A bit of exegesis please.....

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A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:46 pm

I will be disappointed if Petros does not chime in on this one.
I hate it when people use euphemisms or an uncertain idiom and this one has bugged me for years.
I make reference to Ephsians 5:3
In Ephesians Chapter 5 and verse 3, speaking on matters of sexual misconduct Paul wrote: 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

At this point I wish to put in a request that respondents stick to linguistically based exegetics and not just opinions about social propriety, as I simply find it hard to suffer or cater to prudes.

From colonial times in North America, sexual acts forbidden to Christians in north america, have been characterized as "not to be mentioned among Christians" I question the validity of that as a useful idiom requiring Christians to be Hush-Hush and not so much as explicitly mention by name the forbidden sexual activities.

My inclination is to believe that the intent of that wording is that the forbidden sexual acts should never have occasion to be charged against any Christian because all Christians should utterly avoid those heinous sins. However as evidenced by the modified wording used in allegations about the practice of Homosexuality by Walt Whitman in the 1800's
"that horrible sin not to be mentioned among Christians."
(see at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman#Sexuality The use of
not be mentioned
in the parlance of that day seems to be an equivalent to
not be named
as we find in Ephesians.

It seems to me that turning the phrase into the euphemism that it has become is some sort of superstitious belief just as the imperative not to so much as "speak of the devil...." Which in the fuller rendition of that euphemism/idiom/warning would be, "If you speak of the devil he is sure to appear". Hence regarding the mere mention of the devil is the same as deliberately summoning that demoniacal spirit.

So then what I am asking for is whatever exegesis or linguistic analysis (not just an unsubstantiated opinion) might be offered dispel the notion that to even pronounce the words "homosexuality" or "sex with animals" was somehow, (or should still be) considered to by magical or spiritual means promote the action among those upon whose ears the words might fall.

It seems to me that to make the words "undefined and unspoken" would be more likely to promote those acts than prevent them. In which case one might argue that hiding the words so that the acts can not be simply and clearly, denoted as "anathema to God", makes it harder to teach against the activities and concepts that they describe.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby New_Adventurer » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:52 pm

My life-long gripe about unmentionables is simple, ""What are you talking about?"

Example: Some people thing going naked is an unmentionable sin, yet we do it without hesitation. It is not a sin and is very mention able.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:11 pm

New_Adventurer wrote:My life-long gripe about unmentionables is simple, ""What are you talking about?"

Example: Some people thing going naked is an unmentionable sin, yet we do it without hesitation. It is not a sin and is very mention able.

But that does not answer the question about what does Ephesians 5:3 really mean when it says:
..... fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named .....
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby Petros » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:09 am

There is a point where this sort of thing turns to speculation. Let it not be named - are we talking things like "the love that dare not speak its name", or things like the "unmentionables" next the naughty bits?

Looking it over and thinking a little, my best guess - not that linguistic informed, more working from what we know of Paul and the context:

"Don't let me hear about you teasing your brother": Not censorship - do it but keep your mouth shut. Not bashfulness - please don'y talk about that, I go all queasy. But a prohibition - fairly strong. Don't do that stuff.

Compare justice must manifestly be seen to be done. The Ephesians are to be so obviously NOT into that that no one would even bother spreading a rumor.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby c.o. » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:30 pm

Bare_Truth wrote:My inclination is to believe that the intent of that wording is that the forbidden sexual acts should never have occasion to be charged against any Christian because all Christians should utterly avoid those heinous sins.

You've nailed it with the above statement, Bare_Truth, and it extends to foolish talking, greed, any uncleanness or other "unbecoming" behavior. Paul probably didn't have to explain his ideas here very much because of what most of the Ephesian Christians had been saved out of.

The phrases should not be isolated from their context, the most immediate of which would be 5:1-2, "Be imitators of God...walk in love..." What Paul is calling for are actions of believers based on first actions by the Lord, and summing up much of chapter 4 and the actions he preaches against there. Linguistically from the Greek i don't see how "don't ever even once speak of sins among you" can be construed.

I'm not sure where the KJV (and other translations) get the "once" (it's not in the Greek), which seems to add an emphasis to the naming, and perhaps skews the understanding of some as you have demonstrated. But just as no one can accuse God of these sins, so we, His "beloved children" (5:1) should also not be able to be accused of these things. Sort of the "above reproach" idea expressed by Paul elsewhere, and the Lev 11:44 idea that we are to be holy because God is.

Finally, if the passage meant that certain sins cannot ever be pronounced or verbalized or discussed among the saints, Paul would be guilty of breaking his own rule by having written the passage, right?
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby jdb » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:55 pm

Greetings all

I have taken "fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named" not to mean it should never cross our lips.
We as followers of Christ should say plainly what it is and what harm it can do not just to believers but to everyone.
But that it should never be an activity that we are involved in so that it not be spoken of that we are participant in the doing of it.

That word fornication may not be every illicit sexual act. The first time its used is 2 Chronicles 21:11 "More over he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry (that's fornication in the KJV) and led Judah astray."
It is sexual acts done in the worship of idols. No Idols today ? but we can lay sexual activities at the altar of sensuality, if it feels good do it. If there is sexual conquest over and over yet no satisfaction that is surely not Godly sexuality that He wants for our enjoyment and His glory. The warning is, don't do it, don't let be said of us that we are looking for the blessings of life some place else but thru Him.

