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Topic 42: Additional New Testament passages


▬ Ephesians 6:5 ▬

[5] Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters …

Thesis: The Scriptures first must be understood as applied within the original context.

(A) One cannot imagine Paul today addressing these words to any group — or supporting the institution of slavery with such advice.

(B) Proper biblical exegesis and interpretation must first of all see the text in light of the original context, learn the meaning of the biblical Word for that time, and then apply it to today’s situations.

(C) Unless we first “read Paul’s culture” in our exegetical process, we will not correctly interpret when we then “read Paul’s word.”

▬ Philippians 2:7 ▬

[7] … taking the form of a servant …

Thesis: The Christian ministry and life is not rooted in a hierarchical model, but in the servant self-emptying of the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.  Cf. John 13.

▬  Philippians 4:2-3 ▬

 [2] I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  [3]  And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellows workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Thesis: The Scriptures recognize the public ministry of women.

(A) “[vs 3] … labored side by side with” Paul “in the gospel …” suggests a similarity of service.

(B)Paul accepts the prominence and influence of Euodia and Syntyche in the Corinthian congregation.

(C)Their influence was so great he feared their continual disagreement would hurt the community of faith.

(D)”[vs 3] .. labored …”: the verb sunathleo indicates “to contend as an athlete who strains every muscle” in the Gospel’s cause.

▬ Colossians 3:16  ▬

[16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you [plural] richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Thesis: The Scriptures are consistent in not limiting public functions to one gender.

(A)”[vs 16] … you … teach and admonish one another …”: Paul, again, adds no restriction and does not limit these functions only to males.

(B) All in the congregation are included.

(C)If limiting women were such an important issue, surely Paul would have been careful of his gender language and spoken of limiting women’s service in texts like this.

▬ Colossians 3:18-19 ▬

 [18] Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. [19] Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Thesis: The combined exhortations to both wives and husbands again suggest mutual submission and care.

(A)The context, verses 12 through 17, is addressed to all Christians and exhorts the Christian virtues of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearing one another, forgiveness, and love.

(B)The appeal is not to “the order of creation,” but to what God does in Christ, “as is fitting in the Lord.”

▬  Colossians 4:15  ▬

[15] … to Nympha and the church in her house.

Thesis: Women are listed by Paul as leaders of the church.

(A) A house church is listed, and a woman is listed as the leader.

(B)Note the struggle over translations:

  • (1) King James Version: “and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.”
  • (2) Living Bible: “…and to Nymphas, and to those who meet in his home.”
  • (3) New King James Version: “..and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.”

▬ 1 Thessalonians 5:12 ▬

[12] But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you.

◆ “The kind of teaching referred to in the passage [1 Timothy 2:12] is tied to exercising authority.  The authority forbidden to women here is that of the pastoral office, that is, one who ‘labors in preaching and teaching.’ (1 Tim. 5:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12)” (CTCR-WIC, page 35).

Thesis: The phrase, “labors in preaching and teaching” is also used by the Scriptures of women in ministry, contrary to the CTCR implication.

(A) “But insufficient attention has been paid to other words of Paul which indicate that Paul recognized and accepted the leading, ministering function of women in the church.  One word in particular points to Paul’s approval of the pastoral work of women.  That word, kopiao/kopos, is usually translated “to labor/toil.  “Kopiao/kopos …, along with a related word, ergazomai, ‘to work,’ display Paul’s understanding of ministry.  K. [sic] is a favorite word of Paul for his own ministry.  And k. is a term that Paul applies to the ministry of others, including women.  K. represents burden-bearing, suffering service of the gospel which characterizes the ministry of Paul and other Christian workers” (Gerberding, “Women Who Toil in Ministry, Even as Paul” (Concordia Theological Monthly, August 1991, pg. 285).

(B) “Paul chose k. to refer both to his manual labor and to the labor of ministry.  1 Cor. 4:12 refers to the former … But for Paul there is a thin line between labor as manual labor in order that Paul might preach, and labor as actual toil of preaching/evangelizing/pastoring.  Paul moves easily from k. as manual labor to the ministerial aspects of his work.  Paul often uses k. to refer to his own pastoral work (1 Cor. 3:8, 15:10; 2 Cor. 11:23,27; Gal. 4:11; Phil. 2:16; Col. 1:29; 1 Thess. 3:5)” (Gerberding, page 286).

(C) “If in fact Paul utilizes k. and e. to refer to the ministerial functioning of women, then what is said of other ministers must apply also to these women.  In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul urges his sisters and brothers to ‘be subject to such who have devoted themselves to the service of the saints and to every fellow worker and laborer.’  This would mean that Paul’s readers are admonished to be subject to those women in their midst serving as ministers” (Gerberding, page 288).