Biblical Interpretation, also called Hermeneutics is the process of rightly interpreting the Scripture. As we read the Bible, we must read it “in context”.
Who wrote the passage? To whom was it written? Why was it written? When was it written? What does the passage say in the original language? What does the Bible say directly before the passage and after the passage? What genre is the passage? (Is it historical, poetic, prophetic, Gospel, Theological) What does it mean?
You see, we are reading the passage a great distance from it’s contextual setting:
- Distance of time- it was finished being written 1900 years ago
- Distance of culture- it was written in a primarily agricultural culture, heavily Jewish culture, Greek culture
- Distance of geography- have you been to Israel, Greece, Asia Minor?
- Distance of language- do you speak Hebrew, Greece, Aramaic
Isaiah 55:12 NIV
“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands”
Main Point: In every healthy relationship, there is mutual submission and mutual sacrifice
Ephesians 5:18-21 ESV
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
- Who is Paul talking about when he says “address one another in psalms and hymns” and when he says “submit to one another out of reverence?”
- Being filled with the fruit of the Spirit means to allow the Spirit to affect your relationships
- “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ”
- All relationships in our life require ‘mutual submission’
- Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control are all the fruit of the Spirit and should be the fruit of our relationships
- It is a voluntary yielding, not a controlling demand…in marriage
Ephesians 5:22-34 ESV
“Wives, (submit) to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should (submit) in everything to their husbands.
- Submission: wives give yourself “in the totality of your being” to your husbands
- The culture of the time, women had very little rights, no purchasing rights and men domineered over women…wives were more like property. So, Paul telling wives to submit to their husbands was not a ‘necessary cultural teaching’ because it existed…the more radical statement is one that says, “submit to one another” and husbands’ sacrifice
- The more radical statement is of “mutual submission”
- Husbands submit to wives and wives submit to husbands
- Husbands submit through sacrifice (imagery of the cross)
Ephesians 5:25-29 ESV
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
- Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
- This is a husband’s submission in the form of sacrifice
- Husbands are called to ‘give themselves up for their wives’
- Here is the effect of reciprocal submission through sacrifice: it’s one of the most powerful statements about marriage-
- “That He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”
- Mutual submission is marriage- each person functioning effectively in their area of authority
Conclusion: Mutual submission requires mutual effort to live in harmony. If more husbands would sacrifice in submission, more women would find submission a joyous act.
Homework: Find a familiar passage of Scripture and study it using blueletterbible.org. See if your interpretation changes.