This Sunday we’ll continue our study in Ephesians, covering a section that has become rather controversial in our contemporary culture. We’ll be reading chs 5:21-6:9, a section where Paul appears to discuss the structure of a familial household.
I’m not going to get into this subject too much in this post – but I will say that I consider it really, really important to approach this text without a lot of preconceived ideas of what he’s talking about – at least as much as we’re able. I’ve said before that we have a bad tendency in the Church to impose modern worldviews over these ancient texts and doing so has led us to some strange and unfortunate places.
This section of scripture has been weaponized by some, demonized by others and dismissed more often than not. Our goal in this study will be to get as deep into this text as possible, and to do our best to read it with its historic and cultural context in view. I have been truly surprised in my own study of this passage to find that Paul isn’t always saying what I and many others have assumed he’s saying.
I’ll leave it to you to ponder that implication – but as you read this section, pay attention to how it makes you feel. What words or commands stand out to you? What, if anything, do you find difficult to see replicated in your own relationships? Are there elements you find offensive, and if so, what and why?
I would dare to suggest that all of us should be puzzled and offended by the last part of the section in ch 6. What do we make of the New Testament’s words about slavery? How can we reconcile the larger revelations of the Gospel with the words we read here?
Those will be some of our talking points on Sunday. I hope you can join us for what I hope will be a serious look at a complicated passage of Scripture.