Maxey - Broking Discussion
A Critical Review and Defense of
Down, But Not Out

Tuesday, August 8, 2000

A Response by Al Maxey to
Broking's Comments on Chapter 4

Darrell wrote: "The writer of Down, But Not Out failed to make a distinction between two critical words in the Greek testament. Where the English reads, 'Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife' the apostle used a different word than he used when he wrote, 'Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed.' ..... The first word translated 'loosed' in First Corinthians 7:27 is the Greek 'lusin,' meaning 'a release from the marriage bond, a divorce.' The second word translated 'loosed' in verse 27 is the Greek 'lelusai,' and it is the subject of controversy. .....the precision of Paul's wording as recorded in verse 27 must be acknowledged."

Darrell has freely, and publicly, pointed out on occasion the fact that he is not a Greek scholar, nor "the son of one," thus it might be well if I seek to explain a few things more clearly for both Darrell and some of the readers who may not have had the benefit of years of formal training in NT Greek.

It is pointed out by my critic that the apostle Paul uses two "different" and "distinct" words in I Cor. 7:27. In the phrase: "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released" the word translated "released" is "lusin," which is the Accusative Feminine Singular form of the word "lusis." In the following phrase: "Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife" the word also translated "released" is "lelusai," which is the Perfect Passive Indicative 2nd Person Singular form of the word "luo." Yes, "luo" and "lusis" are clearly words with different spellings. Thus, technically, they are "different words."

What Darrell has failed to perceive, however, is that they really mean the same thing, and indeed are essentially just differing forms of the same word --- one is just a noun (lusis) and the other is a verb (luo). In the Greek language, which Darrell points out is very precise, a particular word can appear in numerous forms, with several different prefixes and suffixes to the root depending on the form employed. A word may appear as a noun, an adjective, a verb, an adverb, etc. and yet still be the same word (with regard to root and basic meaning), but nevertheless look different.

Let me give you a familiar example. Notice these two "different" and "distinct" Greek words: "baptizo" and "baptismos." They surely do LOOK different, don't they? They are "obviously" two "different" words, right? --- after all, one has seven letters, and the other nine; one uses the letter "s" twice, the other doesn't use it at all; one uses the letter "m" and the other uses the letter "z." Few would argue with the fact that these are "different" words. But, at the same time, hardly anyone would contend that they therefore convey completely different concepts. The clear idea of "immersion" is in BOTH, the difference in the forms is simply explained by the fact that one is a NOUN while the other is a VERB. But, in essence, it is the SAME word, formed upon the same root, conveying the same meaning: immersion!! The difference in the two words is merely the difference in saying "immersion" and "immersing." One describes the act itself, the other the action of performing the act.

This is the case with "luo" and "lusis." They both convey the meaning: "to loose, untie, set free, unfasten, unbind." They LOOK different because one is a verb and the other is a noun. It is the difference in "loosed" and "loosing," "unbound" and "unbinding," "released" and "releasing." One refers to the state of being "loosed, unbound, released," whereas the other simply refers to the process of "loosing, unbinding, releasing." Hardly worlds apart in meaning!

Darrell says, "There is tremendous difference between the word 'lusin' and 'lelusai.'" I'm afraid Darrell perceives a far greater difference and distinction than actually exists. Just because words look different, does not warrant the kind of theological chasm that Darrell seeks to create. Such simply cannot be substantiated by an appeal to Greek scholarship. Such "tremendous difference" exists far more in my critic's own mind than in reality.

For example, Gerhard Kittel, in his classic work Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, makes virtually no distinction between the two words at all, regarding them as two different forms of the same word essentially. In Volume 4, Page 335-336 he writes, "Of religious importance is the use of 'luo' ('lusis') in ..... In the NT the word means 'to loose,' 'release,' with the object of that which binds ..... or with the object of what is bound" (and to this Kittel gives the example of I Cor. 7:27 --- "lelusai"). The really interesting and important point to note, however, given the thinking of Darrell, is Kittel's clear connection of the two words, and their treatment as one. Apparently one of the greatest Greek scholars and a man who claims not to be one differ on this point. I think I'll give more validity to the former. Darrell wrote, "If the Greek terms discussed in chapter four of Down, But Not Out need more clarification, that clarification will be given at a later date." Darrell, in light of the "clarification" you have already given, I think I would rather rely upon those who actually know Greek and are proficient in its use.

Darrell wrote, "A discussion about proper application and usage of New Testament words meaning divorce soon will be forthcoming." Believe me, I'm looking forward to this. Perhaps I can further help Darrell in his efforts to teach himself NT Greek, and help him clear up a few more points of confusion with respect to his perceptions as to the nature of some of these terms and their usage.

A point in which Darrell is correct, however, is that I Cor. 7:27 is indeed the subject of controversy. Not only is this true with respect to interpretation, but even translation. Some translations are even outright misleading in their rendering of the Greek. This will all be brought out more clearly when we reach our discussion of the teaching of the apostle Paul.

Darrell wrote: "'Lelusai' refers to the state of being single without considering a previous marriage. A person, who has been 'put away' because of fornication, or for any other reason, is not 'loosed' (lelusai). He can not marry without sin (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; et al). But one in the state described by the word 'lelusai' may marry an eligible candidate without sin." Darrell has just basically given us his theology in a nutshell. We will be examining it in more detail later when we look at both the teaching of Jesus and Paul. All I will state at this point, however, is that I strongly disagree with his theory, and believe it can easily be shown to be false.

Darrell wrote: "Those with the Lord's approval to marry may do so without sinning. The immediate context of First Corinthians seven informs the Bible student that all people may not marry without sin." Again, when we reach the teaching of the apostle Paul, and specifically his instruction to the Corinthian brethren, we'll examine Darrell's theory in more detail. At this juncture it would obviously be premature. Suffice it to say, I believe his interpretation of the text is flawed, as will be demonstrated in due time.

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