For the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

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Complementarianism: is it biblical? A study of 1 Corinthians 11 – Part 2


Michelangelo,_Creation_of_Eve_00In the last article, we were studying in Genesis 1 and 2 to see how the Lord God Almighty set up and defined marriage between a woman and a man or a man and a woman.  In this article, Part 2, we will be examining Scripture from 1 Corinthians 11:2-3,  (but also including verses 4-16 for the full treatment), as these Scriptures were listed at the bottom of Gavin Peacock’s article.  When dealing with words in the Scriptures, the student must first acquaint themselves with the words and how they were understood in the day that they were spoken.  Too often, verses of Scripture are lifted out of their context in order to establish a point that was never intended by the author of the epistle.  Plus, there are instances of cultural issues that the author is addressing within the letter that are not relevant to our day and time.  In those cases, the heart of the prohibition should be established and then the central idea can be applied to our day.

In the case of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, it is addressing the cultural issue of head coverings.  Furthermore, looking to the last chapter of 10:1-14, which deals with Israel’s tendencies to fall into idolatrous practices; Paul addresses both Jew and Gentile Christian believers, especially those that were former pagans, who shopped for their meat supplies in the ‘shambles,’ which contained meats first offered to idols and then were thrown out.  This meat was collected and sold at greatly reduced prices.  Paul allows for this meat to be bought and eaten as long as they basically do not practice the pagan rites that went along with the meat.  So in v. 25, Paul instructs them to go ahead and eat the meat sold in the shambles, yet just do not ask any questions about its history.  So we are dealing with the cultural issues of Corinth.  In v. 32, Paul once again instructs the believers to

1 Cor 10:32-11:1

Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.  Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Then in v. 33 Paul is basically saying that (without sin) he accommodates other people in order that he might save them; then in 11:1 instructs the Corinthians to be followers of him just as he follows Christ.  So this then sets the stage for the following verses in which Paul lays out what seemingly looks like a prescriptive command that women should be veiled.  However, according to James B. Hurley, “women in ancient Judaism and in the Greco-Roman culture were generally not veiled in public–the shawl/face veil for women came into Near Eastern custom later through Islam…Men and women were given a cooperative social mandate in creation; women’s role was restricted only religiously in Israel*”

Whether there was a specific sect that was present in Corinth that required veiling or as some have suggested that gnostic influences had perhaps penetrated the church community and were bringing disruption into the church.  Further, Paul is answering the question that was sent to him and so verses 2-15 elaborate upon this fact and Paul lays out his reasons, making reference to Genesis 2 that woman came from man, etc.  This brings to mind that the religious cults were dominated by women, such as worshipping Bacchus, and if certain adherents had come into the Christian community bringing disruption concerning the order of creation, i.e. women being the first created, this would then explain why Paul brings up Genesis 2, to establish truth among the believers.  However, in v.11 he clearly shows his liberationist perspective by clearly announcing that while woman came from man, God had created their spirits at the same time, thereby showing their equality before God (see Genesis 1:26-27).

1 Corinthians 11:8-11

For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man.  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.  Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

It was only the woman’s body that came from man, probably with God taking some of Adam’s DNA and thus forming her body.  Her soul was unique to her own self, having received it after God blew her own spirit into her body, thus was her soul made.  Further, with Paul answering the Corinthians’ questions regarding the veiling of women, we come to verse 16, which almost always is never addressed by those who are trying to affirm their patriarchal or complementarian views regarding the subordination of women to men.  Quite clearly, Paul states

1 Corinthians 11:16

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

Therefore, if any of the Corinthian believers were going to still be argumentative about this subject, Paul declares, WE HAVE NO SUCH CUSTOM, NEITHER THE CHURCHES OF GOD. This writer understands the WE to be a reference to Israel and then Paul includes the other churches of God who also do not have the practice or custom of veiling women for worship.  Why?  Because Paul affirms that women have already been given a permanent covering, namely, their hair.

