1 Cor 11:3 help

I am teaching through 1 Cor. 11 in our singles and young marrieds class.  Do you know of any strong grammatical or textual reasons to translate the Greek words avnh,r and gunaiko.j as husband and wife instead of the more general terms man and woman?  The ESV does go with husband and wife but the NAS, NIV, and the NKJV go with man and woman.  Grammatically and textually i think “man” and “woman” seems to fit the 1 Cor 11:2-16 context better.  What say you scholars?

I’m not looking for applications of this particular passage just some exegetical thoughts.


5 responses to this post.

  1. The word “aner” is used again in v. 4, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 14.

    The more general translation of “man” is clearly Paul’s target audience in those texts.

  2. I agree, Caleb. Where the context does not require “husband” or “wife” I think the more general term is preferred. I checked the ESV website, and here are their footnotes on the passage:

    11:3 Greek gunē. This term may refer to a woman or a wife, depending on the context

    11:5 In verses 5-13, the Greek word gunē is translated wife in verses that deal with wearing a veil, a sign of being married in first-century culture

  3. Strong’s Greek Dictionary entries on these terms:

    1135. gune (goo-nay’)
    –probably from the base of ginomai; a woman; specially, a wife

    435. aner (an’-ayr)
    –a primary word (compare anthropos); a man (properly as an individual male)
    –fellow, husband, man, sir.

    When men and women are referred to in the same verse/section in the Bible, is there ever a time when they are mentioned apart from at least a tacit reference to marriage?

    I’m not sure, but that could be my youthful ignorance :-)

  4. I agree with you and Ray as the context would not let you translate it otherwise.

  5. Posted by CalebKolstad on September 15, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    I believe the application of 1 Cor 11:3 is obv. different than the application of Eph 5 (husbands and wives) but that man and woman is the implications of the 1 Cor 11:2ff text.

    I will post my findings here at ET in the weeks to come.

    In Christ,

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