Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

God’s Structure or

Sin’s Influence?

“Where there is love, there is life”

Mahatma

Ghandi

Not Just an Outside Influence

God tells Eve that the effect of eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is not limited to outside influences against them. They will now also experience a change in thinking; Eve will find herself wanting to please and trust in her husband, the arm of flesh, instead of God. This is due to the seeds of mistrust that have been planted by satan during the temptation; Eve believed satan when he said God could not be trusted, and that lie will remain below the surface of her conscious thinking. So she will be tempted to turn from looking to God to provide her deepest needs, and she will now look to her husband instead. This in turn will lead to his ruling over her. The Marriage Relationship This is not stating God's structure for marriage, but a structure that will develop because of sin. A few thousand years later Paul tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds, (Romans 12:2) . He also tells men to love their wives rather than rule over them. Okay, now your mind is turning to Paul's teaching that women must submit to their husbands, and that just as Jesus is the head of the church so is man the head of his wife, are you not? Let's look at these passages: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise … be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.   For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:18-24 - emphasis mine) Here are some thoughts for you to consider. Firstly, Paul's telling wives to be subject to their husbands, is in the broader context of him telling everyone to be subject to one another. It is also in the even greater context of him speaking about unity in the Spirit and what walking in the Spirit of unity looks like : “… walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with humilty, and gentleness, with patience, showing forebearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of grace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) . In the beginning of Ephesians 5 Paul tells us to “be imitators of God … and walk in love as Chist also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…” (Eph 5:1-2) Now, how can everyone always be subject to everyone else? It's like saying you must all be under everyone, but being under someone implies that there must be someone on top, otherwise how can you be under And what are you submitting to? Someone’s will or desire? On defining the Greek word for submission Thayers Greek Lexicon states that submission can also mean : “to yield to one's admonition or advice. Does this definition not fit perfectly into the context of Eph 4-5, rather than the rulership, dominance, and control, which is read into verses 21-24 of chapter 5? Rom 12:10 tells us : “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."  The Greek wording of "give preference to one another," is another interesting topic. The Greek word translated "preference" actually means, to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, to go before as leader,” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon) . The King James Version translates this word as "prefer," which speaks of putting before, though the Greek word is actually speaking of going  before. I copied the Greek word as it is written in Greek, and used a secular program which translates Greek to English; the translation was "I go ahead," which correlates to Thayer’s definition. Though other translations translate this word as ‘prefer’ or ‘preference’, the Greek interlinear Bible translates it as ‘going before.’ (Blue Letter Bible) The Greek word translated as “one another,” means “one another, reciprocally, mutually.” In the light of this, is it not apparent that in Romans 10 and Ephesians 5, Paul is teaching two sides of the same coin? And would you not agree that the key to the appropriate understanding of both passages is the words "one another," which means it is reciprocal, and mutual. And if so, does this not now fit more snugly into the teaching of Ephesians 4? You see, there are times when you must go ahead of and lead someone else, or the church is doomed from the start. If we all only submit to everyone, we will at some point, submit to error. Sometimes you are going to disciple someone, correct them, encourage them, give cousel, speak truth, etc., and at other times you are going to be the recipient of the correcting words, the counsel, encouragement, truth, etc, - possibly from the same person - and you need to be as receptive as you were ready to give. With this as the backdrop, Paul goes on to tell wives to submit to 'your own' husbands; in other words: ‘Wives don't change your attitude when you get home. Have the same attitude of honor and respect to your husband, yielding to his admonition and advice in the same way as you do to others in the Body of Christ.’  