Memorable means "worth remembering." Every 2 weeks a new Scripture will be added, giving you plenty of time to hide God's word in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11+). And remember to review, review, review! Could anything be more worth remembering that the living and active Word of God (Heb 4:12+) about which Jesus says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mt 24:35) Jesus also said "It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD." (Mt 4:4+) The NAS95 version is used in the passages below, but memorize in the version you normally use in Bible study (other versions are listed). Write the verse on a card and carry it around during the week, frequently reviewing it, praying Psalm 119:18+ and asking the Holy Spirit to teach you (see note). Each Scripture will have a few questions to prompt the priceless practice of meditation (see Joshua 1:8+, Psalm 1:2-3+) followed by a few explanatory comments on the passage memorized. Note that whenever you see a "+" after a Bible verse, that sign indicates a commentary is available. Memorizing His Word has encouragements on why memorize, how to memorize, value of memorization, etc. David, a man after God's own heart, writes "The law of his God is in his heart. His steps do not slip." (Ps 37:31) John Trapp comments "He hath a Bible in his head and another in his heart." C H Spurgeon in his pithy practical style alludes to the value of memorization in his comment on Ps 37:31 writing...
The best thing.
In the best place.
With the best of results.
Dr. Chuck Swindoll has written:
"I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture...No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends! Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified." (from Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life)
(#1)SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSE - Ephesians 5:18-20
Ephesians 5:18+ And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19+ speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20+ always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.
Note: Words in red are commands.
MEDITATION: First a few questions to focus on observation of the text.
- What is the contrast in verse 18? What is dissipation?
- What does it mean to be filled with something (e.g., wine)?
- Or to ask another way, what is the effect of being filled? Specifically, what is the first effect of being filled with the Spirit?
- Does Paul say being filled is a feeling?
- What is the first and most obvious effect of being filled with the Spirit?
- As a corollary what is a good general guide to allow me to discern whether I am filled with the Spirit?
- How does being filled with the Spirit affect my general attitude toward my various (adverse and/or advantageous) circumstances?
COMMENT: Note that filling with the Spirit is not a "feeling." Paul contrasts being filled with different kinds of "spirits" (making a pun on alcohol referred to as "spirits"). If wine fills a person, it controls that person's affect and actions, and one of the quickest ways to discern someone is filled with wine is to listen to their speech (Mt 12:34-36+). And so the first effect of being filled with the Holy Spirit is a "holy" tongue, holy speech. The other effects are a "song in your heart," and an attitude of gratitude (1 Th 5:18+) which counteracts attitudes of grumbling (Php 2:14+), complaining, etc.. In sum, here is the critical point - what fills a person, exerts control over that person. We see this principle throughout the NT - e.g., Lk 4:28+ even at Jesus' first "sermon" in His hometown, the moment He mentioned the Gentile Naaman, Luke records "all in the synagogue were filled with rage." Notice that their rage "controlled" them and they actually sought to kill Jesus! (read Lk 4:29+).
What fills you will control you.
Be filled is a command (present imperative), not a suggestion, not "Plan B" for the Christian life, calling for this to be our daily, habitual condition, which alone can enable us to lead a Spirit empowered supernatural life. In fact from Ephesians 5:18+ through Ephesians 6:18+ there are multiple additional commands (13 commands in 12 verses = Eph 5:25+, Eph 5:33+, Eph 6:1+, Eph 6:2+, Eph 6:4+, Eph 6:5+, Eph 6:9+, Eph 6:10+, Eph 6:11+, Eph 6:13+, Eph 6:14+, Eph 6:17+) by Paul addressing virtually every area of our lives - marriage, children, work, warfare, prayer. We have to understand that failure to be filled will result in failure to obey ANY of the other commands in this practical section. E.g. In Ephesians 5:25+ Paul commands "Husbands love (present imperative = a command to do this continually) your wives just as (HOW?) Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her (cf Death to Self!)." Can you see how godly husbands absolutely must have a supernatural Source of Power to obey this command? In fact it is impossible to obey this command in our natural strength, for our old flesh nature (sin nature) does not want to die to self and will not do so unless enabled by the Spirit Who Alone can "energize" the necessary desire and power (cf Php 2:13NLT+). And so we see how vitally important Ephesians 5:18ff+ is to our Christian life! (See discussion of Need for Holy Spirit to obey any of the NT commands)
The NLT paraphrase presents an accurate sense of the meaning of the original Greek "Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you."
So am I the only one who thinks Ephesians 5:18ff is one of the most important verses in the Bible for daily sanctification (growth in holiness, growth in Christlikeness). Well known pastor Charles Swindoll writes...
"I don’t know of a more important verse in the New Testament for the Christian than Ephesians 5:18—honest, no exaggeration. This verse tells the believer how to live an authentic, empowered life: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” It begins with a negative command: “Don’t get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation” (which means excess, existing hopelessly out of control). When you’re drunk with alcohol, you lose control. You also lose self-respect and the respect of others. “Don’t get drunk.” A positive command follows: “But be filled with the Spirit.”...This is a command, not a suggestion. It’s an urgent imperative, not a casual option...“Be filled” is a command, which means I play a part in it. For example, I cannot be filled with the Spirit while I have unconfessed sin within me. I cannot be filled with the Spirit while at the same time conducting my life in the energy of the flesh. I cannot be filled with the Spirit while I am resisting God’s will and relying only on myself. I need to be sure that I have taken care of the sins that have emerged in my life, that I have not ignored the wrong that I have done before God and to others. I need to walk in conscious dependence on the Lord on a daily basis. (Embraced by the Spirit: the Untold Blessings of Intimacy with God) (Bolding added)
Respected Pastor Ray Pritchard writes that
the filling of the Spirit is the most important doctrine of the spiritual life. It is foundational to everything else. There is nothing we need more. Here is my definition of the filling of the Spirit: It is that state in which the Holy Spirit is free to do all that He came into my life to do. In a sense being filled with the Spirit is an impossibility-at least as far as it depends on us. Only God's Spirit can fill us. We need two things-emptiness and openness. You can't fill a jar that's already full, and you can't fill a jar that is not open. There must be a sense of need-"Lord, I'm empty and I need to be filled by Your Spirit." There must be a willingness-"Lord, I'm open to You..." The filling of the Spirit is really as simple as that. As long as we are conscious of our need and as long as we are willing to yield to the Lord, we can be filled with the Lord all day long. This power is available to us all day long. (Ephesians 5:18: Filled with the Holy Spirit?) (Related: Ephesians 5:18 How Can I be Filled With the Holy Spirit?) (Bolding added)
John MacArthur echoes the importance of our need to be continually filled with the Spirit writing that...
If we do not obey this command, we cannot obey any other (note)—simply because we cannot do any of God’s will apart from God’s Spirit. Outside of the command for unbelievers to trust in Christ for salvation, there is no more practical and necessary command in Scripture than the one for believers to be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians: Moody Press) (Bolding added)