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LeapOfFaith89

Morality Changes with Culture

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I've been making my way slowly through the bible and I have to ask if you consider some of the advice outdated? Some of it wasn't bad advice, like men should stay away from their wives when they are on their period or they will be unclean. We have science now that explains that blood carries pathogens that can make people sick. So we take baths often with soap, and other hygiene products. So the reasoning behind a woman being 'unclean' goes away with the understanding of why something is unclean and preventing it. Parents' can't legally sell their children to slavery, and depending on your country can't even let them work until they reach a certain age. Slavery has been made illegal in many countries though many of the Jews in the Bible had slaves. Morality has changed with culture and time and I wonder if there are some things we can chose to ignore and some things we have to keep. Have you ever been torn between the culture you live in and what is said in the bible? Are there things you naturally dismiss as being part of that time and no longer applicable to modern day?

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Yeah, it certainly has changed as the life goes on and on. However, some things won't change forever. I call them values. Creation over consumption. Giving over taking. Loving over hating. And so on. They were kind of important to people all the time.

 

Living in the world of today, you can't just rely on Bible or understand it literally. Some things can be applied, other are better not be done. Know the fundamentals but think thrice before taking any action.

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Christians around the world often have several differences in what they consider moral and immoral. For instance I know that many Christians in Africa are comfortable with polygamy and sex before marriage. They often try to justify these values by providing examples in the Bible. But I don't think morality is relative, I think there are things that one should consider absolutely right or wrong. We shouldn't look to our cultures for moral ideas.

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Some of it wasn't bad advice, like men should stay away from their wives when they are on their period or they will be unclean. We have science now that explains that blood carries pathogens that can make people sick. So we take baths often with soap, and other hygiene products. So the reasoning behind a woman being 'unclean' goes away with the understanding of why something is unclean and preventing it.
Being "unclean" really had nothing to do with hygiene has to do with ritual impurity.

 

The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (p. 366) states that the verb טמא means "be(come) impure, unclean, alw. ritually."

 

Take for example Lev. 15:16-18. This passage addresses says that a man's emission of semen makes him unclean. So what do semen and blood have in common in this context? The sanctity of life.

 

Another important point is that ritual uncleanness is contagious. Now is there any physical danger to someone sitting in the same spot were a woman sat during her cycle? No. These ritual laws severed as an object lessons. Don't allow even ritual uncleanness among you because that opens the door to sin. Example of this abound in the Pentateuch. Don't sow two different kinds of seed in one field. Don't plow the land with an ox and donkey. Don't wear clothes made from two different fabrics. Uncleanness establishes boundaries concerning actions. Israel was to keep the profane separated from the holly. Don't mix the two as the pagans do.

 

Got to go right now but I will get back to the issue of slavery which is not what it seems to be.

Edited by Origen
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All of the Bible is inspired by God and is profitable for study. Some of the specific commands might not apply to us today but studying them can teach us about God. For example consider this command:

You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together.

Deuteronomy 22:11 ESV

If you simply consider the literal meaning of the command it doesn't make much sense. What difference does it make what materials are used in our clothes? But if you look up the symbolism of wool and linen you will find it teaches an important lesson about salvation.

 

https://clydeherrin.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/wool-and-linen/

 

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Some of the laws in the OT were only for the Israelites and could only be applicable back in those days. There's the an eye for an eye law for example. When the Law-giver was here, what did He say?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person . . . You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven.
God's moral standards are way higher than our highest moral standards. So while some OT laws may not apply today, at all times aim for purity of heart for, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
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Being "unclean" really had nothing to do with hygiene has to do with ritual impurity.

 

The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew (p. 366) states that the verb טמא means "be(come) impure, unclean, alw. ritually."

 

Take for example Lev. 15:16-18. This passage addresses a man's emission of semen makes him unclean. So what do semen and blood have in common in this context? The sanctity of life.

 

Another important point is that ritual uncleanness is contagious. Now is there any physical danger to someone sitting in the same spot were a woman sat during her cycle? No. These ritual laws severed as an object lessons. Don't allow even ritual uncleanness among you because that opens the door to sin. Example of this abound in the Pentateuch. Don't sow two different kinds of seed in one field. Don't plow the land with an ox and donkey. Don't wear clothes made from two different fabrics. Uncleanness establishes boundaries concerning actions. Israel was to keep the profane separated from the holly. Don't mix the two as the pagans do.

 

Got to go right now but I will get back to the issue of slavery which is not what it seems to be.

 

Since most woman didn't wear underwear back then, she could have left something if the seat wasn't properly clean and spread a disease. There are logical reason behind most of the ritual laws. The semen can also carry disease as well as on half of the starter packet of life.

 

As for the don't sow two different seed, we've been doing mono-agriculture for years and it's destroying the soil. When you have the same plant taking the same nutrients out of the field year after year, it's destroys the soil. It's been proven with permaculture that planting multiple plants together is best because there is a give and take. A great example is from Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka's One Seed Revolution, he layers his plants and plants rice with clover. The clover acts as a nitrogen fixer and keeps the weeds out. Then before he cuts the rice, he starts the barley for the winter. He floods the pasture to weaken the clover so that the barley has a chance to take over. Then the clover comes back to keep the weeds out. Another example is in orchard with grasses and other nitrogen fixing trees in the legume family.

 

How many people do you know who wear clothes made of only one fabric? Yeah that was easy to do when you made your own clothes, but seriously? How realistic is that and why would two fabrics make you unclean? I get the keep the holy away from the profane but nothing about this except the semen and blood seem dangerous enough to worry about.

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Since most woman didn't wear underwear back then, she could have left something if the seat wasn't properly clean and spread a disease. There are logical reason behind most of the ritual laws. The semen can also carry disease as well as on half of the starter packet of life.

 

As for the don't sow two different seed, we've been doing mono-agriculture for years and it's destroying the soil. When you have the same plant taking the same nutrients out of the field year after year, it's destroys the soil. It's been proven with permaculture that planting multiple plants together is best because there is a give and take. A great example is from Mr. Masanobu Fukuoka's One Seed Revolution, he layers his plants and plants rice with clover. The clover acts as a nitrogen fixer and keeps the weeds out. Then before he cuts the rice, he starts the barley for the winter. He floods the pasture to weaken the clover so that the barley has a chance to take over. Then the clover comes back to keep the weeds out. Another example is in orchard with grasses and other nitrogen fixing trees in the legume family.

 

How many people do you know who wear clothes made of only one fabric? Yeah that was easy to do when you made your own clothes, but seriously? How realistic is that and why would two fabrics make you unclean? I get the keep the holy away from the profane but nothing about this except the semen and blood seem dangerous enough to worry about.

 

Did you understand Origen's points? Just asking for confirmation. Usually it helps to at least acknowledge another person's points. I believe they are quite theologically sound. The laws of the OT were preparing a nation to be holy. For example, as a nation we are not to multiply our chariots and horses. Our faith should reside in God, and not our military or economy.

 

My point, all Scripture is God breathed, and there is much much wisdom in the OT.

 

God bless,

William

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Did you understand Origen's points? I believe they are quite theologically sound. The amount of faith required by the law would have us all fall short. For example, as a nation we are not multiply our chariots and horses. Our faith should reside in God, and not our military or economy.

 

My point is, all Scripture is God breathed, and there is much much wisdom in the OT.

 

God bless,

William

 

I get that the Scripture is inspired by God but on some level. But the examples are strange if they the point was to separate the profane and the holy. But if they are only metaphors for that separation, that's fine because some of them don't really make sense in real life. The Old Testament is very dense with information and most of it isn't really straightforward. I'm kind of waiting for Origen's to explain away slavery though.

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I get that the Scripture is inspired by God but on some level. But the examples are strange if they the point was to separate the profane and the holy. But if they are only metaphors for that separation, that's fine because some of them don't really make sense in real life. The Old Testament is very dense with information and most of it isn't really straightforward. I'm kind of waiting for Origen's to explain away slavery though.

 

Why would we explain slavery away? All the great men of the Bible considered themselves Slaves to God Romans 1:1. While slavery was not condoned on all levels, the Bible actually dictates the fair treatment of slaves. The greatest mistake people make when addressing Slavery in the Bible is that they compare Biblical slavery (indentured service) with American slavery which was based on race. Waring tribes in Africa, the conquering tribe sold off conquered tribes as slaves to slave traders. That is not biblical slavery. That kind of slavery was addressed, did God not lead His people out of that kind of Slavery from Egypt? The Bible again does not condone sex slaves, or racial based slavery, but it does say if you have a slave (indentured slave) that this is how you fairly treat them. The world today could use some biblical advice, just so you know, Slavery today is more predominant than at any other time in history. I find indentured slavery rather noble, instead of going on benefits or having an entitlement view, the Bible says you may sell yourself to pay off your debts by working this long for so and so. And to so and so, this is how you fairly treat them. The Bible even addresses forgiving someone's debt should the Slave owner pay off a debt of the slave - Jubilee. According to Leviticus, such slaves and even prisoners (slaves of the state) were forgiven and to be freed.

