Social Question

whitecarnations's avatar

Christians: How do you personally disregard Colossians 3:22 or Ephesians 6:5?

Asked by whitecarnations (1635 points ) April 7th, 2012

I’m just curious as to ones approach towards these particular entries within the Bible. Are they directed only to the Colossians or Ephesians? Or are they supposed to be looked upon as general acceptance?

Better yet, is following the 1st Testament even plausible in your own opinion? Or do you disregard it and practice only the 2nd Testament?
Or perhaps it is stating that as a Christian we are slave to the world? What is your perspective?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

Aethelflaed's avatar

Aren’t both Colossians and Ephesians in the New, not Old, Testament?

fundevogel's avatar

For the sake of convenience:

“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.” Colossians 3:22

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;” Ephesians 6:5

SavoirFaire's avatar

Just so we know what we’re talking about:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (Colossians 3:22)

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. (Ephesians 6:5)

As the question is asked, we are supposed to look at these verses on their own (that is, out of context). Reading them together, however, one might be argue that they are supposed to be about humility and sincerity. If you are going to do something, do it with all of your heart. Do not act simply for gain.

Putting the verses in context, on the other hand, one might look at the whole of Colossians 3 or Ephesians 6. Consider the following passage, for instance, which comes shortly after one of the verses with which this question is concerned:

And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. (Ephesians 6:9)

If we look at the chapters in whole, they are clearly about duties that we all have to one another. They tell people that their earthly stations are temporary, and that they had better fulfill them with humility and in full knowledge that they will be judged in light of what they made of the lot they were given in life. The passages do not denounce slavery, and we may very well find that a failing of these letters (or of their author, Paul). Still, we should not pretend that these passages are endorsements of slavery either.

We might think that these pronouncements about the proper relationships that members of a household have to one another are outdated, and I certainly would agree, but that is a slightly different issue. We might also be horrified that Paul was content to treat slavery as just a fact of life without commenting upon its moral indefensibility. I’m not here to say that these are not legitimate reactions. It is entirely possible to read these passages as being about personal virtue and integrity, however, and not as commitments to the continuation of a particular status quo.

I am not a Christian, of course, and I cannot speak for Christianity. I am simply giving what I think is one possible way of explaining these passages. It is also worth noting, as @Aethelflaed has already, that Colossians and Ephesians are both in the New Testament.

Judi's avatar

I don’t disregard it. It’s about attitude in whatever circumstance you’re in.
Regardless of the culture, political climate, or social status you find yourself in, you should be humble, hardworking and respectful, even if people with power over you don’t deserve it.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Judi

Excellent answer!

DrBill's avatar

My slaves have always been very respectful, but I also treat them with respect.

bkcunningham's avatar

Slave isn’t PC. The correct word is child.

basstrom188's avatar

The Bible approves of slavery look at the Old Testament especially Leviticus 25: 44–46, Exodus 21: 2–11 and Genesis 9:20–27 the “justification” for the Atlantic slave trade. Best avoid the Bible “methinks”.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@basstrom188 Which is why many Christians will emphasize the notion of a New Covenant, and will point to the ways in which Jesus clarified and completed what was known of the law and the prophets. They will say that Jesus’ teachings give a context through which the law and the prophets must be understood. Thus the law remains the same, but our understanding of it changes.

I’m not saying that this point rules out all possible moral objections to the Bible or Christianity, but it is something to be taken into account when formulating those objections. The principle of charity enjoins us to consider only the strongest interpretation of our interlocutor’s position, after all, and an argument is only as good as its ability to resist the most astute responses that might be given to it.

TexasDude's avatar

@basstrom188, the Bible also happened to be the driving force behind most of the active abolition groups in the United States preceding the Civil War. It’s all about exegesis.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther