The "One-Woman Man" - Who is He?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    In discussions in the past and here on the Baptist Board, I have heard people call attention to the fact that the words translated "the husband of one wife" in I Timothy 3:2 (mias gunaikos andra) should rather be translated one-woman man. I have heard this mostly used negatively against the idea that a pastor cannot be divorced, but have never heard a lot of positive identification as to who this man is. This question, "the one-woman man - who is he", is directed to those of you who believe that "one-woman man" is the correct translation and interpretation of mias gunaikos andra. Thanks in advance for your responses.

    1. Could a single man who is faithful in his abstinence be a "one-woman man"?
    2. Could a divorced and remarried man who is presently faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?
    3. Could a man who has been married and divorced seven times but is presently sincerely faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?
    4. Could a man who has had affairs but is presently faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?
    5. Could a man who commits adultery in his heart be a "one-woman man"?
    6. Could a man who has been married only once be a "one-woman man"?
    7. Would consistency require that I Timothy 5:9 be translated "one-man woman"?

    I would be interested in direct answers to these questions, but they are put here also as food for thought and to give you an idea of what I am asking. I would like someone to put some meat on the bare bones phrase "one-woman man".
     
  2. Rev. Joshua

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    I would say yes in all cases. I think that passage is simply a repsponse to the polygamy that was still common during that time - and is obviously common in the Old Testament (one of the reasons I chuckle when people talk about the "biblical definition of marriage.") Any man or woman who is diligently supporting the practice of monogamy is consistent with the passage.

    Joshua
     
  3. David Cooke Jr

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    I thought Paul was making a practical suggestion that men who had more than one wife to attend to did not have time for anything else. :D
     
  4. Daniel David

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    To answer your question, I offer the following direct answers. If you need more, ask and I will give reasons.

    1. Yes.
    2. No. He has taken a second wife.
    3. No. Same as 2.
    4. No.
    5. Yes.
    6. Yes.
    7. Yes.
     
  5. Pastor Larry

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    Yes.

    Can he? Sure ... Is he blameless? Perhaps not.

    Can he? Sure ... Is he blameless? Probably not.

    Can he? Possibly ... Is he blameless? Probably not.

    Tricky here ... Who among us has not in a fleeting moment of temptation, thought a lustful thought? Yet the struggle against that is not failure. Failure to deal with it biblically probably is a compromise of this principle.


    Sure.

    A good case can be made for it.

    We must remember that the qualification is "Blamelessness" of which "one woman man" and the others are examples of areas where blamelessness might be an issue. I do not take that list to be all inclusive; I think blamelessness is the attribute of a man's life that qualifies or disqualifies him.

    As for polygamy, the problem is that polygamy was already against the law. Therefore, there would be no reason to prohibit illegality. It would have been prohibited anyway. That explanation is too simplisitic and fails to take into account the historical context surrounding teh writing of Paul.

    I think "one woman man" means a man characterized by integrity and blamelessness in his relationships with women. He is not a flirt, avoids the appearance of being too familiar with women not his wife, is completely above reproach in his morality. It must surpass mere "appearance" and go deeper to the actual state of his life.
     
  6. Baptist Believer

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    I am one who believes the “one woman man” translation/interpretation. The “qualification” appears in a list of other character traits and most naturally should be interpreted in that context. While it certainly prohibits polygamists, I think the main thrust is moral character.

    Yes.

    Yes. But care should be taken and the reasons and circumstances for the previous divorce should be weighed by representatives of the congregation.

    There seems to be something of a pattern after seven marriages and divorces of making poor choices in spouses, unfaithfulness, or not being able to live in peace with someone else – to put it mildly. [​IMG] I find it hard to comprehend how someone could run through that many spouses and still be of the moral character necessary to be a leader in the congregation unless there has been some sort of major transformation of character after the most recent marital troubles.

    Adultery is a *very* serious sin that is a symptom of some very serious and dangerous character issues. A person who has committed adultery within the past decade or so probably has no business leading a congregation. Again, there are circumstances that need to be weighed and there may certainly be exceptions due to conversion or some profound character transformation, but the congregation is probably much better off without this leader.

