(Vs. 18.) Drunkenness is the excessive drinking of any strong drink, and it is strongly condemned in the Scriptures. Wine is mentioned here because it was the usual liquor people drank in these Eastern countries. Excessive drinking deprives a person of reason, hurts the mind, brings disease to the body, opens the door to every sin, wastes possessions and sets a man below the beasts. "Be filled with the Holy Spirit." People with the Holy Spirit have spiritual joy and are controlled and dominated by the Spirit, as wine controls and dominates the drunkard. Their walk, talk and thinking are all influenced by the Spirit.
(Vs. 19.) "Speaking to yourselves in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs." When the Holy Spirit dwells within us like a well of living water and our hearts dwell on the goodness and mercy of God, the melodies and tunes with which we cheer ourselves and others are not the profane, loose and carnal songs of flesh, but are songs consisting of spirituality which gladden the heart and edify the soul (Col. 3:16).
(Vs. 20.) "Giving thanks always for all things" (James 1:17; John 3:27). All mercies, temporal and spiritual, come from the Father through our Lord Jesus; and for these mercies in Christ we continually praise and thank God (1 Thess. 5:18). We give thanks for electing love, redeeming grace, eternal life, Christian fellowship, food, affliction and trials and all things (Rom. 8:28). Murmuring and complaining against the providence of God is a great sin.
(Vs. 21.) "Submitting yourselves to one another." Christ is the sovereign Head of the church, the supreme authority and King of the saints; and as such he is to be feared and reverenced. He delegates authority in his name in the home, in the church and in the world. In fear of the Lord and in reverence for him and his glory, we submit ourselves to that authority as wives to husbands, children to parents, servants to masters, members of the church to pastors and all men to civil magistrates (Rom. 13:1-4).
(Vs. 22.) "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands." This subjection is not only in body, but in heart and spirit! Wives should think well of husbands, speak respectfully of them and to them, take care of family matters according to their husbands" will, imitate them in that which is good and bear patiently that which is not so agreeable. "As unto the Lord," because the Lord has commanded it, because the husband is the Lord's authority in the home and because rebellion against designated spiritual authority is rebellion against the Lord.
(Vs. 23, 24.) Pertaining to redemption, in Christ there is neither male nor female, bond nor free; but Christ is all. But in the divine order governing the family of God on earth, our Lord has decreed authority and leadership which is to be obeyed and followed (1 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:11-15).
Therefore, as the church is dependent on Christ, resigned to him, receiving from him protection, provision, comfort and happiness in a voluntary, sincere and hearty obedience (arising from a principle of love), so let the wives be subject to their husbands in things political, domestic and ecclesiastic.
(Vs. 25.) "Husbands, love your wives." This is still and always will be the key to any relationship! Because Christ loved us, he gave himself for us; because we love Christ, his yoke is easy and his burden is light. If a husband loves his wife as Christ loved the church (showing affection for her, delighting in her, seeking her contentment and happiness, concealing her faults, preferring her above his parents, neighbours or children and properly leading her in things spiritual), her submission will be a delight and joy to her.
(Vs. 26, 27.) Because of the context, this reference seems to be to the custom of the Jews in their engagements to marry. A man was engaged to be married to a woman provided she had no spots, blemishes, nor past sexual affairs, If afterwards these faults were found in her, the marriage was off. But Christ found us guilty, sinful and full of fault. He loved us and cleansed us in his own blood so that he might present us holy and without spot in that day.
(Vs. 28-30.) Men ought to love their wives as they love themselves, for the two are actually one flesh (Gen. 2:23-25). The Lord and his church are one. This is the church of the firstborn, composed of every true believer of every generation.
(Vs. 31.) A man does not desert nor disown his parents; but he loves, cares and shows respect for them, honouring them as long as they live. But his marriage is the establishment of a new home and a new family, which his parents are not to interfere with nor try to control. His wife is to be preferred before his parents, and she is not to be allowed to suffer at their hands, nor are they to be allowed to come between husband and wife.
(Vs. 32, 33.) The marriage union is compared to Christ's union with his church. He left his Father's house to come to earth. He loved us with infinite affection. He and his church are one. He provides for us, protects us and gives us his name for ever. We love and are in subjection to him!