In the second half of chapter two, and in chapter three, Peter deals with the idea of submission, and in three areas, submission to government in verses 13-17, submission to masters in verses 18-20, and submission in our marriages, beginning in chapter 3. In today’s passage, Peter addresses the second area.
This passage can lead to some confusion in our society, because Peter is talking about masters and slaves. Some of the modern translations attempt to resolve this by making it to be “servants” or “workers,” but this isn’t really the point of this passage. Such efforts weaken the meaning of the text, although the principle certainly applies. That said, the Greek word doulos can mean “servant,” but that is an infrequent use in the Bible. The meaning of the word the majority of the time is “slave.”
In the time of Peter and his initial readers, the circumstances of slavery varied enormously. While one slave may be treated with something like equality by his master, another may have much worse circumstances, and a much harder life. Many were in slavery because they were born that way, others were enslaved because of war, or because of debt. Some slaves were owned by individuals, working in a home or on a farm, others were public slaves, working in the civic arena, or even in temples to pagan gods.
The New Testament in general is focused on improving the life and circumstances of slaves, and in many cases encourages slaves to earn their freedom if possible (manumission). And if the master was a believer, such as in Paul’s letter to Philemon about the slave Onisimus, the slave faced the likelihood of a better life. But Peter is writing to people who are newly Christians, or who are living in very pagan areas influenced by Greek culture. Most of the slave owners here were probably not believers.
In this age, telling the truth is tough business and not for the fainthearted.
As I review this month’s top posts, I’m listening to Christmas music. I have a hard and fast rule that I don’t begin Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. At that point, it is pretty much on all the time until Christmas arrives. And I love every minute of it. The Christmas season is the part of the year I love the most.
With the season being so hectic, though, I find that I have less time to spend writing. That’s always the case in December, and I always feel a sense of frustration that I am unable to maintain the schedule I want. On the other hand, I know my time is needed elsewhere. And that is okay.
Here is a brief rundown of some of the things that November and December hold for us. From Thanksgiving to Christmas, our church holds a Thanksgiving service, hosts a community concert, goes Christmas caroling in our community, presents a children’s Christmas program, and a Christmas Eve candlelight service. That’s on top of our normal services and programs. And this year’s Christmas series is called Birth Of A King, where we look at each of the nativity accounts in detail.
As a family, after Thanksgiving Day activities are over, we decorate the house for Christmas, celebrate the season with an Advent Night every week, and enjoy several Christmas parties. It’s a very busy season. And when you add the kids’ school activities and sports on top of it all, it makes for a crazy month. And yet, it remains my favorite time of the year.
Northern Europe is one of the places I want to visit someday. Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Finland… These places have always fascinated me. This timelapse video of the western coast of Norway is stunning in its beauty, and creates a longing in me to go see some of this in person. One day, I hope to. In the meantime, fullscreen this and enjoy.
Teaching people to become like Jesus, outside of the power of Jesus, dishonors Jesus.
On this day in history: In 1783, the first successful flight was made in a hot air balloon. The pilots, Francois Pilatre de Rosier and Francois Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, flew for 25 minutes and 5½ miles over Paris. In 1871, M. F. Galethe patented the cigar lighter. And in 1877, Thomas A. Edison announced the invention of his phonograph.
The Secret Anti-Counterfeit Symbol – Did you know that there is a feature to legal currency that makes it impossible to copy it on a photocopier? After watching this, I had to try. It’s true. The video will explain it all.