Mathematics of Mia

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Mathematics of Mia

The two words commonly used for “one” in the greek NT are heis, and its irregular feminine version mia. It has been put forward by some that when the bible says an Elder or a Deacon must be the husband of one wife, what it really means is “at least one” on the strength that in a minority of cases, mia is translated as “first”, and that if the intent was for it to be only one, the word heis would have been used.
On the outset, it should be pointed out that heis has, in a minority of cases, been translated as ‘some’, so I suppose I would be writing something similar to this no matter which word Paul had used.

To address the mia = first business, um… first: The word is translated first 8 times. 7 times it is in the phrase “first day of the week”. There is awkwardness there because the Jews did not name their days like the Greeks did, (none of this moon-day or Thor’s day stuff) nor did they use a Greek contrivances to speak of “a week”. There was THE Sabbath, and there was one of Sabbath, (which we would call Monday). When speaking of days of the week they used both mia sabbaton and protos sabbaton to mean ‘Monday’. Protos sabbaton would mean “first (day) of the Sabbath”, while mia sabbaton would be best translated “(day) one of the Sabbath”. Both would have been used in that day and location, and both would have given the same information (… so you mean moon-day, right?); but to translate them both the exact same according to our more common English phraseology “first day of the week” leads to confusion. And to build a doctrine based on it is, I believe, dangerous.

Titus 3:10 Therefore gets to stand alone as (in some translations) as rejecting a divisive person after “a first and second admonition” . My belief is that warning them “once and again” is a closer approximation, given the rest of scripture’s use of the word.

Now onto the math!
Matt 5:18 mia = heis
Matt 17:4 mia + mia +mia = Three (also in Mark 9 and Luke 8)
Matt 24:40 Two – heis = mia
Matt 24:41 Two – mia = mia
2 COR 11:24 40 – mia = Traditionally 39. Mentioning for category completion.
Gal 4:24-25 mia covenant + Jerusalem’s covenant = Two covenants
Rev 9:12 mia woes + two woes = three woes (not all in this verse, but read it, yo)
Somebody has the algebra skills to figure out the mathematical values for mia and heis. I won’t spoil the surprise.
Now, if you’re still looking to make mia mean “one or more”, I would also like you to read Ephesians 4:4-5 and tell me exactly how many hopes of our calling and baptisms are in view here.

echad/mia = unity


Here is an excerpt from the Bible Exposition Commentary: "The Hebrew word translated "one" (echad- strongs #259) can also mean "a unity" as well as "numerical oneness." It's used that way in Gen 2:24, describing the oneness of Adam and Eve, and also in Ex 26:6 and 11 to describe "unity" of the curtains in the tabernacle. (from The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament © 2001-2004 by Warren W. Wiersbe. All rights reserved.)

OT:259 'echad (ekh-awd'); a numeral from OT:258; properly, united, i.e. one; or (as an ordinal) first:KJV - a, alike, alone, altogether, and, any (-thing), apiece, a certain, [daily-], each (one),  eleven, every, few, first,  highway, a man, once, one, only, other, some, together.

NT:3391 mia (mee'-ah); irregular feminine of NT:1520; one or first: KJV - a (certain),  agree, first, one,  other.

Note that echad also translates: alike, also altogether, together; each of these tranlations speak of unity. Mia is used in place of echad in the septuagint. It has been my understanding that it also carries the same idea of unity. Doing and Englishmen's Concordance search of echad and then mia in the septuagint will reveal this. Just something to consider in all this translating stuff.

walking in the narrow way by his grace, dsrtrmr

Agape is guarding the commandments of God. 1Jn5:3

I'm not nearly as educated as


I'm not nearly as educated as you gentleman are, but there is no command in the Bible for the kings, priests, prophets, disciples, evangelists, missionaries, or the Apostles to only have one wife, so it stands to reason that our English translation maybe causing some confusion on this subject. Truthfully, you have to do Biblical gymnastics to paint polygyny as sinful. I've found that the very verses used against polygyny are the ones that support it the most. Furthermore, even if you subscribe to the church as one bride theory, the Lord is married to both Judah and Isreal in the OT, and both the church and the city of New Jerusalem are the brides of Christ. Also, Jesus is portrayed as a polygamist in Romans 7:4. Personally, I see the monogamy only crusade, as a tool of the Devil, to help keep the number of Christians in check. Would the Founder of our faith, the Head of the church expect pastors and deacons to only have one wife when He is a spiritual polygamist Himself? Perhaps the translation of the English Bible was affected by the customs of historical period in which it was written. On a lighter side of things, you can bet if Henery VIII had authorized the translating of the Bible into English, polygyny would be thriving today! 

I'm married to "Imthefirst1."

Click on my user name for more information about us.

Psalm 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.



I wouldn't describe polygyny as sinful. Except in the case of an Elder or Deacon taking on more than one (mia) wife. I am not part of any monogamy only crowd, but in the qualifications to be an elder or deacon, Paul says they must be the husband of one (mia) wife. Not zero or more than one wife. This is not because polygyny is a 'sin' but because an elder (who is rightfully supported by church money) and a deacon (whom is entrusted with church funds) should not have a multiplicity of wives and children being supported by the church. (Among other practical reasons) This is not a problem with the english translation, really, because the scripture itself weighs pretty hard on 'mia' meaning 'one' in the original Greek. 

It is my understanding that it is not an issue of inherent sinfulness, but of having a different calling. An elder or deacon is called to have 1 wife, just as a eunuch is called to have zero wives.

Cold and asleep


You misread that scripture. Mia means you must have at least one wife. If you read Eph. 4:11 there is no office of a bishop. Apostle Prophet evangelist pastor and teacher. I believe that Jesus had 2 wives maybe 3.



Cold and asleep


Sorry I don't care what your link says. I know what Mia means.



Sort of? This is really the same thread that was started in 2014 (as you'll see above) I popped back into the forum after all this time out of morbid curiosity and saw  Imlooking41more 's response and thought I would clarify my position. 

No need for any argument. I sort of pride myself on having opinions that no-one can get behind, so for the most part I don't even want anyone to share my opinion.

Also,  dsrtrmr, that's def. a relevant point. I would like to see that principle used in actual greek before I really start reversing my opinion.


echad/mia unity in the scriptures


Here are a few verses where echad/mia are used to describe a unity of parts instead of a numerical one:

Gen1:5 = day and night form the echad day. Unity of 2 parts day/night

Gen2:4 = 2 will become echad flesh. Unity of two parts man/woman

Num.13:23 =  an echad (cluster) of grapes

and many more; as for the greek:

NT:1520 mia: that which is united as one in contrast with being divided or consisting of separate parts - 'one.';  'and the two shall become one flesh' Matt 19:5; 'but God is one' Gal 3:20. This phrase in Gal 3:20 is a reference to the fact that God in the Scriptures is defined as a unit and not as being characterized by numerous manifestations or realizations. (Louw and NIda Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain. Copyright © 1988 United Bible Societies, New York. Used by permission.)

Matthew 19:5 = two will become mia flesh

Luke 14:18 = the all with mia consent began to make excuse;  a unity of voices

John 10:16 =   And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be mia fold, and heis shepherd.

Also Paul's statement to Timothy concerning bishops that they be husbands of one wife or 'mia gune aner' is thought to be an idom refering to being a commited husband (a one woman man as in not a whoremonger). Hope it helps; dsrtrmr


Agape is guarding the commandments of God. 1Jn5:3

Hey man!


I really appreciate the work you put into this! I suppose if an elder were accepted with this sort onderstanding, I would understand it. I'm not sure if I'm ready to jump sides on this issue, but this absolutely does help me. MIa in the 'unity' sense does seem to be established as a real thing.

I guess my question to you would be a matter of opinion, but I really do want it.

Obviously a man who is unmarried cannot fulfil this command. But supposing he is indeed polygamous, and mia refers to 'unity' and not strict numerical value, how would you determine whether a man's wives were truly unified?

I guess the same way that you would determine if he rules his house well... hmmmm

Thank you so much for takiing my concern seriously!


My curiosity


has ceased to be morbid.

Pluto8's picture
This site


Proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that polygyny, wives and concubines, is not only biblical, but part of Yahweh's master plan

Be ye faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life

I was not especially raised


I was not especially raised Jewish, but pay close attention to Jewish, religious questions, as I am Jewish, by blood.

In legalistic disputes, among these descendants of Pharisees, a Jew was supposed to be married, before becoming a rabbi. This was classically interpreted to mean that he should have a wife, but did not entail polygamy, necessarily. 

Over time, Christians have adopted an ascetic, penitential, Ichabod Crane sort-of attitude, in which anything pleasurable must always be sin. I consider Diogenes, who reportedly lived in a giant, clay jar. 

Jews are supposedly more Cornocupian or consider it, in utilitarian terms. Joy in life is an expression of divinity. 

So, what is the concern, here. Is the deacon having too much fun, or is he shirking his commitment to the church? 

Do you know of a church setting which will knowing host Christian polygamists, in the first place. Or, have we founded church, where this can even be an issue, to be discussed? What church? 



>What is the concern here?

My concern is with strict adherence to the command, that there is a reason they are limited to 1, whether or not I understand that reason.

>Are the deacons having too much fun?

While I do envy them the joy that must come with their office, I wouldn't begrudge them any additional fun on my account.

>Is he shirking his commitment to the church?

Possibly? Like I said, I don't know exactly why this commandment is given, I just know that it is given. My suspicions as to why are secondary in importance.

>Do I know of a church setting... ... ...?

Nope! Not as such! But I take the view that biblical truths should be discussed and understood properly even if you can't rub 2 christians together that are willing to abide by them. But, on the off chance that the Church does decide in the future to decide to live organize biblically, well this is a truth that should be readily at hand.



Phoebe is quite a mystery to me, I do not deny it.

But I am here discussing the definition of 'mia' not the definition of 'diakonos'

As to the issue of my faith in Jesus...


must you?




well then.


I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. I have confessed this with my mouth in front of many many real in person human beings. I believe in my hear that God has raised Him from the dead.

I have recieved the baptism of the Holy Spirit and I use the accompanying gifts to evangelize and to teach scriptural truth. I have been baptised with water. I have taken communion and occasionally lead others in taking communion.

I have led others to the faith, and unashamedly preach the gospel at my place of employment, even though doing so places me at risk for disciplinary action. 

Clearly I do not fit your idea of what a Christian should be. Please direct all further inquiries about my beliefs to the Father, as He is abundant in patience and grace and a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.