Tomorrow I will post part six of the marriage series. Here are some highlights from previous weeks
Week One: An Introduction
1. We are commanded to be discerning. 2. Discernment is a sign of spiritual maturity. 3. Discernment is damaged when leaders compromise, or when error is taught as truth. I John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. Christian marriage is in trouble, in spite of an excess of books, tapes, seminars, radio programs and sermons about marriage. We must learn to listen to the Word of God, and to the Holy Spirit. We must discern false teaching when we hear it, even if it is from a famous or well-meaning book, article, preacher or teacher! We will look at what scripture actually says instead of what we have been taught it says. We will allow God to renew our minds, our marriages, our attitudes. We will invite the Holy Spirit to be part of the process and lead us into truth. We will look for biblical principles—truths that stand in any time, any place, any culture. And we will use good hermeneutics (tools for interpreting scripture)—putting things in context, considering the culture and customs of the time, thinking about what it meant to the original hearers, not making a major point from an obscure passage, remembering other scripture, not putting social norms above biblical truth, and remembering the Bible was not written in English!
Week Two: What is Marriage?
1. Traditional teaching about marriage is not as firmly founded on the Bible as many believe.
2. We have expectations that are completely unrealistic.
3. We have allowed others to tell us “How it Ought to Be.”
Pat Gundry notes that marriage is like a kaleidoscope. With a few simple ingredients it is ever changing, showing new facets of each other and the pleasure of working and living and loving as a team. A marriage can be whatever you want it to be. It can become better and better. It can change as a husband and wife learn and grow and change. Whatever else marriage may be, it is always a relationship. Your marriage is your very own. It belongs to no one else.
Week Three: Back to the Garden
We found out that there are two creation accounts in Genesis. The first was an overview, and the second added specifics. There was no suggestion of a hierarchy or a chain of command in God’s original plan. We also discovered that there is no such word as “helpmeet” or “helpmate.” Instead, we learned that the woman is made to be the man’s EZER KENEGDO, a suitable help --“one who is the same as the other and who surrounds, protects, aids, helps, supports.”
Week Four: Weeds in the Garden
We saw how sin entered and spoiled God’s beautiful creation. Shame, fear, pain and suffering, damaged relationships, toil just to survive, separation, rebellion, and death entered the world. We asked ourselves some key questions:
Do we seek to perpetuate the bad things that happened because of sin?
Do we refuse to use weed killer?
Do we refuse to find labor-saving devices or ways to make work easier?
Do we refuse to use scientific discoveries to alleviate pain and sickness and death?
Do we call it “God’s plan” when relationships are broken or we blame each other or live in pride and rebellion against God?
So why do we say that this one verse “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you“ is God’s “divine order for marriage?” We learned that because of sin, the serpent and the earth were cursed. We learned that man would seek to dominate woman, and woman would turn to man in unhealthy ways. But we remember that God promised that the “seed of the woman” (the coming Messiah) would defeat the serpent (Satan and Spiritual Darkness)!
Week Five: Marriage in Grace
Next we thought about the contrast between what sin brought to the world and what grace through Jesus Christ brought us. We looked at Ephesians 5 and saw that we must live a new kind of life—a life “filled with the Spirit.” And we found out that everyone is told to “submit,” not just wives! “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ….” Eph. 5:21 This “mutual submission” is how we relate to one another in a Spirit-filled way! We also found out that in the original letter from Paul to the Ephesians, written in Greek not English, verse 21 and 22 are not separate paragraphs or even separate sentences! They are one sentence. “Submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ, wives to your own husbands as to the Lord.” The verses following correct errors and give us specific ways that we work out this mutual submission in our lives. They are about attitude. Every time you hear someone teach verse 22, I want you to think, “What about the first half of the sentence in verse 21?”
Tomorrow I'll post week six. Next week I'll be doing something else, so there will be no post in this series, but I'll come back on the first Sunday in November as my husband and I finish up with some practical and biblical advice of how a marriage of mutual submission might work.