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


There is both a parallel and a contrast between being intoxicated with wine and filled with the Spirit.


In strong contrast to wine controlling the individual, the Holy Spirit should control him. There is a comparison between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit; however, the two entities are entirely different.

be filled [controlled] with the Spirit,

The Greek word for “filled” was used of wind filling a sail to move a ship forward. The metaphorical idea of the word is control. When the Holy Spirit fills us, He controls us. As drunkenness controls the motor senses in the physical realm, so the Holy Spirit controls the believer who yields to Him in the spiritual realm. “Filled” means to fill up, to diffuse throughout. The Holy Spirit fills the believer in the sense that He controls us.

The word “filled” here is not the same word as in the book of Acts. The Greek word in Acts is pimplemi, which means a filling followed by miraculous signs. The word filling in our phrase occurs only two times and has no miraculous signs connected with it. The purpose of filling in Acts had to do with the validation of the gospel in each occurrence in the book of Acts (He 2:4). In our verse the Christian is commanded to let the Holy Spirit control his life.

The manifestations of the Spirit’s control in this chapter are found in verses 19 to 21, which have nothing to do with miraculous display. The only other occurrence of the verb found in our verse is Acts 13:52, where we find no extraordinary manifestation.

Neither are the consequences the same. The context in this chapter has more to do with the ethical sense of being directed, influenced, and controlled or governed by the Holy Spirit. The idea is for the believer to let the Spirit empower, convict, and illuminate him.

The Greek of this verse gives further light than what is apparent in the English. The grammar indicates that the believer is to be constantly filled with the Spirit, that he is to let the Holy Spirit control him, and that this is a command. The believer cannot fill himself; he must let the Spirit do it. Yet, God commands him to let the Holy Spirit do it. The idea is that the Christian is to constantly allow the Spirit to control him.

A fuller rendering of this phrase would be “be kept being filled with the Spirit” (present, passive, indicative). God does the filling (passive voice) but the Christian continually allows it to happen (present tense, imperative mood). When this happens, it will countervail spiritual weakness. As the believer is constantly filled (present tense), he builds momentum in spirituality.


God puts Spirit-filled believers under a higher instrumentality for His working.


As the Holy Spirit fills us He works through us. God will use us in a mighty way in which we could not otherwise be used. As drunkenness controls people, so the Spirit can control people who allow themselves to be under His influence.

Being filled with the Spirit is not an esoteric or ecstatic experience. Neither it is the same as the indwelling of the Spirit. Every Christian is indwelt by the Spirit, but not every believer is filled with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is not the same as being baptized with the Spirit. Every Christian was baptized into the body of Christ by the Spirit at the point of salvation (1 Co 12:13). Being filled with the Spirit is not the same as Christian maturity. Maturity is both a process and level of edification, whereas being filled with the Spirit depends on whether we have confessed our sins or not.

The Bible nowhere commands the Christian to be baptized, indwelt, anointed, or sealed by the Holy Spirit. However, Scripture does command us to be filled with the Spirit. God fills us with the Spirit when we confess our sins and yield our lives to Him, which are two sides of the same coin.

When the Jerusalem church chose Stephen for ministry, one criterion was that he was “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:5). Peter spoke to an assembly while he was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8). Barnabas was a man “full of the Holy Spirit and faith” (Acts 11:24). Paul confronted the magician Elymas while he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:9). While the disciples were persecuted, they were “filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:52).

The common factor of the 10 occasions of those filled with the Spirit in Acts is giving immediate testimony about Jesus (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9; 11:24; 13:52).


Further study of spirituality: