2006-02-18

Repost: Deacon

I am referencing 1 Tim 3 (verse 12 directly) and the definition of a deacon. Could gune be spouse instead of woman historically. There are some instances where it must be referencing a specific sex. Need to do more research.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike Clawson stated ...

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commented at February 18, 2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger Mike Clawson stated ...

As you are researching this topic I'd recommend that you look into Romans chapter 16 and note just how many women are mentioned as "servants" (i.e. diakonoi or "deaconesses"), apostles, and co-workers in Christ. When we look at passages like the one in 1 Tim 3, we should be careful to understand them in light of the actual practices of the early church. Since it seems obvious from Romans 16 that Paul welcomed women as deconesses and leaders in the early church, perhaps we should read the statements in 1 Tim as laying out a broader principle like "married to one spouse".

Or perhaps it's just saying that those deacons who happen to be male (not that they have to be male) shouldn't be polygamists (a common and acceptable state of affairs among first century Jews), perhaps for the same reasons that Paul advises people to remain single in 1 Cor 7 - because a person not encumbered by marriage relationships is more free to do God's work (which is precisely what the job of a deacon, i.e. "servant", is). So in other words Paul is saying, if you're going to be a servant in the church, and you're a man, you shouldn't have any more than one wife otherwise you'll be too busy taking care of your family to really serve well. This reading would make sense together with the rest of verse which is about managing his home and family well.

This reading wouldn't exclude women as deaconesses since obviously it's an instruction that Paul would have only needed to give to male deacons anyway. Polygamy didn't run the opposite direction in Ancient Near Eastern society. Men had multiple wives, but women never had multiple husbands. It wouldn't have made any sense for Paul to say to a deaconess "you should be the wife of only one husband".

Anyhow, it's a reading of that passage that makes a lot of sense to me. What do you think?

commented at February 18, 2006 3:50 PM  
Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop stated ...

Such a simple comment, Love, such a flurry of responses.

MY overly long comment is posted here....

Now, speaking of cultural lenses, think of our attitudes on this issue as defined by Jewish, Greek and Roman culture. Our anticedents seem strongly influences by these complexly contradictory stances.

An interesting question, would the matrix of Gospels, Acts and Epistles produce a similar values shift regarding women as it does for discipleship?

commented at February 19, 2006 12:11 AM  

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