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1 Timothy 5:14 (ESV),

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

The four emboldened phrases above, in Greek, are four different verbs all conjugated as Present Infinitive Active according to the Interlinear text at www.biblehub.com.

I have three questions:

1.) From what I have read, Present Infinitive Active verbs are obviously verbs that are in the present tense, the infinitive mood, and the active voice. Generally, I understand what each of these things mean by themselves, but what does it mean when a verb is all three of these things at once?

2.) If marriage is understood to be a lifelong contract, barring death (Romans 7:2) or due to sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9), and it would be expected for the νεωτέρας (neōteras - young widows) to manage their households for the duration of their lives, presumably barring serious injury or illness, and it would likewise be a given that they should not give the adversary any occasion to slander for their entire lives, it seems to me that verbs that are in the Present Infinitive Active indicate an expected permanence (that is, have no end to) in their activity (For example, in 1 John 4:8, the phrase "God is love", shows ἐστίν [estin - is] conjugated as Present Infinitive Active. And God, being eternal and immutable, is eternally, that is to say, permanently, love; See, e.g. Jeremiah 31:3).

Is this then so of all Present Infinitive Active verbs, or at least for the four verbs found in 1 Timothy 5:14?

3.) And finally, if that is in fact the case, then does τεκνογονεῖν (teknogonein - bear children) mean that the νεωτέρας (neōteras - young widows) are expected to bear/beget children for the rest of their lives so long as they have the natural ability to do so (e.g. barring infertility, reproductive organ injury/illness, and before menopause)?

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  • Excellent question. I think you have almost answered it yourself. So, upvoted +1 for both question and partial answer. – Nigel J Feb 7 at 10:11
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What does it mean when a verb is all three of these things at once?

1 Timothy 5:14

So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.

In this sentence, Paul used Greek infinitives because of the modal verb "would have". One can rewrite it without the infinitives or subjective. Paul would have younger widows act as follows:

  1. They marry (present indicative active).

  2. They bear (present indicative active) children.

  3. They manage (present indicative active) their households.

  4. They give (present indicative active) the adversary no occasion for slander.

You can now read 1 Timothy 5:14 without the infinitives.

it seems to me that verbs that are in the Present Infinitive Active indicate an expected permanence (that is, have no end to) in their activity

That may be a bit too much. It may or may not have an end to it. Paul expects them to follow these 4 activities as a state of regular routine.

Does τεκνογονεῖν (teknogonein - bear children) mean that the νεωτέρας (neōteras - young widows) are expected to bear/beget children for the rest of their lives so long as they have the natural ability to do so (e.g. barring infertility, reproductive organ injury/illness, and before menopause)?

It is too much to use just this verse to prove a doctrine against contraception.

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