Bible Polygyny

..when He ascended..He gave gifts to men...He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers. Eph.4:8-12

 

Most anti-polygyny Christians jump to these passages in their haste to condemn that which God never condemned;
1Ti 3:2 Then it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching,
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and households well.
Tit 1:6 if anyone is blameless, husband of one wife, having believing children, not accused of loose behavior, or disobedient.
Tit 1:7 For an overseer must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not full of passion, not given to wine, not quarrelsome, not greedy for ill gain;

This page was updated just a few days after the Episcopalians of the United States elected their first female leader which is rather curious in the light of these verses. Sadly, many Christians are prone to the pic and choose approach; convenience being the mother of bad Bible study principles. These verses certainly oppose women in deaconship but they don't condemn polygyny so perhaps it is time for Christians to ask why the reverse order to God's Word in the assemblies today. See "husband of one wife".

It is essential we all recognise that these verses can not be used to condemn polygyny, at best they prove polygyny was among the assemblies and at worst they only limit the deacons to one wife if the word "one" means one and not first. Certainly the contexts could be used to argue either position, that the deacons should have at least one wife or only one wife but even so,  limiting the deacons to one wife does not condemn polygyny.

With exegetical gymnastics opponents opinion that the office of bishop or deacon is the ultimate office a Christian can hold and since they were limited to one wife then all Christians should aspire to this "principle". This arguing Paul the inspired author did not use.

One searches in vain to find any New Testament writer expounding such a "principle". Paul says those who seek such offices "desire a good work" but he falls a long way short of proclaiming such as the "ultimate ministry" within the assemblies.

We can find the offices which were given status by reading of the gifts in Eph. 4; the Acts period gifts of the Holy Spirit in 1Cor.12:4,7-12, and the order God made when He "set some in the church, firstly, apostles; secondly, prophets; thirdly, teachers; THEN" others in 1Cor.12:28. Try finding in any of these passages where bishops and deacons are the ultimate offices to which all Christians should aspire.

Paul speaks of many who were his "fellow labourers" refers to one as a "true yokefellow" and enjoyed the company of his "fellow soldiers" and not once did he instruct any of them aspire to be deacons nor did he make mention of their family structure. The fact that Paul lists criteria for deaconship tells us that not all would be deacons; an assembly full of deacons would be like a body full of arms.

Once again the anti polygyny Christians have to invent some imaginary principle because they are so bereft of clear Scriptural support for their monogamy only position. And of course this argument must ignore the alternative interpretations that Paul was encouraging the bishops and deacons to have at least one wife as a minimum or not to have divorced the first wife.

The N.T. does not cancel polygamy. Polygamy is not against God or His Word and since neither our Lord Christ or Paul demand all Christians observe monogamy then monogamy only Christians should cease from appeasing their own position by demanding everyone else fall into their line.
Are all bishops and deacons, are all the husband of one wife? Yet the Word shows us a more excellent way, love one another.

                                                                             



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