This also needs to be kept in the context of the whole passage, which speaks of mutuality; as the wife listens to what the husband has say, so he also listens and yields himself to her exhortation and advice. This is done in the Spirit, in love, and in the respectful fear of Christ - preserving unity in the marriage as well as in the broader Body of Christ. But man is the head of his wife! Most of the arguments around man being the head of his wife, centers around 1 Corinthians 11:3-12; but what is the context of this passage? Paul was addressing a completely chaotic church in which there seemed to be much self-focus; people did what they pleased, without regard to anyone they would hurt or offend in the process. There was also immorality in the church, much arrogance, where people were taking each other to court, and people were using their “freedom in Christ” to live lives according to their own desires. In this setting, Paul talks to the people about discipline and he tells them : “Whatever, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offence either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 - Emphasis mine) He goes on to tell them to “be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)  In what way are they to imitate him? By not seeking their own profit, but rather the profit of others, for the purpose of leading others to salvation. They are not going to draw others to Christ by living lives of self-focus, contention, and arrogance, but by living lives of love, honour, respect, and peacefulness; displaying genuine unity in the Body, rather than the normal ways of the world around them. He then goes on to talk about a cultural issue of whether a woman must have her head covered or not, and it is in this context in which he writes verses 3-12. He is telling them to respect the cultural norms that do not conflict with the ways of God, and he explains how this specific cultural issue does not conflict with the ways of God.  The Greek word used for ‘head’ in this passage is kephale, meaning  physical head or source (as in the head of a river). There is much  contention as to whether the word speaks of authority or rulership, though the usual word for authority is archon, and some people point to research stating that ancient Greek did not use this word for leader or ruler. I am not qualified to enter the frey of academic argument here, but we need to keep this passage in the context of the rest of the letter, which is speaking against the lordship of one over another! Also note that there is no hierarchy in the Godhead. God does not rule over Jesus. God is the Source of Jesus; God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit in One. Jesus is also the Source of man, as all things were created by Him and through Him. In the same way, man is the source of woman because she was taken from him, but as seen in verse 12, women are also the source of men, for she gives birth to man. Paul is not talking rulership here, but equality and interdependence through mutual love, honour, and respect. This is also seen in the usage of the Hebrew word for 'husband' in Genesis 3:16. The Hebrew word used here is 'ish', but God was telling Eve that with the introduction of sin into their lives, a different dynamic would enter their marital relationship. Rabbi Robert Scheinberg explains that there are two Hebrew words for 'husband' : What’s the Hebrew word for ‘husband’? Actually, you have two choices.  Both are in use in Hebrew today.  and both were used in the time of the bible.  The first word is ‘ba’al’.  If a woman in Israel today wants to refer to her husband, she might refer to him as ‘ba’ali’ - ‘my husband.’ But if you know Hebrew, you know that the same word ‘baal’ can mean ‘owner.’  For example, ‘ba’al ha-bayit’ means ‘home-owner’ or ‘master of the house.’  And more insidiously, the owner of a slave is also referred to in the bible as ‘baal’. So you can see this term’s etymological origin.  It is a relic of a time when a woman’s relationship with her husband wasn’t that different from the relationship between a servant and master.  There are some people who won’t use the word baal on principle for this reason.  So what word would they use instead?  The word ‘ish’.  Most literally, ‘ish’ simply means ‘man’ - but there are some points in the bible where the word ‘ish’ also means ‘husband.’  Someone who wanted to say the words ‘my husband’ in Hebrew could also say ‘ishi,’ which is very similar to the Hebrew word for ‘my wife,’ which is ‘ishti.’  The words ‘ish’ and ‘ishah’, meaning ‘man’ and ‘woman,’ are etymologically egalitarian words, unlike the Hebrew word ‘ba’al,’ which establishes a hierarchical relationship between husband and wife.” (Rabbi Robert Scheinberg - http://rabbischeinberg.blogspot.co.za/2013/05/two- words-for-husband-haftarah-bamidbar.html) God Himself, brings out that understanding in Hosea, and I am quoting from the 'Complete Jewish Bible' because it inserts the actual translations of the different words for husband : “On that day,” says Adonai ‘you will call me Ishi [My Husband]; you will no longer call me Ba‘ali [My Master].’ ” (Hoshea  2:18 Complete Jewish Bible - Hosea 2:16 in Christian Bibles, the difference in verse numbers due to different verse divisions) In Genesis 3 God refers to Adam as lsh; there was equality in their relationship at that point, but sin would change that; not God's curse, but sin. If God’s discourse with Eve was a curse, then that would include the marital relationship, to which He refers. Yet Paul tells us that the marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Why on earth then, would God curse the marriage? Some of you have shared with me how the previous post has brought healing to you, in various ways. Thank you for those testimonies, they are a great encouragement! Please feel free to share what God is doing in your life. Your testimony will remain confidential unless you specify that it may be published.
Prev Next
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
© Focus On Purpose July 2017

God’s Structure or

Sin’s Influence?

“Where there is love, there is life”

Mahatma Ghandi

Not Just an Outside Influence

God tells Eve that the effect of eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is not limited to outside influences against them. They will now also experience a change in thinking; Eve will find herself wanting to please and trust in her husband, the arm of flesh, instead of God. This is due to the seeds of mistrust that have been planted by satan during the temptation; Eve believed satan when he said God could not be trusted, and that lie will remain below the surface of her conscious thinking. So she will be tempted to turn from looking to God to provide her deepest needs, and she will now look to her husband instead. This in turn will lead to his ruling over her. The Marriage Relationship This is not stating God's structure for marriage, but a structure that will develop because of sin. A few thousand years later Paul tells us to “be transformed by the renewing of our minds, (Romans 12:2) . He also tells men to love their wives rather than rule over them. Okay, now your mind is turning to Paul's teaching that women must submit to their husbands, and that just as Jesus is the head of the church so is man the head of his wife, are you not? Let's look at these passages: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise … be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.   For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:18-24 - emphasis mine) Here are some thoughts for you to consider. Firstly, Paul's telling wives to be subject to their husbands, is in the broader context of him telling everyone to be subject to one another. It is also in the even greater context of him speaking about unity in the Spirit and what walking in the Spirit of unity looks like : “… walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with humilty, and gentleness, with patience, showing forebearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of grace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3) . In the beginning of Ephesians 5 Paul tells us to “be imitators of God … and walk in love as Chist also loved you, and gave Himself up for us…” (Eph 5:1-2) Now, how can everyone always be subject to everyone else? It's like saying you must all be under everyone, but being under someone implies that there must be someone on top, otherwise how can you be under And what are you submitting to? Someone’s will or desire? On defining the Greek word for submission Thayers Greek Lexicon states that submission can also mean : “to yield to one's admonition or advice. Does this definition not fit perfectly into the context of Eph 4-5, rather than the rulership, dominance, and control, which is read into verses 21-24 of chapter 5? Rom 12:10 tells us : “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor."  The Greek wording of "give preference to one another," is another interesting topic. The Greek word translated "preference" actually means, ”to go before and show the way, to go before and lead, to go before as leader,” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon) . The King James Version translates this word as "prefer," which speaks of putting before, though the Greek word is actually speaking of going before. I copied the Greek word as it is written in Greek, and used a secular program which translates Greek to English; the translation was "I go ahead," which correlates to Thayer’s definition. Though other translations translate this word as ‘prefer’ or ‘preference’, the Greek interlinear Bible translates it as ‘going before.’ (Blue Letter Bible) The Greek word translated as “one another,” means one another, reciprocally, mutually.” In the light of this, is it not apparent that in Romans 10 and Ephesians 5, Paul is teaching two sides of the same coin? And would you not agree that the key to the appropriate understanding of both passages is the words "one another," which means it is reciprocal, and mutual. And if so, does this not now fit more snugly into the teaching of Ephesians 4? You see, there are times when you must go ahead of and lead someone else, or the church is doomed from the start. If we all only submit to everyone, we will at some point, submit to error. Sometimes you are going to disciple someone, correct them, encourage them, give cousel, speak truth, etc., and at other times you are going to be the recipient of the correcting words, the counsel, encouragement, truth, etc, - possibly from the same person - and you need to be as receptive as you were ready to give. With this as the backdrop, Paul goes on to tell wives to submit to 'your own' husbands; in other words: ‘Wives don't change your attitude when you get home. Have the same attitude of honor and respect to your husband, yielding to his admonition and advice in the same way as you do to others in the Body of Christ.’  