re: The DEI in I Timothy 3:2

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Tue Feb 18 1997 - 17:02:19 EST

Carl Conrad responded to Tom Launder:

>Honestly, I suspect that all those adjectives that follow upon ANEPILHMPTON
>are meant to be clarifications of what the author means by ANEPILHMPTOS.
>But it has occurred to me that, with all due respect, I have known
>wonderful persons in high ordained positions, but I don't know that I have
>ever known one that I was absolutely sure was "above reproach." Does that
>mean "sinless?" I raise this question simply because there is an overture
>now being voted on by the presbyteries in the PC(USA) that would seem to be
>based on this verse and that is effectively asserting that nobody can be
>ordained who is not sinless. I don't want to discuss that overture or the
>politics underlying it, but I am wondering whether, on the basis of what
>this text in 1 Tim 3 states, the word ANEPILHMPTOS has an absolute or only
>a relative applicability, i.e., that "above reproach" DOES or does NOT mean
>"sinless," or perhaps may be understood as meaning "respectable" in terms
>of currently prevailing standards of respectability? Of course it is
>usually said that the standard applied to a candidate for ordination must
>be higher than the standard applied to a candidate for membership in the
>community of faith, but it seems to me that this gets close to the heart of
>the problem that evoked a doctrine of the "priesthood of all believers"
>(some of my Calvinist background won't readily rub off!): what does it mean
>to be "above reproach" in absolute terms? And if we don't apply absolute
>terms, what criteria have we for ordination that are not relative?

I seem to putting footnotes to Carl today. There has been a discussion of
synonyms here recently. I try to teach students the differing nuances of
PREPEI, OFEILEI, and DEI. I am not going to say what the difference is
here, because some of the fun (I use the term intentionally) is using the
lexica to figure such things out on one's own. Have at it, friends.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR HOME:
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782

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