 

Leviticus 25:8-13

 

You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to you. In it you shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself, nor gather from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat of its increase out of the field. In this Year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property.

 

God bless,

William

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Why would we explain slavery away? All the great men of the Bible considered themselves Slaves to God Romans 1:1. While slavery was not condoned on all levels, the Bible actually dictates the fair treatment of slaves. The greatest mistake people make when addressing Slavery in the Bible is that they compare Biblical slavery (indentured service) with American slavery which was based on race. Waring tribes in Africa, the conquering tribe sold off conquered tribes as slaves to slave traders. That is not biblical slavery. That kind of slavery was addressed, did God not lead His people out of that kind of Slavery from Egypt? The Bible again does not condone sex slaves, or racial based slavery, but it does say if you have a slave (indentured slave) that this is how you fairly treat them. The world today could use some biblical advice, just so you know, Slavery today is more predominant than at any other time in history. I find indentured slavery rather noble, instead of going on benefits or having an entitlement view, the Bible says you may sell yourself to pay off your debts by working this long for so and so. And to so and so, this is how you fairly treat them. The Bible even addresses forgiving someone's debt should the Slave owner pay off a debt of the slave - Jubilee. According to Leviticus, such slaves and even prisoners were forgiven and to be freed.

 

Leviticus 25:8-13

 

 

 

God bless,

William

 

Slavery is always awful even with 'fair treatment'. There is a vast difference between choosing to serve God and having the choice taken away from you. It's like ISIS trying to shove Islam down everyone's throats. The lack of choice is problematic. On no level is slavery okay and even if the Bible condoned it. Don't you kind of find it hypocritical that God took the Jews out of slavery but then allowed them to have slaves? And the daughter's who were sold by their fathers into slavery could get out of it if her master decide to marry her. Does she get a say it that at all? Probably not because she's a slave, so it's rape even if they are married. How about when Sarah gave her slave to Hagar to Abraham? Did Hagar get to consent or say, no because she's a slave. Then Hagar became pregnant and Sarah began to mistreat her until she ran away. That's basically having a sex slave at your disposal and abuse. God even told her to go back to abusive mistress and submit to it. God sided with the abuse of sex slave. So no, slavery is not a good thing, even in the Bible.

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Slavery is always awful even with 'fair treatment'. There is a vast difference between choosing to serve God and having the choice taken away from you. It's like ISIS trying to shove Islam down everyone's throats. The lack of choice is problematic. On no level is slavery okay and even if the Bible condoned it. Don't you kind of find it hypocritical that God took the Jews out of slavery but then allowed them to have slaves? And the daughter's who were sold by their fathers into slavery could get out of it if her master decide to marry her. Does she get a say it that at all? Probably not because she's a slave, so it's rape even if they are married. How about when Sarah gave her slave to Hagar to Abraham? Did Hagar get to consent or say, no because she's a slave. Then Hagar became pregnant and Sarah began to mistreat her until she ran away. That's basically having a sex slave at your disposal and abuse. God even told her to go back to abusive mistress and submit to it. God sided with the abuse of sex slave. So no, slavery is not a good thing, even in the Bible.

 

Did God condone what Abraham had done?

 

There is a vast difference between choosing to serve God and having the choice taken away from you.

  • Matthew 19:25-26 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

 

I have some good news for you. One is either a slave to Sin or a slave to God.

  • John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.

The good news goes further. You are a slave to Sin, and while you are Spiritually Dead, God first regenerates you: https://www.christforums.org/forum/c...eneration-mean

 

Here's the timing:

 

Ephesians 2

  • 2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
  • 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
  • 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
  • 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
  • 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
  • 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
  • 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
  • 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
  • 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

Here's how you were when dead:

  • Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
  • Romans 3:10-12 as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
  • John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

And here's what happens at Regeneration:

  • Ezekiel 36:26-27 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.[a]

 

God sided with the abuse of sex slave.

 

Lets look at some "confusing" passages. Consider the below Deut passages in light of Psalm 45:10.

  • Psalm 45:10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house,

 

Deut. 21:10-14

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.

