Friday, July 3, 2009

Itching Ears, Part 9 (Not Greedy of Filthy Lucre)

God has showed me another scripture that puts our churches to shame, especially when we consider the statistic that says faith leaders, clergy is the top profession for perpetrating domestic violence on their spouses. When we put that together with the teaching of II Timothy 4:3-4 NIV “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” We have to find that it is not only the pastors who are responsible; it is those who choose and who hire the pastors who are responsible for the resulting domestic abuse, scripture abuse, husbandolatry,and submission abuse as well.

I Timothy 3:3-4 at first glance seems to have little to do with domestic abuse. “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity.” I started researching this verse out of curiosity, not expecting it to return to domestic abuse. I wondered what “covetous” meant, and the Strong’s Concordance, #866, said it meant “not greedy of filthy lucre. That meant the verse would read “Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not greedy of filthy lucre.”

I have never before seen Paul’s writing to be redundant like that, so this caught my interest. Something was not right. The Amplified says "Not given to wine, not combative, but gentle and considerate, not quarrelsome but forbearing and peaceable, and not a lover of money--insatiable for wealth and ready to obtain it by questionable means." But this reading just combines the two “not greedy of filthy lucre” phrases.

Nothing made sense until I researched the context as well. "No striker, but patient, not a brawler." Brawler is #269 a combination of "not" and #3163 , which is from 3164, "to war, ie (fig) to quarrel, dispute:--fight, strive. #3163 uses the word "controversy. Thus, not a brawler means "peaceable." Husbands who abuse their wives (and children)—even non-physically do not fit this criteria. This includes those who quarrel, strive, and even those who tell their wives they must submit because the husband is to be the authority, or the leader. This type of fighting is “brawling” and “striving for power over another” on the husband’s part. It is NOT patience and it is not peaceable.

Notice that today’s Christian culture calls this type of brawling the wife’s fault. Consider the statements of seminary teacher Bruce Ware when he said that it is the non-submission of the wife that causes the husband to resort to domestic violence. Thus, wives are blamed for the power-hungry brawling of their husbands.

Striker #4131, "A smiter, ie pugnacious (quarrelsome):--striker."
Wow! Chase where this word comes from and it is definitely picturing an abuser’s behaviors. Striker comes from #4141 "appar. another form of 4111 (through the idea of flattening out); to pound, ie (fig) to inflict with (calamity):--smite."

#4111 "a prim. verb; to mould, ie shape or fabricate:--form."

Notice that it does not say the moulding and shaping is physical. I suggest it could also be verbal, emotional, psychological, and misuse of scripture. "Fabricate" even suggests making something out of nothing, outright misrepresenting, like fabricating a lie. This could suggest making a spouse into a personality completely different from who she really is, like making an insecure, depressed, down-trodden woman out of a happy, self-confident, spunky woman.

#4141 also is a comp. of 5180 "a pim. verb (in a strength form); to "thump" ie cudgel or pummel (prop. with a stick or bastinado), but in any case by repeated blows; thus differing from 3817 and 3960, which denote a (usually single) blow with the hand or any instrument, or 4141 with the fist (or a hammer), or 4474 with the palm; as well as from 5177, an accidental collision; by impl. to punish; fig. to offend (the conscience):--beat, smite, strike, wound.

This latter is speaking of physical abuse, and can allude to verbal abuse as well, since that also wounds and can be experienced as repeated blows. However, it is specifically speaking of repeated hitting with the hand or other instrument, as one who is trying to mould or shape something or someone.

What I gather from the context is that a person who is hungry for (covets) power--like a perpetrator of domestic abuse or domestic violence--is not qualified to serve as bishop or deacon. Paul is telling them to rule out those who will lord it over the flock, by ruling out those who lord it over, or who covet lording it over, their families.

So we can conclude that the verse should read something like this in our current language:
Not an alcoholic, no physical abuser, not greedy of ill-gotten money; but patient, not a quarreler, not covetous of power over others.
Both verbal, emotional, and physical violence are prohibited in these verses, yet churches, which are largely controlled by men, encourage husband leadership or authority, do not make sure the husbands are not ruling their houses by means of abuse, and choose pastors whose wives choose to be second-class citizens so they cannot be accused of “wearing the pants.”

Again, why are men teaching one portion of the passage while they ignore the other? It is because they have itching ears and they want that absolute power over their own wives. In order to have it, they must make husband authority a rule for all men, especially for pastors who must be able to stand against the teaching of biblical feminists.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit

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