Russell and Duenes

Ephesians 5:18-21 and The Means of Grace

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Ephesians 5:18-21 says, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is debauchery, but rather, keep being filled with by the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to God the Father; submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of God.”

The generally accepted interpretation of these verses says that as we continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we will then, as a result, “speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” etc. But it has always seemed to me that a case can be made for the resulting gerunds – “speaking to one another…singing…making melody in your heart…giving thanks…submitting to one another” – to be understood as the means by which God’s people ought to continue to keep filled with the Holy Spirit. In other words, part of the way in which we ought to “keep in step with the Spirit” is by engaging in the kinds of things that Paul mentions in vs. 19-21. Such practices would then be a “means of grace.”

I’m certain I’m not the first person to suggest this interpretation, but I think it’s worthy of consideration. If not, I would like to know what the alternative means would be, in this context, for “continuing to be filed with the Holy Spirit.” I’d love to hear your opinions on this.



Written by Michael Duenes

September 1, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Posted in Duenes, Theology

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