Hard Time Agreeing with Bible Passages

Hi everyone, I just wanted to talk about two Bible Passages that I am struggling to agree with. I love God and all, but I’m just struggling to understand why He would say such things. These are: Colossians 3:12 and Wisdom 3:16-19.

Colossians 3:12

"Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.

I find this very sexist and degrading to our sisters. It’s like saying that us men are better and higher than women.

And what is the whole thing with God being referred to as a He; as a Father? Isn’t God genderless?
And why was the Messiah chosen to be a male, and not a female?

Wisdom 3:16-19

"But the children of adulterers will remain without issue, and the progeny of an unlawful bed will disappear. For should they attain long life, they will be held in no esteem, and dishonored will their old age be at last; While should they die abruptly, they have no hope nor comfort in the day of scrutiny; for dire is the end of the wicked generation.

This one really gets me. I came from a broken family, a family that was ruined because of my dad’s stupid decision of being unfaithful. To me this is like saying that I have no hope and that I should be judged according to what my dad did even though I did nothing wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I did read the whole context of the chapter, but I still couldn’t find myself to agree with these passages for those particular reasons that I’ve mentioned above.

So yeah, I hope that al of you will be able to help me. I also ask that you all will pray for me. Thanks in advance.

I’m female and Christian, but not Catholic, however I do agree with a lot of Catholic
ways and beliefs.

I agree with the Bible.

I don’t think God has made women inferior in any way, nor do I think the bible implies this, but it can seem so on first glance or reading.

God has chosen to reveal Himself as male, and He. As a woman I find this ok.

I think of the Bible as revealing maleness as source, or first created, as Adam was created first, then Eve was created second, but not second place, not lesser in any way, if you will. When God told Adam Eve was a helpmate, the word help is the same word used when bible text says, my HELP comes from the Lord.

See, ? this is just one small example. woman does not have any lesser anything than man,… if you study the text seeing what was meant in the original language,…Adam and Eve were equal in everyway, however, God gave ‘roles’ to each, job descriptions if you will.

Adam was created first, but this does not mean he is better than Eve in any way.

With God, his choice of ‘HE’ comes from being First There or Source, same as Adam’s he,
sexual gender is something else again,…does God have a ‘sexual’ gender. That is probably a good topic for philosophy but must be found in the text first. smile.

This is a great talk on the male female symbolism in the Church and why it applies to God/Jesus/the priesthood.

youtube.com/watch?v=kgou9QDR4KM

We ought to submit ourselves to the word of God without reservation – as Christians.

I find that I don’t always understand a verse and it takes sometimes years for me to come up with an answer that “turns the light on” so to speak.

For example, when Jesus was at the Jordan River, why did He say that it was necessary for him to be baptized?

There is no easy answer to this and certainly one that comes immediately to mind.What you have to do is to keep those questions in mind and search for an answer.

You’re searching for an answer to these seemingly impossible verses. We must keep in mind what scripture itself says, that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

Another overall consideration is that many things we read in scripture, particularly the Old Testament curses, are meant to be a deterrence to sin. So, the command that a son who disobeys his father and mother is to be put to death, is certainly a lesson in deterrence.

While the epistle says that women are to be subservient to their husbands, it also says that husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loves the Church. How does Christ love the Church? briefly, through service and even to sacrifice to the point of death.

Notice that Paul uses a theological framework for this rule, not a cultural or personal statement. We have to seek the Spirit to understand the Bible who inspired it, so that we might understand it as it was intended.

This verse can be misused only by a husband who is not faithful to God and to all of revelation. And, what kind of husband would a woman want to be subservient to, except one who was so loving and committed to the Lord? What better marriage relationship could there be?

I’m glad you are seriously engaged in discernment and making your faith your own. I will pray that God continues to reveal himself to you more through this process.

The Bible’s true BALANCE of meaning is never apparent just from any one text alone by itself, and usually not fully with just the surrounding context. It is a unique book, divinely inspired and has hundreds of thousands of Truths inside.

It is not the same as a ‘religious’ book, because it says about itself that it is supernatural, being inspired by God Himself into the minds and hearts of people who wrote it down.

