Rachel Marie Stone
February 22, 2013
I reread the beginning of 1st Timothy up to 2:9 but saw nothing about wealth other than the gold, pears and costly attire mentioned in that verse. So I don't think the context supports the application that we should "not (be) flaunting wealth".
Chapter 2 starts with a charge to pray for leaders "that we may lead a peaceful and quiet lifeâ€¦pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be savedâ€¦" The author then goes into a mini doctrinal exposition. And then in verse 8, "I desire thenâ€¦" and verse 9, "likewise alsoâ€¦" So these verses are linked, in the Authors mind, to what came before in 1st Timothy.
So what came before? John the Baptist telling people to give away their hand-me-downs? How hard it is for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of God? Segregation in churches? Dismantling social divisions? No. None of these things are talked about in Chapter 1 or the beginning of Chapter 2.
Now I will grant that these things are fixed by the application of what he says in 8(to men) and 9(to women), but they aren't the point. The point is in 2:5,
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus"
So why should you not wear immodest clothing? Because it exalts you, instead of exalting your Savior, the man Christ Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria
The issue with Paul was likely status. Status was everything in the Roman world and status was one way that Christ's sacrifice critiqued Roman cultural assumptions. Gold, pearls, plated here speak to status. The same was likely true of Paul's admonitions regarding the Lord's Supper in 1 Corinthians 11.
Our culture maintains a high degree of denial regarding how "status" plays within it. We have a cultural egalitarian norm that is supposed to nullify status. It probably just pushes it underground and what can be more status driven than the yearly Oscar liturgy.
I'd suggest that Ms. Stone is right that skin is likely not so much the issue. We might however ponder how status which includes wealth, fame, and vicarious identification plays out among us.
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