LESSON 3
OUR SOCIAL NATURE 
(GENESIS 2; EPHESIANS 5; MALACHI 2)

Copr. 1999, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references
are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973,
1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise
noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of
Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found
within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a
blackboard or some other visual aid. This lesson can be
found at: <url:http://www.CameronLaw.com>

Introduction: This week we look at man's social nature,
particularly in the context of marriage.  Let's see what
spiritual and practical lessons we can learn!
 

     I.    SUITABLE HELPER

               A.   Let's read Genesis 2:18, 21-24. Why do you think
          that God said it was not good for man to be alone?

                         1.   Doesn't the very next chapter give an
               excellent reason for leaving Adam alone?

                         2.   Tell me why you like to be with your spouse
               and why you like to be without your spouse?
               Let's make two lists on the blackboard.

                         3.   Do you think that God said that Adam should
               not be alone for spiritual or practical
               reasons or both?

                                   a.   Do any of those reasons line up with what
                    we have listed on the blackboard?

                         4.   Notice v.24 which talks about marriage. The
               verse starts out "For this reason...." What
               reason?  What does this series of verses have
               to do with marriage? (Remember the old joke,
               "If God meant us to smoke He would have made
               us with chimneys?"  That, coupled with God's
               comment about being alone, is the line of
               reasoning here: God made woman out of man, and
               for that reason young people get married.)

                         5.   Does this mean that being married is a
               superior situation to not being married?

                                   a.   How does your view of the importance of
                    marriage change when you consider that it
                    was instituted before sin?

                                   b.   If marriage is such an important
                    institution, why did Jesus never marry?

                                             (1)  Or is this just another of the
                         disabilities under which He lived,
                         along with homelessness, poverty,
                         etc., which some people confuse with
                         virtues?

               B.   Paul has a further comment on these verses in
          Genesis. Let's look at Ephesians 5:25-33.

                         1.   In verse 31 Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 thus
               tying these texts together.

                         2.   In verse 25 Paul says that Jesus loved and
               gave Himself up for the church. Is Paul saying
               that husbands should also give themselves up
               for their wives?

                                   a.   How, husbands, as a practical matter,
                    would you do that? What can you do this
                    coming week?

                                             (1)  Just in case some of the husbands
                         are clueless, wives, how would you
                         like your husbands to "give
                         themselves up" for you?  Give me
                         some specifics (and guys pay
                         attention).

                                   b.   Is giving yourself up, husbands,
                    something that advances social or
                    spiritual interests? (Husbands are not
                    like Jesus   a spotless substitute in
                    death.  However, Jesus' sacrifice has a
                    tremendous power to persuade us.  I think
                    that the power to persuade a spouse
                    spiritually is available to the husband
                    who sacrifices for his wife.)

                                             (1)  One of my favorite texts is verse
                         28: "He who loves his wife loves
                         himself." Is that speaking of
                         spiritual or social interests?

                         3.   Paul says in verse 33 that husbands must love,
               but wives must respect. On the surface this is
               kind of disappointing. What do you think Paul
               has in mind?  Are wives free to not love their
               husbands?

                                   a.   The NIV seems to be toning down the Greek
                    word ("fobeetai") which is translated
                    "respect." This Greek verb can be
                    translated "to fear." Strong's says the
                    noun is "phobeo" from which I think we
                    get the word "phobia." So wives are to
                    have phobias about their husbands, is
                    that it? (This same word is used for the
                    disciples' reaction to Jesus calming the
                    storm in Mark 4:41 and Herod's attitude
                    towards John the Baptist in Mark 6:20. I
                    think it means a serious respect/
                    willingness to heed the person's
                    authority.)

                                             (1)  Is it natural for wives to have that
                         attitude towards their husbands, or
                         does this come as a reaction to a
                         husband who has a self-sacrificing
                         love towards his wife?

                                             (2)  Think of your favorite television
                         program. Does it promote respect
                         towards husbands or does it
                         generally picture them as idiots?