This is how you got the wrong meaning from Col 3:12, because it sounded like what the text meant, and plenty of esp. men in our culture get this wrong meaning and think God said it.
They even exploit this meaning.
The original text about male and female from the Genesis, and the teachings of Christians like Paul, seem to suggest that males are ‘above’ females and ‘better than them’.
This is not what this is meaning.

It is God’s universe and He makes the rules and His rules re men and women are this, they are created equal first in natural things and also equal in spiritual things.

However God made a divine order of things, just like he made the sun to shine in our days and the moon to shine in our nights. He had a plan a design, because He is a genius designer. (check out your body for an example of a genius design)

God’s design for the male and female human is according to order, (of appearance, if you will) He made man first, (not better or above) then He created female, to complement and complete the man. She is no less intelligent, not lesser at all, but she is different than he is and she is made to ‘fit together’ with him. They are two parts of one unit, which God made called Holy marriage. Holy marriage is something that God made in Eden for the man and woman, which was lots more than what the animals had, and was a ‘divine house’ if you will for man and woman to live in together, in harmony. Inside this Holy house of marriage, God planned to live with the man and woman.

In the NT teachings, which is after the fall and after Jesus came to restore what was lost in the fall, Apostle Paul gives instructions for how men and women are to relate to each other in the NT church, to honour God with their marriages. Paul is instructing women to ‘subordinate’ themselves.

If they were actually ‘lesser’ beings, Paul would not have to instruct them to ‘subordinate’ themselves, they would just automatically ‘be’ subordinate, because they are ‘lesser’.

Since they are not lesser, Paul has to ‘tell’ them to subordinate. Why? Because this is the divine order that God established.

It has to do with roles and the design of God for how man and woman are supposed to fit together.

Since God is genius, and decided to make man first, (he could have decided to make female first and everything would now be the reverse of what it is, but He didn’t and so this is the desgn we were given)

Man first, and to complement man, an equal and often opposite man(femalesex) to fit together with him, to make a ‘marriage unit’, called Holy Marriage, because God planned to live with man and woman inside this unit called Holy Marriage. (check wedding words for Holy Matrimony, God is involved in this unit, and its design came from Him, it was never man’s plan.)

God’s divine order includes that man is final authority in the family. This is a job description which God holds males to account for. Female’s have authority too but not the final authority, which belongs to the male, him being created first, and becoming the source out of which the female came. (from his rib)

This is God’s divine design for how the family is to work, and God holds males to account for the whole family unit. This does not elevate the man, but it describes his responsibility before God.

NT instructs women to subordinate themselves, (not that they are subordinate, see the diff?) because Paul is reminding them of the Divine plan of order, and that women are to
fit into this plan of God.

Remember I said there is a way to understand the Bible that involves themes and ALL of it together, to understand its topics?

What is written in the ‘wisdom’ verses talks about “sin” and its results, which are
hurtful to human beings. What is said there is not the final result or end of the story.

Thank God Jesus came to repair the damages of sin, for all of us human beings. The bible says we have ALL fallen short of the ‘law’ or the standard of the Goodness of God. Jesus came to repair the breach, and to bring us up out of the hurts and harms that our sin and others’ sin causes us.

That is what the cross is all about. Jesus paid the MAXIMUM penalty for the sin of mankind on the cross, for all of us, sheerly out of His and the Father’s love for us all.

The Bible can be looked at in one simple way, to see that the Old Testament, ‘describes the problem in detail’ of mankind and sin, from Adam and Eve on forward.

The New Testament can be seen as the detailed account of the "solution for the problem in detail.’

The wisdom verse describes the "problem in detail’ with the sin and the results of it, although the BIBLE DOESNT STOP THERE, THANKS BE TO GOD,
Because the NTestament describes what is the answer to that problem of the sin and the result of sin, in the Wisdom passage.

The answer for all kinds and types of sin is for the people who did the sin to repent and stop sinning, and for them to ask forgiveness ffrom God and others they harmed, and for them to go forward into life making better choices in the future. All of the church of Jesus is to forgive those who ask, and to give them the freedom to go forward making choice to hopefully not sin or sin less in future.

