1st Century Roman Marriage Law

In Roman law of the 1st century, it was illegal for a man or woman to not be married between the ages of 25-60 (for men) and 20-50 (for women). So for the Romans celibacy was a crime, and there were restrictions on those who were celibate, this is one of the many issues that put Christians at odds with the Roman empire. Especially Paul, because he was celibate and encouraged (but did not require) celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7.

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Eunuchs in the Bible

In the New Covenant, marriage is not an expectation since we don’t make new kingdom members by making babies but rather by sharing the gospel. Jesus affirmed the option of being a eunuch in Matt 19:11-12 when talking about people made eunuchs (castrated by emperors), born eunuchs, (asexual or possibly intersex), or made themselves eunuchs (either through castration or will-powered celibacy) for the Kingdom. Paul was a celibate eunuch and even encouraged being celibate in his letter to the Corinthians when talking about marriage (1 Corinthians ch. 7). However he never required it, and even suggested getting married if a person can’t control their sexual desires. He recommends celibacy so that Christians could focus on the work of the Kingdom because single people could focus on the Lord’s work without the distractions of familial obligations (1 Cor 7:8-9).

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Women Wearing Pants

Some people have used Deut 22:5 to suggest that women can’t wear pants, because it is “men’s clothing”. Is that correct? Are they actually men’s clothing? Also, can Deut 22:5 even be applied to non-Jews outside of Israel? Should Gentiles also put tassels on their clothing to remember the law as Deut 22:12 says?

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Women’s Hair in the Bible

Should Christian women cover their hair? It seems like that is what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 11:1-15. However cultural context reveals that there is more to this. In 1 Corinthians 11:3, it says, “The head of every man is Christ, the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” The word guné (γυνή) can be translated as wife or woman. Likewise with anér (ἀνήρ) which can mean male, man, or husband. Men are not literally the head of every woman in the church, but it can be translated to either “Man is the head of the woman” or “husband is the head of the wife”. So the linguistic context must be used to determine which meaning. Since the custom of that era was that MARRIED women covered their hair, then it was the husbands that are the head of their wives. In verse 4 men who are praying or prophesying dishonor their head (which is Christ according to verse 4). In 1 Cor 11:5, it says a woman who prays or prophesies uncovered dishonors their head. The word “head” used here is in reference to husbands from verse 3. It dishonors their husbands, but not God, meaning that all of this was because of the social marriage custom.

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Women Speaking in Church

1 Tim 2:11-15 and 1 Cor 14:34-35 are often sighted as sexist verses in the bible that require women to be absolutely silent in church. However proper examination of the original language and context of this letter reveals that it’s not like that. First of all, if women weren’t allowed to speak at all, then why does Paul instruct them on how to pray and prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11:5, both of which require speaking? Women who were prophets in the bible can be found in Exodus 15:20, Judges 4:4-5, Luke 2:36, Acts 2:17, and Acts 21:9.

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3 Interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:12-15

There are 3 interpretations of 1 Timothy 2:12-15, concerning the role of women in the church. Both letters to Timothy were written to help him deal with an uprising of false teachers in the church of Ephesus. These false teachers, Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus (these are the one’s Paul names) were not women, but they were influencing the women.

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Sexual Immorality in the Bible

The law (Torah) came from God on Mt Sinai, and Jesus agreed with everything the Torah said, including everything about sexual immorality, because it all points to him (Luke 16:29-31, John 5:45). He followed the law perfectly which made him sinless, and that qualified him to die for our sins. The law says that incest (Lev18:1-18), adultery (Ex 20:14, Deut 5:18), same-sex intercourse (Lev 18:22, Lev 20:13), bestiality (Lev18:23, Lev 20:15-16), and fornication (Ex 22:16-17, Deut 22:28-29), are all sins that were punishable with execution. Sex between a married man and woman that have no conflicting relationship (blood or otherwise) between other family members, is the only legit way to have sex. Jesus agreed with this because he followed Torah and believed it to be the word of his father God.

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Slavery in the Bible

Various cultures around the world had slaves, including cultures in the ancient near east, like Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria, etc. How slavery was practiced around the world varied with culture, most cultures have debt slavery where people sold themselves into slavery to pay off debts, and there were those who are made slaves by conquest. Some had chattel slavery where people were treated like animals and kidnapped, but when most people think of this kind of slavery they think of the transatlantic slave trade. The closes thing we see to ethnic-based enslavement in the bible is when the Egyptians enslaved the Israelites. The Egyptians hated Hebrews (foreigners) long before Moses was even born according to Gen 43:32 and Gen 46:31-34, and they used their nationalism as justification for their mistreatment and enslavement of the Hebrews according to Exodus 1:8-10.

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The Bible on Tattoos

Are Tattoos sinful? Leviticus 19:28 says (NLT), “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the LORD.” Notice it says “for the dead”, which means this direction was aimed at the forbiddance of pagan ancestral worship and mourning practices. Deuteronomy 14:1 says, “Since you are the people of the LORD your God, never cut yourselves or shave the hair above your foreheads in mourning for the dead.” This confirms that self-mutilation like cutting was a practice associated with mourning that God was against. The ancient Israelites would express mourning in a few different ways, weeping and crying loudly (Psalm 6:6, Genesis 50:10; Ruth 1:9), bowing the head (Lamentations 2:10), and fasting (2 Samuel 3:35), sprinkling ashes, dust, or dirt upon themselves (2 Samuel 1:2; Joshua 7:6), tear their clothing (Genesis 37:29; 2 Chronicles 34:27), removed jewelry (Exodus 33:4), walked barefoot (2 Samuel 15:30), and possibly wear a coarse, goat-hair garment called sackcloth/burlap (Genesis 37:34; Jonah 3:6-8). These mourning actions were allowed, but cutting, shaving, and tattooing were not allowed.

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The Bible on Incest

People often ask the question, “who is Cain’s wife?” A proper response to this question is to ask back “who was Seth’s wife?” The answer to both questions is relatively the same, they married their sisters. People often ask this question because they don’t actually know what the bible says about incest. The modern-day definition of incest is based on ideas about breeding offspring from parents that are genetically close, but in the ancient world siblings, half-siblings and cousins married all the time. How else would there be “royal bloodlines” in various cultures?

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