The foolish Samaritan

Someone has just put this comment on my post "The Golden Calf":
Luke 10:30-37
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
This is the story of the Good Samaritan, one of the best-known stories in the Bible. Usually it is used to promote helping others, but this commenter suggested that it justified saving - on the grounds that the Samaritan couldn't have helped the man if he hadn't had savings. This interpretation is not consistent with Jesus' teaching elsewhere, so I thought I would have a closer look at this story to see what I think Jesus is actually saying.

It is always dangerous taking Bible stories out of their historical context, so here's a bit of background. I am no Bible scholar, and there are plenty of people out there who know much more about this than I do, but the historical context for all of Jesus' ministry is the occupation of Palestine (including Israel) by the Romans - hence Jesus' reference to Roman coinage (denarii). Military occupation always causes breakdown in local forms of law enforcement, and Palestine was no exception. By the time Jesus told this story, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was extremely dangerous: robberies were a daily occurrence and murder was common. Robbers set ambushes for people travelling the road. The man who was robbed, beaten and abandoned was ambushed - but his presence on the road was a clear indication to other travellers that robbers were around.

So the priest and the Levite passed by on the other side not because they didn't want to help the man, but  because they feared being attacked themselves. They thought the robbers were still around. They may even have thought the whole thing was a trap, set up by robbers to entice the unwary into assisting the wounded man.

Jesus' listeners would have known this. They would have known that the Jericho road was dangerous and it was unwise to travel it alone and unarmed, or to carry much in the way of valuables with you. So the whole story is quite remarkable. All of the travellers are alone - which would have been unusual. And the Samaritan is carrying valuables - oil, wine and money. Travelling alone with valuables would have made him a target, and he would for that reason have been unwilling to stop. So it is even more surprising that he stopped to assist a wounded man.

The payment made to the innkeeper is clearly made from money the Samaritan brought with him for his own expenses. He doesn't have enough money with him to pay for the wounded man's care, so he pays the innkeeper all the money he has with him and sets up a credit line for any additional cost.  Now why on earth would the innkeeper care for the wounded man simply on the basis of a small down-payment and a promise to pay up later? Most innkeepers would have expected the Samaritan to pay the whole cost up front. Perhaps the Samaritan was a regular visitor to that inn, so the innkeeper trusted him?

Anyway, the fact that the Samaritan actually didn't have enough money with him destroys the suggestion that he could only help the man because he had savings. It is often assumed that he was wealthy, but the story doesn't say this. What we know is that he was carrying oil and wine - perhaps to sell - and that he had a small amount of money with him, not enough to pay the whole cost of the man's care. And he promised to pay up on his return - which suggests he had to obtain the money. If he actually lived in Jericho, or had land or property there, he might have been able to sell some assets. But the fact that he intended to return suggests that he was only visiting Jericho, perhaps on business. In that case he would have had to obtain the money either by earning or by borrowing. Savings don't come into it.

So Jesus is not justifying saving. This story is, as Jesus indicates, about mercy. And there are two merciful people in this story, not one: the Samaritan, who risked his own life to save another, and the innkeeper, who took on the cost of caring for the injured man with no certainty of repayment.

The essence of this story is that in order to help others it is necessary to conquer fear for oneself. The priest and Levite were afraid to help the injured man, because they feared for their own lives: but the innkeeper and the Samaritan put aside their own fear in order to help another. At the heart of the selfishness that I criticise in my post The Golden Calf is fear - fear of scarcity, fear that no-one will help, fear that God will not provide, fear (above all) of death. That fear leads people to look after themselves at the expense of others, to hoard surplus goods and money instead of sharing it with others, to pass by on the other side instead of assisting an injured man. It is understandable, particularly when times are hard. But it is not what Jesus taught.

This is what Jesus taught:
Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
And Jesus sent out his followers with nothing (Mt 10: 5-15) : he told them not to worry about where food or clothing will come from, because God will provide (Mt 6: 25-34) : and in the Lord's Prayer (Mt 6: 9-13) he instructed his followers to pray for their DAILY bread - not their bread in forty years' time. Nowhere, that I can find, does Jesus promote saving goods or money to provide for oneself. What he promotes is giving without counting the cost and trusting in God's provision.

