The Husband of One Wife: “Enough Said” (Part 1)

John Mark Hicks (Pepperdine, Harbor Lectures, May 3, 2023)

Audio is available here

 Four Broad Approaches: A Matter of Hermeneutics

  1. Culturally Enmeshed: Bounded by Ancient Patriarchy.
  2. Culturally Accommodative: For the sake of the Gospel.
  3. Theological Inclusivism: New Creation Theology.
  4. Blueprint Exclusivism: Replication of the Text.

Theological Framework

  1. Men and women share the same human identity (image of God) and human vocation (Gen 1:26-27).
  2. The complementary differentiation of male and female enriches their shared vocation as priests and shepherds (co-rulers) within the creation (Gen 1:28).
  3. Both male and female acted foolishly and introduced moral chaos into God’s good creation, resulting, among other disorders, in male domination of females (Gen 3:16).
  4. God managed the redemptive economy of Israel within Ancient Near Eastern patrilineal culture while also signaling God was not bound by it (Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Esther).
  5. God acted through the Son in the Spirit to form men and women into the image of Christ as co-heirs of the Abrahamic promise experienced through the transformative, empowering, and gifting presence of the Spirit (Gal 3:26-29; 1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:1-40).
  6. God gifts both men and women as co-workers in God’s mission through the ministry of new creation, embodying the present yet future reign of God (Rom 12:6-8; Eph 4:11-16).

Context of “Husband of One Wife”

Three Questions for Understanding the Framework of the List.

  1. What is the nature of this list? Ad Hoc
  2. What is the function of this list? Virtue List
  3. What is the structure of this list? Reputation Among Outsiders

Three Questions for Evaluating Translation and Understanding.

  1. Does it fit the function of the list?
  2. Is it coherent with the meaning of the feminine converse in 1 Timothy 5:9?
  3. Is it consistent with Pauline theology as a whole?

The Meaning of “Husband of One Wife” (One-Woman Man, Man of One Woman)

  1. Does this require marriage, excluding singles? – “the husband of one wife” (Tyndale, KJV, ASV, CEV, RSV, NASB, ESV). [This translation was rarely interpreted as excluding singles, but it is the translation that was used for that claim generally.]
  2. Does it prohibit second marriages of any sort? – “have only one wife” (NIV, 1984) or “husband of but one wife” (NCV, NIV-1984), GNB, or “married only once” (NRSV, NAB).
  3. Does it only require faithfulness to one’s present spouse?[1] – “faithful/committed/true to his wife,” (NIV [2011], NLT, CEV, CEB, NEB, CJB).

[1] Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodore of Cyrrhus, David Lipscomb, Collins, Knight, Fee, Köstenberger, Marshall, Towner, Hutson, Keener, Courtney A. Bailey, Glosscock (BSac, 1983, 244-458) and Page (JSNT, 1993, 105-20].