Re: MIAS GUNAIKOS (in Kenya)

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Tue Feb 17 1998 - 11:03:18 EST

At 11:23 PM 2/17/98 +0800, Steven Cox wrote:
> B-greekers, is there no possibility that Paul's words
> cannot be read as leaving those families intact?

I'm not sure which of Paul's words you are referring to. The phrase we were
discussing, MIAS GUNAIKOS ANDRA, occurs only when discussing the
requirements for church leaders, specifically EPISKOPOS and DIAKONOS. If it
*does* mean "not polygamous", which I doubt, then it does not imply a
requirement for all Christians, nor does it amount to a command to divorce
all wives but the first one - after all, not all christians have to be
bishops or deacons!

Furthermore, I think that Ben and Ward's suggestion that the phrase means
"not to be emotionally promiscuous or flirtatious" is very compelling in
light of the phrase hENOS ANDROS GUNH in 1 Tim 5:9. This phrase doesn't
seem to allow some of the meanings people have attributed to MIAS GUNAIKOS
ANDRA, e.g.:

1. I doubt that it is a reference to polyandry, because I don't think women
ever had more than one husband at one time in that culture.
2. I doubt that it means "a woman who was married only once". Why shouldn't
a woman be enrolled as a widow if she'd been married more than once? And
Paul's advice to young widows is to remarry - which would make them
ineligible for ever becoming an enrolled widow if this meaning is accepted.

But if a woman had been flirtatious or promiscuous, that would be an
indication that she was not a woman of good works, or that she might be
subject to sexual temptation.

So I guess I see nothing in this phrase to justify the position that a new
convert who has two wives should divorce one. If there are other passages
in the New Testament that are used to justify this position, we could
certainly discuss them here, seeing how they might be interpreted in the
original. I just have no idea what these passages might be.


Jonathan Robie

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