Now, for people who aren't Christians, this looks very, very foolish indeed. And I totally understand if people reject Christianity because of this foolishness. Foolishness is at the heart of Jesus' teaching. The Samaritan is foolish, the priest and Levite are sensible - but it is the Samaritan's behaviour that Jesus commends. The man who saves up for his old age is, by most people's standards, sensible: but Jesus describes him as "fool".  Saving your life by leaving others to die is contrary to Jesus' teaching: so is saving your surplus while others starve. Using Jesus' parables to justify saving yourself, either physically or materially, is simply unjustifiable.


  1. Great Post Frances. I would just like to point out that, whilst Jesus doesn't promote saving for savings sake ('storing up') - he does indeed advise his followers to be good stewards, to count the cost etc.

    Luke 14:28 - "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"

    Matthew 25:20-21 - "And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[a] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."

    How this relates to saving, I'm not sure. If you were building a tower, or had another task to complete, you would perhaps need to 'save' a deposit or certain amount before you could begin. Would you define that as 'saving' or something else altogether?

    1. The first example doesn't promote saving. It simply says that you need to know how much something costs before you can go ahead and do it - which is common sense. Jesus doesn't give an opinion as to how the money would be obtained: it could be by saving or it could be by borrowing. If they did choose to obtain the money by saving, it would be saving "UP" for a specific purpose, which is very different from general saving as protection against an uncertain future. They know what they want to do with the money and when they have it, they spend it.

      The second example isn't saving at all, it is investment in productive activity to generate a return. In the parable of the Talents, the only person who "saved" was the person who buries the Talent in the ground. He saved the money, but he didn't make any more - and his master was not too pleased. The other Talent holders risked their Talents to obtain a return. They could have lost them completely.

    2. thanks Frances, great response.

      Presumably you would therefore say saving is only justified if it is saving "UP" towards a particular purpose? would you go so far as to say the concept of 'emergency funds' is wrong, and if not, where do you draw the line?

    3. I don't really want to get into a debate about "good" and "bad" savings. It is the attitude that matters. Saving as protection against an uncertain future is driven by fear, whereas saving in order to build or improve something is driven by hope.

      As an example, consider a subsistence farmer saving from his meagre income. If as a result of saving from his income he is able to install a brick floor in his barn so his produce doesn't get eaten by ants, he has more to sell. His saving has enabled him to invest in his business and therefore improve his income in the future. But suppose our subsistence farmer saves from his income and buys gold, which he buries under the floor of his house. He has not used that money productively to improve his income in the future: most of his produce is still being eaten by ants. Yes, he has put aside money for when he can no longer work, but he has done so at the expense of improving his income, and he is therefore poorer even though he has saved. Which is why I say hoarding gold and other hard assets is unproductive: and further, because he has secured his old age at the expense of economic improvement which would benefit his children and his community, his hoarding is selfish.

      This is a real example, by the way. And the farmer in question is saving to install a brick floor, not to buy gold.

    4. understood. thanks for explaining, that makes perfect sense and I do agree with you about not-hoarding.

  2. Quite.

    Christian teaching much like socialism is always very generous with other people's money.

    Though it must be said that Christianity has been much more effective of using the primal emotions of guilt and fear to run their racket. The amount of anger generated by not giving them their tenth historically and supporting their scam is quite humerous.

    If the title of selfishness means that I value my life and want to preserve it, then I'll wear it gladly and proudly.

    Selfish. Selfish. Selfish.

    My life has value to me. It may not have value to you beyond what you can extract from my hide; but I will warn you that each drop of blood not freely given by will have to be taken by force.

    Why don't you follow your messiah's advice and give all your belongings to the poor...and then pray for your daily bread? I know; you won't, but don't worry- the guilt you are made to feel for being what you are, human, will be milked quite efficiently by your church.

    Luckily you can use a long contradictory text such as the bible to justify pretty much any opinion one has already decided is fact.

    For amusement value let's consider Genesis 41. Here is a fun extract.

    “Joseph amassed grain like the sand of the sea. There was so much that he stopped trying to measure it because it was beyond measuring.“

    What a filthy hoarder eh?


    1. If preserving your life is more important to you than relieving the suffering of another, then you will pass by on the other side. And that is a completely rational decision. The actions of the Samaritan were foolish in the extreme. He could have suffered the same fate as the man he tried to help.

      I am simply pointing out that the story of the Good Samaritan really can't be used to justify saving, which is how JR tried to use it. It is actually saying the opposite.

