Two separate topics are covered today. The first is an appeal for prayer in the midst of a suffering and a persecution which had previously been unseen. Do you notice for whom Paul asks that the community of Ephesus prays? The very people who are doing the persecuting. Paul asks that the community pray for the king so that, and hear this, so that we might live a quiet and peaceable life. Pray for your persecutors, he tells the people. That is not far off from what Jesus tells his disciples on the sermon on the mount. Look at Matthew 5:44 where he tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute you. Jesus in Matthew also gives us a reason for this: so that you would be children of your Father who is in heaven. That is all the motivation that I need.
We now come to what I classify a “problem” verse in relationship to the consistency of what I see in Scripture. Look at vs. 11-15 and ask yourself the question: do we still believe that women are saved through childbirth? If that is the case, well then those who cannot have children are not going to be saved. There is no special dispensation here is there? So once you think about that for a while, ask yourself the question: why do some people only focus on vs.11 and completely skip or disregard or value as less vs.15? For those who hold strongly to vs.11, when you speak to them, ask them why they don’t hold as valuable vs. 15, or vs. 9. Ask them if they “allow” their women to braid their hair or wear gold or pearls. If they say that Paul didn’t really mean it, then maybe, just maybe, we can see vs.11 as part of these verses as something that Paul was speaking specifically to the church in Ephesus which was found on the coast and considered a wealthy church. And maybe, just maybe, there was a specific problem in that church with a few women who were causing problems. Just something to think about.
There is a part of us that has to live in the grey because not everything is black or white. When we find ourselves in the grey we have to find what is the most consistent in Scripture and which most closely reflects the true nature of God which is grace and love and justice.