Woman, Wife

1133 GUNAIKARION (1): a word-form of 1135 gune meaning a "weak woman."


1134 GUNAIKEIOS (1): a word-form of 1135 gune, specifically meaning "wife."

WIFE 1Pe.3.7.

1135 GUNE (222): an adult woman or a wife depending upon the context. Gune is the Greek feminine word corresponding to the masculine word aner (0435 "man, husband"). Compare also to "human" (0444 anthropos ), which generically applies to either man or woman.

In some passages it may not be clear whether gune should be translated "woman" or "wife." And there are questions concerning how a woman should conduct herself within her marriage, or among a group of assembled believers. Five passages relating to these matters are discussed below.

1) 1Co.11.3-16: Gune occurs sixteen times in this passage. Verse 3 states: "I want you+ to know that the Anointed One is the head of every man (aner), and man (aner) head of woman (gune), and God head of the Anointed One." (Note that the text states "head of," not "head over." The only FCM (NT) occurrence of "head over" is in Eph.1.22 concerning Jesus: "...and gave him to be head over all things to the ekklesia.") Verses 8-9 state: "...For man is not of woman, but woman of man; for indeed man was not created because of the woman, but woman because of the man." Both passages indicate a general ranking of beings and gune is therefore best translated "woman" rather than "wife."

2) Eph.5.21-23: Believers should be "...yielding (5293 hupotasso to one another in awesome respect of the Anointed One; the wives to their own husbands, as to the Master, because the husband is head of the wife..." So if every believer yields to the other, then no one domineers another. "Domineer" means the opposite of "yield" in 1Ti.2.11-12 (see below). So then, the husband should not domineer his wife, nor the wife her husband.

Why is the wife to yield rather than her husband? Because "God is not of disorder, but of harmony" (1Co.11.33). God chose to rank man ahead of woman not because he is superior to her, but to specify a means of harmony between husband and wife; that is, to provide a specific decision-maker. So wives are to yield (5293 hupotasso ) to their own husbands, when the two cannot achieve agreement through loving persuasion.

3) 1Co.14.26-35: Verses 34-35: "Let the wives (gune) in the assemblies be silent for they are not permitted to speak... But if they want to learn anything, let them question their own husbands at home". The antecedent of they and them is gune in verse 34, which therefore must be translated "wives," not "women," because "they and them" have husbands in verse 35. So this passage does not apply to unmarried women or to women in general.

Verse 33: "For God is not of disorder, but of harmony." This principle evidently refers to Paul's instructions to:

1) tongue-speakers, be silent when there is no interpreter (verse 28),

2) be silent when someone else receives a revelation (verse 30) and

3) interrupting wives, be silent (verse 34).

Verse 26: "...when you+ come together (i.e., assemble), each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up." Thus, meetings of the ekklesia were to "build up" (edify) one another by mutual participation, as in 1Co.14.23-35.

Both men and women had abilities and gifts to perform these functions. In 1Co.11.4-6, women are publicly praying and speaking for God (prophesying) with Paul's approval. Act.21.9 states, "...this man (Philip) had four virgin daughters who spoke for God (prophesied)." Note that speaking for God necessitates the presence of an audience to hear God's words.

First Century believers had different customs than do Twenty-first Century believers, but women did actively participate in their assemblies. And they can do so in any situation today, provided they are not "head of the man."

4) 1Ti.2.9-15: A general ranking seems to be indicated again because verses 13-14 state: "...Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived came into wrongdoing."

Verses 11-12 state, "Let a woman learn in calmness (2271 hesuchia, which does not mean "silent," but "calm"), yielding (5292 hupotage) in everything. I do not permit a woman to teach nor to domineer (0831 authenteo) a man, but to be in calmness (hesuchia)."The idea seems to be that a woman is not to rank herself as head of man when she teaches. (Paul may have experienced a woman attempting to "take over" a discussion.) So, by being calm and having a gentle nature she may be able to teach him with persuasion rather than domineering. Peter sug- gests this in 1Pe.3.1: "...wives, yield (5293 hupotasso ) yourselves to your own husbands so that even if any are unpersuaded by the message, they may be gained without speech through the conduct of the wives."

Also in other passages, when Paul refers to his own instructions, his personal preferences or First Century customs may be involved rather than a command by the Master. For example, in 1Co.7.10 Paul, in writing about a matter of expediency said: "But to the [ones] having married I enjoin, [yet] not I, but the Master, that a wife not separate from [her] husband..."

1Ti.3.8-11: Verses 8 and 11 appear to be parallel:

8) "Servants (diakonous , deacons) [be] similarly dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine."

11) "Women [be] similarly dignified, not slanderers, moderate, faithful in all things." So a female servant (diakonon, deaconess, in an ekklesia , such as Phoebe, Rom.16.1) should have qualities similar to those of a male servant.

Translation of gune:

WOMAN: without regard to whether or not she has a husband.

WOMAN (126) Mt.5.28; 9.20,22; 11.11; 13.33; 14.21; 15.22,28; 15.38; 22.27; 26.7,10; 27.55; 28.5. Mk.5.25,33; 7.25,26; 12.22; 14.3; 15.40. Lk.1.42; 4.26; 7.28,37,39,44,44,50; 8.2,43,47; 10.38; 11.27; 13.11,12, 21; 15.8; 20.32,33a; 22.57; 23.27,49,55; 24.22,24. Jn.2.4; 4.7,9,9,15, 17,19,21,25,27,28,39,42; 8.3,4,9,10; 16.21; 19.26; 20.13,15. Act.1.14; 5.14; 8.3,12; 9.2; 13.50; 16.1,13,14; 17.4,12,34; 21.5; 22.4. Rom.7.2. 1Co.7.1,13,34; 11.3,5,6,6,7,8,8,9,9,10,11,11,12,12,13,15. Gal.4.4; 1Ti.2.9,10,11,12,14; 3.11. Heb.11.35. 1Pe.3.5. Rev.2.20; 9.8; 12.1,4, 6,13,14,15,16,17; 14.4; 17.3,4,6,7,9,18.

WIFE: because of her relationship to her husband in the text. (Literal human wife, except in Rev.19.7; 21.9.)

WIFE (96)Mt.1.20,24; 5.31,32; 14.3; 18.25; 19.3,5,8,9,10; 22.24,25, 28; 27.19. Mk.6.17,18; 10.2,11; 12.19,19,20,23,23. Lk.1.5,13,18,24; 3.19; 8.3; 14.20,26; 16.18; 17.32; 18.29; 20.28,28,29,33b,33c. Act.5.1,2,7; 18.2; 24.24. 1Co.5.1; 7.2,3,3,4,4,10,11,12,14,14,16,16, 27,27,27,29,33,39; 9.5; 14.34,35.Eph.5.22,23,24,25,28,28,31,33,33. Col.3.18,19. 1Ti.3.2,12; 5.9. Tit.1.6. 1Pe.3.1,1. Rev.19.7; 21.9.


Back to word index