Created to be His Help Meet: Or, How NOT to be a “Jezebel”

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When a woman attempts to live for God contrary to his Word, her ‘spirituality’ is equal to witchcraft, because she is attempting to ‘divine’ the will of God in total disregard of his clear written words. God calls such a woman ‘Jezebel.’ –Debi Pearl, Created to be His Help Meet, 61

The book Created to be His Help Meet seeks to help young wives discover how God can make their marriages “glorious.” Many women turn to this book in order to learn about how to be a good wife, to understand what the Bible says concerning their roles as women, learn how to be less selfish and finally, to get a perspective that is apart from the broader cultural teaching.

Initially I was going to just flip through this book, but found that a good number of my friends had been exposed to it and damaged by it and its pervading culture. My background is biblical. I have a Bachelors from Biola University in Bible and Theology, a Masters of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and will soon start a PhD program in Theology and New Testament. The following are some of my thoughts and they are not meant to be comprehensive. Instead, they are meant to give you the gist of what I think and I hope you consider some of the points the author makes as you study God’s word. I will reference the author’s book in parenthesis.

blog-gaspAn ‘Unbiblical’ Approach

While there were many things I found disturbing—the way the author approached Scripture was more than disconcerting—and while the author claimed to believe the Bible was the highest authority, so much of what she did was read things into the text (as she did with the letters she received) instead of taking things out of the text.

Very frequently, the author would lift out single verses from their context and apply them to whatever point she was making. This gave the appearance that her view was biblical when—in actuality—there was very little in the text to support her claim. At other times she would tell the reader what the biblical narrative taught—only it wasn’t to be found—anywhere—in Scripture.

For example, look through the beginning portion of Genesis and see if you can find it say anywhere that Satan decided to target Eve because he knew Adam could not be deceived or that males have a natural resistance to Satan and that women are naturally naïve (107-108). 1 Timothy 2:13-14 does indeed tell us that Eve was the one who was deceived but it does not claim that all women are or that God made them this way or that Satan was looking for this. After all, if women were more easily deceived overall why would God command that women teach other women and children? Isn’t that just a wreck waiting to happen?

Did Eve leave Adam’s side to confront the Devil’s logic alone as this author claims? Not according to Genesis 3:6.

This was just one example, but you can see it everywhere in the book. The author tells you that the picture God creates of a woman is one without armor, “because he intended for her to stand behind her husband’s armor” (108). All of this is linked to her understanding of Genesis, and none of this is actually in the Bible.

The author often leaves out important bits of scriptural information that would better clarify the situation.

For example, on page 96 she tells us that God appointed Adam (man) to rule the planet. Does the Bible say this? Yes. Throughout chapter 8 (75) men are represented as made in God’s image. Are they? Well, yes. However, the Bible says women are also appointed to rule over the planet and women are made in God’s image as well.

Gen 1:27-28 So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women.  God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.

Gen 5:1-2 God created men and women to be like himself. He gave them his blessing and called them human beings…

I used the CEV translation for these verses but look it up in any Bible translation. I like to mix it up and compare at BibleGateway.

Elsewhere in the book (almost everywhere) she tells us the Bible teaches that women are to submit (230). Does the Bible teach this? Yes. However, it tells men to as well. For example, Ephesians 5:22 is not well balanced without Ephesians 5:21.

Ephesians 5:21  Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, [submit yourselves] to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.

This one is the NIV and I put the added portion in brackets. In fact even in the Greek (yes, in the Greek), the word submit does not appear in v.22 because Paul has submission inferred from v.21. Meaning the two verses definitely go together.

Also note that in Genesis God does describe men ruling over women—only it is in the section describing the curse and what will happen given the fall. In my opinion this is not to be followed as a command (since it isn’t) any more than we should not weed our gardens, use birth control or pain killers.

A Warning Against Bible Scholars?

The author seems very much aware that many ministers and biblical scholars disagree with her on what the Bible teaches. She echoes many people’s fears about the text being taken out of the every day person’s hands when she says the following:

 There are many books written by men, ‘scholars,’ that undermine the beauty of a woman’s help meet position. They do so by casting doubt on the Bible itself. They talk in elaborate and ‘learned’ terms about ‘ the original languages’ and the ‘cultural settings’ in which the words of Scripture were written. Of course, there are many other scholars who believe the Bible just as it is written. Can we, ordinary housewives and mothers, jump into the arena and compete with these ‘scholars,’ deciding which verses in the Bible should be believed and which ones should be dismissed for various reasons? That is not for me (51; also see 61 and 229).

