I only just recently heard that Genesis 3:16 is being used to justify domestic abuse. The thinking is: “She was trying to dominate me, so I had to rule over her.” I have a hard time fathoming the Satanic influence of this line of reasoning.Bad exegesis ALWAYS has bad consequences. Here are some things that I have learned in the last 24 hours:
1. If you are a pastor, you are responsible for what you teach. Quit simply following the experts, dig out your old Hebrew tools, and look at what the words actually say, rather than what an expert says that an expert says. God will hold YOU accountable. Prayerfully exegete your own texts.
2. Pastors, our business is in words. God has entrusted to us the most sacred obligation – the use of words to build his kingdom. It is your duty to learn how words work and use them in a way befitting our Great King, the Word of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. We are held accountable by God for how we use our words. If you do not have a rudimentary knowledge of linguistics, I would strongly recommend two books by Moises Silva Biblical Words and their Meanings; and God, Language and Scripture. Order and read the second one first.
3. Some ideas are so entrenched that they can’t be blasted out with any kind of reasoning.
4. “This must be right because celebrity pastor … says so” is horrible hermeneutics. Even John Calvin was wrong at times.
5. Something is desperately wrong with the state of the church when the phrase, “Your desire shall be toward your husband, but he shall rule over you” is interpreted to mean, “If my wife tries to manipulate me, I have the right to smack her down.”
6. The last thing that I learned is that all of that talk about the “others” coming to persecute us – the state, the gay lobby, the feminists (gasp) – is wrong. Persecution comes out of the house of God. It wasn’t Rome that Jesus warned his disciples of. It was the synagogue. When I hear the stories of what the powerful celebrity preachers do to those who question them, I become agitated and sad and angry. And it makes me feel helpless.
To every faithful pastor – don’t be intimidated by their threats; do your own exegesis; don’t be mesmerized by their “expert exegesis”. It really isn’t that good.
Don’t be afraid to speak what God speaks in his word, no matter what the world of the mega-conference says.
17 responses to “Odds and ends”
Thanks for sharing. My husband was listening to a talk show just this morning. A local deacon was sharing marriage tips. He said the secret to a long marriage is the wife having a lot of friends. He did not offer an explanation on this, but it left me and my husband confused. Especially since he did not offer anything Biblical to back this up. Very true how what we teach can have a damaging outcome.
Reblogged this on Shepherd/Guardian.
Thanks for addressing the ESV update. In the past, I have heard the teaching that influenced the interpretive decision for Gen. 3:16, and it’s helpful to have some thought-provoking dialogue concerning it.
What do you recommend for those of us lay folks who are trying to be like the Bereans since every Bible translation is going to have some interpretive issues like this? Do you recommend the two resources above for the lay reader as well?
Thanks for sharing!
For those reading this thread and wanting more info about how Genesis 3:16 is being used to empower domestic abusers, I suggest you read this:
What is the woman’s desire? And how Susan Foh’s interpretation of Genesis 3:16 fed steroids to abusers.
“Bad exegesis ALWAYS has bad consequences.”
“Some ideas are so entrenched that they can’t be blasted out with any kind of reasoning.”
“All of that talk about the “others” coming to persecute us – the state, the gay lobby, the feminists – is wrong. Persecution comes out of the house of God.”
“When I hear the stories of what the powerful celebrity preachers do to those who question them, I become agitated and sad and angry. And it makes me feel helpless.”
“Don’t be intimidated by their threats”
I’m having a hard time deciding which of these are the best things to tweet to share this post. I think I’ll tweet them all.
THANK YOU Pastor Sam!
Thanks! When I have time I’ll try to figure out how to twitter…I should probably get with the times.
why not ask a young student or church member to set up your twitter acccount for you? It’s pretty easy to do, but I understand the reluctance to do something new in the technosphere… I share that reluctance. I finally drag myself into a new tech skill, after having kicked against the idea for months or years…
Some twitter hash tags I encourage you to use if you are on Twitter.
Awesome article! The gift of “anguish and righteous indignation” is so void in our 21st century pastorship and churches!
The gift of “anguish and righteous indignation” is so void in our 21st century pastorship and churches!
Christianity Today have called the ESV’s changes of Genesis “a slightly more complementarian reading.”
Christianity Today is displaying as much anguish and righteous indignation as an anemic sloth.
And before anyone starts attacking me for being too sarcastic or mocking, let us all remember that the apostles used sarcasm and mockery when they were confronting false teachers. And Jesus said the church of Laodicea made him want to vomit.
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Hi Sam, I’m going to reblog some of this, but can I check something first.
“This can’t be right because celebrity pastor … says so” is horrible hermeneutics.
Did you mean “This must be right because celebrity pastor … says so” ?
Or did you mean “This can’t be right because celebrity pastor … says it’s not true.” ?
I’m in the middle of teaching right now. I will try to clarify my English when I get home. Thank you for your patience
Thanks. I think it’s fixed now.
Good! thanks Sam 🙂
Thank you for pointing out the importance of the study of the original languages. A thorough knowledge of at least Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Greek is indispensable for the ministry.
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