Basically, Paul was addressing their internal quarrels and squabbling about who was right, and since most commentators do not believe that Greco-Roman women practiced veiling, one can only surmise that perhaps this had come into their community from an external source such as Gnostic beliefs that were assailing the community.  The portion concerning the creation reflects Paul’s teaching to Timothy in Ephesus, which was also dealing with Gnostic infiltration into their churches.  This writer does not believe that Paul was attempting to establish or re-establish patriarchal views, because other letters affirm and further the ideas first established by the Lord Jesus Christ that women were to now be on the same par as the men.  They were to be allowed to learn right along with the men, and when finally established in the doctrine, they were being allowed to teach and to preach, thus showing that the Lord Jesus Christ had re-established at least that portion of Eden back to mankind, that men and women were created by God to be fully equal with each other.

Therefore, those who practice complementarianism are still trying to live under the sinful regime of patriarchalism which had its beginnings after the first couple had been expelled from the Garden.  So with the purchased redemption paid for by Christ, why indeed would anyone want to go back to the former repressive lifestyle first perpetrated by sinful men?  It does make one wonder.

*Excerpt taken from “Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women” by Willard M. Swartley

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Complementarianism: is it biblical? A study of Genesis 1 and 2 – Part 1


Michelangelo,_Creation_of_Eve_00Is complementarianism truly biblical? As far as this writer’s personal studies have led, it is not. When a true student of the Word of God, or the Bible, reads such articles as that written by Owen Strachan, the President of the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who has laid out some of the pillars of his beliefs regarding complementarianism, and then lists supposed Scriptural accounts to back his assertions up, it simply does not bear out. In the first part of his article he covers the controversy regarding Gavin Peacock, a pastor located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada who also believes in complementarianism and who also wrote his own article regarding this subject. However, what will be covered in this article are the points Strachan lists in his article concerning complementarian viewpoints.

In the Bible, God makes the cosmos in Genesis 1, and then he makes man and woman, husband and wife, in Genesis 2. He gives this relationship structure and form. Adam is the head of his wife; his wife is his helper. Eve is created from Adam. Her body depends on his for existence. This is a signal from the very start of Scripture: the position of marital headship given to men is one of responsibility and sacrifice, not ease and self-indulgence (Strachan).

Strachan quotes Genesis 1 and 2, so let us read these Scriptures to see if this is what they say. Verses 1-25 tell of God speaking creation into existence. It is in v26-27 that we first find the beginnings of mankind.

Genesis 1:26-27

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The only thing in these two verses that Strachan is correct about is that God created man…male and female created He them. No sign of order…no headship…just a simple statement of fact. Plus, He unequivocally states, “Let THEM have dominion…” So, God is the Creator. Exactly what did God create? He created the male and female spirits. How do we know this? The Word that God spoke about His creation: He was going to make mankind in His image. What is God’s image? It is Spirit, as we find in John 4:24, “God is Spirit.” If the age-old argument is to be proffered that the word ‘male’ is first and then ‘female;’ well in the order of things…something has to be first and something must be last when dealing with a list of words. It still gives no authority of placement in these verses. To say so is eisegesis of the worst kind; and what exactly is ‘eisegesis’?

Eisegesis (/ˌaɪsəˈdʒiːsəs/; from the Greek preposition εἰς “into” and the ending from the English word exegesis, which in turn is derived from ἐξηγεῖσθαι “to lead out”)[1] is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that the process introduces one’s own presuppositions, agendas, or biases into and onto the text. This is commonly referred to as reading into the text.[2] The act is often used to “prove” a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda (Wikipedia).

