The Primary Christian Texts - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Term paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1344 Words
Date:  2021-06-09

According to the primary texts in Ephesians 5:22-33, wives are requested to obey and respect their husbands because the husband is the head of the Church. They should also subject into everything their husbands put across. In fact, it is said that man will leave his mother and father and join with his wife to become one flesh. Servants are also asked to be submissive to their masters; both the overbearing and the kind and gentle. When a person who is mindful of God endure unjust suffering and pain, thus, one can do right and still suffer if he is approved of God. Thus, one should follow in Christs example where even when found guilty of a crime he had not committed, he suffered without threatening the propagators of these vicious acts but rather trusted in God.

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According to 1Peter 2:18-3:7, Christians are encouraged to be beings of internal chastity and purity instead of outward adorning with gold or wearing of fine clothing. Women were encouraged to follow the ways of Sarah who was submissive to Abraham and they could adorn themselves as long as are still submissive to their husbands. Wives should be submissive to their husbands so that even when some husbands who do not honor or obey Gods word can be won into salvation by their wives character. Husbands are also expected to love their wives similar to Christs love for the church bestowing honor on the women as the weaker sex as both the husband and the wife are heirs of Gods grace.

In the context of these two readings, the repeated words are that wives should be submissive to their husbands similarly to Christ being the head of the church; the husband is the head of the household in both texts. Husbands should respect the wives as the weaker sex. The tone of these texts is optimistic because it expresses the hope of Christians towards self-sacrifice to live according to the ways of Christ both religiously and in terms of households, by following the word of God.

The Powell Material

The historical overview of this text is that was written by Peter, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus. It was sent to Christians in the Asia Minor from Rome. Peter was revered as the most distinctive of Jesus disciples in the post-Easter church. It is in fact mentioned that God appeared to him on a specific circumstance (1 Cor 15:5), additionally, according to Paul, Peter is the pillar of the church. 1 Peter is specifically addressed to the Exiles in the dispersion in Asia, Bythinia, Pontus, Cappadocia and Galatia and the letter sent to them was a circular manner as it needed to get to all these regions. In the period when 1Peter was written, already there were churches which were already properly established even to the tune of having well-paid elders. The recipients of these messages were the Gentiles who had a pagan way of life before converting to Christianity. The letters main purpose was to encourage the people and align them towards Gods true grace. The major reference point in this letter is the subject of suffering which is repeatedly mentioned in 1 Peter 1:6-11, 5:1, 2:19-23, 3:14,17, 18, which accentuates the dire need for motivation during the hard times, presumably, during the persecutions that affected the Asia Minor. However, in recent times, people came to understand that the major sufferings that they underwent were general harassment and social ostracism rather than what was previously thought, government-fronted persecution of Christians and the Church. Regardless of the which type of suffering the Christians underwent, the letter by Peter encourages them to overcome suffering as it is inevitable in the course of Gods work.

Therefore, one major theme for 1 Peter on this article is Christians suffering abuse due to Christ. Christians were alienated as though they were evildoers and discriminated against for using the name of Christ. Whenever people converted to Christianity, their previous associates disentangled themselves from them and regarded the new converts as social misfits. They were deemed unfit to associate with as they seemed to neglect to worship the emperor and social cultural events and festivities which was part of the social life in the pagan world. In reference to these sufferings, Peter expresses that Christian suffering was predicted by Jesus and thus they should not worry about it or feel like it is their fault but rather be trustworthy of God. Moreover, they are made to understand that God cares about those who experience suffering and protect them, while those who cause suffering will eventually face punishment.

Christians as the New Israel

Those who believe in Jesus are identified as the royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen race and Gods own people. Christian believers represent a spiritual house of God built upon living stones and a new temple where sacrifices are accepted by God through Jesus Christ. Many interpreters hold the notion that Christianity replaced Jews as the chosen people. However, according to 1 Peter, this is not a demotion of the Israelites but rather an ascension of others as Jesus made this possible by his death and resurrection.

The Neufeld and Demaris Material

Honor and Shame in the Imperial World

In the first-century Greco-Roman cities, privacy was not easy as people critically analyzed each other in the public domain. The honor was in terms of self-regard and competition among members of these communities. The honor of the poor compared to that of the aristocracy as that of women compared to honor of men. They could be in terms of complements, alternatives or sometimes mirrored effects between these comparisons. Shame was sensitive to ones honor and the honor-shame language and protocols while reading Pauls letters.

Construction of Masculinity in Pauls world

According to the Demaris and Neufeld article, appreciation of ancient gender constructs is highly dependent upon the notion that they did not think in our modern, biological definitions of males and females. But rather, gender was visualized as a model of two interacting and dynamic systems; regulation of desire and cosmic hierarchy. Therefore, gender roles were in existence which basically showed the interaction between masculinity and femininity where the societal impact was highly influential. Thus, a Roman or Greek woman was an empty vessel filled by a man whereas the male was legally boundless and was even allowed to have sex with inferior sexual partners such as prostitutes, slaves, actors or dancers. Thus, maleness was not offered for free but rather an achieved state. In fact to be a man in the Roman world, one had to participate in the balancing act where they had to appear masculine. As we also see, it was much better for a man to make mistakes compared to women. Men were encouraged to pursue glory and honor actively. Basically, masculinity had to be proven constantly through competition with other men.

Construction of Femininity in Pauls World

The damaging effects of getting a man effeminized are evident whereas women are required to show feminine qualities. A virtuous woman needs to be obedient and faithful to the husband, caring for the children and a great manager for their household. A good womans understanding in the Roman society was that of a gullible, weak and emotional rather than rational. They are also susceptible to deception as shown in Genesis 3. Philo, a first-century philosopher expresses that these reasons must have been the reasons why the woman was approached by the serpent in the Garden of Eden instead of the man whose judgment is understood to be more rational. The major concern for a virtuous woman was their reputation and honor for a well-controlled sexuality. On the other hand, a woman considered to be bad did not really care about her honor and was seen to be unfaithful, sexually carefree and greedy. While it is extremely difficult for the majority of the contemporary western societies to comprehend the ubiquitous and deliberate overlooking of womens strengths in ancient Greco-Roman societies, it could actually imply womens honor rather than insulting of women with a good reputation.

How Would the First-Century Readers have received and understood These Texts?

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