This also needs to be kept in the context of the whole passage, which speaks of mutuality; as the wife listens to what the husband has say, so he also listens and yields himself to her exhortation and advice. This is done in the Spirit, in love, and in the respectful fear of Christ - preserving unity in the marriage as well as in the broader Body of Christ. But man is the head of his wife! Most of the arguments around man being the head of his wife, centers around 1 Corinthians 11:3-12; but what is the context of this passage? Paul was addressing a completely chaotic church in which there seemed to be much self-focus; people did what they pleased, without regard to anyone they would hurt or offend in the process. There was also immorality in the church, much arrogance, where people were taking each other to court, and people were using their “freedom in Christ” to live lives according to their own desires. In this setting, Paul talks to the people about discipline and he tells them : “Whatever, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offence either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 - Emphasis mine) He goes on to tell them to “be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)  In what way are they to imitate him? By not seeking their own profit, but rather the profit of others, for the purpose of leading others to salvation. They are not going to draw others to Christ by living lives of self-focus, contention, and arrogance, but by living lives of love, honour, respect, and peacefulness; displaying genuine unity in the Body, rather than the normal ways of the world around them. He then goes on to talk about a cultural issue of whether a woman must have her head covered or not, and it is in this context in which he writes verses 3-12. He is telling them to respect the cultural norms that do not conflict with the ways of God, and he explains how this specific cultural issue does not conflict with the ways of God.  The Greek word used for ‘head’ in this passage is kephale, meaning physical head or source (as in the head of a river). There is much contention as to whether the word speaks of authority or rulership, though the usual word for authority is archon, and some people point to research stating that ancient Greek did not use this word for leader or ruler. I am not qualified to enter the frey of academic argument here, but we need to keep this passage in the context of the rest of the letter, which is speaking against the lordship of one over another! Also note that there is no hierarchy in the Godhead. God does not rule over Jesus. God is the Source of Jesus; God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit in One. Jesus is also the Source of man, as all things were created by Him and through Him. In the same way, man is the source of woman because she was taken from him, but as seen in verse 12, women are also the source of men, for she gives birth to man. Paul is not talking rulership here, but equality and interdependence through mutual love, honour, and respect. This is also seen in the usage of the Hebrew word for 'husband' in Genesis 3:16. The Hebrew word used here is 'ish', but God was telling Eve that with the introduction of sin into their lives, a different dynamic would enter their marital relationship. Rabbi Robert Scheinberg explains that there are two Hebrew words for 'husband' : What’s the Hebrew word for ‘husband’? Actually, you have two choices.  Both are in use in Hebrew today.  and both were used in the time of the bible.  The first word is ‘ba’al’.  If a woman in Israel today wants to refer to her husband, she might refer to him as ‘ba’ali’ - ‘my husband.’ But if you know Hebrew, you know that the same word ‘baal’ can mean ‘owner.’  For example, ‘ba’al ha-bayit’ means ‘home-owner’ or ‘master of the house.’  And more insidiously, the owner of a slave is also referred to in the bible as ‘baal’. So you can see this term’s etymological origin.  It is a relic of a time when a woman’s relationship with her husband wasn’t that different from the relationship between a servant and master.  There are some people who won’t use the word baal on principle for this reason.  So what word would they use instead?  The word ‘ish’.  Most literally, ‘ish’ simply means ‘man’ - but there are some points in the bible where the word ‘ish’ also means ‘husband.’  Someone who wanted to say the words ‘my husband’ in Hebrew could also say ‘ishi,’ which is very similar to the Hebrew word for ‘my wife,’ which is ‘ishti.’  The words ‘ish’ and ‘ishah’, meaning ‘man’ and ‘woman,’ are etymologically egalitarian words, unlike the Hebrew word ‘ba’al,’ which establishes a hierarchical relationship between husband and wife.” (Rabbi Robert Scheinberg - http://rabbischeinberg.blogspot.co.za/2013/05/two- words-for-husband-haftarah-bamidbar.html) God Himself, brings out that understanding in Hosea, and I am quoting from the 'Complete Jewish Bible' because it inserts the actual translations of the different words for husband : “On that day,” says Adonai ‘you will call me Ishi [My Husband]; you will no longer call me Ba‘ali [My Master].’ ” (Hoshea  2:18 Complete Jewish Bible - Hosea 2:16 in Christian Bibles, the difference in verse numbers due to different verse divisions) In Genesis 3 God refers to Adam as lsh; there was equality in their relationship at that point, but sin  would change that; not God's curse, but sin. If God’s discourse with Eve was a curse, then that would include the marital relationship, to which He refers. Yet Paul tells us that the marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Why on earth then, would God curse the marriage? Some of you have shared with me how the previous post has brought healing to you, in various ways. Thank you for those testimonies, they are a great encouragement! Please feel free to share what God is doing in your life. Your testimony will remain confidential unless you specify that it may be published.
Focus    on Purpose
Focus    on Purpose
If I have faith to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing
Prev Next