Oct. 10 Sermon Synopsis — A Helper Fit for Him

The video for this sermon is here: https://youtu.be/8o1j4hhJvCE.

Our text for this Sunday was Genesis 2:18-25 (ESV). This was part 1 of a sermon. Next Sunday (Oct. 17) will also focus on this passage.

Here in part 1, we spent a lot of time exploring prominent Hebrew words in the passage—not because that’s “cool,” but because these words have important theological meaning and important implications for the way we think about marriage. Here’s a brief synopsis of the words that we’re covered:

Hebrew words from Genesis 2

This passage from Genesis 2 is a foundational passage for what we believe about marriage. The various Hebrew words tell us what we need to know:

EZER: Although the woman is identified as a “helper,” this is not the kind of help that is subordinate. Rather, ezer is the same word that’s used to describe God in 1 Samuel 7. That doesn’t mean that he woman is on par with God, but it also doesn’t mean that she’s the kind of helper that is subordinate. Moreover, the other words in this passage suggest a kind of equality:

KENEGDO: The qualifier kenegdo means similar (as in, she’s also human), yet opposite (as in, a female instead of a male.). She is a counterpart or complement to him.

TSAY-LAW: The woman is taken from the rib or side of Adam. That’s important for a couple of reasons, including the obvious: She was not taken from the head, to be superior to Adam. She was not taken from the foot, to be trampled by Adam. She was not taken from the backside, to be disrespected by Adam. She was taken from the rib, the side, because they are partners in this work. Moreover, Drew quoted from Augustine, who wrote: “God did not create them as separate individuals [one by one] … but he created one from the other, making the side, from which the woman was taken and formed, a sign of the strength of their union.”

DABAQ: This verb suggests the extent of their partnership. The man and woman are united. They separate from their family of origin and hold fast to one another.

Drew suggested various implications of all this:

  • Together, the husband and wife help fulfill the image of God because to be made in the image of God is to be relational and missional. The ezer kenegdo helps fulfill relational and missional gaps if the man were alone.
  • Every husband and wife must separate from their parents and form a new union, even if they still reside in the same household. This is hugely important work. Children must separate from their parents and parents must permit (and encourage) their kids to separate.
  • If we emphasize complementary, it has all sorts of implications, the most immediate of which is that we can reframe both difference and disagreement within marriage
  • If we understand this original design, we can then see clearly how Genesis 3 disrupts this design. In fact, “men ruling over women” is part of the curse in Genesis 3:16. In light of Genesis 2, we should confront all forms of abuse, coercion, and oppression in marriage. (and of course, there’s more to be said about this when we come to Ephesians 5)
  • There’s so much more yet to explore in part 2 of this sermon!

Questions for Further Reflection

(1) If you’re meeting in small group, start by simply covering what the sermon was about. What did you hear both in the text and in Drew’s words? Discuss the Hebrew words and what they men. Trace what exactly you heard and then, talk about what it stirred up in you.

(2) What implications would you draw from the text? Drew covered a couple in his sermon (see bullet points above), but what would you add?

(3) What do all these things mean for your marriage and for marriages around you?

(4) Many would say that out of all the passages in the Bible, Genesis 2:18-25 provides the strongest evidence against same-sex marriage. Do you understand why people would say that? What do you think of that argument?

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