Friday, March 27, 2009

Breathing again

I just finished my exegetical paper on Philemon. It seems strange to write 4500+ words on a book that has only 355 words in its original Greek language. But that is the joy of seminary.

I love Philemon. It's a fascinating story about a runaway slave, the Apostle Paul, the slave's master and Paul's attempt to get Philemon, the slave master, to take back Onesimus, his slave and cancel the debt. It is applied Christian ethics in a nutshell, and the background of slavery appeals to my love of history. I encourage you to read Philemon when you have time.

Here is my concluding paragraph from the paper:
Paul’s intimate and extraordinary letter to Philemon allows us to glimpse the view of the kingdom of God that Paul held. In this kingdom, we are called to forgive as we are forgiven, and there is no distinction based on gender, class, slave or free. Just as we have been set free from spiritual bondage, Paul is asking Philemon to free Onesimus from his physical bonds, and to do it in the Lord so that the church may benefit. Paul is not making a political statement and attacking the institution of slavery outright. Rather, he is counseling a believer on how to handle a former slave who is now a brother in Christ. And he is implying that the “proper” thing to do is to set Onesimus free so that he can minister to Paul. It is an extraordinary request from an extraordinary man. And we benefit by having it available to us.

If you want to have a little fun with hermeneutics, then go here. (thanks Signe for the tip)

1 comment:

john rister said...

I am getting ready to start on mine Jonah 3:1-10. It should be interesting. It is my last one for Bible College.