Re: EN + dative in Eph 5:18 (but not the same thing!)

From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Sat May 10 1997 - 18:12:03 EDT

Examining Eph. 5:18 &c. as part of the dialogue on this topic has caused
me to wonder what the relationship of the following verses is to being
"filled with the Spirit." I had assumed (probably prematurely) that the
activities mentioned are the outcome of being filled with the Spirit,
just like the outcome of being drunk with wine is ASWTIA. However, a
comparison with the similar passage at Colossians 3:15-16 makes me
wonder if these activities, in the form of participles - i.e., speaking
to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
psalming with (or in) your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks to the
Father - and perhaps even the next participle, submitting to one another
(now ALLHLOIS instead of hEAUTOIS) - are not to be taken as the RESULT
of being filled with the Spirit but are the MEANS by which one is filled
with the Spirit (i.e., "be filled in/with/by the Spirit, [by] speaking
to yourselves/one-another with psalms, etc."). This was suggested to me
in a chapter on being filled with the Spirit in "The Lord Told Me... I
Think" by Don Matzat. While his explanation for this interpretation is
inadequately explained, that seemed to be his point and caused me to
rethink this passage along his lines. I initially disagreed until I
compared it with the Colossians passage. Participles can have a number
of semantic relationships to the finite verb(s) in the sentence - e.g.,
telic (purpose) , temporal (while/after), causal (because), conditional
(if), concessional (although), instrumental (by/ by means of),
modal/manner (in the manner of), resultative (with the result of),
attendant circumstance (i.e., treat like a finite verb - and though the
context usually limits the possible choices to one or only a few of
these possibilities, sometimes the "best" interpretation of the
participle(s) can never be determined. How does anyone out there feel
about interpreting the Eph. 5:19-21 participles as Instrumental (or
Modal) as I've so described? The Colossians passage seems to indicate
that the way the word of Christ was to dwell richly among the believers
was by/by-means-of (or in the manner of) them teaching and admonishing
each other with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, etc. Correctly
interpreting these participles seems to me to be at least as important
as determining by whom or by what or with what one is "filled" with or
by the Spirit, as the earlier discussion on this passage addressed.

"Eric S. (and Karol-Ann) Weiss"
part-time grad student at The Criswell College
"Send those testimonies!"

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