Studies on Specific Passages | CBE International

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Studies on Specific Passages

Page numbers in parentheses below refer to Payne's book, Man and Woman, One in Christ. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness... Read more
When Paul compares Adam to Christ by analogy in Romans 5, is he teaching about a husband’s authority over his wife, implied by “Adam’s federal headship,” as some Christians believe? Or is it about something else? With the analogy here, like any analogy, one must ask, “What is the point the author is making?” To read more into the analogy than Paul makes explicit is to risk substituting a private opinion for the direct teaching of God’s Word. So what is the analogy really about? Cranfield’s commentary on Romans (1:281) highlights the point of the analogy: “Adam is only mentioned in order to bring out more clearly the nature of the work of Christ. The purpose of the comparison is to make clear the universal range of what Christ has done.... Read more
I read these words from Colossians 3:12-14 as I was preparing a sermon: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Furthermore, we are told of the peace offered to us in Jesus Christ (v. 15). What a beautiful image of the Church: caring commitment for one another, bound together by love, and finding true peace—wholeness in Jesus. Then I read further, beyond the lectionary limits, and came to verse 18: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in... Read more
Analogies can be powerful tools that bring clarity to complex issues. Educators suggest that metaphors and analogies enable individuals to grasp quickly the essential elements of logic in what are otherwise complicated discussions. Perhaps this is one reason Jesus used metaphors and analogies when explaining spiritual realities. Because the biblical interpretation is often complex, it can be helpful to use analogies to grasp the meaning of passages such as 1 Timothy 2:11-15. Consider the following example. When climbing a steep rock, or when reading a confusing passage in Scripture, the temptation is to hug the rock too closely—to rely upon the “clearest reading” of the English text. 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is a classic example. It is a very steep rock—it is a difficul... Read more
Joshua wasn't sure how far things should go. He liked that Moses led. He liked standing guard while Moses entered the tent and served as mediator. He didn't like it when Moses' ground was encroached upon. But Moses had a different vision: "A young man ran and told Moses, 'Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.' Joshua, Nun's son and Moses' assistant since his youth, responded, 'My master Moses, stop them!' Moses said to him,  'Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the LORD's people were prophets with the LORD placing his spirit on them!" (Numb. 11:27-29, CEB). Moses' vision was the vision of Joel, the reality of Pentecost: "Peter stood with the other eleven apostles. He raised his voice and declar... Read more
Certainly one of the most puzzling remarks in Paul’s writings is found in 1 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety” (TNIV). This verse has spawned a host of widely divergent interpretations. Is there any hope for recovering what Paul had in view regarding this phrase, “saved through childbearing”? Absolutely! It is safe to say that he did not have female salvation from sin in view, for we know that the forgiveness of sin comes because of Christ’s finished work through grace, not by the labor of mothers giving birth to children! It is better to see the phrase as referring to temporal deliverance—“women will be kept safe through their pregnancy and labo... Read more
As you may remember from last week’s column, gender-constraints placed on an individual’s life can be highly paralyzing. I recalled from my childhood, however, that the risk of pressing for freedom from those constraints is a risk worth taking. In understanding the struggle for freedom biblically, I found myself resonating with the woman at the well, in John 4. She lived under social constraints, which is why she made her daily trip to the well at the hottest, most isolated point of the day. She wanted to avoid gossip and disdain from other women because of her sinful lifestyle. She understood that, because of her lifestyle and previous marital decisions, she had no place among the other women. Although I can’t say I entirely identify with this woman and her speci... Read more
Adam named Eve:  Adam calling Eve “woman” does not indicate Adam’s authority over her; rather, it is an expression of the similarities that they share, as Adam exclaims “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called woman, for out of man this one was taken” (Gen. 2:23). In the Hebrew, the man is calledish and the woman ishsha, the similarity in the names being intentional. This is a word play, for just as the man (adam) was formed from the ground (adamah), so the woman (ishsha) was formed from the man (ish). These designations refer to the unity of the relationship to one another. To suggest that when Adam called Eve “woman” implies his authority over her is superimposed on the text. Scripture gi... Read more
“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy! But those who prophesy speak to people for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort” (1 Cor. 14:1, 3). Many of us were raised in churches that taught that women should be silent in the church because of the teachings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34. When we read the passage, sure enough, we see the following words on the pages of the Bible, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak…” "If women want to inquire about something,” Paul continues in verse 35, “they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” It is easy to read a passage like this in... Read more

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