“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,”

         “See then that ye walk circumspectly”
         Literally:  “watch therefore how carefully you walk”

The construction is somewhat peculiar, combining two ideas – see that you walk strictly, but consider well the kind  of strictness. Don’t walk loosely, without any fixed principles of action; but make sure that your rules or standards are the right kind. Unfortunately, many people have strict rules, but they are not wisely strict; that is, they have rules, but not good rules.

        CIRCUMSPECTLY:  (Gr.-akribôs)-means to “pick the way,” meaning diligently; and the idea here is, that they were to take special pains to guard against the temptations around them, and to live as they ought to. The word rendered “circumspectly” literally means strictly.   The word is generally used of intellectual accuracy or thoroughness. 

         Our word circumspect, from the Latin circirmspicio, which signifies to look round about; to be every way watchful, wary, and cautious, in order to avoid danger, discern enemies before they come too nigh, and secure a man's interest by every possible and lawful means.  We are to be careful how we walk, as though we were walking on a ground filled with holes; or as a soldier might walk when he thinks he mIght be in a mine field.
         The idea, therefore, is not of merely looking round watchfully against dangers, but of “seeing,” the dangers; that is, being careful, “how we walk strictly;” of finding out the clear line of right, and then keeping to it strictly, so as not “to run uncertainly.” In the corresponding passage in the Colossian Epistle a similar admonition is given:  “walk in wisdom” (Col. 4:5).

        What we have here is an exhortation regarding the “walk” of the believer.  The Christian is to walk wisely and his walk is to reveal the urgency of the hour and the importance of living for the Lord.  The entire objective of the Chrstian’s walk is to stay in the will of God.  He walks in the will of God as a train runs on the track.  His walk in this world is to demonstrate that he belongs to Christ.
1.      We are to have knowledge of the true way
         Not as the fool who misses the path.

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where {is} the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16).   

2.      We are to follow the light that falls on our path.
         Not like the fool who turns aside to darkness, only to stumble in it.    
         “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left:  remove thy foot from evil” (Prov. 4:27).

“Not as fools, but as wise”
Literally:  “Not as unwise ones, but as wise ones”–The pagans liked to be called “wise ones” (Gr.-sophoi).  

         Pythagoras was perhaps the first who corrected this vanity, by assuming the title of philosophos, that is, “lover of wisdom”.  It is from this word that we get our term “philosopher,” which has come to be used in a much prouder sense than that in which the great Pythagoras meant it to be.  Paul here takes the term sophos” and applies it to the Christian; and in turn gives the empty Gentile philosopher the title of asophos,” without wisdom,” or,  fool.  Whenever you put the letter “a” in front of a Greek term, you negate that word; that is, you put it in a negative case; thus, sophos (wise one) with an “a” placed in front becomes asophos, “one without wisdom” or “fool.”
        Such walk like fools.   Their eyes are not upon their ways; they walk in their own ways which are crooked, and ways of darkness, and lead to destruction.  Such people walk after the flesh, and are spiritually naked, without the garments of a holy life and conversation. They have lamps, but there is no oil in them. 
         True wise men walk according to the rule of God's word, make Christ their pattern; they have the Holy Spirit for their guide, and walk according to the Gospel of Christ.  Such are inoffensive to all men; they use wisdom towards them that are without, and in love to them that are within.  As pilgrims and strangers in this world, men who are looking for a better country; they labor to promote the glory of God, and the good of souls.
         The Christian is not to live as the people of this world live; that is, indulging in foolish pleasures and desires, but rather is to live as those who have been taught to understand heavenly wisdom, and who have been made truly “wise ones” (sophoi).  This still further explains the “strictness,” for “wisdom” is the practical knowledge of the true end and purpose of life. He who has it not, whatever his intellectual and spiritual gifts, is “unwise.”

