Main Verse: Colossians 3:17-25
Key Thought: The First Century Home was ruled by the Husband/Father. Everyone and everything was geared to serve his needs. In most parts of the Roman empire, fathers could terminate the life of any family member with little to no legal recourse. This was also true for household servants. Paul’s words here are a dramatic departure from this norm. He views everyone in the home as connected to the rule of Christ. And Christ affects the way we treat people inside our houses. And thus, impacts our identity.
What was marriage like in the first century?
Soranus of Ephesus
“Since women are married for the sake of bearing children and heirs, and not for pleasure and enjoyment, it is totally absurd to inquire about the rank of the family line but not inquire about their ability to conceive children.”
Paul Veyne, Professor at Cambridge,
“love in marriage was a stroke of good fortune; it was not the basis of the institution.”
Jakub Jasiński, Blogger/Historian,
“Marriage in ancient Rome was considered to be a duty whose main aim was to provide new citizens. Affection between two young people did not bond their relationship. Fathers’ political estimates, hopes to get rich or to upgrade their social status were the only things that mattered. Such relationships were very often simple deals focused on procreation.”
Contrast the prevalent first-century notion of marriage with Paul’s words.
- Paul cites Jesus as the central figure in all that we do (3:17)
- God speaks to wives (3:18)
- Wives are listed first because they are the priority.
- The verb submit is written in the middle voice meaning
- this is a personal choice,
- this is not obedience
- this is conditioned by the Lord
- God speaks to husbands (3:19)
- Love (Not romantic love)
- Caring and supportive
- Not harsh
- This forbids intimidation, tyranny, petulance
- God speaks to children (3:20)
- Obey mom and dad (in everything)
- Parents- you have God-given authority to lead and discipline your child.
- This pleases the Lord (Children and teens can have a vibrant life with Jesus)
- And, one more thing for dads (3:21)
- Don’t embitter
- Why- they will become discouraged
Know the following:
- God cares for families
- God cares for each person in the family
- Your treatment of your family is a primary expression of your devotion to Christ