      Why do you, and others like you, assume that I want your wealth taken from you by force? I've never said any such thing. I would like you to use your wealth productively to benefit yourself and others, that's all. Though that does of course mean putting it at risk - as the Samaritan did, as the innkeeper did, as the successful men in the Parable of the Talents did. But if you prefer not to put it at risk, you can bury it in the ground instead, as the third man in the Parable of the Talents did. Mind you, his saved Talent was taken from him - but then it was never his in the first place. Anyway, it's entirely your decision.

      Regarding Genesis 41, the reason Joseph was amassing grain was because he knew famine was coming and people had to be fed. He was running the Treasury, not looking after himself.

      There really isn't much support anywhere in the Bible as far as I can see for looking after oneself at the expense of others. I agree it's a rational position, though. Ayn Rand was at least intellectually consistent in that her promotion of selfishness was done from an atheistic position. The teachings of Jesus - and the Old Testament prophets - are very hard indeed to square with this.

    2. @Motley Fool

      " My life has value to me. It may not have value to you beyond what you can extract from my hide; but I will warn you that each drop of blood not freely given by will have to be taken by force."

      You seem a bit paranoid. Are you?

    3. Hi anon

      It's commentary on the socialist ideology framed from a personal perspective.

      I did not mean that I expect her to personally expect something from me.

      As to paranoia, it is defined as unwarranted mistrust. With a publicly stated position that choosing how to deploy the fruits of my labour is wrong, I would not call my position unwarranted. :)


    4. Francis

      I disagree. It could be used in that way though that is not what the parable is about and the support for that argument from that parable is weak, but not the opposite as you claim.

      Why? Using moral arguments to force the choices of others, and partake of their production is, I would say, the main theme of socialism/communism. So, your use of such 'arguments' qualified you for that prestigious group in my mind.

      I am curious where you get the idea that I/we are about looking after ourselves at the expense of others.

      Fwiw, I'm an atheist. My example was simply to illustrate the contradictory nature of that text.

      As to Joseph, are you arguing that he only saved up for others and then died of starvation when the 7 lean years came? Is it not possible to look after oneself and others? Is it not more possible to help others during lean times if one has stores?

      Perhaps this is what JR took from the story of the Samaritan. That before one can wash wounds with wine and oils, and pay for treatment, one must first have such. Something neither the priest nor the Levite likely had.


    5. MF,

      All I am doing is attempting to influence your beliefs and your behaviour by stating my moral position and debating with you. You, of course, do exactly the same - as do all the FOFOA followers.

      I'm very disturbed by the labels you assign to me and the assumptions you make about my motives. I'm not trying to "force" you to do anything. I'm using reasoned argument (from my moral stance, admittedly, but at least that is an honest position) to try to change your mind, that's all.

      I do not accept that anyone's "production" is wholly "theirs". That's the extreme Ayn Rand position which even Hayek did not subscribe to. You are only able to produce, and generate a surplus, because you are supported by others. But when others are suffering you want to hold on to your wealth because you believe it is entirely "yours". That is an intellectually contradictory position and one of the main weaknesses in Rand's arguments.

      You have failed to understand Joseph's position. He was storing grain in his capacity as State treasurer, not on his own behalf. Genesis 41 is a fine example of State intervention to prevent people starving in time of famine.

      Both the priest and the Levite would have had funds. They were supported by the tithe and Temple offerings.

    6. Frances

      A reasoned argument that resorts to, "because god/jesus said so", is a oxymoron.

      And moral arguments are a 'force' since by implication, if your moral position is in the right, the person not doing what you proscribe is wrong/evil. Nobody wants to be considered evil.

      Neither I nor Rand, I think, framed it this way; that production occurs in a vacuum. Of course others produce too and exchange what they produce with you. That is the whole point.

      This support, is mutually beneficial exchange.

      However what I produce comes from my own effort, my time, my energy, my applied thought. Nobody else can lay claim to that. All they can lay claim too is perhaps providing me with tools to ease my production, but those would have to be bought with earlier production.

      I did not not misunderstand. I was simply curious how you would alter your moral absolute that "hoarding is evil" to fit your preconceived ideas. I was also curious if you would use it to justify government. That was the reason I chose to use this story.


    7. I have NEVER resorted to "because God/Jesus said so" as an argument. Nor would I. My arguments stand or fall on rationality, and in the end on the rock of moral disagreement. My beliefs stem from my faith. You do not subscribe to that faith, so I do not expect you to adopt the same moral stance - though as I have already said, I consider it reasonable to try to change your mind.