The next chapter of the Bible that Strachan refers to is Genesis 2 and the verses, though not listed, are these:

Genesis 2:18-23

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

God first created their spirits, but then He put them in ONE body (a foreshadowing of the ONE body of Christ, His church), and then God looked at Adam (meaning, ‘red earth’), and said “I will make him an help meet (Hbw= ezer, a strong help)”; so God took woman’s spirit out of Adam and gave the female spirit her own fleshly body. Adam then said “…she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” As we read this biblical text in Genesis 2, there still isn’t any command of God for man to have ‘headship’ over his wife. It simply is just not there! In verse 24 we read:

Genesis 2:24

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

This verse sounds more like commentary from Moses who wrote the Pentateuch, especially since at this juncture there was no father or mother to leave. There would be in the future, but not at this scene in the Garden of Eden. Furthermore, Moses lived in the midst of a patriarchal society and so it would behoove one to believe that as the writer of Genesis, that this would have been the perfect time to have instituted patriarchalism or complementarianism if this truly was the will of God. But as we have just seen, Moses did not institute either biblical worldview when he wrote the very words of God.

So for those who hold the complementarian view and for them to say that the book of Genesis supports ‘headship’ and ‘wifely submission’ are errant in their views because the record of the creation of man by God shows no such thing. Furthermore, there isn’t any commands uttered by God to Adam (who was both male and female at the same time) to engage in any such practice. Neither did God command the now separated man and woman to engage in any such lifestyle.

The first we read about any such possibility is in Genesis 3:16 and yet God is not cursing the woman, but merely tells her that since sin has now entered into their existence, the resulting skewing of their equality will now be that the male Adam will begin to rule over the female Adam. We should now see that this ‘headship’ if you will and forced ‘submission’ leads into the patriarchal system, but it was only introduced after sin entered the Garden of Eden and not before when they were in God’s paradise. So how is this God’s perfect will?

This writer will continue in additional articles to cover this large topic. So stay tuned.


Problems with Christian dating adventures


young-couples-holding-laptop-freedigitalphotos.netIn days of old unmarried people met at church picnics, BBQ’s, at church, and if they went on an outing together, they had a chaperone. That all began to change in the 1950’s onward. Couples went on dates by themselves and as it was known to happen in the days when chaperones went along (this is why they were there in the first place…to prevent too much closeness…), too much closeness began to happen. A long detailed account of what occurred over this time period until the present day isn’t really necessary. If you are over 30 you know what happened and if you are under 20 then ask your parents. Free love turned out to not be free at all. Huge social costs were accrued and we are all still paying for all of that ‘free stuff.’

Then the secular world developed dating sites on the internet, and in a way the internet was the new chaperone (at least at first) until the couples in question wanted to meet. But this article isn’t about the secular dating sites necessarily. This is about Christian singles not being able to meet other Christian singles. The pool of available Christian singles in every age category is limited. Unless you happen to live near a mega-church that has a broad spectrum of varying ages in the singles category, your chances of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right are drastically limited. This does not preclude miracles from God. Of course, you should not jump into marriage without the counsel of the Lord. There simply are just too many people who claim to be Christian (and maybe they are, but just not sold-out), who after marriage begin to show their true colors.

So it seems then that some Christians began the first Christian internet dating site, patterning itself after the secular dating sites. The first site that this writer was aware of was Christian Cafe and then later on this writer also tried out Christian Mingle. The only difference is that the people who sign up for this service are supposed to be Christians. The pool gets even smaller when you limit yourself to other sold-out disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. While none of us are perfect, there is a drastic difference between the lukewarm Christian and the on-fire-for-the-Lord-Jesus-Christian. Even the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t want lukewarm Christians either, for it is written,

Revelation 3:16

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

If you are ‘hot’ then the Lord already has you, and if you are ‘cold’ then the Lord can set you on fire for Him. However, if you are lukewarm…you’re just too comfortable in your pew, throwing in your five bucks every Sunday into the offering plate.

This is where the trouble begins and what this article is about; namely this: can you really tell over the cold internet cabling if someone is truly hot-on-fire for the Lord? It is very easy to put forth a false picture of yourself when there is such a great distance. Of course, the idea is to meet one another, hopefully to find out the truth. But here is a sure-fire way to tell if someone is a true sold-out disciple: you yourself need to actually live the sold-out life of a disciple, and if the person you are talking to on the Christian dating site is not sold-out, you will soon hear the truth coming out of their mouth. Or when you actually meet, if the other person wants to begin a sexual encounter with you outside of Holy Matrimony, then there’s a clue that just screams at you that this person is not a sold-out-on-fire disciple of the Lord Jesus. This probably sounds so old-fashioned, but truth is still truth!

The Scriptures speak boldly about fleeing physical desires and the Lord Jesus was very plain when He spoke about cutting off physical desires in

Matthew 5:27-30

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Of course, this does not mean a literal cutting off of the mentioned parts, but cutting off the source of entry, which is the mind, as we allow wicked thoughts to enter and then we proceed to entertain those thoughts until sin is produced in the flesh. Christians are still under the Laws of God and we are still expected to obey God in our daily lives. This writer has written fourteen articles about this subject to date (see below “The Ten Commandments: Are they still relevant?” for some links to these articles).

So should Christians even use these Christian dating sites? They can be helpful, but just be aware that there are probably a lot of phony Christians or lukewarm ones trolling those sites too. Of course, there are also the true-blue disciples of the Lord Jesus out there as well. There is also a video attached to this article that is a parody of these Christian dating sites that is totally cute, it is meant to be funny, so don’t be offended. This writer had a good belly laugh while watching the video.

So anyone up for a church picnic or BBQ? Maybe we should go back to the old-fashioned way of meeting other singles.


The exegesis of ‘that’ or ‘a’ in John 4:19


Christ and the Samaritan WomanHenryk Siemiradzki, 1890The oft quoted line from Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question.”  In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet is questioning the meaning of life.  But what if the question is really to use ‘that’ or ‘a’ in order to have a more perfect exegetical argument?  What if the exegete needs to use one or the other aforementioned words in order to point to a “Who?”  Does the exegete decide, or does the Biblical text decide?  This should be a truly easy question shouldn’t it?

So let us look at John 4:19

The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

The 1550 Stephens Text shows:

λεγει αυτω η γυνη κυριε θεωρω οτι προφητης ει συ

Th 1881 Westcott-Hort Text shows:

λεγει αυτω η γυνη κυριε θεωρω οτι προφητης ει συ

Both Greek texts have the identical wording and so the word in question is that little three letter word, οτι.

Follow the list items and the pictures to find out just how truly beautiful John 4:19 is, especially in the Greek, and if incorrectly translated into English it loses its unique flavor.

2013-08-22_12-21-07_253

This is the Greek text of John 4:19 which shows the word in Greek “Hoti” which is pronounced “Hotty.”

The rough translation of this verse is such:

“The woman said to him, Lord I perceive that prophet you are”

In the Greek language, sometimes a word or words would be thrown to the front of a sentence or at the end for emphasis.  Here it has been thrown to the end of the sentence and subsequently the translator can move them to their proper place in the English language.  By putting them at the end of this sentence it has the same equivalent as the woman pointing her finger at Jesus and saying “YOU ARE!”

So a more correct  rendering of this verse would be:

“The woman said to him, Lord I perceive YOU ARE THAT PROPHET!”

Why does the King James insert an indefinite article?  Technically, in this writer’s opinion they should not have because simply there wasn’t any need.

2013-08-22_13-09-27_690

In John 4:17 another usage of Hot-ti is found and here in this verse the KJV has omitted the Greek word due to the fact that it is being used with direct discourse.

2013-08-22_12-23-51_370

Looking at the photo above one notices the entry marked (b.) “after verbs that denote mental or sense perception.”  Thus Hot-ti should correctly be translated as ‘that.’  The KJV left it in the same order but positioned “you are” after ‘that’ instead of before ‘that’ which is why they necessitated the use of the indefinite article of  ‘a’.  But by placing ‘you are’ before ‘that’ it leads into the identification of which prophet the Lord Jesus truly was, is and will always be.