                                             (3)  How does the philosophy of the
                         "womens' movement" fit with Paul's
                         directive?

               C.   Let's look at another text that recites Genesis
          2:24 (in modified form) and gives further comment
          about the marriage relationship. Read Malachi
          2:13-17.

                         1.   What is the first problem here? (The people
               realize that something is wrong in their
               relationship to God.  He does not seem to be
               paying attention to them.)

                                   a.   Do you sometimes feel that way too? God
                    is ignoring your problems and requests?

                         2.   What answer does God give to the charge that
               He is not paying attention? (The problem is
               not with God.  He is paying close attention
               and He does not like what He sees. Their
               troubles spring from disobedience in the
               marriage relationship.)

                                   a.   What does God mean (v.14) when He says He
                    is "acting as a witness" between the
                    husband and wife? (In this context, a
                    witness brings to your attention your
                    failure to do what is right. A witness
                    who testifies against you.)

                                   b.   What does it mean to "break faith" with
                    your spouse?

                                   c.   Why is the answer (v.15) to avoiding this
                    problem to  "guard yourself in your
                    spirit?"

                                             (1)  How would you suggest that we guard
                         our spirit?

                                             (2)  What impact, if any, does even
                         "soft" pornography have on our
                         spirit?

                                             (3)  Since the divorce rate is about 50%,
                         does this suggest that we are not
                         guarding our "spirit" very well and
                         we need to make some radical
                         changes?

                                   d.   Notice v.17. Why is God wearied by people
                    asking, "Where is the God of justice?"
                    (The problem is that the people were
                    calling other people "good" who were not
                    good at all.  When something happened to
                    these "good" people, others complained
                    that God was being unjust by not
                    protecting the "good" people!  What a
                    terrible warning this is. It implies that
                    God is not going to help us out of
                    problems when we do evil.  It also
                    suggests that if we think that God is not
                    hearing us, that we need to look very
                    closely at our lives.)

               D.   Our lesson points out the Trinity as a social
          institution.  Does the creation of man and woman
          and the revelation of the Trinity suggest that God
          made us social beings?

                         1.   Is it God's preferred "pattern" to be married
               and have friends? Let's look next at friends.

     II.  FRIENDS AND FAMILY

               A.   Solomon has a comment about social interaction.
          Let's read Ecclesiastes 4:7-12. Is Solomon talking
          about marriage here? (It seems that is true in
          part, because he talks about having a "son."  But
          he seems to be writing mostly about friendship and
          other family members.)

                         1.   Notice verse 9. How does a "good return for
               work" have anything to do with two being
               better than one? (There are two answers here.
               First, this is a theme that really starts in
               verse 8   that we enjoy our success better if
               we have someone to share it with. Second,
               verse 10 talks about how two work together
               more effectively than one.)

                         2.   Verse 12 speaks about a "cord of three
               strands" and verse 10 talks about helping a
               friend who has fallen down.

                                   a.   Have you experienced this with a friend?

                                   b.   Is helping friends a moral obligation?

                                   c.   What about the saying, "A friend in need
                    is a pain in the neck?"

                                   d.   If we do not help others when they have
                    fallen, does v.10 suggest that we may
                    fall and have no one to help us?

                                             (1)  Is this something like insurance?

                                                       (a)  Are you paying your "premiums"
                              every week or are you
                              delinquent?

               B.   So far we have discussed spouses and friends. What
          is our obligation to the never married, divorced
          or widowed individuals in the church?

                         1.   What is their obligation to the church?

               C.   Friend, God has created a "team" concept for
          living. He has put in place a pattern which is for
          our benefit.  That pattern is marriage and the
          attitude of helping friendship.  This not only
          makes our life better as a practical matter, but
          it also can strengthen our spiritual life and
          witness.

     III. NEXT WEEK: SPIRIT, SOUL, BODY.