Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 02:42:13 EDT
7.10 TOIS DE GEGAMHKOSIN PARAGGELLW, OUK EGW ALLA hO KURIOS, GUNAIKA APO
ANDROS MH CWRISQHNAI 7.11 - EAN DE KAI CWRISQH, MENETW AGAMOS TW ANDRI
KATALLAGHTW, - KAI ANDRA GUNAIKA MH AFIENAI.
I have been looking at this passage and would like to propose that one
translate this passage ( or at least look at it ) from a more restrictive
position than is generally implied. CWRISQHNAI and AFIENAI are two key
words in this passage and should be translated as separate herself ( taking
the form as middle instead of passive) and depart from (active)
respectively, instead of divorce for both terms. I don't think there is any
big significance in the aorist versus present infinitive (??). The
infinitive use instead of the imperative ( like verses 12 and 13) must be
intentional, an indirect command contrasted with a direct command.
I think Paul is speaking in a confined sense particular to the context
of this passage. From verse one and following the context is that the
Corinthians have asked Paul some questions which he is prepared to answer.
The implied first question is whether one should marry - answer yes, marriage
is good, but celibacy is best. The next question is should married couples
abstain from sexual intercourse. Apparently they were already engaged in
such a practice, since Paul says to stop doing that, for some good reasons.
The context seems to imply that they were trying to apply their new faith in
Christ in some unwise and unbiblical ways. Verse 10 -11 seems to imply that
women were thinking of leaving their husbands to devote themselves to the
work of God and that some husbands were doing the same with their wives.
This possibility is denied by Paul.
He does not seem to be making a general statement about divorce: "Wives
must never separate from their husbands and Husbands must never leave their
wives." That rule may be shown in other NT passages, but it seems out of
place in this context. He is responding to a practice that seems specific to
this group of people. Paul then deals with the issue of whether mates should
leave their mate if the other is an unbeliever. This continues in the same
vein of thinking in a sort of ascetic purity ( Paul makes it clear that purity
can obtain in a mixed marriage). He then continues to give further
directions in which the context seems to indicate that the Corinthians needed
some help in understanding what to do in their marriage relationships ( i.e.
the odd passage later in this chapter (v.36) where we have so much trouble
understanding what virgin means).
There is more evidence that could be marshalled in defense of this frame
of reference, but I would like some response to what has been said so far.
David Rollins - email@example.com
"A Christian is one who recognizes Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the
Living God, as God manifested in the flesh, loving us and dying for our
redemption; and who is so affected by a sense of the love of this incarnate
God as to be constrained to make the will of Christ the rule of his
obedience, and the glory of Christ the great end for which he lives."
Charles Hodge in John Piper’s, A Godward Life
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