This is based on Jesus’ taking the wrath of God for all those who come to receive forgiveness from him,-from Jesus.

Let me start by pointing to the fact that I am not Catholic, because none of this is coming from a Catholic viewpoint.

The Bible was written by men, to men. I have even been told that the Ten Commandments are framed in such gender-specific language that a woman could reasonably argue that she is not covered by them (although I cannot vouch for that because I do not read Hebrew).

There are enough people who agree with you that various gender-neutral Bible translations and liturgies have been produced. I doubt that either is very popular in the Catholic Church, however, given the all-male priesthood.

And why was the Messiah chosen to be a male, and not a female?

That one has some socio-historical cause in that a man was more able to travel, to associate freely with others, and to speak to others than a woman was in that society. In saying that, we are necessarily talking about the instrumental value of gender: it was convenient.

Wisdom 3:16-19
This one really gets me. I came from a broken family, a family that was ruined because of my dad’s stupid decision of being unfaithful. To me this is like saying that I have no hope and that I should be judged according to what my dad did even though I did nothing wrong.

This has come up before, in Ezekiel’s day:
Ezekiel 18:20 - The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

That passage in Wisdom is, I would suggest, more about telling the adulterous that they will not profit from their sin (by having a legacy, which was of great value in Biblical times) than it is about condemning the children themselves. Trust in God to love you for who you are, regardless of anyone else.

The problem with such a reading is that it speaks solely of the children themselves and how wicked and hopeless they are. To say it’s about the adulterers runs counter to what the passage actually says.

I like to think of it like this.

The husband is the head, but the wife is the neck and she can turn the head any direction she wants.

:D:rotfl:

hee hee from the 1Book of Adawgj, married with experience and …experiences.

It does not when you read it in context: the passage is not an isolated comment on the children, but one moment in an extended discourse on the legacies of the righteous and the unrighteous.

2.1-11 - the ungodly imagine that they can do what they want, without fear of reprisal
3.4-9 - the righteous have a reward awaiting them
10 - the ungodly shall be punished
12-13 - this punishment is manifested upon their wives and children
14-15 - even a eunuch (someone bereft of the culturally-prized familial legacy) will be blessed if he is righteous
16-19 - adulterers will not be rewarded with a family
4.1 - virtue is better than children (a counter-cultural claim)
4.3-6 - even if the ungodly have many children, they will not thrive (which was the point of having children)

The children are not a separate topic, but a feature in the ongoing discourse on the punishment of the wicked versus the rewards of the righteous.

Hi, This is only an issue if you think the Bible was spoken by God and not written be people.

Context is not a magic word. It doesn’t turn four straight verses of denegrating children born of adultery and describing their complete lack of worth into a commentary on the adulterers themselves. I agree with you this is not an isloated comment on these children. It’s a full blown attack on these children, a paragraph to make sure there is no doubt how poorly we are to think of them.

The verses in no uncertain terms discuss these children and no one else. To say otherwise would require being willfully blind to the plain meaning of those verses as well as to ignore the basic tenets of language (specifically who is the subject of each sentence).

To follow up on the OP’s original question, how does one address the fact that what is written so clearly states that adulterous offspring are without merit and are to be despised?

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No, it properly locates the four straight verses on children born of adultery as only four forty-ninths, or a mere 8.16%, of a discourse on the fate of the wicked.

It is in that context that the last of those four verses you mention is particularly pertinent: “Hard is the end of the wicked generation”. That generation are the people in view throughout the discourse on wickedness and its results, and the children of the adulterous need not themselves be part of it, because they need not be “wicked”. As the same book goes on to say, God grants opportunity for repentance (12:10), giving the wicked a chance (12:20), granting mercy even to the lowest (6:6), that “Those piously preserving holiness shall be made holy” (6:10), and thus not be the “wicked” described in chapter 3. The plain meaning of the text as a whole is that the wicked have no hope, but the virtuous do even if they were once wicked themselves.

