Thursday, February 18, 2010

A mini-exposition

kw: biblical interpretation

One set of Bible passages that cause endless discussion among Christians relate to the Sabbath. Do we need to keep it, do we NOT need to, what? The main clue is what Jesus said about it, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." It was a provision to afford a break in one's schedule, which makes for better health.

Two other important passages then come to mind. After healing someone, in a synagogue, on the Sabbath, Jesus asked, "Which of you, having an ox or a donkey that falls into a ditch on the Sabbath, will not pull it out?" And in one place in Leviticus and one in Numbers, we find the prohibition of "servile work" on the Sabbath (KJV terminology). When I put these two together, I judge thus: pulling your ox out of a ditch could be harder labor than your day job. But it is your day job that is called "servile work", in other words, the work of a servant, work by which you make your living.

So if you must do some labor on a Sabbath day, not related to your occupation, you don't break the Sabbath, but if you hire someone to do the work for you, that person breaks the Sabbath! This doesn't even get into the matter of whether Christians are bound by Sabbath regulations in the first place.

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