January 28, 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Holy Calls: a Sunday Scriptures blog

Is the Bible biased? Today’s Epistle (1 Cor 7:32-35) shows us the bias of Paul the apostle. Clearly he thought that “adherence to the Lord without distraction,” being “holy in both body and spirit” and understanding how to “please the Lord” are all easier for an unmarried person than for a married one. I wonder if people of his day agreed with him? It is true, however, that virgins/virginity was associated with holiness in the early Church, and as centuries passed, eventually religious life (monks, nuns, “consecrated virgins,” etc.) was regarded as a “higher” way or call than lay life. And the priestly calling was the highest of all vocations. Vatican II “undid” this stratification of calls. It emphasized that everyone is called to holiness within their state of life, and that the basic vocation we all share is the call to discipleship, which we are all given in Baptism. So back to the original question. Yes, there is bias in sacred Scripture. Why would there not be, because our Scriptures were produced by human people, people whose writing was influenced by the specific cultures and times in which they lived. Sometimes it is easy to see the bias, as in this Scripture passage, but at other times the bias or “interpretive field” of the writer is less obvious. When we read or hear Scripture, we need to accept its human origin while still believing that God’s message is there, wearing human language. And that message comes through clearly to us in those phrases Paul gave us: to be the holy people God wants us to be, we need to adhere to the Lord, be holy in body and spirit, and please the Lord. Within your single, married, priestly or religious state of life, how do you live these scriptural insights?

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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