Bible Polygyny

if the deacon/bishop must be the husband of one wife how come we have women as deacons and Pastors? We can when we use the pick and choose approach to the Word of God

..Gideon had seventy sons, ..For he had many wives. And his concubine, who was in Shechem, also bore him a son. Jdg.8:30-31

 

A popular tradition is that the New Testament cancelled or condemned polygamy but this is not so.

The Lord condemned the hardness of men's hearts in the matter of divorce Matt.19:8, but never condemned polygamy and neither did Paul who gave instructions about bishops and deacons;

1Ti 3:2 Therefore, an elder (episkopos) must be blameless, the husband of one wife, stable, sensible, respectable,...etc… ISV.

See also 1Tim.3:12 where deacon is diakonos.

And again;

Tit 1:5  The reason I left you in Crete was to complete what still needed to be done and to appoint elders (presbuteros) in every city, as I myself commanded you.
Tit 1:6 An elder must be blameless. He must be the husband of one wife and have children who are believers,....
Tit 1:7 Because an overseer (episkopos) is God's administrator, he must be blameless. He must not be arrogant or irritable. He must not drink too much, be a violent person, or use shameful ways to make money. ISV

Please do not link "blameless" with "one wife" as to suggest that any with more than one wife are to be blamed. The fact is these are independent credentials for the bishop and deacons, that is, he must be blameless first of all.

The obvious question would be if monogamy was the only marriage option blessed by God and the only marriage within the assemblies why would Paul stipulate the elders only have one wife? All Paul had to rule was that the elders be married.


The favourite argument of monogamy only Christians is that these verses provide an "implied command" for monogamy. This is very subjective reasoning since it based upon the "command" being seen in the eyes of those desperately in need of something to uphold their monogamy only position.

If this verse has "implied commands" for the all Christians, then all Christians MUST be married, remaining single is NOT an option.

All Christians MUST have more than one child, to cease having children after one is contrary to the implied command.

All Christians MUST have well disciplined households, and all children must be believers. All Christians should not divorce and remarry or even be a widower.

Perhaps women can not be Christians (if we follow the implied command "logic") and certainly MUST not be deacons. It would be the height of hypocrisy to use this verse against polygyny then elect women as deacons or worse still to position of Pastor. Single men must not be deacons or bishops either, which would wipe out positions in some denominations.

So check out all MALE members of your church before appointing bishops or deacons. If any have had issues outside the assemblies where blame could be levelled against them, are single, or married without children or only one child or children who are not believers, they are disqualified for church positions according to the instructions in 1Tim.3:1-12.

But we know these verses are about bishops and deacons and the criteria needed for them to hold office, these requirements are not for the general Christian community. We can be certain there would have been some within the assemblies who did not meet these standards and were thus disqualified from holding office.

Let all Christians know, implied commands (if they do exist) are never to be used against explicit passages of Scripture. What God has clearly commanded and approved is not to be negated by what is extrapolated and 'seen' in other passages. Plain statements of Scripture stand against; are to be accepted before "implications".

Some of those placed in responsible positions by God in the past had more than one wife. Compare some of Israel's judges and Kings. Why would God use polygynyous families in the past to judge and rule, then change His mind in the New Testament? God does not declare polygyny holy in the OT, then change His mind and declare it wicked in the New.

The fact remains, the Lord used polygyny in the past, came through polygynous families, and rebuilds Israel with polygyny IN THE FUTURE, so the implied command position using these passages is contrary to the plain statements of the Word of God and are contrary to His own actions.

Some interpretations suggest the word “one” could be translated “first”, thus bishops and deacons should have at least the first wife. If this be true then the following interpretations are valid from these passages. The bishops and deacons should have at least the first wife but if they had other wives as well, they could still hold office. They were to be the husband of only one wife or they should not have divorced the first wife (Lev.21:7). Try running these by your faith and order committee or the general synod.

The Lord spoke strongly against discarding the wife of thy youth in Malachi 2:14-15. Jewish husbands were not to mistreat their first wife by either divorcing her or withholding her rights of marriage. This did not mean they were to have the wife of their youth ONLY. Paul knew these OT passages which could be the very basis of this statement;
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of (his) first wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; (suggested reading).

These passages can not be used to argue monogamy only or that polygyny was banned, condemned or cancelled. Polygamy is not condemned in these passages or anywhere else in the New Testament. There is no implied command against polygyny in any NT passage.

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