Re: Eph 5:18

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Fri Oct 04 1996 - 09:55:19 EDT

>Dan Wallace in his BEYOND THE BASICS grammar has an interesting discussion on
>Eph 5:18. If I recall what he says correctly (my book is at home and it's
>6:30 in the morning and I haven't had my coffee yet!), he argues based on
>other verses that this is a dative of means, and then explains that the agent
>is Christ (he also has a lengthy discussion on dative of agency vs. dative of
>means) and the content is God--i.e., Be filled (with all the fullness of God--
>Eph 3:18) by means of (Christ using the) Spirit (to fill you). Note the
> You (agent) by (means of) wine get (yourself) drunk
> Christ (agent) by (means of) the spirit fills you with God
>I believe that's the point he makes. Certainly a different view from most.
>I'm not saying I agree, but his argument is worth reading and thinking about.

This is an interesting, but unnecessary expansion of the passage, in my
opinion. The two parts of the sentence balance each other.


The phrase EN hWi ESTIN ASWTIA interprets the opposition to drunkenness.

If one drinks wine, one may feel ecstatic [Dionysiac ecstasy, portrayed
vividly in many Greek vase paintings and in frescoes from Pompeii and
Herculaneum.). Christians are to avoid that, since one may confuse that
ecstasy with ecstatic utterance or song that comes from being filled with
the Apirit. Note that the odes in v. 19 are called PNEUMATIKAI, i.e.
inspired, borne by the Spirit, possibly even conveying the Spirit. One
should be QEOFORHTOS< not OIONOFORHTOS. See the useful comments in R.
Schnackenburg, EPHESIANS: A COMMENTARY . (Edinburgh: T & T Clark,
1991) 236-237.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR ***** NEW E-MAIL Address:
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
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