      I wrote this post because JR had attempted to use one of Jesus's parables to support his arguments, and I wished to expose the wrongness of his claim. To do this, I examined the parable itself and other teachings by Jesus. At no point have I claimed that the moral position of Jesus according to his teachings should apply to people who, like you, are atheists. In fact I specifically said that for non-Christians, Jesus' teachings are foolish.

      I do consider hoarding evil. But that does not mean that I consider the people who hoard to be evil. An action may be evil even when done with the best intentions.

      In what way is my moral position that "hoarding is evil" less defensible than your moral position "forcing me to do anything I don't want to do is evil"?

      Regarding production - you misunderstand again, if you think that your production comes only from your own effort, time, energy etc. It comes also from your collaborative work with others and your use of the products of their production. Exchange is not the only economic interaction between humans (this is another of the weaknesses in Rand's arguments - she did not recognise any form of economic or even social interaction other than mutually beneficial exchange).

      Why would I use Genesis 41 to "justify" government? It speaks for itself.

    8. Well. Your founding base of your morality is Christian teachings. In other terms : These are my morals and they are right because God said so.

      You cannot both call me evil for hoarding and say it doesn't apply to me. You will need to choose one.

      Defensibility? My hoarding gold does nobody any harm. Being forced to do something against your will harms you if you do not comply. How can you even ask the question?

      Misunderstanding? Nope? I specifically mentioned the products of their production as an input factor. My work may not involve collaboration; spurious as that argument is it may not be relevant.

      And of course exchange is not the only interaction between humans. I never claimed that to be the case. Oh and you are wrong, she did not claim that, she merely focused on it. Not that I expect you have read her serious work of course.


    9. These are my morals because that is my chosen spiritual path, not because "God said so".

      I have not called you evil.

      I have explained to you numerous times how hoarding harms people. You choose to dismiss those arguments because they challenge your moral stance.

      Your work, personally, may not involve collaboration - or you may simply not notice the collaboration. Most likely the latter. Nearly everyone's work involves collaboration of some kind with someone.

      Dismissing my argument as "spurious" does not advance debate.

      I have read Ayn Rand's serious work. She defined all desirable human interaction as beneficial exchange and dismissed all forms of dependency. In this she was totally and completely wrong, because she excluded the possibility of collaboration to create something greater than can be achieved by an individual working alone. To her, greatness can only be an individual phenomenon, not a collective one.

    10. 1.The act of hoarding is evil.
      2.I hoard.
      3.I am not evil.

      Ok, logically possible.

      Perhaps we can go with. 3. I do evil things but am not evil. A difficult proposition, but perhaps achievable if I do so in ignorance. However I am not doing it in ignorance of your no 1. I disagree with the absolute, 1. So what now?

      I recall we had a debate about If hoarding harms people. I did not dismiss your arguments due to morals, I dismissed them because I thought they were wrong. I conceded that hoarding could sometimes be detrimental to others. I simply did not agree it was always the case.

      My use of of the spurious was because I do not wish to debate everything. We can examine the simpler scenario of non-collaboration, was my implication.

      Collaboration can achieve greater success in certain scenarios, but if one looks closely at the process it is a series of shared Individual advances that is shared. We are simply disagreeing about perspective here. You focus on the end result, I focus on both process and end result.


    11. My general moral stance would be that actions may be evil but people are not. However, I maybe should clarify my comment that "hoarding is evil". The term "evil" is a strongly negative value judgement, which is not really helpful. Can I refer you to my answer to MrQBlank, above? I said it was not so much the act as the attitude that was the problem. Hoarding is driven by fear, productive investment by home. If your fear leads you to hoard wealth to the detriment of others, then I would regard that as morally wrong - but I understand why you might do it. So might I, if I was scared enough, even though I believe it to be wrong. We all do wrong things when we are scared or angry.

      This brilliant post by Interfluidity discusses the reasons why wealthy people hold on to wealth to the detriment of poorer ones:

      I'm afraid I think ignoring collaboration over-simplifies human interaction and leads to serious injustices - for example, where someone considers that an invention or a product is all his own work and ignores or discounts the inputs of others. The worst example of this would, for example, be a wealthy business owner who regards his wealth as being achieved entirely by his own efforts ("I'm a self-made man") and ignores the contribution made by his employees, his shareholders, his customers and the taxpayers who provide his infrastructure (such as roads). I'm afraid this attitude is all too common, and it is poisonous.

