World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18. excess—worthless, ruinous, reckless prodigality.
wherein—not in the wine itself when used aright (1Ti 5:23), but in the "excess" as to it.
but be filled with the Spirit—The effect in inspiration was that the person was "filled" with an ecstatic exhilaration, like that caused by wine; hence the two are here connected (compare Ac 2:13-18). Hence arose the abstinence from wine of many of the prophets, for example, John the Baptist, namely, in order to keep distinct before the world the ecstasy caused by the Spirit, from that caused by wine. So also in ordinary Christians the Spirit dwells not in the mind that seeks the disturbing influences of excitement, but in the well-balanced prayerful mind. Such a one expresses his joy, not in drunken or worldly songs, but in Christian hymns of thankfulness.
19. (Col 3:16).
to yourselves—"to one another." Hence soon arose the antiphonal or responsive chanting of which Pliny writes to Trajan: "They are wont on a fixed day to meet before daylight [to avoid persecution] and to recite a hymn among themselves by turns, to Christ, as if being God." The Spirit gives true eloquence; wine, a spurious eloquence.
psalms—generally accompanied by an instrument.
songs—the general term for lyric pieces; "spiritual" is added to mark their being here restricted to sacred subjects, though not merely to direct praises of God, but also containing exhortations, prophecies, &c. Contrast the drunken "songs," Am 8:10.
making melody—Greek, "playing and singing with an instrument."
in your heart—not merely with the tongue; but the serious feeling of the heart accompanying the singing of the lips (compare 1Co 14:15; Ps 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 the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart" [Conybeare and Howson].
to the Lord—See Pliny's letter quoted above: "To Christ as God."
unto God and the Father—the Fountain of every blessing in Creation, Providence, Election, and Redemption.