Did any of you think to look at the various versions to see if they shed any light on things?
1 Corinthians 7:1
- (BBE) Now, as to the things in your letter to me: It is good for a man to have nothing to do with a woman.
- (CEV) Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, “Is it best for people not to marry?”
- (EMTV) Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
- (ESV) Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”
- (GNB) Now, to deal with the matters you wrote about. A man does well not to marry.
- (NLT) Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to live a celibate life.
Well that doesn’t help! It just adds confusion. Which is it? Marry, touch, have sexual relations, be with, be celibate? Looking at the various versions doesn’t help me Ian because the confusion still reigns. That is because you are assuming the wrong things. You are assuming that the various readings are wrong and only one is the right one. That is a false assumption. The issue is due to the Greek verb used ἅπτεσθαι [haptesthai]. This word has a range of meanings that range from touching or fondling all the way to marry. So all of those meanings apply. Take time to apply all the meanings and see what you think. Which one is the best in the context?
The word haptesthai is not the usual word in Greek used for marry. Haptesthai can mean marry but doesn’t normally. Gameo is the usual, standard word for marry in Greek. Take some time to think through the implications and use of this word in the context in which Paul is using it. Does this help to shed some light on what Paul is saying? Does it clear up some problems for you?
I will leave you now. Ponder what I have told you in the meantime.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.Ian Vail
It is better to be roughly right than to be precisely wrong.Ian Vail