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”


“Redeeming the time”
Literally:  “redeeming the time”–Or rather, the opportunity, whenever it arises.  This word literally means buying out (from other ownership) the opportunity. Here it means to rescue or recover our time from waste; to improve it for great and important purposes.

         Buying up those moments, or opportunities, which others seem to throw away; steadily improving every present moment, so that you may, (at least in some measure), regain the time you have lost.  Let time be your chief commodity for time is that on which eternity depends.  In this time you have you are to make preparation for when your time runs out.
         The meaning of this phrase (also used in Col. 4:5) is clearly illustrated by its use (although in a bad sense) in Dan. 2:8, “I know that ye would gain the time”—i.e., catch the opportunity to escape from difficulty. To “redeem” is “to buy up for oneself;” not essentially having the idea of ransom or redemption, which attaches to the use of the word in Gal. 3:13; 4:5).

        “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us:  for it is written, ‘Cursed {is} every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13).
        “And when the fullness of the time was come God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law,
        “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5).

As applied to opportunity, redeem carries with it the idea of both making sacrifice for it and then quickness in seizing it.   This involves wisdom in using our opportunities and time to the utmost, (whether by silence or by speech), by facing or avoiding danger, by yielding to a crisis or conquering it  (see Rom. 12:11)–“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. 

        REDEEMING: (Gr.-exagarazomenoi)–“Redeeming the time” really means, redeeming the opportunities. 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.

         Opportunities are always being presented; therefore, they must be seized and used or else spurned and missed because for as a rule they do not reoccur.  Paul here counsels these Ephesian believers to buy them up with sanctified ingenuity, even as shrewd hands purchase properties at a favorable time. Time may be gained as well as lost.  Too many procrastinators let the year slip through their fingers like water and accomplish no worthy purpose.
         Buy up those moments which others seem to throw away; steadily improve every present moment, that you may, in some measure, regain the time you have lost. Let time be your chief commodity; deal in that alone; buy it all up, and use every portion of it yourselves. Time is that on which eternity depends; in time you are to get a preparation for the kingdom of God; if you get not this in time, your ruin is inevitable; therefore, buy up the time.

         While we are walking through this world, God gives us opportunities to exhibit what grace can do.  We are either a spectacle or a theater to the world, even to both demons (fallen angels) and good angels.  As we walk, or perform, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the world watches everything we do.  Remember Christian–You are the best Christian somebody knows.  They will judge Christianity by your actions.  There can be no wise or careful walking without a consideration both of the value of time and of the importance of using our opportunities for good.
1.      We have lost too much time already (I Pet. 4:3).
2.      We do not know how much time we have left.
“Whereas ye know not what  {shall be} on the morrow.  For what {is} your life?  It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
3.      We must give an account of all our time and opportunities.
         The reason given by Paul is the evil of the days.  Time must not be lost if the evil is to be quickly and effectively counteracted.

“because the days are evil”
Evil either by reason of the wickedness of those that live in them, or troublesome, full of difficulties and dangers, by reason of men’s hatred of you, and so either may be depriving you of the opportunity of doing good, or exposing you to hazards for doing it.

         There are many temptations that would lead a Christian away from his improving, “redeeming,” of his time.  There are many things that tempt him to go to places of sinful indulgence and revelry, where this time would be wasted; and even worse than wasted. Because these temptations do abound, believers are to constantly be on their guard against a sinful and unprofitable wasting of time.  It is especially true today that these present times are evil; for moral corruption is now the norm. So much the more must it intimately concern you as Christians to be on your guard.
         Let me repeat, and emphasize, that these present times are dangerous, both spiritually and physically. They are full of trouble and temptations, and only the watchful and diligent have any reason to expect to keep their garments unsoiled. The days of life in general are so exposed to evils of every sort, so as to make it necessary to make the most of the seasonable opportunity so long as it lasts to. There are many special evil days (in persecution, sickness, etc.) when the Christian is laid by in silence; therefore he needs all the more to improve the seasonable times afforded to him.


