Least Among You – BT11
God’s discipline or educational-training of little children is gentle and patient
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In the previous BLOG topics we saw the constant use of the noun paideia or verb paideuo for the educational training or rearing of paidion little children who were younger than 7-8 years old, thus still under parental training, though it could apply to pais children up to 20 years old when they assume adult responsibilities. We saw that “pas ‘all of a kind’ of [OT] scripture, the kind that is “breathed-out-by-the-Spirit” making it prophetic, which was “the kind” that “was able to make Timothy wise unto salvation through trusting-relying-faith in Jesus Christ” is “the kind” that “is profitable/useful for teaching/instruction . . . for paideia little child-education/rearing” (a) – certainly not “the whole of scripture” because of all that is written in the NT about being free from the dominion of the Law that is the basis of 97.4% of the [OT] scripture – see Logos Word of God – BT5a. For that reason the NT writers, as all Jews today, refer to the OT as the “Law” or Torah of God (b). According to Wikipedia, the Torah can “most specifically mean the 5 books of Moses but also the continued narrative from all the 24 books.” <Notes> a) 2 Timothy 3:15-16, b) For example, Jesus does this in: John 10:34, 15:25; Paul does this in: 1 Corinthians 14:21 and Romans 3:19.
Christian fathers were “not to provoke their teknon willfully-dependent-children (a) to anger but instead raise them in/by/with the paideia little-child-education and/coupled nouthesia admonition belonging to the Lord” (b). Provocation results in discouragement (c), leading us to believe that encouragement is part of both paideia little-child-education and/coupled nouthesia admonition! In fact, “exhortation” or “encouragement” are often translations of parakaleo alongside-counseling-of-ministry, commonly used of the Holy Spirit’s and Paul’s ministry, as the way in which teknon willfully-dependent-children are taught as huios sons who are rightful heirs (f) concerning corrective-training of such children (d). Also, nouthesia admonition is directly linked to this “little-child-education,” meaning to “set into the mind via teaching through God-inspired warning by improving a person’s reasoning by helping them go through God’s thought-processes so they can reach God’s conclusion, thus part of renewing our mind per Romans 12:1-3. The verb form noutheteo is directly linked to what Christians should be doing reciprocally for one another “teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom” (e). So we can see the gentle counseling approach that all Body-of-Christ ministry should be characterized as. How does any of this fit with the “speaker on an elevated platform speaking to a lower sitting audience” format we see in most churches?
<Notes> a) teknon: a child living in willing dependence and unprovoked obedience per Ephesians 6:1, 4, Colossians 3:20-21, and 1 Peter 1:14 because of effective parental management that doesn’t “lose one’s dignity, respect, honor, and admiration” in their own household per 1 Timothy 3:4, 12 and Titus 1:6 as proistemi managed-caregiving elders and deacons should exhibit, with gentleness as a nursing mother would give per 1 Thessalonians 2:7, even giving good grace-gifts to them: Matthew 7:11, even the Holy Spirit: Luke 11:13. Such children draw guidance, care, and nurture from their parents. They are disciples of Christ: Mark 10:24; children of God: John 1:12, 11:52, 1 John 3:2, 10, 5:2, Romans 8:17, 21, Philippians 2:15; Dearly unconditionally-loved by God: Ephesians 5:1, 1 John 3:1; True children of Sarah and Abraham: 1 Peter 3:6, Romans 9:7; children of the promise: Romans 9:8; Galatians 4:28 31; Of the light instead of the darkness we once were, being children of wrath: Ephesians 2:3, 5:8; The Spirit, not a bible verse, tells us that we are: Romans 8:16, b) Ephesians 6:4, c) Colossians 3:21, d) Hebrews 12:5, 7-8, 11-12, e) Colossians 3:16, f) huios: although we are adopted sons, we are NOW under the New Covenant made to share the same nature as their Father, able to receive their inheritance: Romans 8:14; Galatians 4:30.
We also see paideia little child-education done with gentleness even when correcting opponents of the gospel (a). Thus gentleness is a trait ministers should pursue (b), a trait all Christians should have even when defending the hope they have IN them (c), or even restoring brethren caught in sin (d). Divine wisdom is “peaceable, gentle, and open to reason” (e). This kind of ministry’s gentleness is like that of a nursing mother (f). It’s not God’s discouraging provocation, wrath, or anger but His grace that paideia trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desire and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (g) and also being courteous, respectfully obedient, doing good works, gentle, and not quarreling or speaking evil of others (h). Such good parenting also gives good grace-gifts (i), even the Holy Spirit (j), to the children! Such gentleness is a “flavor” of “the singular fruit/nature/essence of the Spirit that is unconditional-love” (k), “the Spirit of gentleness” (l), which makes us “dearly unconditionally-loved by God” (m), and the Spirit is the one that tells us so, not a bible verse (n) or the song “Jesus loves me this I know because the bible tells me so.” This is contrary to what the bible actually says! <Notes> a) 2 Timothy 2:25, b) 1 Timothy 6:11, c) 1 Peter 3:15, d) Galatians 6:1, e) James 3:17, f) 1 Thessalonians 2:7, g) Titus 2:12, h) Titus 3:1-2, i) Matthew 7:11, j) Luke 11:13, k) Galatians 5:22-23, l) 1 Corinthians 4:21; Galatians 6:1, m) Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:1, n) Romans 8:16.
