- I spend a lot of time in prayer and research about this passage
- The sad history is that this passage has been use and abuse in some very cruel ways over the years
- People have used the verses as a weapon
- Hurting wives and women
- They were used before and during the Civil War as justification of slavery
- You cannot simply replace the slaves/master language with employee/employer
- Slavery was real then and now
- If you are going to read the parts about husbands and wives, fathers and children as a divine rule for family life
- Then you have to say that slavery is a divine rule
- To be consist in your reading of the Scriptures
- As you can imagine, this can cause problems as we, hopefully, all recognize that slavery is not something Jesus or God wants or designed
- It is a product of our pride, greed and evil
- So there must be another way to read these verses
- A way that stay true to the Scripture
- And true to the heart of God as reviled in and through Jesus
- When reading the Bible, I believe there are three very, very important lens that we must look through
- Jesus is God relived to us
- So when we have problems understanding what the Scriptures are saying, we look to the life, ministry and character of Jesus
- If our interruption of Scriptures does not match that of the life and character of Jesus, we MUST rethink that passage!
- The Trajectory of the Scriptures
- What has God been doing throughout history?
- What has been His focus?
- What is the overarching theme of the Scriptures?
- The Context of the Scriptures
- St. Paul did not write Colossians in isolation; as such, we must ask ourselves what was happening in the Roman Empire during this time
The Passage at Hand
- I’m going to re-read this passage in the Kingdom New Testament
Let the King’s word dwell richly among you, as you teach and exhort one another in all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God with grateful hearts. And whatever you do, in word or action, do everything in the name of the Master, Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the father.
Now a word for wives: you should be subject to your husbands. This is appropriate in the Lord. And for husbands: you should treat your wives with love, and not be bitter with them. And for children: obey your parents in everything; this pleases the Lord. And for fathers: don’t provoke your children to anger; otherwise they might lose heart.
A word, too, for slaves: obey your earthly masters in everything. Don’t do it simply out of show, to curry favor with human beings, but wholeheartedly, because you fear the Master. Whatever you do, give it your very best, as if you were working for the Master and not for human beings. After all, you know that you’re going to receive the true inheritance from the Master as your reward! It is the Master, the King, that you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be paid back for wrongdoing, and there will be no favorites.
And a word for master: do what is just and fair for your slaves. Remember that you too have a Master – in heaven.
Devote yourselves to prayer; keep alert in it, with thanksgiving. While you’re about it, pray for us, too, that God will open in front of us a door for the word, so that we may speak of the mystery of the King – which is why I’m here in chains.