The author is framing the issue as though deceptive people are trying to confuse the plain meaning of Scripture with a bunch of nonsense in order to cast doubt on the Bible.

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First of all, it is strange she makes this kind of claim because she herself regularly appeals to the original language—something she says is not for her. She even belittles people who differ on their translation of one text for not knowing Hebrew! (See 24, 182, 188, 250). Overall, it seems she uses what is ‘learned’ when it suites her and tries to scare people away from it when it might challenge her understanding.

That said, understanding the cultural context the Bible was written in and knowing that it was written in another language can be helpful! Many of these things you can look up. Here are some examples used by the author with some additional insight:

 

  1. Gen 2:18- the Hebrew word for “helper” is ezer (author writes it as: ayzer) and it is coupled with a word of correspondence. It would be helpful to know that in Hebrew it is better understood as “a strength corresponding” rather than what the English word “helper” gives the impression of—an assistant. The word is used most often (and is also translated as helper) to refer to God as the helper of Israel. In the Hebrew mind in order to “help” one had to be of equal or greater ability. In the latter case, God would be a helper of greater ability.
  2. 1 Peter 3:7- “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (ESV). Vessel is a word used for the body. Women are you generally stronger physically than your husbands? Usually no. There is nothing indicating that women have weaker natures. No surprise there. In the ancient world women worked hard! In many third world countries you will notice women carrying very heavy loads. In contrast, Peter tells husbands to show honor to their wives and be understanding of their physique. Interestingly, this “likewise” or “in the same way” comes off of the very verse where Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord. Likewise, husbands should honor their wives!
  3. The word in your Bibles “head” (see 1 Cor. 11 and Eph. 5 for example) can also be problematic. The fact of the matter is that no one is taking it literally and for good reason. Paul is not talking (for the most part) of the literal body part, the head, the thing literally on top of your shoulders. It is a metaphor. In English we use it to mean leadership. In Greek it can mean “source” or “preeminence” (which can apply to a leader but the word itself does not mean this). Isn’t it interesting that In Ephesians 5 the husband is the source of nourishment to his wife and gives up his life, but nothing is mentioned about leading. Odd. And isn’t it interesting that the “created order” in 1 Cor. 11 is reversed in 1 Cor. 11 so that neither is man independent of woman? Eve came from one man, and all men after Adam come from women and all men and women come from God.

Women in the Bible as Counterexamples

There are many women in the Bible (commissioned by God) who stand as counter examples to the author’s idea that a woman’s only purpose is to serve her husband. The author names only two and so I will only write some responses to these two for the sake of brevity.

jdhDeborah

Deborah was a Judge and prophetess (in early Israel this was a spiritual and civic leader). The Bible says that God raised up these Judges (Judges 2:16) and says that Deborah was specifically leading Israel at the time (v.4). She summoned Barak and he came. He refused to go into battle without her (ex: Moses the prophet also acted as God’s presence in battle keeping his hands lifted). She does not chastise him but says ““I’ll definitely go with you” (v.9). She also lets him know that glory will go to a woman and it does, a woman named Jael (not Deborah) kills the military commander. There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that the glory going to a woman is a punishment or that Barak was cowardly. In fact, God honors him in the New Testament book of Hebrews as a great man of faith (Heb 11:32).

The author of Created to be His Help Meet in contrast speaks of this passage in terms of a woman being wrongfully allowed to take a man’s role by men and as punishment men lose the glory. Do you see that anywhere described in Judges? It is not even mentioned in the victory song. Quite the opposite! Under this author’s understanding Barak would not be a great man of faith since he was not trusting God with his God-ordained role, but the Bible speaks the opposite of him and even puts Deborah in a great light. Pearl, says “God’s rule that women not take the lead is not a statement about our being inferior or not as capable as men; it is a statement by God about it not being within our sphere of authority…” (120). Well, the story of Deborah certainly issues no such statement by God. It would seem women (at least two) are presented as both capable and appointed by God. His glory shown in those men deem unworthy.

