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Submit to One Another: Children & Fathers, Slaves & Masters
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Published April 25th, 2014
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Notes
2014-04-22 15:11:43
2014-04-25 16:24:57
1. Parent/Child Relations (vv.1-4) Children are to "obey" their parents, for this is right. The motivation for "obeying" is the Law of Moses and the blessing that comes along with it. In this sense, there is a self-serving element involved. Why Ac/Mn and not Progression? Perhaps Paul is saying that a child "obeys" by honoring. A child obeys his parents when their commands, demands, expectations, laws, rules, precepts, and standards are honored. It is possible to obey without honoring, which makes it feel as if the only way to (truly) obey is if one honors his parents. I think it is possibly to externally obey and inwardly dishonor one's parents (i.e. hating one's parents, loathing their commands, etc., while still externally obeying commands). In this sense one can obey without honoring. However, Paul may be using Moses' command to "honor" to help clarify what it means to rightly obey. After all, the overall heading of this section is to "submit to one another'. In a Christian home, the way a child "submits" in obedience to their parents is to honor their requests, expectations, demands, and law. In this way, a child truly "submits" to their parents. Fathers, on the other hand, are not to be overbearing in the sense that they "provoke their children to anger" (v.4). "Logically, the irritation caused by nagging and demeaning fathers in the context of everyday life may in turn cause children to become angry" (Hoehner, pg.796). When Fathers are too invested in their kids' lives to the point where the Father's expectations, desires, and dreams are being projected onto the child, anger can develop. Or, if the father is not graceful but heavy-handed, burdensome and overbearing, children may grow up resenting their fathers. Rather, fathers should "bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord". Fathers should teach when they must, and do so often - but must not be so watching carefully over the shoulder of their children so that the child becomes 'provoked to anger'. In other words, there must be a balance between nagging, burdensome/overbearing, and discipline/instruction. Granted, some children will require more discipline than others, and some kids have a natural propensity to dive headlong into sin and need extra attention. Fathers must be aware of this. But fathers must know when "extra attention" turns into nagging. 2. Master/Slave (Boss/Employee) Relations (vv.5-9) For Christian slaves, Paul is mainly drawing his imperative (v.5a) from the fact that slaves are CHIEFLY slaves of Christ first (v.5c). Obedience to earthly masters stems from one's allegiance to Christ. Slaves are ultimately servants of Christ, and serving an earthly master is a picture of how one serves the heavenly master. Like marriage is a parable of Christ and the Church, so too being a slave pictures Lordship of Christ and the service of his saints. This understanding takes into consideration the "just as" comparisons in vv.5-7. STRUCTURE : "obey as servants of Christ" --> followed by a negative and positive explanation of how to do so. Christians servants obey by (1) doing the will of GOD (thus, again, showing that servants CHIEFLY serve Christ first), and (2) serve with a good will to GOD and not man GROUND : God rewards. Your reward ultimately comes from God and not man. Slaves are to serve the way they do because ultimately, God rewards and slaves will receive their reward from God. Notice that the motivation for serving earthly masters as "bondservants of Christ" has the element of self-interest: whatever good slaves do to their masters, they will receive from the Lord. Ultimately, slaves are servants of Christ first, and that reality informs how they obey their masters. Interestingly, masters are to "do the same things to them" (v.9a). What "same things" is Paul referring? I think vv.5b-7. Masters are to not to "obey" (at least, in the same sense) their slaves, but they are to lead with sincerity of heart, know that they too serve Christ, do the will of God, and render service to God and not man. Masters have the unique task of "not threatening" their slaves. One way in which to "do the same" to their slaves is to not threaten them. This honors their slaves and, as Hoehner suggests, "Paul was enjoying Christian masters to treat their slaves with integrity and goodwill as he had asked the slaves to behave toward them" (pg.814). GROUND : God judges. Earthly masters are to treat their slaves justly and servant-like because masters serve a Great Master - the impartial one in heaven. Whatever "threatening" masters do to their slaves, they too will receive from the Lord. The motivation for masters' actions is that they have a judge who is impartial. Slaves, too, are to act in the way they are commanded because they serve a greater master.
