I've just moved house these last few days, I'm sorry about the delay in replying to your question.
riddickmd wrote:would you be willing to provide me your best rendering based on your good scholarship?
I appreciate your polite and kind words, but I'm not a Greek scholar, I'm an amateur (not a professional). I am a jack of a few trades (in Greek), and a master of a different trade altogether (Egyptology). In Greek, I can just do a few party tricks to make people ooh and aah (like write in passable Greek and read quickly), the real scholars usually attach a signature at the bottom of their posts to let you know that what they say is credible. In most cases, the number of posts that a person has made is an indication that they have something worth saying (and by implication worth reading) - I have a big number because I have a mundane life and noone else to talk to.
riddickmd wrote:best rendering
The first thing I would like to say is that there are many good renderings of this passage already available in various translations. Just consider, the individuals and committees that made those translations have dedicated their lives to a study of both Greek and theology. Committee members are often approved by their various Church bodies as being someone who can be trusted to make the best efforts possible in the best possible spirit to bring the Bible to the people of God. In this post, I will pay attention to seeing how such great scholars have rendered the Greek into English.
Making a "best rendering" is not such an easy thing. We need to onsider both the Greek and the social context that the people who wrote and read the text lived and what assumptions they had about life and society. Let's start by looking at the text. I want to take the word you are asking about in the context of the verse it is in (verse 9) and the following verse.
The main points we will look at are; "Where is the comma?"
and how does that affect the rendering, and adverbs
. For the social considerations, we will discuss the idea of "marital faithfulness"
in some general terms.
1Tim5:9 (as you quoted) wrote:Χήρα καταλεγέσθω μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα, ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή,
Putting the comma in that position groups the word γεγονυῖα ("Ye-ghon-wee-a") together with μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα "not less (than) 60 years". The sense is rendered by Darby as.
1Tim5:9 (Darby) wrote:Let a widow be put upon the list, being of not less than sixty years, [having been] wife of one man, borne witness to in good works, if she have brought up children, if she have exercised hospitality, if she have washed saints' feet, if she have imparted relief to the distressed, if she have diligently followed every good work.
If we put the comma on the other side of the word you are interested in (γεγονυῖα) then we get;
1Tim.5:9-10 (Byzantine textform punctuation) wrote:Χήρα καταλεγέσθω μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα, γεγονυῖα ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή, ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς μαρτυρουμένη, εἰ ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν, εἰ ἐξενοδόχησεν, εἰ ἁγίων πόδας ἔνιψεν, εἰ θλιβομένοις ἐπήρκεσεν, εἰ παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ ἐπηκολούθησεν.
The sense of that can be seen in the Authorised version (KJV) rendering:
1Tim.5:9 (KJV) wrote:Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
The word μαρτυρουμένη ("mar-tu-roo-MEN-ay") means something like "as evidenced by some things" then there is a list, with each thing starting with a "εἰ" ("ee"). Those are the things that are consdered as good works. When you read that list, be a bit discerning and thoughtful - Greek words, like words in any language are not on/off switches. For example the word ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν ("e-tek-no-TRO-fey-sen") comes from the word τεκνοτροφεῖν ("tek-no-tro-FIN"). The meaning of that word has been rendered as "bring up children" - and it is composed of two parts τεκνο- ("TEK-no") meaning child/ offspring and τροφ ("trof") which means "feed" or "train", plus a verbal ending -ε ("eh").
In my opinion, the list is an indication of what type of thing to look for in a person's life, not a checklist of all the thing that she must
have done. In some cases, one widow may have done more than another in a certain thing or other. "Lodged strangers" / "exercised hospitality" may at the very least be something heartfelt and small like a smile or some shade and at the very most something like open a homeless shelter, or anything in between. When reading the Greek, the language is important, but so is the Spirit of Christ that we read it in.
riddickmd wrote: i suggested that the state of becoming a "one man wife" widow in the past is still the current state of being a "one man woman" in the present perfect active state.
as such, should the proper translation be:
a. "having been" of one man wife?, or
b. "having become" of one man wife?
You are taking the word you want to consider γεγονυῖα with ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή. ("eh-NOS an-DROSS you-NEY") Let's look at another possibility for that:
The word you are interested in γεγονυῖα which for simplicity's sake is acting like an adverb - explaining under what circumstances the verb "enrol" works. It comes from γίνεσθαι ("Yi-nes-te"), and in my experience, that means to "be" or "become" something that she was not before
, or which we didn't know about before
in the story, that is to say that the widow has such and so a characteristic - here μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα while not changing something else ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή. That is to take γεγονυῖα to mean that the what she is has not changed, but the circumstances have changed and she hasn't. That is not the usual usage of γίνεσθαι ("yi-nes-te"), but what else could have been used? There is a change over time - she has gotten older, but there is also something that hasn't changed - she didn't remarry. "If when she has reach 60 (having gotten to an age not less than 60), and she is still "faithful" to her former husband, let her be enrolled onto the Church care for widows list".
As a side note, in one of my other better known languages, Middle Egyptian (the language of the Pharaohs), there are only about 5 adverbs, and most adverbial elements in the sentence are expressed by other verbal phrases in much the same way that we see here with other verbs around a central verb. But, now back to the Greek...
Some versions have rendered the meaning as "faithful"
1Timothy 5:9 (Contemporary English Version) wrote:For a widow to be put on the list of widows, she must be at least sixty years old, and she must have been faithful in marriage.
That seems to mean that while she was married she didn't cheat on her husband, but I think that that would have been better rendered in the Greek by a word οὖσα ("OO-sa") which is from a word which means "be" or "am", in the sense that some thing doesn't change. I think it would be a bit clumsy, but we could write Χήρα καταλεγέσθω μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα, ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς [οὖσα] γυνή, or we could use a word διαμένουσα ("dee-a MEN-oo-sa") which means "remaining" Χήρα καταλεγέσθω μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα, ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς [διαμένουσα] γυνή. The apostle says in 1 Corinthians 7:39 that widows are free to marry, (but the implication is that they are not required to).
Looking at that socially, she has remained "faithful" to her now dead husband, in that she has refused to marry anyone else, and has dedicated her life unselfishly to others. That kind of woman has been considered by some in the early Christian centuries as a form of "consecration" to the Lord, like a virgin consecrating herself to the Lord to seek the eternal kingdom, rather than persuing the things that most people work for in life - house, car, fame, power, progeny. I guess from this church institution (and assuming that there was not another way for such a widowed to be cared for) that a woman's freedom not to marry was a socially revolutionary thing.
Another way to mark scholarship on this or any other forum is brevity. Those who really know there stuff can write succinctly.
I wish to preach... that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.(TR-1899)