This gentleness is the kind of paideia little child-education/training that God is giving us “for our own good” as “something all huios sons have been metochos changed-sharers in/by/with,” but especially as God would His own huios sons (a) in order that we “are not condemned with world” (b). The translations of paideia as “discipline” in many bibles can be extremely misleading because of our experience of human parents yelling, berating, whipping, and even physically beating kids into submission. It’s easy from so much traumatic childhood memories to think that this would be the method of Father “God who alone is good” (c). Many adult behavioral problems and sin is rooted in deeply-rooted images of terrible parental behavior that created childhood trauma, repression, resentment, and unforgiveness that demons build strongholds from and severely block intimacy with Father God. However, we’ve already seen that God’s methods of molding our character don’t involve punishment but of gentle correction, inspiring example, His amazing grace, and being “constrained/controlled by Christ’s unconditional-love” (d) through the “self-control of the Holy Spirit” (e) that “causes us to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules” (f). <Notes> a) Hebrews 12:6-8, 10, b) 1 Corinthians 11:32, c) Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19, d) 2 Corinthians 5:14, e) Galatians 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:7, f) Ezekiel 36:27
This incorrect understanding of paideia “discipline” has also been fueled by misinterpretations of “spare the rod and spoil the child” in Proverbs 13:24. Careful analysis of the text indicates that “rod” was likely a “writing stick that little children used in their education,” because the worst thing a Jewish parent could do was keep their kid uneducated, an education they got primarily from reading the Hebrew of the OT scriptures! Without this moral upbringing they were likely to be involved in crime. Without the jobs that education prepares you for, they would also likely be involved in crime. Nothing has changed!
The rabbi-teacher Jesus wasn’t offering a “yoke/harness of instruction” like any other rabbi did to teach their disciples – reading, studying, debating, arguing, and quarreling (a) over the writings of the scriptures (b) and those of their often over-bearing, prideful leaders. It was a hard, heavy, and busy schedule to keep up with such rabbis! It was like going to school at a prestigious university like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, MIT, Julliard, etc. Instead, Jesus said: “Come to Me, all who toil and are heavily-burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and/coupled learn [directly] from Me for I am gentle and/coupled lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls, for My yoke is easy-to-do and/coupled My burden is feather/cloud-light to carry” (c). There are only 2 commandments in the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant – 1) to have trusting-relying-faith in Christ, and 2) to unconditionally-love one another just as Christ did even for His enemies (d) and these are certainly not burdensome (e). This peaceful rest is the opposite of burdensome toil. Which can little children do? This is so important for musicians that I made this video. <Notes> a) prohibited by Christians: Titus 2:9; 1 Corinthians 1:20; Matthew 12:19; Romans 14:1; 1 Corinthians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 12:20; 1 Timothy 2:8, 3:3; James 4:1-2, b) 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14, 23-24; Titus 3:2, 9, c) Matthew 11:28-30, d) 1 John 3:23, e) 1 John 5:3
No, the “Law of Christ” to “bear one another’s burdens” (a) involves “lowliness and/coupled gentleness – patience being the meta result” (b). Zechariah said the coming righteous King of salvation was lowly, mounted on a donkey, just as Christ rode into Jerusalem on (c). Paul knew this lowliness and humility to be key characteristics of Christ (d), even lowering Himself from God to man and then death on a cross (e). We see gentleness and patience as “flavors” of the singular fruit of the Spirit that is unconditional-love (f). Can you see how lowly little children would be perfect candidates for the “easy and light” commandment of the “Law of Christ” to unconditionally-love one another with gentleness and patience? <Notes> a) Galatians 6:2; 1 Corinthians 9:21, b) Ephesians 4:2, c) Zechariah 9:9, d) 2 Corinthians 10:1, e) Philippians 2:8, f) Galatians 5:22-23; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:4.
I’ve taught hundreds of elementary, middle-school kids, and kids of all ages with Autism or that are Emotionally-Disturbed, and you have to handle them with great gentleness and patience because being fragile they can easily break. But if you honor, respect, and show them dignity you generally get this back. If you yell, criticize, make fun of them, or berate them in any way, then you will hurt them, build distrust, and provoke them to anger and resentment. Their little minds/hearts just can’t process it, they will start “acting out” in unpredictable ways, and you will “lose their submissiveness and order.” Why? Because you lost your self-control!
