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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.


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18. And be not drunk with wine. When he enjoins them not to be drunk, he forbids excessive and immoderate drinking of every description. “Be not intemperate in drinking.”

In which 161161     “The antecedent to is not οἴνος, but the entire clause — ‘in which vicious inebriety there is profligacy.’ The term, if it be derived from α privative and σώζω, is the picture of a sad result. The adjective ἄσωτος is used by the classics to signify one who is, as we say, ‘past redemption.’ The adverb ἀσώτὠς is used of the conduct of the prodigal son in the far country. (Luke 15:13.)” — Eadie. is lasciviousness. The Greek word ἀσωτία, which is translated “lasciviousness,” points out the evils which arise from drunkenness. I understand by it all that is implied in a wanton and dissolute life; for to translate it luxury, would quite enfeeble the sense. The meaning therefore is, that drunkards throw off quickly every restraint of modesty or shame; that where wine reigns, profligacy naturally follows; and consequently, that all who have any regard to moderation or decency ought to avoid and abhor drunkenness.

The children of this world are accustomed to indulge in deep drinking as an excitement to mirth. Such carnal excitement is contrasted with that holy joy of which the Spirit of God is the Author, and which produces entirely opposite effects. To what does drunkenness lead? To unbounded licentiousness, — to unbridled, indecent merriment. And to what does spiritual joy lead, when it is most strongly excited? 162162     “This is a pleasant kind of drunkenness, which stimulates you, not to wanton dances or foolish songs, by which the Gentiles render homage to their deities, but to psalms, to hymns, to spiritual songs, by which you rejoice, and sing, and offer praise to the Lord, not with indecent roaring, as is the custom of drunk people, but inwardly in your minds and hearts.” — Erasmus.

19. To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Romans 14:17;) and the exhortation, be ye filled, (ver. 18,) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. Speaking to themselves, is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly or alone; for he immediately adds, singing in your hearts; as if he had said, “Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.” What may be the exact difference between psalms and hymns, or between hymns and songs, it is not easy to determine, though a few remarks on this subject shall be offered on a future occasion. 163163     See Calvin Commentary on Philippians, Colossians, etc., page217. The appellation spiritual, given to these songs, is strikingly appropriate; for the songs most frequently used are almost always on trifling subjects, and very far from being chaste.

20. Giving thanks always. He means that this is a pleasure which ought never to lose its relish; that this is an exercise of which we ought never to weary. Innumerable benefits which we receive from God yield fresh cause of joy and thanksgiving. At the same time, he reminds believers that it will argue ungodly and disgraceful sloth, if they shall not always give thanks, — if their whole life shall not be spent in the study and exercise of praising God.




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