Re: AGAMOS in 1 Cor. 7

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Fri Oct 10 1997 - 01:44:02 EDT

We must determine a word's meaning based on its usage at the time. Jim
West used the word 'atheist' as an example of alpha privative, but a
similar word, 'agnostic', points in a different direction. Based on its
component parts, it would mean "un-knowing" but it's general usage points
us to a more specific meaning: "un-knowing as to the existence of God".
Alpha privative surely is everything Jim says it is in most cases; however,
words can develop beyond the meanings of their constituent parts and
perhaps this is the case with AGAMOS.


Rev. A. Brent Hudson
Pastor, Kincardine Baptist Church
Kincardine, ON N2Z 2J1

> From: David L. Moore <>
> To: Jim West <>
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: AGAMOS in 1 Cor. 7
> Date: Thursday, October 09, 1997 11:03 PM
> At 01:28 PM 10/9/97 -0400, Jim West wrote:
> >At 11:36 AM 10/9/97 -0400, you wrote:
> >of marriage and divorce.
> >>
> >> I still maintain that the meaning of AGAMOS has not been
> >>definitively established in 1Cor. 7:8, 32 and 34, although some
> >>points to a meaning of "previously, but not presently married." My
> >>is that we should proceed cautiously and not jump to conclusions on
> >>matter that affects how we view the bond of marriage.
> >>
> >>David L. Moore
> >>
> >
> >On what basis would you draw such an anology? Are you suggesting that
> >alpha privative connotes something like you suggest? If so, then what
> >you do with a-theist? Once they had a god, but now they don't? What
> >the other alpha privatives?
> >
> >The alpha privative serves the same function in Greek that "un" serves
> >english. Thus agamos means "un-married".
> Despite the alpha privative (or a privative) as a fairly well
> construction, words must be defined by their usage. I am not aware of
> instance of AGAMOS in a classical author in which it means anything but
> "never married." If anyone knows of one, I'd be glad to hear of it. The
> Koine, however, both in Paul (1Cor. 7:11) and in at least one of the
> (M&M, s.v. AGAMOS), can be shown to employ AGAMOS in the sense of
> "previously, but not presently married." Paul may be distinguishing
> the AGAMOUS and the XHRAS in 1Cor. 7:8 and between the AGAMOUS and the
> PARQENOUS in v. 34. Is he or isn't he? If he is, there is a fair chance
> AGAMOS means previously but not presently married in both of these as
> and also in v. 32. If, on the other hand, XHRA and PARQENOS are used in
> 8 and 34 simply as subsets of AGOMOS, then the word may simply mean
> "(generically) unmarried."
> Regards,
> David L. Moore
> Miami, Florida, USA
> Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
> E-mail:
> Home Page:

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