¿Spouse in Koiné?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Haruo, May 9, 2003.

  1. Haruo

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    Mar 15, 2003
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    The Deaconess thread prompts me to ask, what was the Koiné Greek gender-neutral term; that is, if the author of 1st Timothy (not only 3:12 but also 3:2) had not intended "husband of one wife" to be prescriptive as regards diaconal gender, what phrasing might he have used to convey the gender-inclusivity of his words?

  2. Deacon

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    Aug 23, 2002
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    I studied this a while back and offer part of what I learned. It may or may not help.

    My study dealt with 1 Timothy 5:9 (the inverse of 1 Timothy 3:12) The phrase - ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή, literally a "one man woman" is usually translated as "the wife of one man".

    Potential meanings:

    1). A statement against polyandry (or against a plurality of husbands), this verse could mean a woman should not have many husbands at one time. COMMENT: This position is unlikely; polyandry was not practiced and expressly condemned in Hebrew culture (Deu. 22:22).

    In the Pre-Christian and early Christian era the practice of pologamy (multiple wives) was still observed. The ISBE (topic-marriage) notes, "Herod had nine wives at one time (Josephus, Ant., XVII, i, 2). Justin Martyr (Dial., 134, 141) reproaches Jews of his day with having “four or even five wives,” and for “marrying as many as they wish.

    2). The phrase could mean, one husband at a time. A second marriage would be permitted after a husbands death, desertion, or divorce. ” (See John 4:16-18; Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9). Following the same interpretation given in 1Ti. 3:2, this would mean that she was unqualified if she had been unfaithful, promiscuous, or polyandrous. Remarriage after the death of her spouse would not necessarily disqualify her.There is nothing essentially sinful about remarrying when the marriage bond has been broken (1 Cor. 7:9; cf. Rom. 7:2-3).

    3). One husband and no other. “the wife of one man,” probably meaning but once married.

    1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman.

    1Co 7:2 But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband.

    1Co 7:3 The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.

    Lev. 18:6-20

    Kings were forbidden to “multiply wives” (Deu. 17:17). Concubinage in Israel was an importation from heathenism.

    (Luke 7:12-15)

    I don't think this answers your question but it may point you in the direction you're looking for.


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