    Possibly. Committing adultery in your heart (the first step to committing adultery with your body) is much easier to fall into and has less damaging consequences to everyone involved – but it is still a very serious problem and a symptom of character flaws. While the leader of a congregation is not required to be of perfect moral character, the leader should possess a high degree of ethical integrity.

    Now a person who is constantly committing adultery in their heart is likely to indulge (or at least face decreased resistance) in the sin when the opportunity arises. These people are a ticking time bomb and the congregation should try to have accountability groups in order to arrest some of this secret sin. Unfortunately, pastors rarely have the freedom to admit weaknesses in front of their congregation in many “conservative” churches.

    Yes. This is the ideal. But it is not just being legally married – It is about being a good husband and living up to responsibilities.

    Yes. As I mentioned previously, it seems to be more about moral character than anything else.

    Was that what you are looking for?
     
  7. Rev. Joshua

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    I disagree here, since - from what I've read - there seems to be considerable evidence that polygamy was still widespread in the Roman Empire. Considering the alternative arrangements that seemed to exist in churches like the one in Corinth, I think it may well have been that Paul was making an explicit reference to monogamy.

    Joshua
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    Joshua, I don't want to derail the subject, but I would be interested in being directed to some reference works that suggest that polygamy was widespread in the Roman Empire. I remember once reading (and I don't have the reference :( ) that people in the empire divorced to be married and married to be divorced (or something like that). My limited reading on the subject would indicate that divorce and sexual sins, including married men having sex with young men in their household, were what were widespread in the empire.
     
  9. Rev. Joshua

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    RLV - I'll have to dig, but my understanding was that it was fairly common in some of the far reaches of the Empire.

    Joshua
     
  10. HankD

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    Roman culture was "monogamous".

    However, concubinage was normal and accepted.
    A man was allowed as many concubines as he wished they could be freedwomen or slaves.
    The resultant babies were laid at his feet,if he picked it up it would be his son/daughter, otherwise... several other solutions were possible even death.

    Divorce was widely practiced and "normal".

    HankD

    [ September 10, 2002, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: HankD ]
     
  11. All about Grace

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    A brief lesson for conservatives in the crafty hermenuetical wordplay of those dwelling in mod/lib land. What Joshua really means here (and he can correct me if I am wrong) is that a person (homosexual or heterosexual -- married or unmarried) who is "diligently supporting the practice of monogamy" qualifies. Such statements kind of remind me of the whole "it is according to what is is" routine.
     
  12. Pastork

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    I think Baptist Believer pretty well nailed it.
     
  13. Rev. Joshua

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    Hank,

    That sounds consistent with what I have read, and for the purposes of contrasting monogamy with other marital systems I would equate polygamy with monogamy+concubinage.

    Joshua
     
  14. HankD

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    Most likely what Paul had in mind.
    Concubines = polygamy.

    HankD
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    In the minds of those of us raised in a monogamous "Christian" society, it is easy to think concubinage = polygamy. I'm not sure that ancient societies would have thought that way. Just a thought, I don't really know. Sorry that I derailed my own thread with that, Joshua, so I will try to redirect.

    I don't want to narrow the discussion, but I would like a little further comment on a few things from those who have already posted.

    1. How do you, in interpreting and applying this phrase, make the connection that a no-woman man (single) is a one-woman man?
    2. Some have seemed to imply that the present state of affairs (pun intended) of the person is the important aspect. Should a person's "track record" with women be a consideration?
    3. Do you see the phrase "one-woman man" as stronger and more restrictive than "husband of one wife," or do you see it as weaker and more open to interpretation?

    For you who haven't posted yet: I'm not adding these three questions to draw you away from the original ones. I am still very much interested on your comments about those.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    More good questions. I will take a stab.

    A single man can be a man characterized by integrity and blamelessness in his life with the opposite sex which, as I said, is what I think the passage is speaking to. A single man can be a womanizer, a playboy type who "gets around." He can be a flirt. That is a compromise. The issue is not "how many women" but "what is his character and reputation around women."

