Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22, 2012 | John Bayles | Slavery to Men and Money (1 Timothy 6:1-10)

Two classifications of slaves are outlined in today’s text: those who have unbelieving and likely difficult masters, and those who have masters who are believers. Rome was absolutely dependant upon the institution of slavery by means of national dominance or personal indentureship. As a result, these characteristics are not only irrelevant to our historical experience, but strangely not in view in Paul’s message.

What is very clear is Paul’s focus upon the Kingdom of God context of not only this particular passage but on the entire letter to Timothy. Galatians 3:26-29 states: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is the new age, Kingdom of God context that drives all the writing of this letter. Paul has addressed the subjects of men, women, gentiles, and now slaves, and he sees no distinctions in the groupings. They are each found in the fallen world that is passing away, but they are not a part of the new age that is coming into eschatological view.

This is why Paul can speak about the people in the systems as each being free from past norms of attitude or position without directly challenging the systems themselves. Our challenge is seeing not what we want to use the text for, but hearing what the text itself is saying and why. A possible surprise awaits us as we follow the inspiration today as we either go out on a limb or get closer to the truth of Paul’s message.

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July 22, 2012 | John Bayles | Slavery to Men and Money (1 Timothy 6:1-10)

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