2013-08-22_13-12-42_71

Here is the entry which indicates that Hot-ti was originally the neuter of Hos-tis, whereas we see that Hos-tis is translated as a ‘who’ or ‘what’, but Hot-ti being more neuter in nature merely points to “THAT.”

2013-08-22_13-13-07_192

The Greek word Hot-ti was the neuter of Hos-tis which definitely points to a person or a thing as one can see from the photo which lists Whoever or whatever. This will also show why the Greek word Hot-ti points to Jesus Christ, thus pointing him out as ‘THAT’ prophet and not just ‘A’ prophet as the King James renders it.  The Lord Jesus was not just ‘ANY’ prophet, but rather ‘THAT’ prophet.

2013-08-22_15-35-18_210

Deuteronomy 18:18-19

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Here is the Pièce de résistance of this entire study.  Why?  Because the Samaritans were well aware that Messias was coming.  They did not know when or who but they knew that one day He would come.  What this writer sees happening in this passage is this:  The Samaritan woman had just been told by the Lord Jesus that she had already had five husbands and she was living with the sixth man.  She probably had never encountered someone like Jesus who could tell her everything that she had done.  So without her own self quite realizing it, she prematurely uttered that HE was the ONE….THAT prophet… that had been prophesied in the book of Deuteronomy which she and her people would have been familiar with since the Samaritans had once been full-blooded Jews before the exile.

In v.25 the woman again utters her knowledge of Messias coming and finally in v.26 the Lord Jesus merely confirms for her that indeed He was THAT Messias and prophet.

Is that not just fantastic?  This is why careful exegetical work must be done so that the true content of the Holy Scriptures are not lost.  Amen.

Copyright 2013  Rev. Janice J. Robinson

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If you would like to study more deeply the Gospel of John 3-4, I have written a book titled above that deals more on the subject of the Samaritans and their encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.

You can go to

http://www.newcovenantchristianministries.org/bookstore

and order it for only $10.00


Understanding the Bible through Theology


The Apostle St. Paul - RembrandtThere have been many interpretations of Biblical passages over the last fifteen hundred years and most conservative seminaries teach their students to “let the Biblical text speak for itself.”  In most cases this is sound and prudent advice.  Why is this so?  Because there are many passages in the Holy Bible that tend to confuse a lot of people, plus there are sections in the writings of the Apostle Paul that seem to contradict each other.  To get to the core interpretation of any Biblical passage there are several things the Bible student can do to aid their understanding.

1)  First, just read the text.  What does it say?  What do you “think” it says?

2)  Are they any words in the passage that you truly do not know the dictionary meaning for that particular word.  Even if you think you know what the meaning is, it can sometimes be very helpful to look them up in a college level dictionary.

3)  Do you know Koine Greek?  If not, do you have access to a “Young’s Analytical Concordance” or a “Strong’s Concordance?”  It is one thing to know what the current meaning of a particular word is and yet we also need to know what that word meant two or more thousand years ago.  Because words can and do change their meanings since language is a living entity.  This is why we need to know what the lexical or the native meaning of a word may be in its original setting.

This of course is just the beginning when we study the Holy Scriptures.  This of course, does not leave out the power of the Holy Spirit, nor should it preclude our prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ to have His Holy Spirit teach us the meaning of a text.  This also does not say that we should never read commentaries or other articles about the text in question.  When we read other Christian authors it can help keep us on the right path as well.  However, with that said, when the Biblical authors wrote what we now call the Bible, they were seen and heard to be espousing new and strange doctrines such as the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We take this as accepted doctrine, but at the beginning it was definitely new and strange.

This has been stated in order to lead up to what this article is really all about, namely the passage in 1 Corinthians 11.  There have been many interpretations upon this passage concerning the idea of whether we should understand that women should wear veils when praying and what the modern application of this might mean as well.  This also extends to the idea of a woman having authority in her own right.

