- The equilibrium and fluctuation methods for determining the surface tension, σ, and bending modulus, κ, of a bilayer membrane with a fixed projected area are discussed. In the fluctuation method the elastic coefficients σ and κ are measured from the amplitude of thermal fluctuations of the planar membrane, while in the equilibrium method the free energy required to deform the membrane is considered. The latter approach is used to derive new expressions for σ and κ (as well as for the saddle-splay modulus), which relate them to the pair-interactions between the amphiphiles forming the membrane. We use linear response theory to argue that the two routes lead to similar values for σ and κ. This argument is confirmed by Monte Carlo simulations of a model membrane whose elastic coefficients are calculated using both methods.