As Christian musicians, we also need to be gentle and patient with our own “walk in the Spirit” (a) as we live according to the Spirit (b), be led by the Spirit (c), and even keep in step with the Spirit like a soldier of their squad leader (d). Click here for a video on patience for musicians. We need to treat ourselves and others like our parents desired and our Father-God accomplished – parakaleo close-beside encouragement of us to crawl, then teeter, then walk a bit, then walk more and faster, run, skate or skateboard, roller-blade, bike ride, drive many motorcycles and cars, hang-glide, sky-dive, or fly in a plane! When we failed, as sin is defined, and scuffed our knees or hit our head or slammed our fingers in the door or broke an arm or leg, Our Loving Parent consoled us, picked us up, took us to the hospital or bandaged us up, gave us some corrective tips, gave us lessons, gave us training wheels, helped steady the bike, and said, “You can do it!” <Notes> a) Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16, b) Romans 8:5, 13; Galatians 5:25; 1 Peter 4:6, c) Romans 8:14, d) Galatians 5:25,
James admitted, “We all stumble in many ways” (a)! Paul boasted in his own weaknesses (b) once he realized that by surrendering his lack of self-control to the Lord through confession of our sins, Christ is the faithful One despite of our lack of faithfulness and Christ is also legally just to forgive our sins because He pays for our sin Himself through His own sacrifice to wash us clean by His blood from ALL our unrighteousness” (c). Thus by surrendering our weaknesses to the Lord, Christ’s dunamis enabling-power is made perfect as it rests upon us (d). This is a divine exchange of our flaws for God’s power, not just once but as often as we surrender – this is called Atonement or Propitiation. That’s what God will do if we wait in proseuchomai conversational-prayer for Him (e) to proserchomai draw near to us as we draw near to Him in surrendering-submission – it’s the only way to cleanse our hands and purify our hearts (f)! It all comes down to that genuine, experiential, relationship epignosis knowledge that can ONLY come from one step of trusting-relying-faith to another in our walk (g), just as Abraham did (h), sometimes not trusting our eyes but only our trusting-relying-faith in our loving God (i). <Notes> a) James 3:2, b) 2 Corinthians 12:5, 9, c) 1 John 1:9, d) 2 Corinthians 12:9, e) Isaiah 40:31, f) James 4:7-8, Proserchomai: a Hebraism for “seeking an audience with, approaching, inquiring of, calling on to visit, or be heard by” God, thus closely akin in spelling and meaning to proseuche conversational-prayer and proskuneo worship, g) Romans 1:17, h) Romans 4:12, i) 2 Corinthians 4:18, 5:7.
As Christian musicians, shouldn’t we realize that 300 Messianic prophecies in the OT, were primarily to convert Jews, even Jewish children, to Christ, and that the early Jewish Church shunned the Law like the plague? Shouldn’t we realize that by 150 AD only the Psalms were still being sung, and only in Jewish churches? Are we forgetting the purpose of the OT, of which 97.4% is based on the Law, to simply prepare the Jews for the Messiah? Are we subjecting Gentiles, even Gentiles children, to much of what failed the Jews so miserably, somehow expecting different results?
As Christian musicians, shouldn’t we be gearing everything we do to reach “the least among you,” even the littlest children? Are we expecting them to be “wise and understanding?” Are we training all Christians gently with patience and encouragement, even our correcting, warning admonishment, as the little children of God that they are? Or are we losing our cool, our self-control, and trying to “exercise authority over” others to get our way despite Christ’s warnings not to? Are we quarreling or arguing back to defend ourselves, even to “defend our trusting-relying-faith?” Are we being like a nursing mother or a demanding father? Are we walking in the Spirit of unconditional-love that shows itself in gentleness and patience?
As Christian musicians, are we attempting to instruct others differently than the way Christ does? Are we expecting them to learn from us or simply coach and facilitate them to directly connect to Christ in conversational-prayer and worship so that through that intimate relationship, Christ can be the rightful “One Teacher” by the enabling-power of the Holy Spirit? Are we making the “yoke of instruction” any more than “feather-light and easy to carry?” Are we gentle and lowly also to minister effectively to the lowly “least among you?” Are we teaching more than just 2 commandments in the New Covenant, so simple that even the “least among you” can easily understand and do them by the indwelling Spirit? Are we teaching dogma gnosis head-knowledge or an intimate, experiential, relationship epignosis knowledge? Are we trying to hold onto our control, even when we fail, instead of “letting go and letting God” by confession and surrender? In other words, are we trying to be proud adults that God resists/opposes or lowly children that God gives grace to?