Gedragsriglyne vir Oiketai (huisbediendes) in 1 Petrus 2:18-25 : 'n eksegetiese studie
Van Wyk, Gert Jacobus
MetadataShow full item record
In this research a study has been made of the conduct of Oiketai (household servants) in the first century Roman and Greek society from the perspective of 1 Peter 2: 18-25. This study serves as point of departure for the formulation of guidelines for Christian employees in the South-African context. 1 Peter is being characterized as a letter. It was written by the apostle Peter probably between 62 and 64 AD. This letter addresses permanent and visiting foreigners, who had no citizenship. They were situated north and west of the Taurus Mountains in Asia Minor. They made a living and stayed because of their faith as foreigners amongst non-Christians, and suffered sporadic persecution from others, but not from the state. As Christians they were people with a unique identity. They were God's chosen, beloved, saved, reborn children and inheritors. In the first century Roman and Greek society Oiketai (household servants) came from the lower social scale. Oiketai (household servants) and BovAol could not always be categorized in the same social terms. The word Oiketai may denote slaves, household slaves, liberated slaves and possibly poor foreigners and poor citizens. The meaning of Oiketai is defined as a person who doesn't own anything and who comes from a low social status, who is subordinate, and serves his master with respect and total obedience, sometimes personally within the work confines. Depending on the context Oiketai can be translated into household servant, servant, household slave, slave, personal servant/ -slave. In this study from 1 Peter 2: 18-25 the word is being translated as "household servant or servant" and not as "slave". The textual context and interpretation of 1 Peter 2: 18-25 denotes that Oiketai were obliged to act according to their conscience, even when their masters treated them unjustly. Never should they take matters into their own hands and act in an irresponsible way. As saved persons who respect God and Christ, they should also respect their masters. God expects voluntary subordination and obedience. Out of gratitude towards God they should follow in the footsteps of the most unrighteous treated and humiliated Servant Christ, who had been crucified for them. He committed no sin whatsoever, instead He kept doing good even when others did Him wrong. Oiketai should follow in his perfect loving footsteps, remembering that He is also the Shepherd and Protector of their lives. They share as Christians not only in his humiliation, but also in his glorification. Such Christian conduct is acceptable in the eyes of God and will be rewarded out of His grace. Christian employees in South Africa who are treated unjustly should act in the same way as Oiketai in the first century Greek and Roman society. The situation and position of employees in South Africa differ radically from employees like Oiketai in the first century. Most employees could obtain South African citizenship. They are protected by Labour legislation (in the workplace and in society). In the South African context Christian employees should act out of respect for God I Christ and respect their employers as part of their respect for God. As saved persons they should submit themselves voluntarily to their employers. Their conduct should be according to the guideline drawn from 1 Peter 2: 18-25. When their rights are violated, they should be very careful not to act in an unbiblical manner and take the law into their own hands. They should always follow the example (footsteps) of Jesus Christ, especially when they are treated unjustly. They may and have to use their constitutional rights and act according to labour legislation, but always in a loving way, according to their Christian conscience.
- Theology