To follow up on the OP’s original question, how does one address the fact that what is written so clearly states that adulterous offspring are without merit and are to be despised?

By reading all of what it says, rather than by taking it out of context.

The percentage of verses regarding adulterously generated offspring does not dilute or negate those verses.

Let’s take the United States Constitution, specifically Article I, Section II, paragraph 3. It explains how much representation each state gets in the House of Representatives and how often a census would be done to adjust the number of seats. There is a brief mention of how non-free persons (excluding non-taxed Native Americans) were worth 3/5 of a free person. It’s a small part of that paragraph, a smaller part of that section, an even smaller part of that article, and barely there when compared to the Constitution as a whole. Yet those few words carried great impact, and still do as a reminder of history. A small percentage of words can mean much, just like those hateful words in Wisdom.

There are few things as inelegant as the Apologists’ Dance. That’s when someone defending the words of the Bible tries to stretch and mould them, to obscure what they say to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say.

Look at those verses in Wisom 3 and how they are structured. It starts with a description of the wise, who the unwise may see them as having died and suffered torments in reality have found peace and immortality. Then in 3:10 it starts with the word “But”. This is common practice in the Bible, where it will describe something that is good or evil for a few verses, then start with but to delineate the opposite. There it talks about those who reject wisdom and how miserable they are. We got to 3:14 where it talks about the eunuch who was good and holy and how he would get his reward. That is follow by another “But”. This “But” differentiates the eunuch from bastard children. It’s a conjunction, a way to compare and contrast two ideas or actions. The eunuch is good and has much to hope for. The children of adulterers are not good and have no hope.

Let’s diagram some sentences!

3:16 But the children of adulterers shall not come to perfection, and the seed of the unlawful bed shall be rooted out.
3:17 And if they live long, they shall be nothing regarded, and their last old age shall be without honour.
3:18 And if they die quickly, they shall have no hope, nor speech of comfort in the day of trial.
3:19 For dreadful are the ends of a wicked race.

Who is the subject of these sentences? Children of adulterers.
Are the adulterers themselves the subjects of these sentence? No.
What is shall? It is a modal verb.
Is shall used to signify possibility or probability like some other modal verbs may, might, or could? No. It signifies a definite future state.

It is in that context that the last of those four verses you mention is particularly pertinent: “Hard is the end of the wicked generation”. That generation are the people in view throughout the discourse on wickedness and its results, and the children of the adulterous need not themselves be part of it, because they need not be “wicked”.

Now we’re getting some weasel words. They “need not be” wicked. The verse indicates that such offspring are wicked, as it is passed down to them from the adulterous act.

As the same book goes on to say, God grants opportunity for repentance (12:10), giving the wicked a chance (12:20), granting mercy even to the lowest (6:6), that “Those piously preserving holiness shall be made holy” (6:10), and thus not be the “wicked” described in chapter 3. The plain meaning of the text as a whole is that the wicked have no hope, but the virtuous do even if they were once wicked themselves.

So by saying that the virtuous who were once wicked have hope are you admitting that offspring of adulterous relationships are wicked? Just by the nature of their conception they are wicked? Isn’t that what the OP was talking about how unconfortable it is to have the Bible tell a person in such a situation that they are defective in the eyes of God? What crime have children born this way committed that God would treat them with such clear and unadulterated scorn?

Plus I love the fact that the supposed actual meaning is completely the opposite of the plain meaning. The words say there is no hope for bastard children, but through the magic of not wanting something to mean something so cruel, the true meaning is that they do have hope. Does the Bible ever mean what it says?

By reading all of what it says, rather than by taking it out of context.

The person who is reading the verses in context is yours truly. I showed how the verses were there to differentiate between the state of a eunuch and that an adulterously-made child. You’re the one doing the Apologists’ Dance.

It does not need to, since context forms the parameters of meaning. Similarly, to “mean much”, Article I, Section II, paragraph 3 of your constitution requires the context of the whole of that constitution and the legal framework within which it exists. If you want to take verses out of context, you can make a text appear to say all manner of things, but the text is not the one saying them.

those hateful words

That is what we call polemic, and it is never a good sign for the interpretation of a text.

