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At this point I would like to ask Dr Smith, where is her evidence for understanding this phrase in this way? In my research I have found plenty of discussions about men and women but always when the genders are brought together the women are assumed to be married. It is helpful here to have an understanding of women in society. Women were excluded from real political power, although they could and did have influence.
It was believed that women were at their most dangerous in their marriages because of the power they could exercise over their husbands. The other allied problem here is the assumption that all households would be headed up by a man. In actual fact, there is plenty of evidence that many ancient households would be headed by a woman. This is the reason why the care of widows is such an issue in the New Testament. The evidence I have seen points to the widow as being the head of the household. But here we strike a difficult conceptual problem for the twenty-first-century westerner. Even a modest first-century household would include slaves—both male and female.
As we saw above, it was wives at dinner parties who were seen as transgressing the social etiquette. At this point, things get very messy. Otherwise they would be his slaves to be disposed of as he saw fit. Masters could legitimately have sexual relations with their female slaves.
A slave did not have rights over their own bodies. A slave girl would, however, still answer to her mistress consider the relationship between Sarah and Hagar. Now we might assume that Christians took up the sexual mores of their Jewish antecedents and masters refrained from sexual relations with their slaves. We must also consider the relationship between a mistress and her male slaves. If a woman was widowed to a man who ran a business then it was possible for her to continue that business. There is no mention of her husband, so perhaps she was a widow running the family business.
Most likely she was in Philippi on business or that she came to live there because that was where her best market was. Acts records that Lydia and her household were baptised. If Lydia was the head over her household then she was the spiritual authority in her house, as we see her and her household were baptised. This means that when read the passages that deal with advice to households and churches we must bear in mind that when the author addresses men and women he most likely has free men and women in mind. Men and women who are slaves are usually addressed separately after men and women.
The third passage I would like to discuss is 1 Peter 3. The main point I would like to make here is not so much historical but hermeneutical. That is, how this passage applies to us today. So, in the same way as biological family resemblances give identity, Christian marriages should foster a spiritual heritage and family resemblances.
But what exactly that might mean for the Christian marriage today is what I would like to discuss. We might notice firstly that this text has very similar themes to 1 Timothy 2. Further, the adorning is not the external dress but rather the way she behaves toward her husband. The letter of Melissa gives similar advice to 1 Peter,.
A liberal and moderate woman must seem good-looking to her own husband, but not to the man next door, having on her cheeks the blush of modesty rather than of rouge and powder, and good bearing and decency and moderation rather than gold and emerald. In the ancient world, the book was judged by its cover. Both assume, I believe, that such deportment in a Christian woman reveals the inner change that Christ has made in their lives.
The external declares the internal and in so doing commends the Christian life to the unbelieving husband. As we saw, Ignatius believed that the bishop of Philadelphia could achieve things more by his silence than by vain babble. In other words, silence reveals inner virtue, which was highly esteemed in the culture of the first century.
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I think we are now in a position to see how the advice in 1 Peter works. What could possibly frighten a wife? It was expected that the wife would worship the same gods as her husband. In the Hellenistic and Roman periods there appears to be a tendency for wives to take on a cult of their own,. For with no god do stealthy and secret rites performed by a woman find any favour.
I hope what we can see is that a wife would have plenty to fear if her husband disapproved of her new cult, Christianity. We have seen that the New Testament writers have been relatively instep with the philosophers and moralists of the day in their advice to women.
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But here Peter and the other New Testament writers depart radically. It is here that we see them at their most countercultural. This is a radical reworking of submission, which needs a great deal of thought before we can apply it in the 21st — century context. I now come to the point I wish to make. Try as I might I find it very difficult to grasp what Dr Smith thinks submission means for 21st-century women. She asks the question,. Well, at first glance there is not a lot to go on. Also, the example of the godly wives of the past …tell us that it has something to do with obedience, respect and doing right.
But as for the day-to-day nuts and bolts of submission, Peter—like Paul in the passages we have already looked at—gives us very little of the detail p. What I fear Dr Smith is urging us to do, as Christian women myself included , is to practice the ideals of first-century femininity. But would that achieve what Peter hopes it would achieve? Would the practice of first-century ideals commend the gospel to our husbands, family, neighbours, work colleagues, other mothers at school etc?
Or does it just make us look quaint and rather odd? Could it be producing the very opposite effect of what 1Peter 3 intended? It is after all the example of Christ, which Peter offers 1 Peter The question is how does submission today commend the gospel to unbelievers? What values, practices, behaviours do unbelievers admire that would illustrate our submission to our Lord? A lot more thinking needs to go into what silence, adornment, submission and obedience might look like in our culture if we are to live lives that commend us and our faith to our Australian society.
We need to think hard, like the New Testament writers did, about how the gospel principles of love, faith, holiness, joy, peace kindness, forgiveness etc translate into being the women that our society needs us to be if they are ever to hear the gospel message. To sum up, Dr Smith has failed to notice the exciting work that historians and biblical scholars have done over the last twenty years or so and this is primarily the weakness of this book.
Many of the resources that she has relied on are at least a decade or two old. I am surprised that this did not inspire Dr Smith to research for herself the ideas that are emerging from the research about masculinity and femininity in the Greco-Roman culture. Furthermore, there is some very exciting work being done on inscriptions from the time of the New Testament. Some inscriptions are found on graves, but others are on statue bases and monuments set up to commend citizens who had benefited their city in some way.
Some inscriptions honour women in their own right for their example and beneficence to their city. This enables us to do a compare and contrast with the advice given to women in the New Testament.
And it does. And so as God's children, may we not resist the Holy Spirit. Rather, may we prefer to differ from our fallen world than from his glorious word in the way we live and relate and minister as Christian women and men, and in all things. And so it is entirely worng-footed to think we can silence a 'dificult part of God's word in order to win souls for Christ. Christ is the stumbling block Romans and the miracle of faith is that once we trust in Christ, God enables us by his Spirit to see the truth and wisdom and goodness of all his word and his ways.
Qty: Add to basket. Share Twitter Facebook. Description A beautifully produced coffee-table style book with inspirational verses and pictures of those who have a disability. John Piper About Krista Horning Krista Horning lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota where she works at a clinic that meets the needs of children with disabilities. Digging Ditches Helen Roseveare. Heart Cry for Revival Stephen Olford. Other books in this series Unity and Diversity Sandy Finlayson.
The Lost Boy Dumitru Sevastian.