      I think you are wrong that I focus only on the end result. I too look at the process - but we don't agree on how the process works.

    12. Sorry, typo alert. "Productive investment driven by home" makes no sense....should be "productive investment driven by HOPE", of course!

  3. Look, the parable of the Good Samaritan is CLEAR.


    The Levite and the Priest left the man to die because their mitzvot, their Torah, their Scriptures, their Laws - said to have no contact with the dead or the almost dead. So they were sacred, within the Scriptures, and such to be "pure" - and to leave a man to die.

    The Samaritan was "unclean" anyway. He was a "half-breed", an outcast, a man made impure by genetic contamination of miscegenation (not something Jesus actually recognized, but the attitude of the time). Pick any kind of scorned minority right now - like, "flaming transvestite homosexual." He did that which was ritually impure and "wrong" by the religious rules of the day.

    And yes, as you say, he gave up his money and took risk in helping this poor man. And Jesus' lesson is simply this: "Who would you rather have coming down the road if you were lying there bleeding to death?"

    1. I was aware of the significance of the priest and the Levite but chose not to address it in this post, as I was concerned with the existential choice between saving yourself at the expense of another or risking yourself to save another. But you are absolutely right about the racism and religious apartheid that underlie this parable.

      The beauty of Jesus' parables is that they are capable of more than one interpretation. Truth is found on many levels.

  4. An interesting blog. But it should be remembered that Jesus spent his entire career taking hospitality from others, staying in their houses and eating their food - for free. All this, whilst criticising Martha for doing domestic chores instead of listening to him! and preaching against accumulating savings. Without making use of other peoples' savings, Jesus would not have been able to tour round preaching. End of.

    1. Interesting that you phrase it as Jesus "taking" from others. You could equally phrase it as others "giving" to Jesus. Why do you phrase it the way you do?

      Jesus encourages people to be generous with what God provides, sharing with others instead of holding on to wealth for personal benefit. But the idea of giving up personal wealth to share with others is a theme throughout the Bible, actually: Jesus' teachings and behaviour are in this respect consistent with Old Testament theology.

    2. @Anonymous
      "An interesting blog. But it should be remembered that Jesus spent his entire career taking hospitality from others, staying in their houses and eating their food - for free"

      No he didn't. Did he not feed the 5,000?

      The point of Christianity is that it is a non-materialistic philosophy. It is not an economic ideology.

  5. Frances,

    You perhaps have fully realised by now that the fofoa followers are all brainwashed when it comes to the blog.
    They ignore the fact that Another and foa were plain wrong about events, and they ignore the many bizarre predictions fofoa has made in the past few years.
    They will happily ignore facts and figures if it suits their ends, and seem to just repeat ffofa quotes over and over again.
    All the while they see gold rising, but their prophets predicted the paper gold markets would crash over a decade ago. And the dollar too. Neither have come close to happening.
    Any time you spend commenting there will be wasted totally, as they will never once accept that their blinkered view is wrong.

    1. Haha, bizarre predictions? Please do share.

      Also, curious that there are many posts on why FOA and ANOTHER have been wrong so far.

    2. I'm afraid I do think FOFOA's predictions are pretty bizarre. The hyperinflation theory, for example - it's nicely put together but wrongly founded. Cullen Roche has done the most exhaustive study into hyperinflations and I strongly recommmend you read his paper:

    3. Done.

      A good paper. Though perhaps a bit limited in view.

      Now if I may suggest :



  6. I wouldn't want to sully Frances's blog with examples. Just re-read his posts from 2008 to 2010, and most of his end of year posts, all full of end of the world nonsense, and praise for Martin Armstrong and Karl Denninger. Yes, fofoa is just another idiot who has made a good business out of regurgitating someone else's incorrect ideas. Perhaps he's not such an idiot, especially when you look at how little he writes these days. Maybe the book writing takes all of his time? Or something else?

    Yes, Another didn't see the Chinese support, just as no one sees the ongoing support from the Japanese, the British, and others. He'll still be begging for your money in 20 years time, then maybe 20 years after that something will happen. Most will be dead anyway.

    1. I see his blog as a transcript of the path he walked. Did he make some mistakes along the way? Sure. Is he human? Yes.

      The growth in his understanding is what is of interest, along with the clarity in sharing.

      Thing is though, he realized and corrected those mistakes as he came across them, and This is what you criticize him for?


