Sarah obeyed Abraham


Written by ANDRÉE SEU

April 16, 2012, 9:23 AM

As you know, I am getting married on Saturday, so verses about marriage are standing out on the page. I note the following politically incorrect Scripture for your consideration:

“… Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord …” (1 Peter 3:6).

This will not go over big with some in my intimate circle, so I tried to see if I could do a little hermeneutical two-step and razzmatazz around it to soften it a bit. This can possibly be done in two different ways. One is to say that it was in the old days, and now is the new days. That verse pertained to an old Middle Eastern culture, where women obeyed their husbands.

The problem is that if I take that course, relativizing a personally distasteful Scripture and tossing it into the wastebasket labeled “culturally conditioned,” there is no end to it. The camel’s nose is now under the tent, and I can get rid of any teaching that grates against modern American sensibilities. I end up putting the word of man above the Word of God.

The other way out is to say that the translation is clunky, and that “obeyed” here is better rendered something like “respected” or “appreciated” or “honored” or “considered.” But I checked out the Greek behind “obeyed,” and there was no wriggling out of it. Here is the meaning of “hupakouo” from Strong’s No. 5219:

“To hear as a subordinate, listen attentively, obey as a subject, answer and respond, submit without reservation.”

There is always a third way out, of course, and that is to strike out on my own without the Word of God. But alas, I tried that for so many decades without success, so I am inclined to side with Peter who, when Jesus asked, after some particularly distasteful teaching, if he was going to bug out along with other disciples who were leaving in droves, replied:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Warning: Politically incorrect marriage ahead.