Priscilla++AquilaPriscilla

The author claims people are using her example to negate a hundred or so verses teaching women are only helpers. There are not a hundred verses thought to teach this only a handful, and of course there is something to be said about those that will not be covered here. In regards to Priscilla, the author dismisses her involvement teaching doctrine to Apollos (a man) as just a wife tagging along. No big deal. After all, the author goes to seminars with her husband advertised as “Michael and Debi Pearl,” he takes the stage teaching and she chimes in when asked (121). I wonder if the author would have a problem with it being called “Debi and Michael Pearl” instead. This is possible, because her husband is the more prominent to her. In the ancient world this was all the more the case, the more prominent was usually named first, husbands would be listed first. In the Bible, in all church functions including taking Apollos aside to teach, Priscilla (or Prisca) is always named first. This says that she is functioning as more than an otherwise silent partner but is the more prominent in the teaching.

There is much more that could and should be commented on. Here are a few things to be covered at another time: the vision of women submitting (and I do believe the Bible teaches women and men should submit) is extremely warped and destructive (even dangerous), the author is abusive in the way she speaks to women and refers to people as stereotypes, women overall seem unhappy, men are encouraged to go against the example set by Christ and be selfish, the author relies on scare tactics to get people’s compliance, believes in manipulating her husband and after all is said and done is ultimately conditioned by her own culture and experience rather than purely Scripture.

Does this book reveal God’s plan for a good marriage? This question will be explored more at a future time. However, if someone wants to take Scripture seriously and know God’s will for marriage, this book certainly gives one woman’s perspective, but it is astonishingly lacking in biblical support despite verses thrown loosely around and despite the high claims made.

Where’s Waldo and Does he Know Greek?

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Most people check out when theology nerds start throwing Greek around in debates. I can’t say I blame them. It can be annoying when certain claims are made about what is in the original language when there is no way to verify it. 0Or is there???

 Well, not everything is that easy, but thankfully some things can be. Sometimes issues surface when you look at other translations in English and in some cases you can just eyeball the Greek.

This might come in handy:  

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 Just to be clear, this post is not about answering all questions, or necessarily making a full case against gender hierarchy or for egalitarianism. I am just going to point out some claims about the text that can be verified by you.

  1. Ephesians 5:22 Are wives the only ones that are supposed to submit to their spouse?

 Claim: Ephesians 5:21 tells husbands and wives to submit (hupotasso) to each other. The word “submit” in regards to the wives (v.22) is not actually there in the Greek. Instead, the idea is borrowed from “submitting to one another.” The two verses go together.

 As you can see, the word circled is found in verse 21 “submit to one another” but not in verse 22 literally: “wives to your husbands.” In your English Bible you might see “submit” in v22 italicized to tell you it is being added in.

'Submit"That ‘ you see above what looks like a “u” just makes an “h” sound.

  1. 1 Timothy 3: Is the text specifying that the overseer must be male?

 Some of this is a larger discussion.

 Claim 1: 1 Timothy 3:1 says “anyone” (“tis” Masculine/Feminine) can be an overseer. Translations that say “any man” are misleading.

 "anyone"

As you can see tis “anyone” is what is in the text.

 Claim 2: There are no masculine personal pronouns in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. In other words, the writer is not saying “he” or “his” constantly.

 If you had a lot of time on your hands, I am sure you noticed there were none in there. Be my guest and look it up if you do have the time.

 Why do many of our Bibles say “he?” Is it a conspiracy? Simply, in English we are limited. Our gender-neutral pronoun is an “it” and often we use “he” generically.

Check out these Bible translations that try and represent the lack of “he” in the Greek (The lack of masculine pronouns actually extends to v.13 but you can look up the rest):

CEB: This saying is reliable: if anyone has a goal to be a supervisor in the church, they want a good thing. So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or be a bully. Instead, they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. They should manage their own household well—they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect, because if they don’t know how to manage their own household, how can they take care of God’s church? They shouldn’t be new believers so that they won’t become proud and fall under the devil’s spell. They should also have a good reputation with those outside the church so that they won’t be embarrassed and fall into the devil’s trap.

CEV: It is true that anyone who desires to be a church official wants to be something worthwhile. That’s why officials must have a good reputation and be faithful in marriage. They must be self-controlled, sensible, well-behaved, friendly to strangers, and able to teach. They must not be heavy drinkers or troublemakers. Instead, they must be kind and gentle and not love money.Church officials must be in control of their own families, and they must see that their children are obedient and always respectful. If they don’t know how to control their own families, how can they look after God’s people?They must not be new followers of the Lord. If they are, they might become proud and be doomed along with the devil. Finally, they must be well-respected by people who are not followers. Then they won’t be trapped and disgraced by the devil.

Other translations don’t quite make it with all of the pronouns, but at least translate the first part “anyone” instead of “any man.”

  1. Romans 5: Is the maleness of Jesus and Adam being stressed here?

Claim: It is the humanity of Jesus and Adam that is being stressed here, not their gender. The text does not literally say “man,” (aner) it says “human being” (anthropos). Our English word anthropology comes from this word.

 anthropos

I have circled anthropos. As you can see, that is the word used. There was one person I met a while back who did not believe me! Well, here it is if you are still out there.

While there is a lot of homework almost anyone can do to understand the Bible better, there are of course some things that do require some grasp of the original languages. For some reason unknown to me, the Holy Spirit does not choose to translate the text for us or do the hard work of interpretation. I had some Mormon friends insist to me that the Holy Spirit told them directly what the Bible meant. I took out my Greek NT and asked them to have God interpret the passage for me.

It didn’t take.

Deeper study is important, even with the original languages. The Bible often comes alive all the more. I hope this post has been somewhat helpful and hopefully sparked some curiosity.

Changing the Conversation

10407400_10100100734260217_7945582648318187037_n“Is that a religious thing?” a male coworker looked at me blankly. He had no grid for this. Somehow in the middle of a discussion on whether we should all go to a trashy strip club in Reseda (advertising no c-section scars) and reminisces of past business trips, it was discovered that my husband had taken my last name. One thing led to another and I was left in the awkward position of explaining egalitarian theology alongside our choice of its expression to a group of coworkers. A few had gone to church at some point and one had taken a class at school on sacrifice and religion. The coworker asking if it was a religious thing? He just wanted to go to the strip club, but had become a little derailed by this new subject.

Tons of Bible passages used for and against women in leadership, a mix of Greek, proper hermeneutics and ancient contexts flooded my head but none of it would quickly express what egalitarianism was. What it came down to was this: Yes, it was a “religious thing.” I started talking about Jesus and how he died on the cross, giving himself up for us and how he lived a life as a servant to others. Egalitarianism was part of the Christian idea of giving up what we wanted for other people, in this case both husband and wife submitting to each other–in sex and life. There is no boss based off of gender. I explained that in many of our circles Nick is expected to be the leader and I am the one expected to submit to him. This is why Nick decided to make a statement by choosing to take my last name as an expression of how we will live (I gave Nick final decision since this would effect him the most–people attacking his masculinity–which they did).

In hindsight I found this brief discussion (and many others at work) interesting. None of my coworkers on the trip had much of a concept of egalitarian gender philosophy even though many in the church are somehow under the impression that egalitarianism is part of the broader secular culture. No luck–except for voting rights (thank you largely evangelical feminist movement of the 1920s!). It is probably more realistic to describe the broader culture as post-patriarchal in many ways, but egalitarian?

There were many questions at work about how I got Nick to take my name and why we just didn’t stick to our own last names. Many were surprised to hear that I didn’t get him to do anything–that he wanted to. After hearing the story people admired him and one girl wished she could find a guy like him.

In explaining what egalitarianism was, I always found I had to go straight to Christ and it always came down to what have always been very basic Christian principles such as giving deference, reverence and preference to one another in Christ. It came down to loving God and loving others.

I think that too often the beauty of egalitarianism, or Christian mutuality, gets lost in more reactionary argumentation to other Christians (refuting the use of 1 Tim or 1 Cor 14) or biblically evidencing one of many out-workings of egalitarianism such as women in leadership. It is also helpful to consider that this issue we are dealing with in the church is a whole web of issues. It is a worldview and way of life and not merely an objective or dispassionate look at a couple of prized passages. We are confronting an ingrained church culture, personal and corporate experience, power, gender identities and fear.

Lots of fear.

Overall, these discussions have brought me back to what bothered me about what is called complementarianism when I ascribed to it in the early Biola days. I was obeying an interpretation of a couple of verses even though deep down its practices and teaching seemed contrary to Kingdom proclamations, also known as the Gospel.

