Select Page
Read Introduction to Ephesians


18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,


Verses 18 to 21 are one sentence. The main verbs are “do not be drunk” with wine and “be filled” with the Spirit. Everything else in this section describes what happens when a person is filled with the Spirit: speaking, singing, making music, giving thanks, and submitting.

Verse 18 has both a negative and a positive command.


Paul now moved from general principles to specific codes of conduct. He now showed how wisdom is to be applied in our lives.

do not be drunk with wine,

Drunkenness is to be under the control of a substance. The control here is the opposite of being controlled by the Spirit. This is an imitation filling. Pagan worship was often accompanied by drunkenness.

in which is dissipation [excess, reckless];

Drunkenness is a persistent sin that can be classified as dissolution. The idea is that a person who is drunk does not have control of his motor faculties. Wine controls and destroys him.


There is a limited comparison between being under the control of a substance and under the control of the Spirit.


The Bible does not condemn drinking per se but drunkenness or any excessive indulgence, such as losing motor control by drugs. Drunk driving and binge drinking are manifestations of “dissipation.” North American society has the strange notion that it is necessary to get drunk in order to have “fun.” Drunkenness can lead to addiction. Addiction leads to a wasted life. Any substances that leads to putting a life out of control is sin.

It is important to see the parallel between being under the control of a substance and the Holy Spirit. Control by a substance means that motor skills are lost. Control by the Spirit means that He becomes dominant in our lives.


Study the Spirit-filled life: