1Cor. 7:15 EN DE EIRHNH

From: David L. Moore (dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com)
Date: Sat Oct 04 1997 - 16:53:14 EDT

        Since no one has continued the thread on AGAMOS in the past couple
of days, I'll not renew that discussion unless further interest is expressed.
        Interest in that theme, however, has had me reading through chapter
7 of 1 Corinthians several times in the last couple of days, and I have come
across something that seems significant toward the correct understanding of
the chapter. It has to do with how vv. 15 and 16 are to be understood and
also strongly influences the interpretation of vv. 12-14a.

        It is a simple matter of punctuation. By changing the raised point
after TOIOUTOIS to a comma and placing a major stop after EIRHNH, the
problem of how to understand EN DE EIRHNH KEKLHKEN hUMAS hO QEOS is
resolved. KEKLHKEN hUMAS hO QEOS is a prefatory statement explaining why
the believer may hope that God may use him or her to save his or her spouse.
The idea is something like, "God has called you; it may be in His purpose to
save your spouse as well, through your testimony."

        EN DE EIRHNH, then, functions as adjunct to the preceding clause and
refers to a situation of peace in the sort of marriage under discussion.
What Paul is saying is, "The brother or sister is not bound to remain in the
marriage in such situations (i.e. abandonment by an unbelieveing spouse) but
in situations where the marriage, although to an unbeliever, is functioning
and viable." I have taken EIRHNH here in the sense of the Hebrew _shalom_
which goes beyond the simple idea of "peace" to express the idea of
well-being in a fairly general sense.

        The pericope as a whole appears to be countering the idea current at
the time in some Jewish circles that a member of the covenant community was
obligated to be seperate from those outside the community - especially where
marriage was concerned. Such an attitude would have broken up gentile
marriages in which one of the spouses was converted and the other was not.
To address this problem, Paul goes beyond what Jesus had taught on the
subject of marriage (vid. v. 12). I would suggest that he saw it as his
prerogative as apostle to the gentiles.

Regards to all,

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
E-mail: dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com
Home Page: http://members.aol.com/dvdmoore


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