Winger, Thomas M. "The Liturgy of the Spirit-Filled Baptized: 5:15-21a." Ephesians. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2014, 579-597.
Because the Ephesians have been baptized and changed by God, in Ephesians 5:15 Paul warns them to pay attention to the way they walk. Winger finds that verse 15 is closely tied to the earlier material (Winger 2014, 579). The "walk" includes both what the Ephesians think and what they do (Winger 2014, 580). The walk is as wise people, not merely as knowing facts but also understanding the concept and application of the facts.
Ephesians 5:16 expands on the walk which wise people are engaged in (Winger 2014, 580). They may "take advantage of any opportunity to walk in God's ways" (Winger 2014, 581), yet Winger suggests an implication of avoiding distraction or living in peace. There are interpretive pitfalls in all three views. Because the Ephesians are to do this always and because the world is already in a fallen state, the passage is difficult. Winger suggests the key is in the word ἐξαγοράζω, which may indicate purchasing something so as to use it. Winger concludes that Paul may be urging that Christians buy up the time which Christ gives so as to use it aggressively for purposes related to the Gospel (Winger 2014, 582).
Winger finds Ephesians 5:17 to be a parallel to 5:15. The Christian is to be knowing in such a way it changes his life (Winger 2014, 582). Verse 18 then applies the Law in concrete terms with a clear prohibition of drunkenness. Winger is clear that there is no evidence for a prohibition of wine, but merely a warning against excess (Winger 2014, 583). The close association of idolatry, immorality, and drunkenness is common in the New Testament, as Winger demonstrates with a number of biblical references (Winger 2014, 584). The behavior held as a contrast to drunkenness is a filling with the Holy Spirit. Winger notes the unusual use of ἐν and the dative after "be filled," suggesting it may be indicating means or presence rather than any sort of quantity (Winger 2014, 585). However, the usage is found sometimes to indicate contents. Winger considers it inconclusive, but he definitely holds that the presence of the Holy Spirit rather than the presence of wine makes the Ephesians wise (Winger 2014, 586).
Ephesians 5:19 describes the behavior of one who has the Holy Spirit. The Pauline pattern of three continues as "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," essentially synonyms, are incorporated in worship (Winger 2014, 586). Winger discusses possible distinctions among the categories in some detail Verse 20 specifies that worship is full of thanksgiving. Winger considers that the liturgical overtones found in Ephesians suggest that this is not a reference to the inner orientation of the Christian but also refers to a consistency in organized worship services, possibly including the "eucharist" as the great thanksgiving (Winger 2014, 589-590). In effect, the habits of pagan worship are overturned so as to embrace Christian worship (Winger 2014, 590).
From a structural point of view, Winger finds that Ephesians 5:15-21a is a series of antitheses, relatively clearly constructed (Winger 2014, 590-591). The topics of walking and worshiping are essentially a continuation of earlier material. Winger finds multiple levels at which a tripartite pattern is evident (Winger 2014, 591). Winger briefly describes verse 21a as a "hinge verse" which moves us from one topic to the next. It is coherent to material on both sides (Winger 2014, 592).
The image of walking is of great importance in the Old Testament as well as in Ephesians, where Winger finds it to represent the way of life for those who have been baptized (Winger 2014, 592-593). It is important to evaluate life patterns carefully and live a life consistent with God's Word. This is an embodiment of wisdom.
Winger has spoken of liturgical elements in Ephesians. In 5:15-21a he sees that the liturgy of singing and giving thanks is the corrective to pagan worship. This Christian worship happens in an assembly which worships together (Winger 2014, 595). Winger emphasizes that the change Paul emphasizes in the Ephesians is not one merely of outward behavior. Rather, it is a re-orientation of the life of worship (Winger 2014, 596).