This author was recently made aware of a theological paper that was written by Troy Martin.  His thesis in this paper is that a woman’s hair is equivalent to the male testicles.  He employs ancient medical texts to help him to understand confusing Biblical passages, such as this one in 1 Corinthians 11.  I can appreciate his egalitarian stance on women having equal authority with men, for so we do since it was established by God in Genesis 1:27.  However, the first question that I asked after reading about this article that was being quoted by another author, Richard Beck, was this: Even if Paul was aware of medical practices in his day would he have known every medical idea posited?  Not hardly, since information such as this would have been found only in very large metropolises, such as Athens, Greece or Alexandria, Egypt and if it did travel to other regions of the then known world, it would have taken literally decades for it to travel.

Furthermore, when Paul wrote this, would all of his listeners or readers have been familiar with such medical ideas?  Perhaps the more erudite and learned of his followers may have traveled to Athens or Alexandria and posssibly been made aware of such thoughts.  But again, it is very unlikely that any of the poor and illiterate gentiles that made up the larger portion of the church would have undertood the analogy that Paul (according to Martin) was attempting to posit.

So, let’s just keep to the Biblical text shall we?  If we examine the text in question v.2-16, the Greek word for head in v.3 is  η κεφαλη which can be translated as the literal head on a person, it can also be translated as origin as in the head-waters of a river and as authority.  In v.3 Paul breaks down the origin of everything and states that ultimately everything has come from God.  Beginning in v.4 and ending in v.6 it has been thought that this is not the Apostle Paul setting down doctrine, rather he is quoting from a portion of their letter to him.  Then in v.7, Paul begins his answer to the Corinthian church.  Let us also keep in mind that Paul is probably not addressing anyone in the Jewish synagogue at this point; because when a Jewish man prayed in the Temple, he did cover his head with his talith.  But the woman also covered her head when she prayed in the women’s section.

What Paul is addressing here are cultural issues in the city of Corinth.  Remember also that the majority of the church that he was addressing had come from the pagan temples and they were still very much immersed in pagan ideology and traditions.  Even though they were learning Christianity; converts to a new religion cannot just erase a life-time of prior traditions and cultural expressions overnight.

Then in v.10 we find that there is this strange allusion to angels and because of them a woman should have authority on her own head as well.  Paul did not just pull a theological rabbit out of his hat so to speak by referring to the angels.  Let us go back to 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 and we find Paul teaching that we shall be judging the world, and in v.3 he states that we shall also judge the angels.  This is why he refers to the issue of angels in 11:10 and that women should have authority as well, simply because women will also be included as well as the men, and we shall judge the angels .  In v.13-15 Paul equates that a woman is already covered….covered by her hair…and therefore needs no other covering.  This negates the false churchianity doctrine that a woman’s husband is her covering.  A woman already has her own covering and furthermore, even as Paul states that we are all one in Christ and it is this Christ that is our eternal covering.

Then in the last verse, v.16, Paul affirms for them that

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.

The Bible student cannot expect to have it any clearer.  Paul states: “we have no such CUSTOM…  could you be any more exact?  Paul was dealing with cultural issues not doctrinal issues.  Furthermore, these cultural issues had their origin in pagan god worship, not the worship of the One True God.  Finally, Paul closes with, “neither the churches of God.”

First and foremost in studying the Bible, we should allow the text to speak for itself and then do our word studies in English and in the Koine Greek.  Through all of this we should still be reading and re-reading the text in question.  Then if necessary, we should research and read various commentaries to see what other Christians have written about the subject matter.  Then throughout it all, we should be seeking the teaching from the Holy Spirit.  This is our final authority when it comes to understanding the Scriptures.


The controversy is this: Did Jesus have a wife?


