Thu, 02 May 96 09:44:26 -0600

Re. whether GUNAIKAS refers to wives or to women deacons--

IMHO, the fact that there is no article before GUNAIKAS weighs *against* the
word referring to the deacons' wives. Reading in the epistles, I've noted that
the article is often used to imply possession in contexts like this.

Setting the question in historical context: the letter of Trajan (which I last
read in Richard Cassidy's *John's Gospel in New Perspective*) demonstrates that
in the *early* second century (125--or earlier?) the Church indeed recognized
the office of deaconess; Paul uses DIAKONOS to refer to Phoebe in Rom 16.1,
etc. Because of the 1 Tim passage and other NT references, and because of the
letter of Trajan, I think it likely that the first-century church had women

Grace and peace,

Perry L. Stepp, Baylor University