Parable of the Laborers

Applied to Courtship Decisions

The Episcopal church is engaged in an experiment to accept homosexuality which they still admit is contrary to scripture. They buy the homosexual promotion of diversity. My argument is that the scriptures allow us enough diversity in human sexuality that we don't need to import perversity just to add a little variety. I start at I Corinthians to show that first of all, Christians can be either married or single. Singleness itself has a number of subcategories: There's the eunuch committed to never marry and the virgin who is just waiting until the time is right. Although Christians are not supposed to initiate divorce, if an unbelieving spouse departs we may let him or her without being under bondage but God has called us to peace. A Christian widow or widower may remain single or marry at will, only in the Lord. Then there's diversity in our marriages. There are gospel teams like Priscilla and Aquila equally yoked in the Lord. There's the marriage like Peter's where his wife tends the home fire but is not an active part of his ministry (see Matt. 8:14-15). There is a great variety of Christian couples who live out the relationship of Christ to the church, each to their own level of ability. And there is the mixed marriage where the Christian lives a godly life before the unbeliever.

Since that is how I preach to the homosexuals and sympathizers, I'd be somewhat of a hypocrite if I sat in church where any one of our legitimate expressions of sexuality were disallowed and not challenge it. If some Christians think otherwise, well, we are none of us perfect.

It's a different story, though, when they start rewriting the Bible to make their interpretation clearer when it doesn't even say that. I knew a girl from an Asian country who came over here to study and got converted to Christianity. Her teachers told her she had to break it off with her fiancé of nine years because he was not a Christian. She didn't want to and only conceded when they showed her the clear commandment in the NIV™. She was devastated. Long engagements were the custom in her country and no girl gets younger with the passage of years.

When modern translations engage in paraphrase, they are supposed to warn us in the preface; that is the custom. If mischief follows because they don't, then those aware of it should speak up. If they are unresponsive, then their translation should be set aside, which is what I've done to Zondervan's NIV™.

For those who seem to be interested in an interpretation of the parable of the laborers, let's take a definition:

--Reader's Digest Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life and Times225
A Roman silver coin called a penny in the King James Version of the Bible, the denarius was considered a standard day's pay for a Roman soldier or an ordinary worker in the Holy Land. In Matthew 20:2, denarius is translated as "the usual daily wage" from the Greek text.
When Christians start speaking of marriage in terms of being yoked together they are talking about laboring because that is what a yoke is for. When they talk about putting the Lord first in their marriage and receiving God's blessing on it they're probably right; that is the usual wage, sanctification, the penny for the day's labor. Suppose God is good and sanctifies other marriages. The starting point of payment, the one mentioned in the epistle, is the mixed marriage that is sanctified. Christian couples are just not having it, that after all they've done, God has made them equal to a mixed marriage.

Of course, that's not the standard interpretation, but those who have tucked away the jealousy safely in the afterlife are the ones who made it. It does have the four categories of labor lined up properly: the married gospel team doing a full day's labor, the Christian couple who merely support other ministries, the Christian couple working out their relationship parallel to the one between Christ and the church, and finally the Christian who simply lives a Christian life in front of a nonchristian spouse. God sanctifies that last category to the same degree as the first, and the last being first, it is the mixed marriage that is singled out for recognition in Paul. The Christians in the first category are jealous over God treating that last category as good as he treats his hard working servants, but God has done them no wrong; he has fully sanctified their marriage as well.

The parable ends on the note that many are called but few chosen. The immediate application here is that one wants to have a broad group to select a potential mate from, the many called--those whom God will allow a Christian to live with in the Lord. The narrow range of selection is the few chosen ones whom we are not restricted to in our mate selection.

Dating Questions, God's Answers
Questions of Greek scholarship, context, sanctification, dating, God's authority, & authority of the church
Yoked Together in Christian Ministry,
an attempt to sort out the confusion.
KJV | Context | Mixed Marriage
Comparing the KJV with modern English versions; looking at mixed marriage and being unequally yoked in their own contexts; proper handling of the word of God; vulnerability of widows addressed.
Parable of the Laborers
Episcopalians and diversity. Parable of the laborers.
Unequally Yoked Metaphor
"Unequally yoked" metaphor discussed. New translations muddy the waters concerning a widow marrying "only in the Lord."
Holy Seed
Evil report and good report. King James Bible. "Unequally yoked" examined. Holy seed means sanctified marriage. Marrying "only in the Lord." Christian liberty. Corinthian epistles.
Only in the Lord
"Only in the Lord" for a widow's remarriage; application to the times; sanctification of marriage; accuracy of Bible translations.
Breaking Up Blues
Breaking up is the pits.
Missionary Dating
Missionary dating; circular arguments; "expert" disagreeing opinions; Priscilla & Aquila; parallels in the writings of Paul; spread of primitive Christianity; parable of the laborers.
Pauline Triads
Questions from Corinthian cultural framework; the expert's opinions; triads in Paul; courtship.
Expert Opinion
Eureka! An actual "expert;" the Corinthians' perspective; modern framework; Paul's thought.
Note on the triad
Note on Paul's triad.


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Earl Gosnell
1950 Franklin Bv., Box 15
Eugene, OR 97403


Copyright © 2001, Earl S. Gosnell III Creative Commons Licence
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Parable of the Laborers