 

Consider this, it was against the law in the first place to marry foreign women. Keep these in mind when reading the below commentary:

  • Matthew 19:7-9 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” 8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”[a]
  • Deut 7:3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,

Here is Matthew Henry:

 

By this law a soldier is allowed to marry his captive if he pleased. For the hardness of their hearts Moses gave them this permission, lest, if they had not had liberty given them to marry such, they should have taken liberty to defile themselves with them, and by such wickedness the camp would have been troubled. The man is supposed to have a wife already, and to take this wife for a secondary wife, as the Jews called them. This indulgence of men's inordinate desires, in which their hearts walked after their eyes, is by no means agreeable to the law of Christ, which therefore in this respect, among others, far exceeds in glory the law of Moses. The gospel permits not him that has one wife to take another, for from the beginning it was not so. The gospel forbids looking upon a woman, though a beautiful one, to lust after her, and commands the mortifying and denying of all irregular desires, though it be as uneasy as the cutting off of a right hand; so much does our holy religion, more than that of the Jews, advance the honour and support the dominion of the soul over the body, the spirit over the flesh, consonant to the glorious discovery it makes of life and immortality, and the better hope.

 

But, though military men were allowed this liberty, yet care is here taken that they should not abuse it, that is,

 

I. That they should not abuse themselves by doing it too hastily, though the captive was ever so desirable: “If thou wouldest have her to thy wife (Deu 21:10, Deu 21:11), it is true thou needest not ask her parents' consent, for she is thy captive, and is at thy disposal. But,

 

1. Thou shalt have no familiar intercourse till thou hast married her.” This allowance was designed to gratify, not a filthy brutish lust, in the heat and fury of its rebellion against reason and virtue, but an honourable and generous affection to a comely and amiable person, though in distress; therefore he may make her his wife if he will, but he must not deal with her as with a harlot.

2. “Thou shalt not marry her of a sudden, but keep her a full month in thy house,” Deu 21:12, Deu 21:13. This he must do either,

(1.) That he may try to take his affection off from her; for he must know that, though in marrying her he does not do ill (so the law then stood), yet in letting her alone he does much better. Let her therefore shave her head, that he might not be enamoured with her locks, and let her nails grow (so the margin reads it), to spoil the beauty of her hand. Quisquid amas cupias non placuisse nimis - We should moderate our affection for those things which we are tempted to love inordinately. Or rather,

(2.) This was done in token of her renouncing idolatry, and becoming a proselyte to the Jewish religion. The shaving of her head, the paring of her nails, and the changing of her apparel, signified her putting off her former conversation, which was corrupt in her ignorance, that she might become a new creature. She must remain in his house to be taught the good knowledge of the Lord and the worship of him: and the Jews say that if she refused, and continued obstinate in idolatry, he must not marry her. Note, The professors of religion must not be unequally yoked with unbelievers, 2Co 6:14.

II. That they should not abuse the poor captive. 1. She must have time to bewail her father and mother, from whom she was separated, and without whose consent and blessing she is now likely to be married, and perhaps to a common soldier of Israel, though in her country ever so nobly born and bred. To force a marriage till these sorrows were digested, and in some measure got over, and she was better reconciled to the land of her captivity by being better acquainted with it, would be very unkind. She must not bewail her idols, but be glad to part with them; to her near and dear relations only her affection must be thus indulged. 2. If, upon second thoughts, he that had brought her to his house with a purpose to marry her changed his mind and would not marry her, he might not make merchandise of her, as of his other prisoners, but must give her liberty to return, if she pleased, to her own country, because he had humbled her and afflicted her, by raising expectations and then disappointing them (Deu 21:14); having made a fool of her, he might not make a prey of her. This intimates how binding the laws of justice and honour are, particularly in the pretensions of love, the courting of affections, and the promises of marriage, which are to be looked upon as solemn things, that have something sacred in them, and therefore are not to be jested with.

 

God bless,

William

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Since most woman didn't wear underwear back then, she could have left something if the seat wasn't properly clean and spread a disease.
Women in ancient cultures used several different methods to deal with their cycles (There are sites online you can read about it). While there was no such thing an underwear as we understand it, people did wear undergarments. Moreover, women did use menstrual rags.

 

There are logical reason behind most of the ritual laws.
I do not believe I said they were not logical.

 

The semen can also carry disease as well as on half of the starter packet of life.
Sure someone could contract some disease from blood or semen but that was not the point. Look at the context.

 

If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until the evening. And every garment and every skin on which the semen comes shall be washed with water and be unclean until the evening. If a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, both of them shall bathe themselves in water and be unclean until the evening.
Merely washing in water and waiting till evening will do little if anything about disease.

