Resting Day 15 Called Out Of Chaos: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Called Out Of Chaos!

Ephesians 5:15-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The Questions

1) What does “then” refer to in verse 15?

2) What is the difference between “wise” and “unwise” in this context?

3) What are some benchmarks of our lives that show we are “making the best use of the time”?

4) What does Paul mean by “the days are evil” and why is that a motivating factor in living wisely?

The Findings for Intention

1) What does “then” refer to in verse 15?
An important key to understanding Scripture is to pay attention to the small words and not overlook them! “Then” references everything that has been discussed in the verses prior to v.15, where Paul urges us to be “imitators of God”. Verses 1-14 expound upon what it looks like to live a life of love just as God is love. This is the reason that we, as believers, are called to carefully examine our lives for evidence of God’s transformative love.

2) What is the difference between “wise” and “unwise” in this context?
To get the full concept behind “wise and unwise”, we need to back up and look at Paul’s quote, “Awake O sleeper…”. This was originally found in Isaiah’s prophecies and is used as 2 bookends in Isaiah 51:17 and Isaiah 52:1. Between these two “bookends”, Isaiah speaks of the devastation and destruction of sin and of God’s wrath being poured out because of it. God was calling Israel to “wake up” from the death caused by sin around them, to see sin for what it really is, and “wake up” to all that God had for them. Paul pulls this piece of history out for the Ephesians because he wanted them to see that the same situation fit them as sin permeated everything.

3) What are some benchmarks of our lives that show we are “making the best use of the time”?
Verses 3-11 of this same chapter provide good insights into “checking yourself” against the “law of love”, but it isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. Paul simply meant to address some specific issues, while pointing back to the over-arching theme of loving others well because God has loved us. By closely examining this list, we see Paul pointing out general areas to focus on like what we do with our bodies, our speech, and the heart motives behind it all.

4) What does Paul mean by “the days are evil” and why is that a motivating factor in living wisely?
This phrase is a direct tie-back to Isaiah’s words as noted in question 2. Paul is using strong language and emphasis here to urge the church body to look around, to see that the days are indeed full of evil. He wants to the church to realize that while we are called out to be different, we are also to be exceedingly intentional with our lives and investment of love because we know full well that ONE DAY, time as we know it will end. The evil days will be over. The Bridegroom will come for His Bride, and there will be no more time left to choose Christ, either for ourselves or others. We must choose Jesus now, today, while He still holds out the opportunity!

The Everyday Application

1) What does “then” refer to in verse 15?
Challenge yourself to do exactly what Paul urges the Ephesians to do and “look carefully” at how you’re walking. Not as means of creating a “checklist for righteousness”, but as a tool to gauge how closely you are following the God of Love Himself.

2) What is the difference between “wise” and “unwise” in this context?
Everyday life has us surrounded by sin and its ugly, destructive effects. If we aren’t “looking carefully” at our lives, we can begin shifting our life focus, gradually ignoring sin and letting it take us over. Paul echoes Isaiah’s words from centuries beforehand, and we can hear the same warning for us in the 21st century. Walk wisely, see sin for the lie that it is, refuse to walk in it, and instead ask God for the power to walk and live in love. Only what is done in love will last, will bring restoration and meaning to our lives and relationships, and will allow for rest in our hearts.

3) What are some benchmarks of our lives that show we are “making the best use of the time”?

Something my husband and I use to train our children in living a life of love, is simply to ask them if what they did/said/thought was loving. It’s a great tool for us as adults as we face so many challenging situations. As we talk about others, we can ask if we are being loving and respectful. As we speak to our children, check out our tone and ask if it reveals love or selfishness. The actions we take, the body language we give off, the way we think about others…..these all reflect our heart motivations, whether fueled by love or selfish pride.

4) What does Paul mean by “the days are evil” and why is that a motivating factor in living wisely?
Living a life of love, being wise about the times, knowing that there will be an end, and being fully aware of the evil around us, begs the question of Christ followers, “Are we living to give ourselves away for the gospel”? Are we intentionally committed to discipling the people around us in order that they too might know the rest and deep intimacy that comes from knowing Christ? How much are you willing to risk for Jesus? How deeply are you committed to living this life of love?

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Called Out Of Chaos!
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Resting Week Three!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Resting!