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Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary: The Greek word: γυνη

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/DictionaryG/g/g-u-n-et.html

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

γυνη

The noun γυνη (gune) means woman and wife (hence the English prefix "gyno-"). Greek, like German (Frau), makes no distinction and whether the text speaks of some woman (Matthew 13:33) or someone's wife (1 Corinthians 7:2) is established solely from the context.

Sometimes the context isn't wholly clear, which makes excellent topics for endless discussions: should all women be dignified or only wives (1 Timothy 3:11)? Are only wives weaker vessels or daughters and maids too (1 Peter 3:7). Are all women prohibited to teach or just wives (1 Timothy 2:12). And of course: should all women be quiet in church or just the wives (1 Corinthians 14:34)?

Over the centuries, many men have sported elaborate opinions about these matters, and subsequently found themselves exiled to the couch, with their desserts forfeited or gobbled up by the dog. Here at Abarim Publications we have the good fortune to be blessed with wives who are much more dignified, stronger in all manners, smarter and prone to quiet contemplation than any of their husbands, so we usually stay far away from these salient Pauline assertions.

But if we do dare, we submit that the rise of Christianity in the Roman empire coincided with an unprecedented wave of women's liberation. Still, even Christianity didn't rise in a cultural vacuum, and its earliest context was that of pagan Rome. It was obviously very important to both Jesus and Paul that their audience wouldn't instigate a political or social revolution, and on those points evoke the establishment's retaliation, because that would have destroyed the entire movement. Now that we're millennia further, the dangers of that happening have abated and the Body of Christ faces other problems, this time problems that are only made worse if we would discriminate on account of gender. Studies even show that the brains of women are wired in such a way that they are indeed weaker in a society where competitors meet in slug-fests, but far outperform men in societies that are based on cooperation and mutual benefit.

In other words: when Paul wrote, people had better done what he said. Today, people better do the opposite. In Christ, after all, there is neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28).

Also note the visual similarity between our noun γυνη (gune), meaning woman and wife, the verb γινομαι (ginomai), meaning to be or begin to be, and the feminine noun γη (ge), meaning earth.