[b-greek] Re: 1 Pet 3:7

From: Bill and Stephanie Black (bnsblack@yimesgin.org)
Date: Sun Aug 26 2001 - 15:24:24 EDT

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<DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Since&nbsp;Steve has offered the view that the
wives in 1 Pet 3:7 are believers, I'll weigh in on the other side, that the
wives are unbelievers.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The evidence
for this is as follows:&nbsp;<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns =
"urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<P class=MsoNormal>1.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>SKEUEI goes
with TWi GUNAIKEIWi in the known fixed phrase for wife, 'feminine vessel' (that
is, not 'weaker vessel'), leaving ASQENESTERWi on its own as a substantive,
'weaker one'.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>This gives the
reading, "living together according to knowledge, as (hWS) with a weaker person,
with your wife."<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;&nbsp; </SPAN>So in what
sense is the wife 'weaker'?<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Perhaps
spiritually, as an unbeliever.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>It
is difficult to argue one way or another from ASQENHS alone, as ASQENHS does not
appear elsewhere in 1 or 2 Peter.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;
</SPAN>(BTW, whatever explanation you come up with for this construction, you're
going to have to explain why it is GUNAIKEIOS, 'feminine', rather than GUNH,
<P class=MsoNormal>2.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>More
importantly, the combination hWS KAI in its other three occurrences in the NT
points to a comparison or distinction between two different parties.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>See 1 Cor 7:7 (between Paul and 'all
[other people]'); 1 Cor 9:5 (between Paul and 'the other apostles and the
brothers of the Lord and Cephas'); and Heb. 13:3 (between 'those who are being
ill-treated' and 'you yourselves').<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;
</SPAN>In 1 Pet 2:7, the comparison/distinction is between 'fellow heirs of the
grace of life' and the wife, presented as mutually exclusive parties.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>This is apparent also in the difference
between the singular form 'feminine vessel' (wife) and the plural form 'fellow
heirs', both in the&nbsp;dative case.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;
</SPAN>So: "rendering honor to your (unbelieving/weaker) wife 'as even' (hWS
KAI) you would to fellow heirs of the grace of life."<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Interestingly enough, Gramcord makes it
difficult to search for this possibility.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp;
</SPAN>Treating KAI as a conjunction here, Gramcord informs you that there is no
other combination of hWS followed by the conjunction KAI in the NT.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>However, if you ask Gramcord to search
for hWS followed by KAI as an adverb, you'll find these other three
<P class=MsoNormal>3. The section including this household code begins in 1 Pet
2:11-12 with Peter's exhortation that as 'aliens' and 'exiles' these Christians
should live good lives 'among the ETHNOI' (Gentiles, pagans, unbelievers).<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>In the household code itself slaves are
directed to submit even, and especially, to SKOLIOS (crooked, perverse,
dishonest)&nbsp;masters (1 Pet 2:18; certainly not believing masters?).
'Likewise' (hOMOIWS) women are assumed to be dealing with at least some husbands
who 'do not believe the word' (first class conditional with EI in 1 Pet 3:1),
and these husbands are the focus of Peter's following comments.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>The husbands' portion of the household
code is also introduced by 'likewise' or 'in the same way' (hOMOIWS), suggesting
that Christians' relationships with unbelievers are still in view.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>This fits well with the epistle's
overarching focus on 'diaspora' Christians living in predominately non-Christian
communities (1 Pet 1:1).</P>
<P class=MsoNormal>The only real question left is whether this verse is intended
to refer only to relationships with unbelievers, primarily to relationships with
unbelievers, or should be understood as broadly generalizable to both believers
and unbelievers.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Unfortunately that
discussion is often theologically motivated rather than simply a question of
<P class=MsoNormal>FWIW,&nbsp;<o:p></o:p></P>
<P class=MsoNormal>Stephanie Black</P>
<P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=MsoNormal>P.S.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>My
apologies if I've gotten the b-greek transliteration wrong--I don't have
internet access to check the web page for the correct transliteration.<SPAN
style="mso-spacerun: yes">&nbsp; </SPAN>Sorry!</P>
<P class=MsoNormal>&nbsp;</P>
<P class=MsoNormal>Stephanie L Black, PhD<BR>Evangelical Theological
College<BR>Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology<BR>Addis Ababa, Ethiopia<BR><A
B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek>
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