I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. (ESV)
Discrimination is an ugly word. None of us like it when we are treated as having less value than someone else. In the United States we have seen people treated as less valuable because of the color of their skin. That is disgraceful. Many women have aborted their child because they feared it would be born with Down Syndrome, as if that makes a child less valuable. Discrimination is ugly. Always.
The Apostle Paul lived in a different time. Discrimination was just as ugly in his day. In this verse he makes a wonderful statement. He declares that he is under obligation to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. What is the overall point he is making? There is no discrimination in God's kingdom! He is obligated to share the Gospel to all.
When Paul uses the word Greeks he is referring to not only those of Greek descent. The Greeks had influenced the Roman culture with their philosophy and teaching. Anyone who had adopted their way of thinking and culture would have been included in Paul's description of Greeks. They were considered to be the elite. It would have been easy for Paul to have targeted them only.
Paul was of great intellect. Scripture tells us that Paul was taught by Gamaliel, a pharisee of pharisees. He might have struggled with relating to the "barbarians," the simple, the foolish. No matter. For Paul the Gospel was a message of God's love that was for everyone. Discrimination was an ugly word that did not belong in God's kingdom.
Do an honest evaluation of your heart. Are there people whom you look down upon? Do you discriminate against those who you think are beneath you? Discrimination is an ugly word. Don't let it be a part of your life. Share the Gospel with everyone!
Post a Comment