Look at those verses in Wisom 3 and how they are structured.

As previously mentioned, this involves abstracting them from their context, doing which will “obscure what they say to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”. As unwise as decontextualisation is for textual analysis, the tactic is far from unusual in polemics.

The primary context of the last four verses of Wisdom 3 is not only that chapter, but that book, not least because the chapter and verse designations did not exist when the text was written, nor for at least twelve centuries thereafter. For the moment, we may leave aside the wider contexts of Wisdom Literature, the Bible, Hebrew Religious Literature, and Religious literature generally.

What is shall? It is a modal verb.
Is shall used to signify possibility or probability like some other modal verbs may, might, or could? No. It signifies a definite future state.

Actually, no, it does not: modal verbs are so called because they express the “Mode of Possibility”, not certainty. English uses modal verbs to express the future because it is generally not definite (as well as the periphrastic progressive when it is the expected result of the present, and the present simple when it is a scheduled event). While “shall” is stronger than “will”, it is weaker than “is”.

Now we’re getting some weasel words. They “need not be” wicked.

At this point, the polemic has moved to misrepresentation. That statement is clear, direct, and means precisely what it says: the text does not assert that it is necessary for the children of adulterers to remain part of the “unjust generation” and to suffer the fate of that latter group, the group upon whom most of the first half of the text focuses. They need not be wicked; they have a choice.

The verse indicates that such offspring are wicked, as it is passed down to them from the adulterous act.

Actually, no, they do not. The only reference to wickedness there is in v.19, which refers to the “unjust generation”. The text asserts nothing about this wickedness being transferred or inherited. At this point, the misrepresentation has progressed to inserting ideas not present in the material, “to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”.

So by saying that the virtuous who were once wicked have hope are you admitting that offspring of adulterous relationships are wicked?

No. The text describes an “unjust generation”, and it describes their fate, but then it also describes an alternative fate for those who choose another way of life.

Just by the nature of their conception they are wicked?

The text does not say that.

I am surprised that you are finding it so difficult to read, but I will simplify it for you:

  1. ‘If the bad people have kids in The Wrong Way™, the kids will not benefit the bad people.’
  2. ‘The bad people will end badly.’
  3. ‘The bad people can choose to be good.’
  4. ‘If they choose to be good, they will not be bad people.’

Naturally, if the condition of #4 is met, then they will not meet the criteria for #2.

In the plain and simple sense of the expressions used, 12:10, 12:20, 6:6, and 6:10 state that the horrible end is not the necessary fate of the children of adulterers.

As for why they need to be good, that is a duty which Wisdom, like the rest of the Bible, imposes upon everyone.

Does the Bible ever mean what it says?

What a text means is a question of more complexity than we have room to discuss, as demonstrated by the fact that people have been debating precisely that question about the Iliad for at least 2300 years.

What the Bible says, on the other hand, is what it says, but only when the whole message is read, and not when one abstracts verses from their context “to stretch and mould them, to obscure what they say to make it seem as though they don’t say what they really say”.

You’re the one doing the Apologists’ Dance.

And now the polemic has devolved into a personal attack! I wish that I could say that that was surprising, but it was not.

Discuss the topic in a polite manner, or discuss it with someone else.

I think you have to read Colosians in the context of:

Acts 20:35 - In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Galatians 5:13-14 - For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

John 13:12-14 - When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

Mark 10:44-45 - And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Matthew 20:28 - Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Philippians 2:1-11 - So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Mark 9:35 - And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Proverbs 11:25 - Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Matthew 23:11 - The greatest among you shall be your servant.

Your comments suggest to me that youy agree with Wisdom. Adulters do harm to their families; in their selfish pursuits they hurt those to whom they have the greatest responsibility.

Thanks for all of your help, I really appreciate it :slight_smile: I’ve learned so much from this discussion and it truly helped me overcome my disagreement. I know that there will be many more instances when I will find it hard to agree on something that The Bible says, but I have faith that God will provide no matter what.

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