Do you know why scientists conduct experiments? They do it to test their theories. They formulate a hypothesis in an attempt to explain some event or process observed in nature. Plants grow toward the light. Why? A hypothesis is offered, but then it must be tested. If the hypothesis is correct, then such and such should happen if we do so and so. If gravity is what we think it is and acts upon all objects to accelerate them at the same rate, then a heavy object and lighter object should hit the ground at the same time.
I propose that a proper and accurate understanding of the mentality and tactics of domestic violence and abuse is the test case for the interpretive theories of many biblical texts.
That is to say, if our interpretation of a Scripture passage is correct, then when we apply it to a real-life scenario of a domestic abuser and his victim, our application will make sense! We will find ourselves exercising justice and mercy for the victim, not injustice and cruelty. The abuser will also be dealt with justly, his sin will be exposed rather than enabled, he will be called to repentance, or he will be expelled from Christ’s church.
Many, and perhaps even the majority, of evangelical churches, teachers, and Christians have long held to interpretive theories that flunk the test when applied to cases of domestic violence and abuse.