I’m reading MacAurther’s book Pastoral Ministry. In brief, I have a soap box that he touched on. Here’s what he said:
The first character qualification in Titus that spells out what it means for a pastor to be above reproach is that he be “the husband of one wife” (Titus 1:6). A literal translation of the Greek expression is “a one-woman man.” This is not talking about polygamy, a sin that is forbidden for everyone, not just pastors.
He is wrong on three counts. First, a literal reading is not “a one-woman man.” It literally says “a husband of one wife.” A “one-woman man” is an interpretation.
Second, he takes this genitive use as an attributive genitive. The problem with this interpretation is that the noun has to be an abstract attribute for it to be attributive. For example, sometimes the Spirit is called the “Spirit of holiness.” This means “holy Spirit.” Holiness is an abstract noun. But a wife is not an abstraction. And if you treat her as such, you shouldn’t be married anyway.
In Titus 1:6, the right genitive use is that of relationship: a man is related to one woman. Everywhere else in the NT, when you have two persons in an genitive construction, it is relationship. Therefore, it must be relationship here. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of special pleading. It simply says that this man has one wife.
Third, he says polygamy is a sin banned in the church. The problem with this assertion is that he can’t prove it. Notice that there is no scripture reference at the end of his assertion. Why? Because there is none.
Please don’t take this as me advocating for polygamy. I’m not. I’m merely stating that there may have been men in the church who had many wives before they got saved. In such condition, they were able to join the church. The church teaches the ideal marriage and thus adding any additional wives would be sin.
Why is this passage here? It simply says that a man must only be married to one woman. He is the example for the flock of God’s ideal. Thus, in marriage, he shows this example to all.
MacAurther and others are guilty of letting their preconceived theology drive their exegesis on this point. They can wrench it out of the text. But the text is left mangled and meaningless.