As many of you know, the Greek words for "man" and "woman" can also be used to refer respectively to refer to "husband" and "wife".
Therefore, when relations between men and woman are being discussed in the New Testament, how are we to determine whether the relationship between the husband and the wife is specifically being referred to or whether the general relationship between men and women is being referred to? Many might respond to this question with one word: "context". However, one could argue that, in more cases than most might realize, "context" may not be as clear as one might like.
For instance, In 1 Timothy 2:12 ff., we read that Paul did not allow a "gunh" (the word for woman OR wife) to teach or have authority over an "anhr" ("man" or "husband"). If this applies to the relationship between ALL men and ALL women, then we are relatively clear, but if this applies specifically to husbands and wives, then we are faced with the question of how (if at all) this applies to single men and women.
Even though I cite this example specifically, I am interested in exploring the more general question with whch I began, i.e., how we are to determine when anhr/gunh mean generally "man/woman" and when they mean "husband/wife".
Actually, I am wondering whether there is any historical evidence for single (specifically) women having different standards from married women.
New Testament Greek
- Men and Women