November 17, 2012 at 11:27 am (Acts, Apologetics, Difficult Scripture, Hebrews, Instructing the Body, Law, NT-Galatians)
(Posted by Paige)
I’m hoping some of you thoughtful people can help answer a pedagogical-theological question I’m pondering, prompted by my need to explain to some curious laypeople Hebrews 2:2 — “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution…”
I know that while Paul (Gal. 3:19) and Stephen (Acts 7:38, 53) mention the bit about the angels in passing to audiences who apparently knew what they were talking about, we don’t get the background history for this reference in the OT accounts of the giving of the Law. (Maybe vaguely in Deut. 33:2, but not to the extent that we’d be able to say what Paul or Stephen said with just this to go on.)
So how would you explain to curious students how these NT authors got their information? Because it looks like they were repeating a more fully developed Jewish tradition, not an OT teaching. This situation seems to beg a bit of textual apologetics. How would you speak of inspiration and authority in this case?
November 3, 2007 at 11:14 am (NT-Galatians, Women)
Galatians 3:28 reads as follows (ESV):
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Greek reads as follows:
οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ελλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ: πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.
Egalitarians point to this verse constantly as a foundational principle for how the Bible treats male/female relations. This trumps Ephesians 5, 1 Timothy 2, 1 Corinthians 11, etc. However, this interpretation of Galatians 3:28 as erasing role distinctions between men and women is completely unwarranted, since this reading of the verse has been completely divorced from its context. Galatians 3 is about many things. Among those things are the question of sanctification (verse 3), justification by faith alone (verses 10-14), covenant theology (verses 15-22), and our position in regard to the law and in regard to faith. Verse 26 is crucial to our understanding of verse 28. Only sons inherited estates in the days in which Paul was writing. Certainly, we can say that Paul was thus dignifying women in an amazing way by saying that “you are all sons.” In other words, all Christians inherit. This happens by faith (verse 26). But as is completely clear, the idea here is all about our standing before God with regard to our sin, and what Jesus Christ has accomplished. It has nothing to do with proper roles for husbands and wives, or men in general and women in general. In other words, if Paul’s context had been one of delineating the roles of men and women in the church and in the home, egalitarians would have a fair argument. However, that is plainly not the case here. Everything has to do with our standing before God. Therefore, this passage cannot be used to “trump” the other passages, where the context clearly is the role of men and women in the church and in the home (see the three passages cited above).