Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Colossians 3

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Put on the New Self (v. 1-17)

This entire section is fairly interesting as I pretty much put the entire thing in both the good and bad category, depending on the perspective. On one hand, the verses give lists of things that we should and shouldn't do, I like the "do list" and I am about 50/50 on the "don't list". If everyone followed these lists, it would be a good thing. Quickly, the lists (as far as I approve of them) are as follows:

the don't list (the part I like): anger, wrath, malice, slander, lying

the do list: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace.

So these lists seem pretty good, and generally seem like good advice. The problem is that it gives credit for all of the good things to God and rejects all of the bad things as "earthly". This sends the message that We are good and They are bad. It sets people up to hate those who are not like themselves. It sends the message that those who are not in our group are wiked. This is a terrible message.

I have another comment about the "do list". There are a few things on the list that are good rules of thumb, but will set you up to be taken advantage of if overdone. Humility and meekness are great sometimes, but assertiveness is also important when appropriate. Forgiveness is good, but if someone keeps harming you in some way, forgiveness is perhaps a bad idea until they give you reason to think they will change their future actions. As often happens with lists like this, they are good rules of thumb but don't apply to every situation.

And finally, what about the part of the "don't list" that I don't like, it is as follows: sexual immorality, impurity, desire, covetousness. Like it or not we are sexual beings, denying that leads to bad things. Sexual repression is huge in the religious sphere and I would argue it has dire consequences. And covetousness can motivate us to act, haven't you ever wanted something someone else had and used it as motivation to work hard and get one of your own?

Now I have to condense all of that for the overview post...I'll do my best.

Rules for Christian Households (v. 18-4:1)

I think this section demonstrates pretty easily that the morality of this book is just a reflection of the time and not a timeless expression of perfect morality from a perfect God.

Wives submit to your husband, husbands love your wives.

misogynist garbage

Children, obey your parents no matter what

What if the parents are abusive?

Slaves, obey your masters earnestly, not just enough to get by

Shouldn't perfect morality from a perfect being not allow slavery?

Don't worry about men, focus on God. You will get your reward in heaven, wrongdoers will get what is coming to them.

Shouldn't we want there to be justice here as well?

Masters, treat your slaves well because we have a master in heaven.

So we are slaves to God?

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation) 


3:12-15 Do good things (compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love, peace)


3:5 Sexual repression

"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry."

3:7 attribute negative attributes on non-christians (probably best viewed in context)

"In these you too once walked, when you were living in them."

3:18 misogynist garbage

"Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord"

3:20 Obey your parent no matter what

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."

3:22 approves of slavery

"Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord."

4:1 We are slaves of God

"Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."


  1. Great post and analysis Haus! I love the podcast by the way. Question, how can I upload to my ipod? I don't often have 20 mins or so to sit and listen to it all at once on my computer, but could certainly do so in the car.

    1. Thanks RB. It's good to hear you have been enjoying it.

      I've tried to make it as available as possible. I was excited this morning when I figured out how to put that embedded player on the blog, but I also left the link above it to the mp3 file. So you should be able to just right click that link and "save link as", then you can just transfer the file like any other music file. (maybe I should rename that link to make this fact more obvious)

      I also have the podcast rss feed at the top of my sidebar, so if you have an app like google listen that should work.

      Also, I think it is on itunes. podbean is supposed to handle posting it to itunes, although I haven't verified it yet. I have never used itunes and haven't had time to get that all set up to go test it so far. It's possible I have to do something else to get it onto itunes, I'll probably get to that next weekend. (Actually, if anyone reading this does have itunes set up, can you tell me if the podcast is on there?)

    2. Your podcast isn't on there yet, but sometimes it takes a bit. If it's not up next week, I'll ask my friend who hosts a podcast. I've been a guest on his, but I doubt I could pull one off every week, much less every day. More power to ya.

    3. That would be great, thanks man.

      Yeah, I was a little worried about keeping up with it every day. I recorded them for a couple weeks to see if I could handle it. It actually forced me to be a bit more attentive to the reading, which I liked, so I figured I'd go ahead with it.

    4. Hey Grundy, just wanted to follow up on this. I read things a little closer and I need to do some stuff to get this in motion. I submitted it to itunes today so I imagine it should be up soonish now.

  2. I really like your analysis. This chapter really is a mix of good and bad stuff. I don't mean to be nitpicky, but there are a lot of outright conflicting things in here vs other chapters of the Bible. Example, the horrible verses about slaves being obedient to their masters. Elsewhere, (Matt 4:10;Matt 23:10) say that we should serve God alone. Would that mean that the slave thing is a metaphor for us and God? Part of me wants to say yes, but the bible was too specific in the OT about treating slaves for me to dismiss it..

    1. I don't mind nitpicking, I am a mathematician after all, we are all about minute details.

      Not sure I agree about the matthew verses, it is possible they can be interpreted to apply to slavery, but it feels like a little bit of a stretch to me. I'd have to think about it a little more, but my first instinct is that this doesn't quite apply.

      And the slave thing being a metaphor for us and god is a definite, it says it pretty explicitly in 4:1

    2. I think in this context you are probably right.. But wouldn't that be even worse?

    3. yeah, I think it is pretty bad


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