“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

“Wherefore be ye not unwise”         
Literally:  “Because of this do not become foolish”–Literally: “On this account, stop being foolish.”  Be not fools in the employment of your time, and in your manner of life. Do not become madmen.


Paul could be in reference to the orgies of Bacchus, in which his devotees acted like madmen; running about, tossing their heads from shoulder to shoulder, appearing to be in every sense completely frantic . What Paul is saying here is that we are not to be unthinking and senseless.  It is a sin against our rational nature, against our high calling, and against the Lord Himself not to use our intellectual faculties with supreme relation to the Lord’s will.

        WHEREFORE:  (Gr.-dia)–Therefore–because the times are evil, a Christian ought to walk in such a way that you know he is a child of God without asking him.  The “wherefore” bears on all the preceding argument:

I often see men wearing large wooden crosses around their necks.  I asked one of these men why he was wearing such a cross.  He said he was doing it so people would know he was a Christian.  I told him, “That is not the way people are to know you are a Christian.”  He then asked me how else could they know he was.  I told him that people should know he was a Christian by how he lived, by his daily life.  I told him that if by his wearing a big wooden cross was the only way people could know he was a Christian, then he was a sorry sort of Christian indeed.  I then told him to get out of reading from the books of the Mosaic Law and get into the N.T. and read what our apostle to us Gentiles (the apostle Paul) had to say about how a Gentile Christian is to live.  I told him to start reading Ephesians chapter 5.  We all need to look carefully how we walk; i.e.., our right understanding of duty.

        UNWISE:  (Gr.-aphrones)–This word is stronger than in v. 15 (asophoi).  This word suggest not so much a lack of essential wisdom, as does asophoi.   It means a moral stupidity of actions. 

Because we are children of light; because light is so valuable and so indispensable; because our whole circumstances demand so much care and earnestness. “Unwise” is equivalent to senseless.  By using this particular word, Paul is emphasizing his previous warning; then he goes on and adds the explanation that to be “wise” is to “understand what the will of the Lord is.” That is, to know God’s purpose towards us and towards the world, and so to know the true purpose of our life.

         “understanding what the will of the Lord is”
         Literally:  “but understanding what the will of the Lord {is}”–In the understanding of which your chief wisdom consists. 
        We are told in  Job 28:28 that “the fear of the Lord is wisdom,” or, more precisely, in Prov. 9:10 that it is “the beginning of wisdom.”

         Christian living is a question of knowledge as well as feeling.  Knowledge supplies the basis for our feeling.  Show true wisdom by endeavoring to understand what the will of the Lord is, and then doing it.  We must know the dangers to our duties, and the temptations in respect to every condition of life in which we are placed.  It is the will of the Lord Jesus Christ which supplies the true standard of action to every believer.  The direction of our life is to be determined by his precepts.
         The only way that we can be delivered from the foolishness of the natural mind is to be divinely enlightened.  Do not make the foolish mistake of becoming worldly-wise, “for the wisdom of this world is foolishness (môria) with God” (I Cor. 3:19).  “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish…but the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:15, 17).
         The shame of the Christian church is the sad and tragic neglect of thoughtful Bible reading on the part of its members.  Pastors have either forgotten, or even worse,  they do not know, that they are to be “pastor-teachers” (4:11), with the emphasis on the “teachers.” 
         Quite often we are faced with decisions.  What shall we do about such-and-such thing?  If we use the Bible rightly, we can turn to God’s Word to see what He says about it.  The Word of the Lord reveals the will of the Lord.  The Bible is the Christian’s handbook of faith and practice.  Acquaintance with the Book and its Author is the secret to a knowledge and understanding of what the will of the Lord is. It is the will of God that we should be sober, chaste, holy, and pure. Get a thorough understanding of this single fact; acquaint yourselves with God's will, that you may know how to glorify Him

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.