 

When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.
Simply touching a woman on her period makes one unclean. I don't know if you are married or not, or if you have any daughters, but I promise you that you cannot contract a disease by hugging a women while she is on her period.

 

As for the don't sow two different seed, we've been doing mono-agriculture for years and it's destroying the soil. When you have the same plant taking the same nutrients out of the field year after year, it's destroys the soil. It's been proven with permaculture that planting multiple plants together is best because there is a give and take.
I agree but this is not about crop rotation. Again, context is the key.

 

Do not plant two kinds of seed in your vineyard; if you do, not only the crops you plant but also the fruit of the vineyard will be defiled.
The very act of planting two different kinds of seed defile the crop and the fruit of that crop.

 

How many people do you know who wear clothes made of only one fabric? Yeah that was easy to do when you made your own clothes, but seriously?
Easy or not they were command not to do it. I do not think it is applicable to us.

 

How realistic is that and why would two fabrics make you unclean? I get the keep the holy away from the profane but nothing about this except the semen and blood seem dangerous enough to worry about.
I understand. As I said above, these laws served as object lessons. Yet I also would not doubt that there was some pagan influences in regard to these practice as well. That was certainly true when it came to cutting hair. Edited by Origen
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A short book in the NT, this will take no time to read @LeapOfFaith89

 

 

Philemon

 

1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

 

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

 

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5 because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, 6 and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.[a] 7 For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

 

8 Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9 yet for love's sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10 I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11 (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12 I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13 I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. 15 For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a bondservant[c] but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 

17 So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18 If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

 

21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. 22 At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.

 

23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.

 

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

 

God bless,

William

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I get that the Scripture is inspired by God but on some level. But the examples are strange if they the point was to separate the profane and the holy.
Strange to us but would have made perfect sense to them within their cultural, historical, and theological context. I have pointed this out many times. The Bible must be interpreted in context. But what it often not stated is that the context isn't our own or that of some theological tradition. It is the context that produced it, namely the ancient Near East/Mediterranean world. God chose people to write the biblical text, and people write using grammar, in styles understood by their peers, and with deliberate intent. We need to understand a text from their point of view not ours. Edited by Origen
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I've been making my way slowly through the bible and I have to ask if you consider some of the advice outdated? Morality has changed with culture and time and I wonder if there are some things we can chose to ignore and some things we have to keep. Have you ever been torn between the culture you live in and what is said in the bible? Are there things you naturally dismiss as being part of that time and no longer applicable to modern day?

 

Hi LoF, to address your last question directly, yes, I believe there are a few things in the Bible that can be dismissed in their "essence" today, but never in principle. For instance, take what St. Paul had to say in this passage:

9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,

10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. ~1 Timothy 2

I used to be part of a church of 5,000+ members, and with visitors, we usually had that many or more in attendance on any given Sunday morning (we had three services). As part of our worship service on one of those Sundays, our older youth group members were invited up in front of church to recite the memory verses they had learned for their upcoming missions trip that summer. The thing is, no one remembers very much about how well they did or what verses they recited, because the only thing we truly remember from that part of the service was, "the dress"! One of our young, pretty college girls wore a dress that Sunday that had such little material on it, and was both so low cut from the top and high cut from the bottom, that if would have been illegal to wear in public if it was one millimeter shorter in any direction. As a result, few if any of us remember much of anything else :eek:

 

She was, BTW, a very nice Christian girl, and simply wore the dress to be "pretty", not realizing the kind of attention it was going to draw from men and women alike (and that no one had ever worn anything quite like it in church before). In fact, even though this happened 15 years ago, if I mentioned, "the dress", today to any of the 5,000+ who were in attendance back then, they would know what I was referring to w/o hesitation.

 

It's not that Christian women aren't allowed to make themselves attractive, or braid their hair, or wear gold jewelry today, this commandment concerns doing things to draw attention to themselves and, thereby, AWAY from God, from His word, and from worship. Back then, braided hair was probably more of a distraction than it is considered to be today, but some things that were problems back then may not be today, so only the principle behind the command remains in effect.

 

Likewise, it might be ok for a woman to attend an open air service at or near the beach in California or Florida in a bikini because no one would notice, but if the same woman walked into a service at a church in midtown Manhattan dressed in the same bikini, the church would probably ask her to cover up or leave because everyone would be distracted by it.

 

Yours and His,

David

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