For those of you who have been following this blog, you know I’ve been listening to Proverbs a lot and it has affected my blogging and teaching (at least in content, I’d like to think it has had some other sanctifying effects as well). I’ve argued that Proverbs is about rule versus slavery. Rule yourself to rule the world.
Much of this informs the New Testament Theology of the childhood covenant era versus the adult covenant era that Christ has brought about through his faithfulness to death and the resulting resurrection and ascension of humanity. Paul argues in Galatians 3 and 4, for example, that the Law was a guardian for our time as children and that as children we were therefore treated as slaves. Now that our inheritance has come we should no longer be children.
So Paul uses the institutionalized care of children to explain the eschatology of the Bible.
But it just occurred to me that he uses childhood in other ways as well. Thus, from Ephesians 4 (which is Pauline, by the way):
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
If you have been following my writing on Proverbs you will know that being in control rather than controlled by one’s desires and passions is a huge deal for Biblical wisdom. Here we see another application of that fact.
It also spells out rather explicitly a way in which an adult can remain a child.