So let us ask the question already, right?  Did Jesus have a wife?  He does and He didn’t.  Does that make any sense to you?  Okay, here’s the scoop.  One professor, namely Karen King of Harvard apparently received a piece of papyrus that dates back to around the fourth century.  So believed because of the style of writing that was used on the document, because the document was written in the Coptic language, which is an Egyptian language that uses Greek lettering, plus a few more.

Peter Williams, the Warden of Tyndale House in Cambridge, England has this to say:

It is written in Coptic, the language of Egypt which descended from the even earlier language of the Hieroglyphs. Coptic is Egyptian written in the Greek alphabet with a few extra letters. Because Coptic was only emerging as a written language in the third century and papyrus went out of use in the seventh century the 8 cm x 4 cm fragment has to be dated some time from the third to the seventh century and the scholars involved with this fragment have stated that it is fourth century on the basis of the handwriting.
Since we have virtually no firmly dated Coptic handwriting, this date is just an educated guess. Then we turn to the date of the contents. Here Professor King puts the text in the late second century, but all that we really know is that the text is at least as old as the manuscript.

Professor King has dubbed it as “The Gospel of Jesus’ wife.” This is not the name that is on the document, since the document doesn’t even have a name on it, seeing that it is but a fragment of another document.  The papyri originated in Egypt, but has been in private ownership for many years, but the name of the owner has been withheld at least for now.

TheNew York Times had this to say:

The provenance of the papyrus fragment is a mystery, and its owner has asked to remain anonymous. Until Tuesday, Dr. King had shown the fragment to only a small circle of experts in papyrology and Coptic linguistics, who concluded that it is most likely not a forgery. But she and her collaborators say they are eager for more scholars to weigh in and perhaps upend their conclusions.

Even with many questions unsettled, the discovery could reignite the debate over whether Jesus was married, whether Mary Magdalene was his wife and whether he had a female disciple. These debates date to the early centuries of Christianity, scholars say. But they are relevant today, when global Christianity is roiling over the place of women in ministry and the boundaries of marriage.

So then we must also ask, ‘If Jesus had truly been married, why did not His faithful twelve disciples, four of whom penned the Gospels that are now canonized, openly write about His marriage?’  We know that Peter had a wife, it is recorded in the Gospels along with the historical fact that the Lord Jesus healed her of a fever.  It could be argued that it was never recorded due to the fact it is not relevant to Christ’s salvific purposes.  However, this writer does not believe that the Lord Jesus Christ was married while He was living on this earth and here is why; let us look at the Scriptures for any attestations concerning the possibility of this being true.

Isaiah 53:8

He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

Acts 8:33

In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

When Martin Luther penned his famous words, Sola Scriptura…this is the same mind-set that we need to have as well. This in no way does not preclude or exclude any ‘new findings’ at all; scholars just need to take their time in adjudicating their findings.

When the Scriptures state: ‘who shall declare his generation,’ it should be noted that Isaiah is making a clear reference to the Messiah.  He also is making a clear statement that obviously the Messiah would not have any of his own offspring.  During the historical time of the Lord Jesus Christ, birth control as we know it was not available.  If a married couple was fully engaged in their married life, conception was not long afterwards in that day.  It is highly doubtful that the Lord Jesus, who defended women and lifted them up to their proper places next to the men.  Who also gave women the opportunity to be His disciples, which many were and many chose to physically follow Him during the time of His ministry, while many also financially supported Him.  It is very difficult for this writer to believe that He would have chosen to physically marry a woman and then not behave as a proper husband would have behaved in His duties towards a wife.  Therefore, this writer also believes the witness of the book of  Isaiah as well as the witness by the Apostle Luke when he quoted from the book of Isaiah when he penned the book of Acts are true.

Now this writer also believes however, that the Lord Jesus Christ does have a wife, or a Bride and we find this in the Book of Revelation.

Revelation 21:9-11

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.