    Assuming you are referring to me, the answer is yes, the track record is important in blamelessness.

    Stronger and more restrictive. A person can be a married man but still be "blamed" in his relationship with women if he is known as a flirt, a little too friendly with ladies not his wife, someone who singleminded devotion to his wife is not clearly evident. I think the "one woman man" is more restrictive than "husband of one wife."

    I too would be interested in the support for the polygamy of the first century, if you ever find it Joshua. I have never heard that before.
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    Again, the way I understand it, the real issue is character. I had a friend in college who thought of himself as a "Holy Joe". He talked a very nice talk, but the way he treated women was horrific. At one point he had 5 girlfriends at once (they did not know about each other). I confronted him about it and he claimed I was just jealous because I didn't have a girlfriend at all (there was a tiny bit of truth there [​IMG] but my motives were better than he gave me credit for). In any case he was perpetually broke and stuck on the telephone trying to keep track of all of his dates. he was only able to hold it together for about 2 weeks until he got his schedule confused and two girls met him for the same date. :eek: The whole thing fell apart pretty quickly from there. (Later he had the nerve to verbally assault me because I used modern translations. :rolleyes: )

    The point I am trying to make with that dumb story is that a person's character is reveal by the way they treat their dating partners. If they can act responsibly with one person and sustain honorable relationships, then they probably have the character qualities described in the passage. If they are constantly flirting or "on the make", then they show signs of having character problems.

    The current state of affairs is important, but a person's track record is the real proof of character. If they have had some real character problems in their life, a congregation should make sure that those problems are at least a few years in the past with a consistent pattern of honor to the present time. The congregation needs to have people ask some very pointed questions about how the problems were resolved, how the potential pastor has built accountability into their life and whether or not they are still weak in those areas.

    Both actually. I think it is much more restrictive because it deals with issues of character instead of circumstances. But at the same time it provides opportunities for those whose lives have been damaged by their own sin or the sins of others. (For instance, the "innocent party" in a biblically-sanctioned divorce.) It is both restrictive and redemptive.
     
  18. Bro. Curtis

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    God will save anybody, regardless of past life behavior. But I believe he is VERY fussy on who leads a church. That is why he put the stipulation, one woman man. Above reproach. Demonstrating he can run a household before given the reigns of a church.

    1. Could a single man who is faithful in his abstinence be a "one-woman man"?

    1Timothy 3:4&5 rule out single men as pastors. So in the context of the qustion asked, I say no.

    2. Could a divorced and remarried man who is presently faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?

    1Timothy 3:2 requires the Pastor to be blameless. Again, we are not talking about who God will forgive, but who God wants in authority. So again, I say no.

    3. Could a man who has been married and divorced seven times but is presently sincerely faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?

    See above answer.

    4. Could a man who has had affairs but is presently faithful to his wife be a "one-woman man"?

    Again, see above.

    5. Could a man who commits adultery in his heart be a "one-woman man"?

    Now that's a great question. I would say the sin in the heart stays in the heart, and as long as it is dealt with, I see no reason that it should disqualify one from preaching. But if a pastor has continuous issues here, he should probably step down himself.

    6. Could a man who has been married only once be a "one-woman man"?

    These are who I think God wants leading his church.

    7. Would consistency require that I Timothy 5:9 be translated "one-man woman"?

    I believe this verse refers to marital fidelity on the widow's part.
     
  19. Margie Kritzer

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    Mr. Curtis, would you suggest that this also applies to men who have married and subsequently divorced, IF they don't remarry? If so, would it be accurate to say that you are of the opinion that divorced men are NOT called (by the cited passage) to lead a church whether they remarry or not?
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Not to be picky about the text, but these verses address management with particular regard to children. They do not address single vs. married. Your point would seem to need to be that a man without children cannot be a pastor, something I think you don't really want to argue. But perhaps you do? Does a man have to have children to be a pastor??
     

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