“be not drunk with wine”
Literally:  “And do not be drunk with wine”–Which stands opposed to the allowable use of wine. 

As the heathen are when they celebrate the feasts of Bacchus, the god of wine.  This may be a further allusion to the Bachanalian mysteries.  In them the devotees of Bacchus got drunk, which  led to all manner of excesses.  Plato, though he did forbid drunkenness in general, did allow that the people should get drunk in their solemnities of that god, Bacchus, the god of wine.  This was a common custom among the Greeks when they offered their sacrifices they did indulge themselves in drunkenness, and thus into all sorts of sinfulness.  Drunkenness was the besetting sin of the ancient world, and may yet be the sin that will destroy America. 
         Here Paul gives a warning against drunkenness.  The sin of intemperance must have had a great hold upon a commercial city like Ephesus.  It is necessary that Christ be aware of such an insidious vice.

1.      It dishonors the Law of God (Rom. 13:13)
2.      It disturbs the reasoning of men.
3.      It endangers the health of the body.
4.      It injures the soul (Hosea 4:11).
5.      It wastes the substance and tends to beggary (Prov. 23:21).
6.      It consumes precious time and deteriorates the character of work.
7.      It is the cause of other sins.
         Such as swearing, strife, licentiousness, low morality (Prov. 23:19).
8.      It make one unfit for religious duties.
9.      It keeps souls out of the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9).

“be filled with the Spirit”
Literally:  “be filled with {the} Spirit”–In this verse Paul is here making a comparison.
The child of God is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, not the alcoholic spirits.

            In all His graces, all of which are much more profitable than that which is produced by the spirits of alcoholic beverages.  The lewd devotees of Bacchus filled themselves with wine; but the believing Christian is here admonished to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  But just what does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  We find this analogy in the man who is drinking.  Such a man is possessed, or controlled, by the wine.  In contrast, it is the Holy Spirit Who should be the One to possess or control the believer.  It is a divine “intoxication” that is to fill our need.  But understand, this does not mean some excessive emotionalism, or some exotic manifestation in actions such as “speaking in tongues,” or some such displays.  It simply letting the Holy Spirit guide your everyday manner of living and for accomplishing something for God.  When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit.
            There is much confusion between being baptized by the Holy Spirit and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  Our arch-enemy does love to place those things in the Church that divide the Body of Christ and cause confusion within its ranks.  Entire church denominations have been established because of this confusion.  We are never commanded to be baptized with the Holy Spirit; rather, we are told that we all baptized into one body (I Cor. 12:13).  Did we do that by some effort on our part?  No, we did NOT.  This took place because of our by faith receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.  By this action the Holy Spirit regenerates us and indwells us.  The Holy Spirit seals us, and the Holy Spirit baptizes us and places us into the Body of Christ.  This is simply the “washing of re-generation” spoken of in Titus 3:5.

            However, the believer always needs the filling of the Spirit in order to serve Christ.  To be filled with the Spirit is as simplE as driving to a filling station and saying, “Fill it up!”  We, as believers, need to begin asking for the infilling of the Holy Spirit.  You may have been filled with the Spirit yesterday, or last week, but that will not suffice for today.  When you are filled with the Spirit you will be walking in the Spirit; therefore, you will do something for God.  You will need another filling tomorrow.  The old gas tank will need another fill up.  This is why some people can be so mightily used of God one day and be so empty the next.  Did you know that when you are in the center of God’s will, and are Spirit-filled, nothing can touch you without the Father’s consent? 


Baptism vs. Filling
The heathen priests pretended to be filled with the influence of the god they “worshiped:” and it was in these circumstances they gave out their oracles.  Paul here exhorts the Ephesians not to be as these, but instead of being filled with wine,  he urges them to be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

“speaking to yourselves
{in} psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”

“Speaking to yourselves {in}  psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
Literally:  “Speaking to yourselves {in} psalms and hymns and songs spiritual This well shows the contrast of being filled with wine and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The same words are found in Col. 3:16 but with a notable difference of application. There the idea is of teaching: “teaching and admonishing one another; here, simply of a natural vent for emotion, especially of thanksgiving, although probably here also “to yourselves” means “to one another,” and refers, perhaps, chiefly to public worship.  The Spirit fullness will keep the soul holy, the body chaste and render the Christian fit for the services of God on earth and meet for the fruition and enjoyment of God in heaven.       

