Should Churches Ordain the Divorced and Remarried? An Examination of Μιᾶς Γυναικὸς ᾿Ανήρ in the Pastoral Epistles -- By: Mark D. Owens

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 22:3 (Summer 2005)
Article: Should Churches Ordain the Divorced and Remarried? An Examination of Μιᾶς Γυναικὸς ᾿Ανήρ in the Pastoral Epistles
Author: Mark D. Owens


Should Churches Ordain the Divorced and Remarried?
An Examination of Μιᾶς Γυναικὸς ᾿Ανήρ
in the Pastoral Epistles

Mark D. Owens

Th.M. Student
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Within conservative Southern Baptist circles, a sense of inward calling generally serves as one of the primary prerequisites for ordination.1 Along with this subjective standard, there are the objective standards found in the pastoral ppistles. Specifically, 1 Tim. 3:1–7 and Titus 1:5–9 function as a tangible means of evaluating those who perceive God’s guidance toward the pastoral ministry.2

These two passages present a list of qualifications that describe the kind of man God desires to shepherd His people.3 Within these lists the Apostle Paul suggests that an elder should be a μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ (literally, “a one-woman man”). In general, this prohibition is seen as preventing four kinds of men from serving in the pastoral ministry—1) the unmarried,4 2) the polygamous,5 3) the divorced, and 4) the remarried. Within some Southern Baptist congregations, the last two interpretations are commonly accepted. This paper will propose a fifth interpretation—a positive requirement demanding that a man be sexually faithful in all his conduct.

This paper will begin by exploring the contextual meanings of ἀνέγκλητος and ἀνέγκλητος in the pastoral epistles. It is necessary to begin here because these two adjectives present the primary qualification for those who desire to be elders. An examination of the meaning and appropriate translation of the construction μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ will then follow. The author will then present appropriate conclusions derived from the study.

The Meanings of ᾿Ανεπίλημπτος and ᾿Ανέγκλητος in the Pastoral Epistles

According to Moulton, the adjective ἀνεπίλημπτος literally means “not to be laid hold of.”6 It is derived from the root verb

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()