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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby natman » Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:17 pm

c.o. wrote:
Bare_Truth wrote:My inclination is to believe that the intent of that wording is that the forbidden sexual acts should never have occasion to be charged against any Christian because all Christians should utterly avoid those heinous sins.

You've nailed it with the above statement, Bare_Truth, and it extends to foolish talking, greed, any uncleanness or other "unbecoming" behavior. Paul probably didn't have to explain his ideas here very much because of what most of the Ephesian Christians had been saved out of.

The phrases should not be isolated from their context, the most immediate of which would be 5:1-2, "Be imitators of God...walk in love..." What Paul is calling for are actions of believers based on first actions by the Lord, and summing up much of chapter 4 and the actions he preaches against there. Linguistically from the Greek i don't see how "don't ever even once speak of sins among you" can be construed.

I'm not sure where the KJV (and other translations) get the "once" (it's not in the Greek), which seems to add an emphasis to the naming, and perhaps skews the understanding of some as you have demonstrated. But just as no one can accuse God of these sins, so we, His "beloved children" (5:1) should also not be able to be accused of these things. Sort of the "above reproach" idea expressed by Paul elsewhere, and the Lev 11:44 idea that we are to be holy because God is.

Finally, if the passage meant that certain sins cannot ever be pronounced or verbalized or discussed among the saints, Paul would be guilty of breaking his own rule by having written the passage, right?

:like: :like: :like:

I believe it is necessary for Christians to talk about all of these things so that we may communicate what they are and why they are to be avoided. We should NEVER be afraid to discuss the consequences for actions and attitudes of fornication, misdirected lust, or sexual immoralities.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby jochanaan » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:43 pm

jdb wrote:...The first time its used is 2 Chronicles 21:11 "More over he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry (that's fornication in the KJV) and led Judah astray."
It is sexual acts done in the worship of idols...
Is it literal, or metaphorical? Often in the Old Testament, the prophets used the metaphor of adultery/fornication/prostitution to refer to idolatry.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby natman » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:37 pm

jochanaan wrote:
jdb wrote:...The first time its used is 2 Chronicles 21:11 "More over he made high places in the mountains of Judah and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit harlotry (that's fornication in the KJV) and led Judah astray."
It is sexual acts done in the worship of idols...
Is it literal, or metaphorical? Often in the Old Testament, the prophets used the metaphor of adultery/fornication/prostitution to refer to idolatry.


It could be BOTH.

Certainly, the worship of ANY foreign god was compared to "harlotry" in both the Old and New Testaments. However, it was the common practice of surrounding cultures to participate in temple sex in order to satisfy their foreign gods and several of Israel's kings brought in such practices and idolatry, resulting in God chastening the nation over and over again. :(
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby Petros » Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:00 am

Very true - I believe some gods used female while others went in for male cult prostitutes.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby balaam » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:05 am

We are really focussed on sex these days, aren't we?

Paul's list includes covetousness. Yet we live in a society that lives on credit, we can buy things we do not need with money we do not have yet, and Christians do not raise their voice about this. We see the list includes fornication, so we use it to go on about sexual sin, possibly rightly so, but ignore anything not sexual in the list.
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Poor people were unlikely to have servants. We should not want to be like others for where they live, or their social status or what they own. A Jewish Rabbi has summed this up in saying that envy needs to be banished from the human heart. I agree with that.

I personally thing that concentrating on sexual sins (which are still sins) whilst ignoring other sins in the same list is a sin which needs to be banished from the Christian church.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby jasenj1 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:18 am

balaam wrote:I personally thing that concentrating on sexual sins (which are still sins) whilst ignoring other sins in the same list is a sin which needs to be banished from the Christian church.


Amen.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby Bare_Truth » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:38 am

balaam wrote:We are really focussed on sex these days, aren't we?
......
I personally thing that concentrating on sexual sins (which are still sins) whilst ignoring other sins in the same list is a sin which needs to be banished from the Christian church.

The need to expunge and correct all sins is of course the proper goal with respect to sin. Yet, sexual sin falls into a special category as it inflicts deep and grievous personal wounds with multi-generational fallout. Accordingly, it is not unreasonable to single out sexual sins for special attention. Sexual sins are a reasonable metaphor for rejection of our creator and the sin of apostasy toward God. Both cases involve elements of infidelity to a personal and intimate commitment in a way that strikes grievously to the very core of the beings involved, and does so against more than just the two parties most directly initially involved.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby balaam » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:45 pm

This is also true of non sexual sin.

Gossip, especially malicious gossip, strikes deeply at relationships also. Trust is lost.
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Re: A bit of exegesis please.....

Postby jochanaan » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:31 pm

balaam wrote:This is also true of non sexual sin.

Gossip, especially malicious gossip, strikes deeply at relationships also. Trust is lost.
I'm with you on this. By focusing so much on sexual sin, we have winked at many deep social issues of lust, gluttony, pride, usury (in the old sense, usury meant any interest on a loan), and the pervasive inequity we see in our world now. "These ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." --Matthew 23:23
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