        PSALMS: (Gr.-psalmois)–This may mean those or psalms of praise of David or of Asaph.

The “psalm,” as the word itself implies, is music with instrumental accompaniment, and probably refers to the O.T. psalms, familiar in Jewish worship.  We know these were used in the first instance we have of apostolic worship (Acts 4:24).  Psalmois is the expression of the spiritual song for the Jewish-Christians,

        HYMNS: (Gr.-hymnois)This refers to extemporaneous outpourings in praise of God, uttered under the influence of the Holy Spirit, or a recognition of God’s especial goodness.

See Acts 16:25–“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises (literally:  “hymns”–hymnoun) literally:  “they hymned.”   We have the hymns composed by pious men such as Zacharias and Simeon; we have the compositions for public assemblies of those inspired by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 14).  Singing has always been a powerful instrument of promoting the spread of the true Gospel.

        SONGS:  (Gr.-ôidais)Odes; premeditated and regular poetic compositions; but, in whatever form they were composed, we learn that they were all spiritual (pneumatikais)–intended to magnify God and edify men.

From the use of the word “song,” or “ode,” as applied to lyric poetry, it may perhaps be conjectured that it describes more varied and elaborate music, sung by one person only, i.e., solo singing, a spiritual utterance of one for the whole congregation. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and asmonishing one another in psalm and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).  Regarding Jewish sacred music, the Targums say, “He who stands up sings a hymn composed in praise of God, either having made a new one for himself, or using an ancient one of the poets of days gone by.”  The Christian counterpart of this might well be the “spiritual song.”

“singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
Literally:  “singing and psalming in the heart of you to the Lord”–As it is a distinct thing from prayer, so from giving of thanks, which is mentioned in v. 20 as another duty.

This is not just a mental praising of God; rather, it refers to speaking,  teaching, and admonishing.  It is a praising of God with the voice; and is rightly performed when the heart and voice agree; when there is a melody in the heart, as well as in the tongue; for singing and making melody in the heart, is singing with, or from the heart, or heartily; of as elsewhere, “with grace,” and which the Alexandrian copy reads here; that is, either with gratitude and thankfulness, or with grace in exercise; and the end in view should be the glory of God.

SINGING:  (Gr.-aidontes)–The prevailing character of music in the worship of God should be vocal. If instruments are employed, they should be so subordinate that the service may be characterized as singing

    MELODY:  (Gr.-psallontes)–“Melody” is an agreeable succession of sounds; a succession so regulated as to please the ear.

Melody differs from “harmony,” since melody is an agreeable succession of sounds by a single voice; harmony consists in the accordance of different sounds.  The word which Paul uses (psallō),  means “to touch, twitch, pluck – as the hair, the beard; and then to twitch a string;”  that is, to “twang” it,  as the string of a bow, and then the string of an instrument of music. It is most frequently used in the sense of touching or playing a lyre, or a harp.

“to the Lord”
Literally:  “to the Lord”–In praise of the Lord, or addressed to him.

        Singing, as meant here, is a direct and solemn act of worship, and should be considered such as really as prayer. In singing we should regard ourselves as speaking directly to God, and the words, therefore, should be spoken with a solemnity and awe becoming such a direct address to the great Yahweh.|
not only with the tongue; but the serious feeling of the heart accompanying the singing of the lips (compare I Cor. 14:15; Psa. 47:7). The contrast is between the heathen and the Christian practice, “Let your songs be not the drinking songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not only the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart.”


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