  7. Thing is so did Another and Foa, mistakes galore. Some low-level BIS insider thought he could predict the future, wrong. Fofoa got all carried away in 2008 and 2009 with excitement, and just repeats the same mistakes, and you and your friends slather over his every word.None of you see you are dreaming of an idealized world, where everyone saves in $60,000 gold.
    It is a lovely theory, but in the real world, never going to happen.

    You have no idea how ridiculous you all appear, and you never will, you are so wrapped up in the fallacy. Athrone made a very good point today, about consensus.
    That is all you seek there, eventually there will be a dozen or so posters, everyone else will have been driven away (Costata RIP, JR got you good and proper).

  8. This is an absolutely ridiculousness twisting of the teaching of the story of the Good Samaritan.

    The story has nothing to do with the means to care for the man, and everything to do with the the motivation of the heart of the Good Samaritan contrasted against the the heart and motivation of the men that did nothing.

    The hypocrisy of the Pharisees is being illustrated. These supposed holy men of Israel where thought by the Jewish people to be the Most Holy and worthy of a Jews. In fact, it was thought that if a Pharisee could not make it to heaven, no man could. Jesus contrasts these men against a Samaritan. The Samaritan's where considered half breads, and not even Jewish. The common belief was that they were outside of any chance for redemption.

    So the moral of the story is that, it isn't your position as a Jew that God sees. It is your heart. And the motivation of the heart is evident in ones actions.

    This is not a story about money.


    On a separate note. You seem to enjoy teaching scripture. But what does scripture have to say about that?

    "I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control." 1 Tim 2:8-15

    1. You do not hold a monopoly on the interpretation of Jesus' parables. We are supposed to study scripture and draw our own conclusions - which is what I have done. My interpretation is as valid as yours.

      On your other matter; the letters of Paul should not be taken out of their historical context, either. I suggest you go and find out something about the culture and (pagan) ritual practices of the place Timothy was working in. Then you will understand why Paul placed such restrictions on women.

      I do not "enjoy teaching Scripture". That was not the point of this post.

    2. As to the parables, Jesus defined their purpose in Matthew 13:13-15. "That in seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand". We see a similar motif in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, except that we know exactly how one is able to have understanding, "For him who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches". So we understand that, despite what the words appear to say at face value, there is more to them than the natural man can grasp through his own intellect. The Spirit must reveal it to the reader.

      As for 1 Tim 2:8-15, the culture argument is bogus.

      1) Paul reflects back to Eve in the Garden. There was no culture. It was just Adam and Eve. And if you know the story, Eve was deceived by the serpent. Adam was not deceived. He made a conscious choice to do what he knew was wrong. This goes to the difference between men and women, and how they were fashioned by God. It is not a value statement, but merely a matter of fact. Both sinned, and going forward, both men and women are sinners.

      2) Paul is the single most important New Testament author with regard to Church doctrine. But like every other author, He did not write of his own accord. He wrote as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness," 2 Tim 3:16
      If Paul set out to teach a doctrine that was only applicable to the Church in the first century, then 2 Tim 3:16 is not true. Furthermore, if 2 Tim 3:16 is not true, then who is to argue that any of it is true. In which case I would ask, how is it then a "lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path"?

    3. Your first point supports my argument that we are to study and form our own conclusions, and that Jesus' parables are capable of more than one interpretation. It does not mean that your interpretation is more valid than mine.

      The culture argument is absolutely applicable. This letter concerns the practical difficulties of running a church in a pagan culture in which women had sexual authority over men in a religious context. We need to consider what similar or equivalent practical difficulties the church of our time experiences, and therefore what the appropriate behaviour of men and women should be in our time. Simply swallowing whole Paul's practical advice to a church leader of his time is misuse of Scripture.

    4. There are lot of analyses of 1 Tim 2:8-15 which all say pretty much the same - namely that if we are to learn from it, it must not be taken out of context. Here's a rather good example:

      Actually I think this passage has some VERY important things to say to the church and society of today, which we miss completely if we focus only on Paul's supposed prohibition of female authority and ignore the historical and cultural context.

  9. @Nickelsaver & Frances:

    You need some counseling, both of you. Seriously.


    You take yourself too seriously. And FOFOA. And ANOTHER. And FOA. Seriously.

    Take care\Dante :-)

  10. I like Mitchell and Webb's take.

  11. This is a fantastic blog.


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