Reaping, Sowing and the Power of a Paragraph

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7)

I have heard this verse use countless times in this manner: watch what you do because it will come back to you. And the next verse seems to validate this idea, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please his Spirit, from that Spirit will reap eternal life”.

A one on one correspondence, right? That is the way I’ve understood this passage for a long time. But I’m going to suggest that this interpretation misses what Paul is saying in the complete paragraph, which has to do with supporting the work of church leaders, Here’s the whole paragraph;

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:6-10) Continue reading

Lead Us Not Into Misreading: Seeing the Mutuality in Ephesians 5:22-33

Well, it’s happened once again. I came across another mention of Ephesians 5:22:33 as a proof-text that men are to lead their wives. In fact, I’m noticing this to be pretty common verbiage regarding the complementarian perspective. Although, as I’ve written about here that I think we should distinguish between patriarchalism and complementarianism.

Nonetheless, I’ll get straight to the point. I think to read men’s leadership of their wives into this text is not only imposing something on it that Paul is not conveying, but also is just a tad bit dishonest and agenda driven. And I write this as one committed to a complementarian perspective and affirms male headship. There is a mutuality that gets missed by insisting this passage is about men leading their wives.

First, the passage really begins in vs 21 – “and submit to one another in the fear of Christ”. Well actually, this is a continuation of thought from the previous verses beginning with vs 15, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise people”. Context and following Paul’s flow of thought is important. From there he’ll talk about how that’s done – making the most of time, being filled with the Holy Spirit and having a right attitude towards one another (vv 16-20). Continue reading

A Closer Look: Introduction

I’m kind of geeked about this new blog category. I’ve been wanting to do something this for awhile but couldn’t really make it work on Parchment and Pen.

What is A Closer Look?  Occasionally, I’ll want to examine select passages of scripture or terms that have adopted contemporary interpretations but ones that I think are a bit removed from the the author’s intent when he wrote it. I think it’s easy for a concept or interpretation to snowball into something big and acceptable. The more popularized something becomes the more it becomes accepted without reconciliation to authorial intent of the text. Reconciling it with authorial intent means examining it in it’s proper setting according to the theme of the book it’s placement within the meta-narrative of Scripture.

So as passages or terms come to mind, usually because they’ve come across my radar, I want to discuss them and write about them and give some examination. I won’t always be right but I just want to ask some honest questions that I think deserve a closer look.

First on tap: Galatians 5:1 and freedom that’s not really free. Stay tuned!