ambition, most of the time spent for which is wholly thrown away, for few gain the prize, and when gained, it is all a bauble, not worth the effort;
(4) in dissipation—for who can estimate the amount of valuable time that is worse than thrown away in the places of revelry and dissipation;
(5) in wild and visionary plans—temptations to which abound in all lands, and pre-eminently in our own;
(6) and in luxurious indulgence—in dressing, and eating, and drinking.