Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Did You Know? (Source, The New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version)
• Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians stresses unity in the church, love as an imitation of God, and separation from impurity.
• Putting on the Armor of God reflects a life of faith in conflict with evil.
• The letter is believed by scholars to have been written for many churches and not just the church at Ephesus.
• There are contrasts between the letter and earlier letters written by Paul. Some believe the letter was written by a follower of Paul who had a collection of Paul’s letters.
• There are strong parallels to Colossians.
• Some verses may reflect early Christian hymns.
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading: Ephesians 5: 15-20
Did the Apostle Paul write the Letter to the Ephesians? Or, was it written by one of his followers who had the Apostle’s letters and interpreted Paul for a later time? Do these questions affect how one read’s Ephesians? Scholars differ on the origin of the text.
Whether it was written by Paul or one of his students, what wisdom can one take from Ephesians?
The verses in 5:15-20 speak to what is often referred to today as spiritual formation. How are we being formed as Christians? How do we connect Sunday worship to our daily lives? How can we become mature and wise Christians? What foolishness leads us away from the will of God?
The admonitions against drunkenness and debauchery might be viewed as metaphors for engaging in anything that distracts us from faithfulness to Christ’s teachings. With that in mind, what other things might keep us from Christ’s wisdom embodied in our actions and thoughts?
The text urges us to be careful how to live and instructs “making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) There was a sense of urgency in Paul’s time. There was widespread belief that Christ’s return was imminent. Two thousand years later, do we still feel that urgency and why? Can you think of examples of why Christ’s return and wisdom are needed today? Try to be specific.
Ephesians talks about evil days and implies the temptation of getting lost in the world’s darkness.
Ultimately, the text invites us to seek sacred wisdom together that sees lives as meant for good and minds filled with the Spirit of God.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Pam Brokaw pastors both the Rochester and Oakville United Methodist Churches.
She is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, where she earned her Masters in Divinity.