Track Group | 14.7
Track Group | 14.7
Hey everyone and welcome to another online Track Group. This week we ‘re continuing to follow along with the “live” Bible Project podcast series that is coming out weekly. We’re 1 behind, which is great because it means there is time to create a little resource to follow along with online. This series will use the Bible Project’s videos and have a few reflection questions to keep you thinking.
Today’s session is based on the episode called “Honor-Shame Culture and the Gospel.”
“you in the group chat with Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego?… I used the fire emoji and they got all offended.”
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.
This week, we’re thinking about what it means for the New Testament letters to have been written into the Roman culture.
- Quickly think of all the things you know about the Roman Empire…
- Have you ever had to think about what it means for parts of the Bible to be written to people living in the Roman Empire?
Over the last few sessions the basic thing that has been highlighted is what it means to be part of God’s Kingdom where Jesus is Lord/King. The Roman Empire (and all future empires) didn’t /don’t look like the Kingdom of God and a big part of that is the leadership of an empire.
Jesus devoted a HUGE amount of his teaching to what it means to be part of the Kingdom of God. For the early hearers the contrast between Kingdom and Empire must have been obvious. The Bible Project team pick out two key differences between Kingdom and Empire: power and status & the honor/shame culture.
Power was directly linked to your social status in the Roman Empire. The higher your status the more social power you had. And obviously, less and less people were to be found at the top of the power pyramid with the Emporer at the top.
Honor and status were given to those of higher social classes. You knew where you were on the social scale. Elite? Lower class? Unclean?… Not only did you know your position on the scale but so did others and it mattered and changed how you were treated.
For Digging Deeper
You might have noticed that the verses above are the same as last sessions. When you read them now, think about how they are affected by the culture that they were spoken into.
- How is our society similar to that of the Roman Empire in terms of power and status?
- How is society today any different?
One difference is that today a huge value is placed on you as an individual, not so much your social group or class status. The way we read and interpret the Biblical letters matters. Like the words from Galations… they would have been read by early readers as saying something like: “forget the social status of your group. We’re all equal here.” But maybe for us modern readers there is something for us to hear in the last lines: “we’re a family now! You can’t stand alone because you belong to God’s family now through Jesus.” That’s what our culture needs to hear too.
Dear God, help us as we dig into your word to read it literatly. Help us to hear what your Holy Spirit needs us to hear today. We’re sorry for when we treat following you as less that being part of the big family. Please give us wisdom to be your Kingdom here and now. Amen.
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