2 tc ‡ The best witnesses read the imperative here (so Ì46 א A B P 0278 33 81 1739 pc). The participle is found primarily in the Western and Byzantine texttypes (D2 Ψ 1881 Ï latt [D* F G are slightly different, but support the participial reading]). But the participle is superior on internal grounds: The structure of v. 17 almost requires an imperative after ἀλλά (alla), for this gives balance to the clause: “Do not become foolish, but understand…” If the participle is original, it may be imperatival (and thus should be translated just like an imperative), but such is quite rare in the NT. More likely, there is an implied imperative as follows: “Do not become foolish, but become wise, understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Either way, the participle is the harder reading and ought therefore to be considered original. It is significant that seeing an implied imperative in this verse affords a certain symmetry to the author’s thought in vv. 15-21: There are three main sections (vv. 15-16, v. 17, vv. 18-21), each of which provides a negative injunction, followed by a positive injunction, followed by a present adverbial participle. If συνίετε (suniete) is original, this symmetry is lost. Thus, even though the external evidence for συνιέντες (sunientes) is not nearly as weighty as for the imperative, both the transcriptional and intrinsic evidence support it.
3 tn Grk “in which.”
4 tn Or “dissipation.” See BDAG 148 s.v. ἀσωτία.
5 tn Many have taken ἐν πνεύματι (en pneumati) as indicating content, i.e., one is to be filled with the Spirit. ExSyn 375 states, “There are no other examples in biblical Greek in which ἐν + the dative after πληρόω indicates content. Further, the parallel with οἴνῳ as well as the common grammatical category of means suggest that the idea intended is that believers are to be filled by means of the [Holy] Spirit. If so there seems to be an unnamed agent. The meaning of this text can only be fully appreciated in light of the πληρόω language in Ephesians. Always the term is used in connection with a member of the Trinity. Three considerations seem to be key: (1) In Eph 3:19 the ‘hinge’ prayer introducing the last half of the letter makes a request that the believers ‘be filled with all the fullness of God’ (πληρωθῆτε εἰς πᾶν πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ). The explicit content of πληρόω is thus God’s fullness (probably a reference to his moral attributes). (2) In 4:10 Christ is said to be the agent of filling (with v. 11 adding the specifics of his giving spiritual gifts). (3) The author then brings his argument to a crescendo in 5:18: Believers are to be filled by Christ by means of the Spirit with the content of the fullness of God.”