Household Rules (3.18-4.1)
Humorous Household Rules by Ian Frazier in the article Laws concerning food and drink; household principles; lamentations of the father. © The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 1997 v279 n2 p89(2)
Have you heard the old saying? “Don’t be too heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.”
We are to set our minds on things above, but a life ruled from above effects our lives in marriage, parenthood and everyday work.
The whole of our lives are to be submitted to the Lord. Every aspect of our lives is effected by our Christianity.
Perhaps the false teachers were indifferent to the domestic. The Colossians are called to remember the simple duties of family life.
Paul begins with the closest relationship working to the most distant. There are twin admonitions: instructions given for both parties. Can’t look at one apart from the other.
Wives and Husbands
Wives, submit (balanced with husbandly love). Submit: voluntary. Never a breaking of the will. Same is expected of church members: submit to one another/ mutual submission.
Ephesians 5 “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit…”
Love is not just an affectionate feeling or sexual attraction, but the husband is to have an unceasing care and loving service for the wife’s entire well-being.
Eph 5: sacrificial aspect of Christ’s love for the church
Do not be embittered – the negative. Do not become angry …
Children and Parents
Children, obey. Children, at the age of growing up, obey in all things. Obey is a stronger word than submit. (Used for slaves, as well.) Absolute obedience.
Fathers, don’t provoke
Parents, but fathers especially, do not irritate or provoke unless children become discouraged or think it useless trying to please parents within the home. Give firm guidance; not servitude (Eph 6.4)
In Roman society, fathers were given unlimited power over their children. Hellenistic Judaism, sever punishment could be given disobedient children.
Here, power is not held up, but the responsibilities or duties to their children. They are not irritate by nagging at or deriding the child’s efforts, so that children become discouraged or think it useless to try to please.
Be an encouraging example: 2 Cor 9.2
Slaves and Masters
Slaves, obey. Obey in everything. Don’t just work to please your master. Service is not to be superficial or performed to attract attention, but conscientiously, with pure motives, wholehearted work so every action is serving the heavenly Lord. Lift tasks above compulsive necessity to that of joyful service.
Keep transcendent view. Earthly master distinguished from heavenly. The Master in heaven will graciously reward with an eternal inheritance of life in the age to come.
Masters, be just and fair
Stoic codes seldom addressed masters. Not commanded to release but treat justly and with fairness. (Fairness could refer to fair wage.)
Both master and slave have a Master in heaven, whom they must obey. Their relationship with one another must reflect their relationship with God.
Short statement regarding prayer. But this is an ever-present part of Paul’s teaching, emphasizing it’s importance.
The whole congregation is instructed to persist in prayer. Make it a regular part of who you are. Be constant, persistent, adhere to. Something you are always busily engaged in. “Pray unceasing.” Don’t ever give up or grow weary. Always pray. (petitionary prayer).
And to give thanks – an outward expression of gratitude to God for his gracious decisive action through his Son on their behalf.
Paul prays for the Colossians. He asks for their prayers, for “us” and for “me”. Especially for the work of the Gospel.
“Open door” refers to the opportunity for effective evangelism.
“Proclaim mystery” is God’s plan of salvation in Christ (esp. for Gentiles).
Reaching others with Christ
“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.” Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.”
Wisdom: knowledge of God’s will; walking worthily of Lord. Be godly, give none cause to find fault or criticize. Live so that God’s name is honored. Do not hinder anyone from being saved.
Make the most of your time: snap up every opportunity. Not a specific point in time, but amount of time at one’s disposal. As we have opportunity; as we have time, because it is severely limited. (A retired local pastor shared how even though he is now in retirement, he is experiencing an increasingly greater evangelistic call. He has a burning desire to use every moment he is given for God’s glory.)
Be tactful, yet bold in your Christian witness. God’s grace evident in speech. Choose the right words in response to each pre-Christian. Not only what you say but how you say it is important. Speech seasoned with salt: adds flavor, appeal; interesting speech.
Paul’s greetings reveal a diverse team:
Slave and free, Jew and Gentile, men and a woman are named. Other communities are named(Laodicea & Hieropolis) and Paul’s letter is shared between them.