Misunderstood Verses.1

secondjourney1

Galatians 3:28

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Like every verse in the bible, it is often impossible to infer the true meaning or intent of the words without looking at the verses before and after it. Oftentimes by taking one verse, or one sentence, from a larger work, you can infer drastically different ideas than what the author intended. Furthermore, even taking the entire work into consideration is sometimes not enough, there are often external factors that contribute to your understanding of a piece of literature. Let me give an example of what I mean. Below is an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’s “The Abolition of Man”

“In another little book, whose author I will call Orbilius, I find that the same operation, under the same general anaesthetic, is being carried out. Orbilius chooses for ‘debunking’ a silly bit of writing on horses, where these animals are praised as the ‘willing servants’ of the early colonists in Australia. And he falls into the same trap as Gaius and Titius. Of Ruksh and Sleipnir and the weeping horses of Achilles and the war-horse in the Book of Job—nay even of Brer Rabbit and of Peter Rabbit—of man’s prehistoric piety to ‘our brother the ox’—of all that this semi-anthropomorphic treatment of beasts has meant in human history and of the literature where it finds noble or piquant expression—he has not a word to say.”

If we took one sentence out of this, say this one, “Orbilius chooses for ‘debunking’ a silly bit of writing on horses, where these animals are praised as the ‘willing servants’ of the early colonists in Australia.” We may take from this sentence that the writing that Orbilius is ‘debunking’, C.S. Lewis in fact thinks is useless, stupid, or to use his own word silly, and that he agrees with Orbilius. In fact if you look at that sentence in context, what Lewis is trying to get at is something entirely different, in fact, he is defending the “silly bit of writing.” Even if you look at the whole excerpt, if you don’t know who Ruksh or Sleipnir are, then some of the meaning is lost to you.

A book that was written by 40 different people spanning 1500 years is in many ways complicated. Taking one verse out of context is foolish, even one chapter or one book cannot be looked at alone. Let’s look at some of the verses before and after Galatians 3:28

23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So right away there is context missing. Who is he talking to, what is baptized, who is Christ Jesus, who is Abraham, heirs to what? Obviously, if you are a person born and raised in a western country you can answer some of these questions, but that is only because you have been taught those answers from other sources, you have a larger context to pull from. Okay, enough about context, now let’s talk about the verse itself.

At first reading it is generally apparent that what is being said is that although we are different, different race, different status, different sexes, we are all one in Christ, we are all on the same team. This is apparent because it is generally understood among regular people that there are different races and sexes, but in our current equality obsessed society, as silly as it seems, this has been twisted , and many people take this verse to mean that there are literally no differences among the races or among the sexes. Some may try to dodge this by saying that there are no differences “in Gods eyes”, but this isn’t really any different practically. This interpretation is difficult to maintain (including the “in God’s eyes” one), not just with what your senses and experience tells you, but with other verses of the bible. There are many verses that speak specifically to jews, or gentiles, or greeks, or slaves, or men, or women, that would not make any sense if there were no differences among them. If we were all the same “in God’s eyes” why would he give specific instruction? Why would there be a need for Paul to write different letters to the different peoples? In fact the very verse itself, by listing them, speaks of their differences. One would never say, “There is neither apple nor apple, carrot nor carrot, steak nor steak, but you are all food.” What one would say is, “ There is neither apple nor orange, carrot nor potato, steak nor chicken, but you are all food.” The very fact that the different groups are listed is admitting that they are different.

Now we must address what “one in Christ” means. Let’s imagine for a moment a ship leaving port, the captain is standing among his men on the deck, he addresses them so, “Men, we are going on a treacherous voyage, there will be many hazards and much risk, there will be pirates. I want you to know that on this ship, there is neither chief engineer nor oiler, neither first mate nor deckhand, but we are all one.” It is very clear what he is trying to say, that although they are different, they are all working together towards a common goal on a common team. Are they still different, yes. Are there still different rules and expectations from each of them, yes.

I am a white American Christian male. I am one in Christ with a black Nigerian Christian female. We are both working together to spread the gospel, we will both be in heaven. This fact does not mean that we should live in the same house, or the same country.  This fact does not mean that we should have the same type of job, or house, or car, or freedoms, or wealth, or opportunities. This perverted quest for equality that modern western man has embarked on is not godly, it is not biblical. There are a great many people on this earth, and there is a great amount of inequality. There is no biblical support whatsoever for the idea that it should be in any way our job, or our mission, to eliminate or reduce this inequality. Like anything that you put before God, you will find yourself worshipping it, instead of the one true living God.

 

 

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