“Lord,” he prayed, “we ask that your Holy Spirit would go with us to our homes. And may the men continue to be priests of their home Lord, and rightly share your word in their families.”
My eyes shot open, unable to contain my shock. I quickly searched for my sister’s face in the third row; she and the people sitting around her were equally stunned at his clear attempt to undercut everything I had just preached; to somehow make up for or cancel out my asking the congregation that we rise up and be a community that values the voices of women.  Shake it off, Sarah, I said quietly to myself. You’ve still got to pray for people. I tried to focus on my breath as the song continued, hoping my already red cheeks weren’t giving away my surprise at his comments. After a few moments had gone by, one of the church elders, a man roughly my father’s age, approached me quietly. –Split Frame of Reference

Hello everyone,

Sorry I have not been contributing as much lately (I am a horrible blogger as far as consistency goes anyway!). One reason is that my work schedule often keeps me until 9:00p and the other is that I have been trying to collect my thoughts and reflect on what I have noticed within evangelicalism.

And I don’t like what I see.

Vicious fighting amongst ourselves. Qualified humanity. Basic and rampant immorality (biblically defined). False piety and ego.

In addition, I have been reading other studies and literature on human beings at their worst and am continually disturbed by how easy it is for average people like us to be sucked into a mentality that dehumanizes, kills and or takes advantage of others–often for the “greater good.”

These are all pieces of what I am processing. Honestly, it is a bit like watching the planes crash at 911 and watching it again and again once you realize it has actually happened. I have become disillusioned with evangelicalism as it exists today in the United States, yet I am very much an evangelical. While the subject is very uncomfortable for me, I can’t stop reading and wanting to know what exactly went very wrong, why and on a practical level what we can all do to change things on a systemic level. Note I am not saying that every evangelical I know or meet (that would be a lot of people) is this or that–I try and not make individual judgments–but I am saying I believe there is something very wrong and rotten about us as a subculture.

We think it is our mission to transform our culture–but into WHAT!? Seriously.

All that said, take this post as a stream of consciousness–more a process of thought than a finished product.

Are Christians Liars?

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The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected…–1 John 2:4-5a

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” –John 13:34-35

Problem…?

“You’re a Christian!?”

I was a teenager eager to share my faith to anyone who would listen and this was the reaction I got from a girl my age who was active as a satanic priestess. I hadn’t really said anything that shocking. Mostly, we just talked. I learned a lot about her life and religion and we discovered that we both believed human beings were sinful by nature.

Curious, she asked what I believed and I told her I was a Christian. She couldn’t believe it. I elaborated by telling her what God had done for me and what He did for the world. “That’s beautiful.” Her eyes glazed for a moment before snapping back into reality. After some more conversation I learned that her experience with Christians had been extremely negative. They were the ones that were simply, mean spirited.

No one wanted to hear her out or truly engage her as a person.

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Other folks I have spoken to have described to me how they were dehumanized in church or by Christians. Many Christian folks have also described this to me. They are routinely treated like outsiders or spoken down to.

Others have told me about strange evangelistic encounters where the evangelist will tell them about Jesus and argue with them but never be willing to answer for themselves or their beliefs–the evangelist is always right and quickly moves on to the next target if an individual does not wish to convert on the spot.

People are notches for his evangelistic belt, not people who can contribute to him personally or who have intrinsic value.

The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has very few minorities of any kind or women around. Currently the leadership blocks publications by other leading evangelicals who differ theologically on certain hot button issues–even though people who held to these positions helped to found ETS. I have been called a liberal for being more Arminian than Calvinist and some Calvinist friends have been attacked for not being Arminians.

Factionalism abounds in evangelical circles.

Personally, I have had regular nasty encounters with Christians. Often these individuals wish to correct me or a loved one on an insignificant point (like A.D. or C.E.) or tell us how “godless” we are. Some wished to school us on the clear teachings of Scripture while having sex outside of marriage.

Sexism? Yeah, there is a lot of that too.

Yes, There is a BIG Problem

It turns out that on a statistical level “born-again” believers are not that different from non-believers in the way we live our every day lives. Sure we own more Bibles, are less likely to approve of the “F” word on t.v., go to church more and invest in some non-profits (often churches), but the Barna Group notes that when it comes to “the substance of people’s daily choices, actions, and attitudes–there were few meaningful gaps between born-again Christians and non-born-agains…In virtually every study we conduct, representing thousands of interviews every year, born-again Christians fail to display much attitudinal or behavioral evidence of transformed lives.” (UnChristian, 44-45).

