Good question. The Greek word is "plaroo" and it means to "fill," or to have control. This is the only place where this word is used in regard to believers after Acts, and after the church had matured. It is a Present Passive Imperative (command) and could be translated: "You be daily (continually) controlled by the Spirit." We are to allow His control to come upon us continually! With the command we know that we are to have some awareness of what the Spirit is doing with us. We are to be conscious of His activity with our heart and soul.
I did not know it but Dr. Harold Hoehner, a good friend of mine who died a few years ago, wrote in his classic Ephesian commentary this:
"The Spirit of God directs and empowers a believer to live a life pleasing to God and His will. Those who live under the control of their flesh will not please God and God does not control their lives. … This is the Spirit's activities realized in and through us. Believers are commanded to be filled by the Spirit so that they will understand the will of the Lord and allow God's control of their lives rather than succumbing to the desires of the flesh. If believers were only filled with wisdom, the influence would be impersonal; however, the filling by the Spirit adds God's personal presence, influence, and enablement to walk wisely, all of which are beneficial to believers and pleasing to God. … To be filled by the Spirit enables the Spirit to have all of the believer: The wise walk, therefore, is one that is characterized by the Holy Spirit's control."
What is the difference of the filling of the Spirit in the book of Acts?
First of all the Greek word for filling in Acts is different but still the same, if that makes sense! It is the word "pimplemi" that is distinctly related to "plaroo." "pimplemi" is used only by Dr. Luke in the Gospel of Luke and Acts. It is like a classical Greek word but all scholars realize that it is virtually just like "plaroo".
The first reference to "pimplemi" is found in Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31, 9:17, 13:9. In Acts 2:4 we read that the disciples "were filled, controlled with the Holy Spirit." They were "filled, filled up, controlled" (Aorist Passive Indicative). The action of the Spirit came sovereignly upon them. They were not commanded to be controlled like believers are today, as found in Ephesians 5:18.
Peter then was "controlled" by the Spirit (Acts 4:8) and began to speak. It is an Aorist Passive Participle. This is another sovereign work of the Spirit. Peter does not ask for it, it just happened to him. "The action of the Holy Spirit came suddenly upon him" and he began to speak. The Participle ties the action of the Spirit closely together with Peter speaking. "Peter was characterized as having begun to speak ..."
In Acts 4:31 we read the disciples were "filled, controlled by the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness." This to is an Aorist Passive Indicative. "They were suddenly controlled by the (sovereign work of the) Spirit" and by this control they began to speak! Nicoll notes that they were controlled that they might speak with boldness. Their prayer was immediately answered. They proceeded to speak (the Past Tense) also implying that they continued to speak. They were filled, controlled with the Holy Spirit who was actually working in the apostles!
In Acts 9:17 Ananias laid his hands on Paul and said he was doing so in order that Paul would "regain his sight, and then be filled (controlled) with the Holy Spirit." The Spirit took over in a sovereign way and "Immediately the scales fell from Paul's eyes … and he began to immediately proclaim Jesus" (vv. 18, 20). This is an Aorist Passive Subjunctive. "That you should be immediately controlled by the Spirit ..."
In 13:9-10 we read that "Paul was controlled by the Spirit and said ..." Again, a sovereign work. This is another Aorist Passive Participle. The force of the Participle: "Paul was characterized as one who was suddenly controlled by the Spirit ..."
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
—Dr. Mal Couch (2/11)