From: David Moore (
Date: Sun Oct 15 1995 - 16:30:04 EDT

On Thu, 12 Oct 1995 wrote:

>> Re. 1 Ti 3.2:
>> J. N. D. Kelly notes that the text emphasizes the "one" (MIAS GUNAIKOC ANDRA),
>> which in his opinion lessens the likelihood of a reference to polygamy,
>> adultery. Thus Paul (?) seems to be talking about remarriage.
>> Kelly says: "there is abundant evidence, from both literature and funerary
>> inscriptions, pagan and Jewish, that to remain unmarried after the death of
>> one's spouse or after divorce was considered meritorious, while to marry again
>> was taken as a sign of self-indulgence" (p. 75 of *A Commentary on the Pastoral
>> Epistles*). Of course, he doesn't provide the cross-references for this
>> material, so I'm not sure where to find it.

David R. Mills ( answered:

>I have not followed this thread very well, but the "one man woman" phrase
>in 1 Tim 5.9 surely helps some. Was polyandry very common in the Greek
>world? If not, then the phrase must have something besides polyandry in
>view. Likewise, "one woman man" may have something besides polygamy in
>view. In 1 Tim 5.9, the woman is a widow and so is not remarried. 1 Tim
> 3, on the other hand, does not imply that the bishop is a widower though
>it certainly does not forbid it.

        Another source of data that may be of interest in this discussion
are the marriage contracts to be found among the papyri. A marriage
contract from 311 B.C. contains the stipulation, "It shall not be lawful
for Heraclides to bring home another wife [GUNAIKA ALLHN EPEISAGESQAI] in
insult of Demetria nor to have children by another woman..." (_Select
Papyri_, [Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard, 1932] Vol. I, #1). From 92 B.C., we
have a marriage contract which contains the following: "It shall not be
lawful for Philiscus to bring in another wife [GUNAIKA ALLHN EPAGAGESQAI]
besides Apollonia, nor to keep a concubine [PALLAKHN] or boy [PAIDIKON],
nor to have children by another woman while Apollonia lives..." (_Ibid._,
#2). From 13 B.C. is the following: [He] shall not ill-treat her nor
cast her out nor insult her nor bring in another wife [ALLHN GUNAIKAN
EPISAGEIN (l. EPEISAGEIN?)]..." (_Ibid._, #3).

        Although none of these is from precisely the 1st Century (or
possibly 2nd Century if you take the Pastorals as non Pauline) period with
which we are interested, they do give us evidence that polygyny was
present in the greek culture. And, besides that, other papyri from the
1st- and 2nd Century periods may also contain such stipulations.

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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