So let us go back to where we were yesterday. We saw what this great verse is about, according to its context. However, the verse has been hijacked over the years and used to justify all kinds of things. In recent years, the verse has been used to justify having no distinguishing between different roles for men and women in the church. But the verse has nothing to do with that. As we thought yesterday, it is all about our acceptance in Christ Jesus and has got nothing to do with what roles men and women have in the church.
At this point, we have to remind ourselves of the other issues in interpreting scripture:
- Scripture is not contradictory. The Bible is one harmonious whole and there are no contradictions therein.
- The unclear in scripture must be understood in the light of the clear.
So what do we make of Galatians 3:28 in the light of Ephesians 6:5-8? Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favour when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.
In Galatians 3:28, bond and free are finished; in Ephesians 6:8 bond and free are clearly in existence. The answer to this is that we are dealing with completely different things in the two passages. Ephesians 6:5-8 is dealing with our roles in a work situation. Further, the passage on marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33 is rendered meaningless if men and women are now meant to have the same roles because of Galatians 3:28.
So it must be established that Galatians 3:28 has nothing to do with roles in the family, society, workplace or the church – it is all about our acceptance with God. Let us not mutilate the Scripture because of our desires to legitimize certain roles.