11398179503146 1398179503142 Notes 2014-04-22 15:11:43 2014-04-25 16:24:57 1. Parent/Child Relations (vv.1-4) Children are to "obey" their parents, for this is right. The motivation for "obeying" is the Law of Moses and the blessing that comes along with it. In this sense, there is a self-serving element involved. Why Ac/Mn and not Progression? Perhaps Paul is saying that a child "obeys" by honoring. A child obeys his parents when their commands, demands, expectations, laws, rules, precepts, and standards are honored. It is possible to obey without honoring, which makes it feel as if the only way to (truly) obey is if one honors his parents. I think it is possibly to externally obey and inwardly dishonor one's parents (i.e. hating one's parents, loathing their commands, etc., while still externally obeying commands). In this sense one can obey without honoring. However, Paul may be using Moses' command to "honor" to help clarify what it means to rightly obey. After all, the overall heading of this section is to "submit to one another'. In a Christian home, the way a child "submits" in obedience to their parents is to honor their requests, expectations, demands, and law. In this way, a child truly "submits" to their parents. Fathers, on the other hand, are not to be overbearing in the sense that they "provoke their children to anger" (v.4). "Logically, the irritation caused by nagging and demeaning fathers in the context of everyday life may in turn cause children to become angry" (Hoehner, pg.796). When Fathers are too invested in their kids' lives to the point where the Father's expectations, desires, and dreams are being projected onto the child, anger can develop. Or, if the father is not graceful but heavy-handed, burdensome and overbearing, children may grow up resenting their fathers. Rather, fathers should "bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord". Fathers should teach when they must, and do so often - but must not be so watching carefully over the shoulder of their children so that the child becomes 'provoked to anger'. In other words, there must be a balance between nagging, burdensome/overbearing, and discipline/instruction. Granted, some children will require more discipline than others, and some kids have a natural propensity to dive headlong into sin and need extra attention. Fathers must be aware of this. But fathers must know when "extra attention" turns into nagging. 2. Master/Slave (Boss/Employee) Relations (vv.5-9) For Christian slaves, Paul is mainly drawing his imperative (v.5a) from the fact that slaves are CHIEFLY slaves of Christ first (v.5c). Obedience to earthly masters stems from one's allegiance to Christ. Slaves are ultimately servants of Christ, and serving an earthly master is a picture of how one serves the heavenly master. Like marriage is a parable of Christ and the Church, so too being a slave pictures Lordship of Christ and the service of his saints. This understanding takes into consideration the "just as" comparisons in vv.5-7. STRUCTURE : "obey as servants of Christ" --> followed by a negative and positive explanation of how to do so. Christians servants obey by (1) doing the will of GOD (thus, again, showing that servants CHIEFLY serve Christ first), and (2) serve with a good will to GOD and not man GROUND : God rewards. Your reward ultimately comes from God and not man. Slaves are to serve the way they do because ultimately, God rewards and slaves will receive their reward from God. Notice that the motivation for serving earthly masters as "bondservants of Christ" has the element of self-interest: whatever good slaves do to their masters, they will receive from the Lord. Ultimately, slaves are servants of Christ first, and that reality informs how they obey their masters. Interestingly, masters are to "do the same things to them" (v.9a). What "same things" is Paul referring? I think vv.5b-7. Masters are to not to "obey" (at least, in the same sense) their slaves, but they are to lead with sincerity of heart, know that they too serve Christ, do the will of God, and render service to God and not man. Masters have the unique task of "not threatening" their slaves. One way in which to "do the same" to their slaves is to not threaten them. This honors their slaves and, as Hoehner suggests, "Paul was enjoying Christian masters to treat their slaves with integrity and goodwill as he had asked the slaves to behave toward them" (pg.814). GROUND : God judges. Earthly masters are to treat their slaves justly and servant-like because masters serve a Great Master - the impartial one in heaven. Whatever "threatening" masters do to their slaves, they too will receive from the Lord. The motivation for masters' actions is that they have a judge who is impartial. Slaves, too, are to act in the way they are commanded because they serve a greater master. notes
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