μονον εν κυριω — 1 Cor 7:39

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Basti Weidemyr
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μονον εν κυριω — 1 Cor 7:39

Post by Basti Weidemyr » August 9th, 2016, 12:06 pm

γυνη δεδεται [νομω] εφ οσον χρονον ζη ο ανηρ αυτης εαν δε κοιμηθη ο ανηρ ελευθερα εστιν ω θελει γαμηθηναι μονον εν κυριω
Γυνὴ δέδεται ἐφ᾿ ὅσον χρόνον ζῇ ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς · ἐὰν δὲ κοιμηθῇ ὁ ἀνήρ, ἐλευθέρα ἐστὶν ᾧ θέλει γαμηθῆναι, μόνον ἐν κυρίῳ.
A woman was bound for as long time lives the man hers; though if fall asleep the man, loose she is whom she wants to get married by, only in ????.
Mulier alligata est legi, quanto tempore uir eius uiuit · Quod si dormierit uir eius : liberata est à lege · Cui autem uult nubat tantum in domino.

I noticed two things that made me wonder.
1. Peshitta has "our lord" for κυριω according to most translations. If somebody ever translated from Syriac to Greek, that would show up somehow — μονον εν κυριω ημων (?).
2. Lexicons mention several other meanings for κυριος, such as MiddleLiddel: II.not of persons, authoritative, decisive, dominant, supreme.

Trying to parse it, I take μονον to be an adverb, and εν to mean the same things as English in. Then I wonder if the Greek text would permit understanding εν κυριω as saying the marriage has to conform to certain legal moral or cultural requirements.

εν κυριω also shows up in Colossians 3:20 and many more places
Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν κατὰ πάντα · τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ.

I'd have to look through them all to see if my idea holds but want to spare you the work, asking only about this instance.
If Paul wanted to say that the woman is free to remarry only Christians, would it be preferable, unambiguous and correct to say "... ω θελει γαμηθηναι μονον εξ ανδρων κυριου/Χριστου"?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: μονον εν κυριω — 1 Cor 7:39

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 10th, 2016, 11:32 am

Hi Basti - welcome to B-Greek!
Basti Weidemyr wrote:Then I wonder if the Greek text would permit understanding εν κυριω as saying the marriage has to conform to certain legal moral or cultural requirements.
I doubt it. I can't think of any place that it has that meaning, and I can't think of a translation or commentary that suggests that meaning.
Basti Weidemyr wrote:εν κυριω also shows up in Colossians 3:20 and many more places
Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν κατὰ πάντα · τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ.

I'd have to look through them all to see if my idea holds but want to spare you the work, asking only about this instance.
I found 47 instances. You could look through them and see if you can find parallel constructions that might shed light on this.
Basti Weidemyr wrote:If Paul wanted to say that the woman is free to remarry only Christians, would it be preferable, unambiguous and correct to say "... ω θελει γαμηθηναι μονον εξ ανδρων κυριου/Χριστου"?
This text does not directly say that the woman is free to remarry only Christians. If she is to marry, she should γαμηθῆναι ἐν κυρίῳ, i.e. she should "marry in the Lord". I think your inference is probably correct, if you marry "in the Lord", then you will marry someone else who is also "in the Lord", but the text does not come out and say that. I suspect that Paul would say there are other considerations too, that this should be a decision made carefully to ensure that the marriage is "in the Lord", he gives several cautions in this passage. It's easy to imagine a marriage that is not ἐν κυρίῳ even if the other spouse is also a Christian.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: μονον εν κυριω — 1 Cor 7:39

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 11th, 2016, 12:09 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Basti Weidemyr wrote:εν κυριω also shows up in Colossians 3:20 and many more places
Τὰ τέκνα, ὑπακούετε τοῖς γονεῦσιν κατὰ πάντα · τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ.

I'd have to look through them all to see if my idea holds but want to spare you the work, asking only about this instance.
I found 47 instances. You could look through them and see if you can find parallel constructions that might shed light on this.
I'm going to say something about the phrase τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ in Colosians 3:20. I will take little steps of logic here, because it is a beginners' sub-forum.

I understand that you are saying that ἐν κυρίῳ looks like it is expressing the (abstract) condition within which pleasing the parents could take place. Every sentence is composed of small parts, and how we put them together gives different meaning.

In this case there are two ways that appear valid:
  • 1 ((τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν) (εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ)) - "for this (obeying parents) is something that makes YHWH happy"
  • 2 ((τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν εὐάρεστον) (ἐν κυρίῳ)) - "for this (obeying parents) is an acceptable action, if it is done (and only if it is done) "(the action is done) in the Lord" (in a way acceptable to God as arbitrator) OR "(if the parents are believers) in the Lord" "
Perhaps if some parents are arguing with their children about housework from the Greek text, they would prefer the first one, while teenage children might ask where the phrase "take your own dishes to the sink" actually occurs in the Bible (as the authoritative text or even in any other Christian text which they might both happen to respect to one degree or another).

If you'd like to take a look at how the translators of different English versions break up the Greek syntax, you could take a break from reading what I've written, and check that out at Biblegateway.

LSJ is an English language dictionary of Classical Greek, it is okay also for non-specialist study of the earliest Greek texts, and to some extent for later Greek. Let's take a look at the entry for εὐάρεστος. There are two interesting things to see there. The first is that it is an adjective that we goes mostly with the dative, and the second is that in the later period (from the point of view of LSJ, the New Testament is post classical or later) it is used with ἐν + dative. Here is the entry:
LSJ εὐάρεστος wrote:εὐάρεστ-ος , ον, (ἀρέσκω)
A.wellpleasing, acceptable, τὸ ἀγαθὸν εὐ. Cleanth.3.6; τινι LXX Wi.4.10, Ph. 2.69, 2 Ep.Cor.5.9, etc.; τισι Ath.Mitt.15.134 (Nisyrus); “παρά τινιLXX Wi.9.10; “ἐν τοῖς ἀναλώμασι” Inscr.Prien.114.15 (i B.C.): abs., ἀποδημία εὐ. Ph.2.77; “θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ” Ep.Rom.12.2; χρῆσις pleasant, Herod.Med. ap. Orib.5.27.20; σύμμαχοι prob.in PHib.1.15.26 (Comp., iii B.C.); τὸ εὐ. Ph.1.585. Adv. -τως“, ἔργον συνετέλεσεν” IG12(8).640.10 (Peparethus, ii B.C.): Comp. -οτέρως“, διακεῖσθαί τινι” X.Mem.3.5.5 (εὐαρεσκοτέρως codd.); -“τως ἱερησάμενος” SIG708.20 (Istropolis, ii B.C.), cf IPE12.94 (Olbia); “λατρεύειν τῷ θεῷ” Ep.Hebr.12.28.
II. choice, οἶνος, πυρός, PStrassb.1.9 (vi A.D.), PFlor.30.30 (iv A.D.).
III. according to taste, λαχανόσπερμον λαμβάνειν εὐ. PFay.90.17 (iii A.D.).
I've underlined and coloured a few things there. The LXX is the OT in Greek, and the i or ii mean the first century or second century respectively. Τινι and τισι are short-hand ways of writing "dative singular" and "dative plural"

What that could be interpreted as is that εὐάρεστος is used with a dative of the person who is pleased, and in the later period (Koine period) it has the option of being used with an ἐν before the dative. Why is εὐάρεστος used with the dative?

At the beginning of the LSJ entry for εὐάρεστος, there is a similar word in parentheses - ἀρέσκω - which you can click on if you are on a site with LSJ digitised. That is the verb from which this adjectival form εὐάρεστος is derived. Let's look at how that verbal form is used in a sentence. The daughter of Heriodias pleased Herod on his birthday by dancing for him, ἡ θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ... ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ (Matthew 14:6). ἤρεσεν is the past tense - "she pleased", and τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ is dative. The person pleased is in the dative, both for the adjectival and the verbal construction (there are other options, if you'd like to consider them later, but for the line of this questioning, the dative is enough).

Now, about the ἐν in ἐν κυρίῳ, have a look at these, εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ (Romans 12:1 and Pilippians 4:18), εὐάρεστος τῷ θεῷ (Romans 14:18), εὐάρεστοι αὐτῷ (2 Corinthians 5:9), εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ (Ephesians 5:10), εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ (Colossians 3:20), [ἐν πᾶσιν εὐαρέστους (Titus 2:9)]. What is the basic pattern? If it doesn't stand out, let me ask another question, do the preposition ἐν and the definite article τῷ occur together? It seems like an either / or pattern. There is more to it, but let's say for now that the dative can be marked by the preposition or by the definite article - it's a rule that will do for now - like when you might first take your kids out to learn to drive, you make rules like, "Stay in the left-most lane" or "Don't look anywhere except in front of the car or in the rear-vision mirror", and the you tell them to change lanes to avoid a parked car, or ask them what speed they are going. At that point, a rule that was given as best practice for beginners, has to be put aside. It is a feature of Koine Greek that the dative is sometimes explicated by using ἐν and it is also true that ἐν Κυρίῳ is a fixed phrase.

Think of the two English words, "far out". The phrase, "the yacht was far out." could mean that it was far from the shore or beyond expectations. What we might look for to clarify the situation are things from the context, in "They holiday-makers waved, but the yacht was far out to sea." is different to "Look at pictures in a catalogue is one thing, but seeing it in person, the yacht was really far out." It is context that lets us know what things the "far out" should be taken with. Here in Colossians 3:20, it is like "They tried to appreciate the beauty of the yacht, but it was just so far out." Someone reading that will say that "far out" is a set phrase and shouldn't be separated, while someone else would say that "tried" suggests it was difficult to see, and logically that implies distance.

My own preference in terms of Greek language is to take εὐάρεστον ἐν κυρίῳ in the context of keeping the commandment (Deuteronomy 5:16). Logically, it becomes a bit circular when one begins to think, "who is pleased when we honour our parents in a way that God wants us to? God is pleased", or "what way is approved by God for us to honour our parents? The way that pleases God." Reasoning in either direction, logic supplies the same missing information.

That is to discuss your parallel passage, rather than your original one though. :D
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