I know being saved does not make one perfect–but it is a serious matter if there is little real difference between believers and non-believers. Sure we have a lot of cultural differences like less swearing, Bible studies, and are slightly more likely to help the homeless…but in many important ways we are no different from everyone else. According to that same study, 59% of young adult Christians believe cohabitation is acceptable and 44% believe sex outside of marriage is. I have heard our statistics for divorce and pornography are also extremely high (sometimes slightly higher than those outside the church). The Barna Group found that when it came to inappropriate sexual behavior 30% of born-agains admitted to this activity in the last 30 days as opposed to 35% of other Americans (only slightly better in this study).

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We should take all of this very seriously. No, I am not saying Christians are perfect or that anyone who struggles is automatically not saved. However, the Bible is clear that while works do not contribute to salvation, works do follow from it. In other words, we would expect that our behavior would be significantly different from the world where it counted. We would be more loving, caring and moral people. 1 John calls those who do not keep God’s commands and who do not love others and yet claim they know God liars.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked…The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1 John 2:3-11).

The Bible tells us that as Christians we can set our mind on the Spirit and turn away from evil. It says that if we walk by the Spirit we will turn away from evil.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. –Gal 5:13-17

The apostle Paul spells out to us what it looks like when we are not walking with God and what it looks like when we are.

NOT Walking with God:

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. –Gal 5:19-21

Walking with God:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. –Gal 5:22-26

If we are truly in Christ our behaviors will reflect it. This does not happen over night or all at once, but transformation will be evident–even if not always occurring in a linear fashion.

What does it mean if most of us are no different where it counts? What does it mean if our movement is characterized by factionalism, enmity, strife and sexual immorality is rampant?

The world might hate us–it hated Christians in history and hates Christians today, but why does it hate us?

Are we at least known to be loving, kind and gentle people?

1 Timothy 2:8-3:13: Payne’s Literal Translation

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Many are under the false impression (both opponents and many within the church) that 1 Timothy 2 and 3 keep women from being overseers in the church or teaching men authoritatively. Some of this is due to less than adequate translations. For example, there are no masculine pronouns in the section giving the requirements for overseers. Further, literally “anyone” masculine/feminine  (not any man) may take on this role. Another interesting thing to note is how translation effects how we understand Paul’s words on women teaching. The following is Dr. Philip Payne’s literal translation of 1 Timothy 2:8-3:13. Be warned that this could be a bit wooden since it is trying to be more literal. It looks like interpretive parts are in [brackets]. I have put in bold sections you might want to compare with other translations such as the NIV or ESV.

8 I desire men to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands without anger and quarreling.

9 Similarly, [I desire] women [to pray] in suitable clothes, to adorn themselves with modesty and propriety, not braiding their hair with gold or wearing pearls or expensive clothing,

10 but with good works, appropriate for women who profess reverence for God.

11 Let women learn in quietness, in all submission.

12 I am not permitting a woman to assume authority she does not rightfully have to teach a man, but to be in quietness.”

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve, [so woman should respect man as her source; seizing authority to teach men disrespects them],

14 and Adam was not deceived, but the women being thoroughly deceived [Gen 3:13] fell into transgression.

15 But she [Eve, who received the promise that “the seed of the woman (Christ)” will crush the head of the Serpent in Gen 3:15] will be saved through the Childbirth [Christ, the promised seed] if they [her descendents] continue in faith, and love, and holiness [all necessary marks of salvation] with propriety.

3:1 Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer that person desires a noble task.

2 Now the overseer must be above reproach, monogamous, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, with an aptitude for teaching,

3 not prone to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money,

4 a good household manager, nurturing submissive and respectful children

5 (for how can anyone who is not a responsible household manager nurture the church of God?),

6 not a recent convert, lest self conceit precipitate a fall into the same judgment as the devil.

7 An overseer must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so as not to fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.”

8 Deacons similarly must be worthy of respect, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not pursuing dishonest gain,

9 holding the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience,

10 They must first be tested, and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11 Women [deacons] similarly must be worthy of respect, not slanderers, but temperate, trustworthy in all things.

12 Let deacons be monogamous, managing their children and their own households well.

13 For those who have served well as deacons gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.”