While the Bible makes mention that the Lamb, or the Lord Jesus Christ will indeed have His own Bride, it is not just one woman, but it will be the inhabitants of the city of New Jerusalem.  Whosoever is worthy to enter therein, shall be the Bride of the Lamb.  Amen.

If you are wondering who will be able to enter therein, then read the previous verses  beginning in:

Revelation 21:5-10

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

So if this newest find of this particular papyrus that may have been written in the fourth century and could possibly have been copied from an even older document is true, it is also noted that the Lord Jesus does indeed have a Bride-to-be; He is espousing those inhabitants right now for the city of New Jerusalem. Amen.

 


A Biblical perspective concerning Jesus and women, Part 5


Well, here at last is Part 5 of this series, concerning how the Lord Jesus interacted with the women who followed Him and those that He encountered as He traveled. We stopped in Part 4 at John 4:25-26, at which point the Lord Jesus had boldly declared to this despised woman that HE was the long-awaited-for Messiah. As a recap, this was a time, at least culturally, that Jewish men did not speak to women; barely did they speak to their wives or daughters, and most certainly they did not speak to Samaritans, let alone a Samaritan woman. So let us continue:

John 4:27

And upon this came His disciples, and marveled that He talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or Why talkest thou with her?

As we come upon this scene as it is written in the Scriptures, the Jewish culture of that day is demonstrated in that they were clearly shocked that the Jewish Rabbi that they were following was clearly not behaving like any other Rabbi that they had ever seen or heard about. Yet they were too intimidated by the Lord Jesus’ status as a Rabbi to question His behavior. It is at this point that in:

John 4:28-29

The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

In that culture, because one had to walk to a community well to draw your water supply for the day, women did not just haphazardly leave their water jars lying around the precincts of the town in which they lived. The water pot was a functional tool that they used each and every day, and even if they were relatively inexpensive to buy or to make, women still did not just leave them anywhere they felt like leaving them. So what does this tell us about the Samaritan woman’s state? She was obviously wildly excited that she had just heard from the Lord Jesus’ own lips that HE was the Messiah. However, because she lived within the confines of her own culture as well, she knew that the word of a woman would be doubted, unless of course there were at least two other women who could vouch for the first woman.  She knew that she would have to get the men interested in coming out to see for themselves this prophet at the well.

In the meanwhile, Jesus’ disciples were trying to get their Master to eat some food, since it was now noon time, but the Lord Jesus said:

John 4:34

…My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.

Totally uninterested in physical food at this point, the Lord Jesus launches off into a teaching moment for His disciples and questions them with:

John 4:35

Say not ye, There are yet four months, and comes harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

At this time of the year, this was most likely the barley harvest that would have been ready in the next four months, and it would have looked like the field was white. However, it is thought that the Lord Jesus was also viewing all of the towns’ people, that were by now crossing the fields to come towards Him and primarily they would have been wearing white clothing.

John 4:39, 42

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on Him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him  ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

This despised woman with whom even the other women in the town would not openly socialize with, was chosen by the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, to be the first one ever to hear openly His proclamation that He was the Messiah to the World. Even the men were grudgingly acknowledging that she was right, even though they hedged their comments with, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying…”    It indeed was because of her own word of testimony that He was THAT prophet…the one that everyone had heard about and up to that point were still waiting for His arrival.   Jesus had just now identified Himself to a woman who in the view of her contemporary society, didn’t amount to much in anyone’s eyes.

It is interesting to see how throughout the Gospels, the Lord Jesus interacted with the women of His day in an openly accepting manner, thereby letting these women know that He valued them as people in their own right.  The Creator, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ had originally created both man and woman, creating them as equal beings in His sight, and said, “It is good!”

If you would like to read more about the passages that I covered here in Part Five concerning Biblical women and especially about the Gospel of John 3-4, I have written a book titled, The Holy, The Common and The Despised.  It is available for purchase for $10.00 and you can follow this link to New Covenant Christian Ministries’ website to obtain a copy for yourself.   God Bless.