Ephesians 4:32-5:2 (NRSV)
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
The very first verse I learned from Ephesians was Ephesians 4:32, from the Jesus Alphabet that my mother taught. The second verse I learned from it came at a Christian camp for teens, as a teenager, Ephesians 6:5-9. The camp counselor, a white, 20-something male and Wesleyan-leaning evangelical, taught us that these passages about slavery had new meaning for today: presto-chango this was a command from God to not join unions when you go to work, to not complain or strike and to do everything that your boss told you to do. At the time, I was quite impressionable, and I never questioned interpretation.
My question today is: why is there such a practice in Christianity that separates (arbitrarily I would say) Paul’s atonement theology from the Christian life. And why in the world in my copy of the NIV 1984 is Ephesians separated into 2, from verses 1-21 and 22-33, while my beloved NRSV has 1-20, and 21-33? Anyone ever think about that? Does verse 21 say something offensive? Oh, BE SUBJECT TO ONE ANOTHER OUT OF REVERENCE FOR THE MESSIAH. But for persons who adhere to the non-gospel of the Gospel Coalition, submission is a one way street, right J K Gayle? Suzanne, do I hear a second?
I may get into the Greek later this week, but for now I leave you with the reception of submission, no not the dictionary definition which excludes the biblical and theological context, but with this quote by Mike Huckabee,
“Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who as an ordained Southern Baptist minister knows a few things about the Bible, explained it to me this way: “This is not about a woman being a doormat. It’s about mutual, reciprocal, selfless, sacrificial love.”