søndag 22. januar 2017

Misuse of the Bible

A couple of days back I wrote about "Detailed instructions" and that some of the instructions are outdated. I am convinced that some because of that statement immediately concluded that "Jostein is no longer true to the Bible". However, if I read everything Paul wrote, it may on the contrary be abuse to draw conclusions from the individual verses that I call ‘outdated’ (1).

This is a typical example:
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. These are the things you are to teach and insist on.
1 Timothy 6:1-2
It would be totally wrong of me to interpret this exhortation to suggest that Paul was a supporter of slavery. In his understanding, slavery is unthinkable in God's kingdom. The same applies to the fact that all individuals have equal value regardless of gender and ethnic background (2). However, if this was his position, the obvious question arises:
“Why did Paul ask Timothy to teach and insist on subordination?”
I think the answer is very simple. 
Paul did not believe in a transformation through an upheaval. He was convinced by "the most excellent way" (3) and that God’s love from within would transform not only the individuals but the relationships between them and ultimately the entire community. It was not about an outward revolution based on power and violence, but an inner revolution guided by a love that never perishes.

Unfortunately, power, separated from love, corrupted even the church throughout its history. This has led both to defense of slavery and oppression of women, but it is not in line with the Word of God. Rather it is contempt of what God through His Word want to see come true: Unity and equality in Jesus Christ. Such contempt is also expressed in 2017. Therefore, I must “keep a close watch over myself” so that I do not misuse the Word in the same way.

'Manna' for today:

It is possible to misuse the word of God
(1) If you read “Detailed instructions”, you will also see the statement “the spirit and the care behind the instruction form a principal of eternal value”
(2) There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal 3:28
(3) And yet I will show you the most excellent way - 1 Corinthians 12: 31b, and from there Paul wrote The Chapter of Love

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