Sunday, July 24, 2005

Slaves And Other Matters

I like attending the 5pm service at Wesley because it's less crowded. This photo was taken 10 minutes before the start of the service.

Anyway, something interesting from today's sermon...
You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope——the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
~Titus 2
So the funny thing about today's sermon was that there are a few politically incorrect things that's present in the passage. I thought the pastor would interpret this in the context of our modern times. Yeah, he did that but he also brought in some bizarre comparisons. For example, in the 'teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything', he agreed that this should be the case, and that they should not 'talk back' because slaves in the old days had no rights! Then he says in the context of our times, this can also refer to subordinates in the office talking back to their superiors, or maids talking back to their 'masters'. So, yeah, very strange.

Also, it's too bad that the NIV translation urges woman to be 'busy at home'. I thought that is pretty funny, does anyone know how the next phrase 'so that no one will malign the word of God' originates from?

I don't really know what to make of Paul. Sometimes he talks about slaves and that women should be submissive to men and not hold important posts in church, and at other times like in 1 Corinthians 13, he writes absolutely wonderful things about love. So I guess not everything is bad; there's still good stuff from the above passage apart from the stuff I mentioned...


Blogger Jul_Jul said...

it is quite quiet there isn't it... hehe

I must say I very much disagree with this:

"women should be submissive to men and not hold important posts"

I'm sorry... but thats how i feel!

Monday, July 25, 2005 7:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ali said...

Nice blog.

Different groups of people have different interpretations of the bible.

I think women were made to be the nurturer, so that's what it means by 'being at home'. It doesn't really mean that God thinks that females are inferior to males. I mean, there are a lot of examples of females in the bible doing cool stuff. Ruth, Esther, Mary M, Leah (was that her name? I forget, you know, Rachel's sis)...

And hey, Paul also wrote of how women should wear the veil and stuff too.

Monday, July 25, 2005 6:02:00 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

I checked the original Greek to see the context of verse 5, keepers at home.

It means:
caring for the house, working at home
1. the (watch or) keeper of the house
2. keeping at home and taking care of household affairs
3. a domestic

This particular word oijkourgovß only appears in this verse.

As for the treatment of women, I think the Gospels depiction is quite different from Paul's. You can see my comments in Adina's post.

I said:
One consolation that I find reading the Gospels is that compared to the treatment of women in the OT, the characters who do stand out (besides the disciples) and who have names are the women. In fact, like you said, in Christ's darkest hour, the folks who were nearest were women. All four of them (John's account). I think that is such a big contrast to how women are usually portrayed. All the men were Roman soldiers, except the disciple (Christ's brother?)

I think women didn't feature prominently after the Gospels because Paul was also of the 'women should submit to men' OT view; well, at least he wrote the verse...

Monday, July 25, 2005 11:32:00 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

About 'submission', the word is Hupotasso:

1. to arrange under, to subordinate
2. to subject, put in subjection
3. to subject one's self, obey
4. to submit to one's control
5. to yield to one's admonition or advice
6. to obey, be subject

A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in amilitary fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

So Amy, you don't like this ah? :)

Monday, July 25, 2005 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Laughingcow said...

I think that there are laws, and there are guidelines, and the difficulty is in differentiating which is which. The Bible must be read in its entire context, and with the issue of women, for example, I do think that the Bible makes allowances for the changing of times.

In the OT times, women were certainly not allowed to hold any kinds of position of authority (religious or otherwise), yet in the NT, women such as Phoebe (Romans 16) go so far as becoming deaconesses.

Guidelines are good, and they have their purposes. But the beauty of the Bible is that it is a Living Word, and I think that the fact that some of these guidelines change throughout the course of the Bible shows that God is not impervious to change. Of course, the trouble arises when different people have different notions about how and where and when these changes should be executed. ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005 2:04:00 AM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

Yeah, I think that's the right way to go about it. And I didn't know about Pheobe. Wow, looks like that's quite a high position she's holding.

But interestingly, I just checked the NIV, and it says she's a servant. And so does the KJV and ASV. The CEV uses 'leader', and the Bible on my Palm which has the RSV uses 'deaconess'. The original Greek seems to say it can be all of these things. :)

one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister
1. the servant of a king
2. a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use
3. a waiter, one who serves food and drink

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

well done !

I am new to blogger .. and just coincidently found your Jeff blog :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 8:53:00 PM  
Blogger jeffyen said...

Hi Sean, nice of you to drop by! ;)

Friday, July 29, 2005 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger akikonomu said...

It could be that Paul's letters are just simply Paul's letters to a certain group of people who lived in a certain historical and social context - and not say, divine commandments to Christians of all time.

The basis of hermeneutics, then, is to understand the historical context, reconcile it to the biblical context, work out what the actual timeless commandment is, and then try to understand what we're supposed to learn in our present-day context.

Monday, August 01, 2005 9:57:00 PM  

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