Bible Studies for Life Sunday School Lesson June 26

By Roy E. Ciampa, Ph.D.
Armstrong Chair of Religion, Samford University


Ephesians 5:8–21

Walking is used in the New Testament as a metaphor for how one lives one’s life. This is an important theme, introducing key sections into the second half of Ephesians. Believers are to walk (live or behave) worthy of our calling in Christ (Eph. 4:1). This means that we are not to walk as the unbelieving Gentiles do (Eph. 4:17), for they were known for their vices, especially idolatry and immorality. Rather, we are to imitate God by walking in love (Eph. 5:2), walking as children of light (v. 8), and walking in wisdom (v. 15). To walk, or live, as God intends, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit.

We are no longer to walk in the ways of the world. (8–14)

Darkness has been associated with that which is bad, wicked, wrong, or false from the beginning.

Paul says light has to do with all that is good, just, and true. God has made us light and we are to walk as children who reflect what is good, just and true.

We must also test or examine things to see if they are compatible with the light and pleasing to the Lord. We must reject activities that fail this test and warn others of their dangers as we would if we found a bridge in danger of collapsing.

Integrity has to do with how you would behave if you knew no one would see or find out. Many will engage in shameful activities in secret, but everything we do is visible to God. God calls us to bring light into the darkness so that people can see things as they really are, including the spiritual dangers that lurk in the shadows.

We walk wisely when we walk under the control of the Spirit. (15–18)

When Paul says we are to walk “as wise,” he is again explaining being “imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1).

Since wisdom is another well-known divine attribute, we imitate God when we walk in wisdom rather than as reckless people. The wisdom in which we must walk is not the wisdom of this world but the wisdom given to us by God. To be truly wise, to walk in wisdom, is to live a life marked by the fullness of the Spirit of God. The Spirit gives us the wisdom of God to lead a disciplined and controlled life rather than a life marked by a reckless or uncontrolled life, such as when one lets one’s life be ruled by alcohol or passions.

Given the ongoing battle between the reign of God and the reign of powers in rebellion against God, wisdom dictates that we seize every opportunity to advance the agenda of the kingdom of God, living lives ruled by his Spirit rather than by other influences around us.

We worship and live gratefully when we walk under the control of the Spirit. (19–21)

We walk as wise people when we live a Spirit-filled life, and we walk under the control of the Spirit when we worship from the depths of our hearts and express our gratitude to God for all He gives us. . In these verses, Paul unpacks what it means to live a Spirit-filled life, using a series of participles to unpack the meaning of this phrase: speaking, singing and making music, giving thanks and submitting to one another. .

In other words, when we glorify God by entering fully into genuine worship, in a spirit of deep gratitude and appropriate submission to other members of the worshiping community, we express the life of the Spirit within us.

There is no magic formula to being filled with the Spirit (no need to attend special conferences to receive a secret key to the fullness of the Spirit). To submit fully to the leading of the Spirit at all times is to be filled with the Spirit, which results in the glorification of God. The fullness of the Spirit is reflected every time we glorify God.

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