Re: 1 Cor 7:12-16

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Fri Oct 15 1999 - 07:43:26 EDT

<x-flowed>At 09:03 PM 10/15/99 +1300, Trevor and Margaret Nicholls wrote:
>This question is not about the (so called) Pauline privilege,
>before anyone tries to link it with the Matt 19 thread :-(
>v12 (similar v13) "and she agrees to dwell with him"
>"let him not leave her"
>Do these present tenses mean:
> a. if she gives her agreement now to continue to live with him
> he should not leave her?
> b. if she continues to agree to live with him he should not
> leave her (until and unless she no longer agrees)?
> c.either of the above, with no preference?

The present tense shows her in the act of agreeing, but does not tell us
whether this is happening "now". That's the part of the aspect contained in
the syntactical form.

Now let's look at the "lexical aspect", the part contained in the verb
meaning. A quick look at SUNEUDOKEW in BAGD indicates that it may mean
either "approve of" or "give approval". For instance, in Luke 11:48, I
would say that the meaning is that the Jews "approve of" what their
ancestors did. There is no act of giving approval that is portrayed here.
Similarly, in Acts 22:20, Saul is standing by and approving of what went
on, but it does not appear to indicate that he gave the approval that led
to Stephen being stoned. In Romans 1:32, I think the meaning is similar.

Now for the six million dollar question. To me, it would be helpful if
lexicons would distinguish the meaning of a verb with different aspects and
moods. Unfortunately, this would be a huge undertaking, and probably is not
enough data available to do a good job of this for all tenses and moods.
Still, for the tenses and moods represented for the verb, this would be
helpful. I do not know whether there are instances of SUNEUDOKEW in the
present or imperfect that clearly mean "give approval to", in the sense of
making a decision. Maybe someone else out there does. Based on other uses
of SUNEUDOKEW in the active indicative present tense, I would tend to think
that this means that she approves of living together, in an ongoing sense.

>I'd like to know if there is such a nuance because the perfect
>tense in v14
>"that's because (GAR, after all!) the faithless husband *has
>been sanctified* by the wife"
>may imply a time from which the sanctification dates (the
>time of the believing partner's sanctification? the time of
>the unbeliever's consent?) Or does this sanctification follow
>so long as the unbeliever consents?

It is interesting to relate this to 1 Cor 6:12-20, where having sex with a
temple prostitute becomes one body with her, as opposed to one who is
joined to the Lord and one spirit with him. It is in this context that we
are told that our bodies are temples of the holy spirit, and that we should
glorify God with our bodies. I wonder if "becoming one body" with the
believer is related to the sanctification referred to in this verse.


Jonathan Robie
R&D Fellow, Software AG

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