St Paul on Equality

A friend shared this on Facebook. As I looked from left to right and came to rest on human and I couldn’t help but think “yeah that’s it”. The only identity that matters is that of being a human being and we should treat one another as so. We should be blind to these other identities that allow us to treat one another differently and purely see the human, the person, in front of us to treat all as equals. As I thought about our identity being reduced to same thing for everyone, I thought of  Paul writing in Galatians:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,  for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

For Paul the Kingdom of God is about loosing these differences that divide us, that separate us from one another. As we bring and become the kingdom these identities are no longer important, we are able to be one in Christ. As we become a person of the kingdom of God we no longer see these worldly identities when dealing with people we see a brother, a sister, someone who matters and whom God loves.

If there is neither male nor female then how can there be a male or a female minister/priest/bishop there can only be a minister/priest/bishop whom God has called, their gender is immaterial. When we no longer see male or female but purely people to be loved how can there be right and wrong relationships, surely there are just relationships between human beings that love one another.

I am not saying that our identities as people are not important and shouldn’t be respected – because they are and should be. But I am saying that as we meet and interact with people if we are being Godly we only see a person whom God loves standing in front of us and not their worldly identities.


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5 responses to “St Paul on Equality”

  1. Cai says :

    For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
    As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
    (1 Corinthians 14:33-35 ESV)

    • James says :

      Yes Paul does write this. But it is important when reading the Bible, particularly for study, that we consider who to whom, when, why and in what language. The context is important to understand what is being said.

      My understanding of this passage is that for the particular people that Paul is writing to the women are not educate and as such there is confusion but not peace within the church, which is model of the kingdom that Paul opens with here. And as such this isn’t necessarily the perfect model but the best model for the place that Paul is writing to, to help there be peace rather then confusion.

      It is interesting that you have chosen a translation that attaches “as in all the churches of the saints” to “women should keep silent” as there is a mix in the different translations between this and attaching it to “God is mot a God of Confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints”. This slight variation in translation, which the translators do not seem to be able to agree on, changed the meaning drastically.

      Now that females are educated, and let’s not forget that they out perform boys in schools, they are not causing confusion in church but are part of the kingdomly peace that Paul is saying we need to model.

  2. Ben Martin - Questioning Evangelical says :

    I love that image!

    Great post, it is interesting to note that there were no egalitarians that I know of amongst the ESV translators. Infact the ESV was written specifically in order to be a more ‘conservative’ translation so there was an agenda in their translation that wasn’t just accuracy to the original languages.

    The context of passages such as the Corinthians one and the bits in the letters to Timothy need to be taken into account and very often they aren’t (hence the fact that virtually all church denominations will not demand the women wear head coverings any more because they have contextualised the passage and recognised why that happened).

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