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Friday, June 08, 2007

WLBA 5: the context

Before continuing with the King James Bible I want to address a literal and global understanding of the 5 verses I am using for this assessment explaining how I read them in context.

There are certainly different ways to interpret the following verses with respect to the role of women. I read these verses Rom. 16:1,2 and 7 along with 1 Cor. 11:10, 1 Tim. 2:12 and Eph. 5:21-33, and understand them as follows.

First, in the greater context women are servants of the church, hold many of the same offices men hold, are coworkers and help men out from their own resources and position. This is consistent with the role of women in Acts and the other epistles where women are leaders in their society, they host housechurches, and they bring their households to faith, they are prophets and apostles. People are addressed as singles, married couples, two women, two men and in groups.

From Eph. 5 we learn that a husband and wife are in a sacrifice - submission relationship. This is consistent with the physiological constraints placed on women through childbearing. Women are closely tied to the children and sacrifice physically for them. They are typically at this time physically and financially dependent on someone else for support, usually the father of the children. During the childbearing years, the husband and wife are in a provider-dependent relationship, just as the church is with Christ. The dependent should respect the provider and the provider must recognise the dependent, the wife, as being one with himself as the mother of his children. This is the only interpretation that "head" suggests to me.

In 1 Cor. 11:10 it is likely that women were expected to wear a head covering as was usual at the time. A head covering is symbolic of many different things and does not have a consistent and universal significance. Hence the queen may wear a hat for whatever reason she wishes. If a woman wore a veil it established her status in society. It is linguistically possible that εχουσια meant a symbol of authority such as a crown. There is, however, no evidence that the expression "having authority" ever meant to "have a symbol of being under authority." Although context may suggest which of two or three possible interpretations one should choose, it does not justify choosing a linguistically impossible interpretation.

Finally, 1 Tim. 2:12 does not mention "authority" as we understand it. It clearly says that a woman may not set herself up as an 'independent authority'. It is probably best to avoid using the word "authority" altogether and go with something like "dominate" as Jerome did.

Nowhere in any of these verses is it written that men have God-given authority over women. Neither does it say that a husband has the right to make decisions for his wife. Nor does it say that a husband is doing his wife a favour by making decisions for her. And yet this was recently preached and posted on the internet.

There was also a recent post by a woman who declared that she had decided to wear a hat to church from now on. This was praised by a man who declared that in his church women don't teach or exercise authority over men. In his church it is taught that in marriage women get to submit and men lay down their lives. He went on, positing the basic male - female dyad as one of godly authority and feminine embrace of submission.

But is the basic male - female dyad one of authority and submission in the scriptures, rather than one sacrifice and submission, love and respect? And is this dyad applicable to men and women regardless of whether they are married or not? Should an unmarried woman symbolize her submission to male authority?

On the other hand, if the dyad is one of sacrifice and submission, understood uniquely within a marriage, this then serves as a metaphor for understanding Christ and the church. It is not, however, a universal model for how men and women interact.

The scriptures are certainly using marriage and male and female differences to teach us something about God. But what they don't do is teach that all men and women are in a universal and permanent authority-submission relationship. It should not be a govenrment - citizen situation where all the men set up rules for all the women. And should marriage be defined as a ruler - subject relationship in any case?

I was shocked recently to read in an interview of an single adult Christian female that she sought "spriritual covering and protection" from Christian males. I find each and every suggestion that women are in a different relationship to men in the church than men are to men, to be highly sexualized and offensive. It is dangerous for women to seek authority, approval, protection and "covering" from men outside of either family relationships or professional capacity. Women can find what they need from other women. A woman can find a female lawyer, counsellor, and mentor, she doesn't need to think of men as necessary to her spritiual self-esteem, the authority in her life.

When will those who preach this nonsense wake up and realize that the Bible strictly teaches men and women to treat each other as siblings? This means treating each other as equals, not setting up boundaries and restrictions and lists for one class of humans, and certainly not teaching that being in submission to male leadership is going to further a woman's redemption!

Teenage girls need to be protected from this kind of teaching. It is an unmitigated evil in the Christian community that young females are not taught and modeled that they should resist the need for male sanction.

The verses relating to women should not serve as proof texts for male advantage, but be read within the context of the chapters and books in which they occur and in accordance with the narrative passages in scripture. Let's read what these verses say rather than what some translator wants us to think that they say.

Just in case you are wondering - what you see on this blog is the tip of an iceberg. Women write to me more than they comment. I read the blogs of other women, and they read what I am writing here. I listen to women and read books by women. A lot of what goes on in my posts on women is inspired by real women and written for real women.


At least I know that you know that I never suggest that men and women are the same.

Update: Dr. Mariottini blogs about pornography. I share his heartfelt concerns. I also experience any objectification of woman in the church as a form of pornography. The more men engage with women as equals the less they will treat them as objects. Putting women under male authority or male power is a form of evil.

If women feel they need to wear a head covering to ward off the lust of the angels that is fine with me, but to signal submission to male power in a blanket fashion encourages the wrong ideals.

Labels:

20 Comments:

At Sat Jun 09, 03:36:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Suzanne, I find two things in your post which contrast and which both surprise me.

First, I am surprised that you suggest that even during childbearing years women are necessarily dependent on and so submitted to their husbands. I realise that many families operate in this kind of way for practical reasons in western society as we know it. But in fact the practical reasons are less in many sectors of modern society, which offer generous maternity leave and childcare in the workplace. And they would also have been less in pre-industrial societies in which most women worked in the home and continued to do so during their childbearing years. So I am surprised at your apparent suggestion that this temporary submission is a timeless truth.

Second, do you really mean to imply that it is wrong for a single woman to want a husband? I agree that they shouldn't want to let someone else dominate them. But surely it is right, for many but not for all, to seek a partner, and one with whom she can build a family?

 
At Sat Jun 09, 09:49:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

It is hard to compare our situation today with previous eras. And even today it is not ideal to be alone. Of course women have always worked, it is silly to imagine anythng else. However, could women in past eras bear children and support a family on their own? They would at least need inherited wealth or support from their own family. The right to own property is crucial.

And in this case I would mean "submit" within the context of a mutual understanding. But I imagine that many men feel they just have "jobs" not careers, or that they make sacrifices for their children. It is a time when the focus is on caring for the family and surviving. Both partners "submit" just to coexist.

And I most emphatically do not mean that women should not seek partners. Of course, women should want to get married! I referrred to a woman who said she looked for "spiritual covering' from men she was not married to, from men who were married already to someone else. That's what I mean. A woman should not look to men in general - already married men, for approval and an authority figure in her life. She should look for a partner and treat the already married men as brothers or a father.

I am trying to show that there are many other ways of reading these verses, not that mine is perfect.

But it worries me that I see some very inappropriate behaviours on the part of women being encouraged. My sense is that the terminology is innappropriate - I don't actually know what people are doing.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 09:50:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thanks for the clarification. Yes, I certainly agree that single women should not look for "covering" from married men, such as those in church leadership. That is a road to marital disaster and should always be rejected by the married man. Many churches including mine have a very sensible rule that women should never be ministered to by a man alone but preferably with another woman taking part, and vice versa, precisely because of these kinds of dangers.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 10:21:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

That is why women need older women in positions of authority.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 02:53:00 PM, Blogger David Lang said...

Suzanne,

I understand that you are reacting to distortions of the Bible's teaching on female submission, both in your own life and in the lives of the women you mention. However, I think the vision of male/female relationships you espouse ends up throwing the baby out with the bath water.

In this post, you posit a distinction between an authority-submission relationship and a sacrifice-submission relationship. I see no such dichotomy in Scripture. In fact, I see a connection between leadership and self-sacrifice, as Jesus describes in Matt 20:20-28 and parallels.

You keep describing being in positions of leadership and authority as being in positions of "advantage," and you argue that women should be able to assume those same positions of advantage. I would submit that men with a Biblical understanding of servant-leadership do not see themselves as being in positions of "advantage" at all. On the contrary, they see themselves as being in positions of responsibility, and it is that sense of responsibility which keeps them engaged with their families and which motivates them to pursue godliness.

I agree with you that most of the things you've described in this post are indeed misapplications of these verses--misapplications which can be incredibly dangerous both to women and men. The dangers to women are obvious, but it is likewise dangerous to men to be taught that they have some kind of absolute authority over their wives or other women.

On the other hand, your approach to these verses seems to be to try and chip away at anything in them which implies that men bear some form of responsibility for leadership in their homes and in the church. One example of this "chipping away" approach is your distinction between authority and sacrifice and your subsequent reduction of sacrifice to being nothing more than financial support during the child-rearing years. Your interpretations strain the meanings of these passages nearly as much as those men who use these passages to "lord it over" women.

I would encourage you to look at these passages in the wider context of Christ's teaching that the first must be last and the leader must be the servant. If a man understands leadership as laying his own life down and washing the feet of those for whom he is responsible, he is not seeking his own "advantage," but theirs. I would submit that such a vision of "headship" is not so evil after all.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 02:55:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Actually I have nothing against a man being counsel for, or counsellor for a woman, as long as the woman isn't looking for male authority from him. If she just sees him as an appropriate professional that is fine. I think there are many skilled male counsellors - but I haven't met them in church. However, a woman who gets approval from other women, and treated as an equal by men, is much more empowered to grow herself.

My main point is that I see serious dangers in the wrong interpretation of these verses.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 03:43:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Suzanne, I'm glad you wrote this post. Somebody had to say it. I'm reminded me of Dorthy Sayer's book Are Women Human?

Mike

 
At Sat Jun 09, 07:27:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

However, I think the vision of male/female relationships you espouse ends up throwing the baby out with the bath water

I am all for keeping the babies!

it is that sense of responsibility which keeps them engaged with their families

And what keeps women engaged with their families - submission?

I mean absolutely no disrespect to men in this discussion, nor do I believe this is a unidimensional issue.

However, I believe that headship is a metaphor based on the realities of male/female physiology.

If women can be reduced to childbearing then men can be reduced to a paycheck. Its that simple.

In physical terms, the woman is a childbearer and that is sacrosanct. In physical terms the man is the support system for the childbearer and children and that is sacrosanct.

In every other way, men and women ought to be in a reciprocal and mutual relationship which values the full range of human potential, not stunting one half of the human race.

If I read one more post or article about men as spiritual leaders and women as childbearers and reproductive organs, I shall . . .

never mind, you must imagine what fun it would be to write a spoof on some of the nonsense written about women. :-)

What I am trying to say is that headship is a metaphor. It is not as if women don't have heads of their own. They don't need male leadership. Men may need female followership, but the best men must want a woman at their side, not tagging along in their wake.

I would submit that such a vision of "headship" is not so evil after all.

I submit that it is. Consider any partnership of two people where one person has 51% of the voting power. What man would want to spend his life - 24/7 in a situation like that?

If men didn't find authority an advantage they wouldn't mistranslate the Bible to strengthen their position. And consider that being in a position of authority gives men superior right to translate the Bible in the first place.

Mike,

Thank you. Our anonymous commenter also contributed that essay to the comment section a few months ago. However, it bears repeating that women are human - and men are human too.

Such a fuss - I get the impression that women might just as well join the army, as long as they don't expect a promotion.

 
At Sat Jun 09, 08:22:00 PM, Blogger russel said...

Suzanne,

I'm trying to follow along with your post but I'm stumped at this thought:

"However, a woman who gets approval from other women, and treated as an equal by men, is much more empowered to grow herself."

I understand that a women shouldn't be, say, privately counseled by a man alone when she is vulnerable, despite the intentions of either party. But why can a woman get approval from other woman but not a man? And shouldn't both women and men treat each other as equal?

Eph. 5
As for childbearing, I think you are spot on. Women are dependent on someone (unless they are exceedingly rich). Peter Kirk notes that in modern times there is 'generous maternity leave and childcare in the workplace'. I'd like to know how one breastfeeds a child for a whole year at work. Even moving past this the mother is still dependent - on her job/boss. Better to be dependent on a loving husband (if available) than a job. Never mind the fact that you still have to give up time with your child to work which many women may choose not to do. So is that really a 'temporary submission' of a 'timeless truth'? If the foundation of society is the family and people are not autonomous then it may well be timeless...

I am probably getting off track from your topic. The context. Well I guess that I believe that dependence does not equal weakness. A child is dependent on a mother and yet nobody would suggest that mothers laud it over their children (for the most part). In fact the opposite is true, mothers deeply love their children and care for them. They are over them but under them at the same time.

Can this apply to Ephesians 5 and our interpretations of it? Equality without sameness and autonomy; without abuse? Or is it the idea of roles that scares us? Do we all want the same roles so nobody can be 'over' anybody else? I think that line of though leads to disaster. Do these different roles continue past/independent of childbearing? Yes. To the same extent? Perhaps not, it depends.

“But is the basic male - female dyad one of authority and submission in the scriptures, rather than one sacrifice and submission, love and respect? And is this dyad applicable to men and women regardless of whether they are married or not? Should an unmarried woman symbolize her submission to male authority?
On the other hand, if the dyad is one of sacrifice and submission, understood uniquely within a marriage, this then serves as a metaphor for understanding Christ and the church. It is not, however, a universal model for how men and women interact. “

I'd tend towards love & respect / sacrifice & submission. As for outside of the marriage relationship, I'm not convinced its black and white. The question is “outside the marriage relationship are men & women autonomous? If not, how?” I have no answers.

I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this issue. Keep it up and God bless!

 
At Sat Jun 09, 11:18:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

But why can a woman get approval from other woman but not a man? And shouldn't both women and men treat each other as equal?


Generally I think women are better off with approval from other women first and foremost. Yes, both men and women should treat each other as equals. My point is that some Christian men don't treat women as equals.

I think that line of thought leads to disaster.

Exaclty what kind of disaster do you foresee in a marriage where the man is not "over" the women? I can't imagine what kind of difficulty this would lead too. Oddly, abuse and divorce are not the least bit less common in traditional marriages.

In fact the opposite is true, mothers deeply love their children and care for them. They are over them but under them at the same time.

Can this apply to Ephesians 5 and our interpretations of it?


Are you comparing a marriage to a mother - child relationship? Do you think adults should be treated like children? And if so what about single women? Would a woman who had been single till she was 50 and looked after herself all that time, be unmarriageable just because she wouldn't start acting like a baby?

How can people who think all these things, then claim that they are treating women like equals? Either you treat women like children or you treat them like adults.

The question is “outside the marriage relationship are men & women autonomous? If not, how?” I have no answers.

The Bible provides a clear answer - they are to be brothers and sisters.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 04:28:00 AM, Blogger russel said...

"Exaclty what kind of disaster do you foresee in a marriage where the man is not "over" the women?"

Excuse me? I did not infer any such thing. I was talking about autonomy and wondering if people seek it to avoid abuse of roles (abuse being where someone believes they are 'over' someone else). I then said that that line of reasoning leads to disaster (disaster being autonomy, at least within the marriage relationship).

"Are you comparing a marriage to a mother - child relationship? Do you think adults should be treated like children? And if so what about single women?"

Again this is way off - it barely makes sense. I was referring to your initial discussion on Eph 5, where you mentioned child raising. Then I asked the question leading into my discussion about autonomy.

My post was not meant to counter yours or be argumentative.

"How can people who think all these things, then claim that they are treating women like equals? Either you treat women like children or you treat them like adults."

You clearly haven't understood my post, and I'm not very happy about being labeled as one who thinks that its a disaster men aren't "over" women (scare quotes yours) and where women are no different than children.

"The question is “outside the marriage relationship are men & women autonomous? If not, how?” I have no answers."

I meant this as an open question for discussion (as most of my questions were). I should have left off "I have[offer] no answers" to make that clear.

This is definitely my last post.
Sorry to bother you.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

You wrote,

Do we all want the same roles so nobody can be 'over' anybody else? I think that line of though leads to disaster.

You appear to imply disaaster if one person is not over another. Evidently that is not what you meant by this statement and I should have asked for clarification rather than responding to my assumption of what you meant.

You clearly haven't understood my post, and I'm not very happy about being labeled

Its true I did not understood your post but you have a blocked blogger account so you don't need to worry too much about being labeled.

You could suggest some examples of your own thinking to clarify your intent and promote an open discussion.

Thank you for posting and I apologize for the lack of understanding.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 03:51:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Russel asks me, "I'd like to know how one breastfeeds a child for a whole year at work."

The answer is that by law here in the UK a woman gets several months of paid maternity leave to breastfeed her baby. When she goes back to work, she probably has to leave the baby in some kind of childcare facility, which is likely to imply bottle feeding, although perhaps with the mother's own milk prepared in advance. If you want to know how this is done, ask a woman.

I am not saying that this is an ideal situation, but it is common practice here. It is a lifesaver for many women, those who have been left without a husband's support often through no fault of their own and would otherwise be dependent on benefit (welfare), and those whose husbands are unable to earn enough alone to support the whole family and (this is the killer factor so often here) pay for the family home.

Better to be dependent on a loving husband (if available) than a job.

This factor applies equally to husbands who might prefer to be dependent on their wife than on a job!

Never mind the fact that you still have to give up time with your child to work which many women may choose not to do.

This one also applies equally to men. Most women who work do so not out of choice but out of financial necessity. Some choose to work and let their husbands spend time with the children. This is a matter of social convention, but you seem to be elevating it to a timeless truth. But there is nothing timelessly true about traditional western culture based on a nuclear family, a working husband and a stay at home wife, this is simply a convention (not even a biblical one) which is currently in decline. I don't want to accelerate its decline, but there are other models which are equally valid and biblical.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 03:55:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

David rightly pointed out that Christian leadership involves self-sacrifice rather than exercise of authority. So why, when women aspire to leadership positions in the church, do so many male leaders exercise authority in not allowing the women to take those positions? Why do they not rather act self-sacrificially as they should do and allow the women to take, even usurp, their positions of leadership?

 
At Sun Jun 10, 07:57:00 PM, Blogger David Lang said...

Suzanne,

Whenever we discuss these issues, I find that you repeatedly respond to things I have never written. At what point did I "reduce a woman to her sexual organs," speak of a man being "over" a woman, advocate "stunting half the human race," or discuss what percentage of the "vote" a husband and wife each have? You're not responding to my arguments, but to the view of men and women which you assume must lie in back of my arguments.

As I see it, you have a difficult time recognizing any middle ground between full-blown male domination of women and the feminist view which you espouse. I understand that you have personally experienced a view of "headship" which was used to justify oppression, and that you want to protect other women from such distortions of what the Bible teaches. Rightly so. But you need to be careful of letting those who oppress and abuse women dictate how you understand terms such as "headship," "authority," "leadership," "submission," etc. I get the distinct impression that when you hear these terms, you get a picture of a domineering husband manipulating Scripture in order to subjugate his wife. Yet most of the "complementarian" writers you interact with do not advocate any such view of male and female roles. When you imply that they do, you make it difficult for them to listen to anything you have to say.

This is the very thing I keep urging you to avoid, because when you distort what those on the other side of the debate are saying, you make yourself look unreasonable and you have no hope of persuading anyone but those who already agree with you.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 08:48:00 PM, Blogger David Lang said...

Suzanne,

In response to my statement that a view of "headship" which teaches men to lay down their lives for their wives is "not so evil after all", you wrote:

"I submit that it is. Consider any partnership of two people where one person has 51% of the voting power. What man would want to spend his life - 24/7 in a situation like that?"

I always find it odd that egalitarians talk so much in percentages. Who wants to live in a marriage where each one is guarding his or her percentage? Is dividing the decision-making 50-50 really the path to a "reciprocal" and "mutual" relationship? I would argue that it typically leads either to each spouse jealously guarding his or her turf, or to the decision-making being controlled by whichever spouse is the most manipulative, or stubborn, or persuasive.

The vision of marriage which I espouse (because it's the vision I believe the Bible teaches) is one in which husband and wife each aspire to give 100% of themselves to each other. That's reciprocation, because each is built up by the other, and each is looking out for the other's good. If all you want for wives is 50% of the "vote" in any decision, you're selling women short.

 
At Sun Jun 10, 09:40:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

David,

Not all my statements were addressed to you. Some are in reaction to what is in view here - Bible translation. So let's return to that.

(But I thank you for your response on the other issues. I most certainly do not intend to put anyone's personal life on trial here - that is out of the question.)

I am of the opinion that recent Bible translations have manipulated certain verses in scripture in order to diminish the status of women, in order to 'subjugate' them or keep them in submission. These Bibles are used by a significant proportion of the Christian community - this is my immediate concern.

I see that the ESV does not have a note indicating that the traditional translation of Rom. 16:7 is that Junia, a woman, was outstanding among the apostles. I see that the NET Bible depends on a note which lacks scholarly integrity to support its translation of this verse. I note that both these Bibles 'manipulate' as you put it - certain other verses by using 'men' instead of 'people' to translate anthropos in certain key verses, which strengthens the position that women cannot teach. I am surprised by this and feel responsible to speak out - that an injustice has been done.

I wrote this post to show that there was another way to understand these verses - an alternate interpretation, consistent with the Greek, a way that does not centre Christian practice on women's submission to male authority.

I note that some of these Bibles, by introducing subtle interpretive additions to the English translation, strengthen the impression that the key role of women is to be under submission. This was explicitly stated in the NET Bible, but supported also by many theologians who write on how women will be 'saved by childbearing' and interpret that as submission to male leadership - like Tamar, of course. It is this phenomenon which I feel I have a responsibility to expose.

They might better fill the same amount of electronic space holding forth on how a woman should not braid her hair.

Please understand that I don't wish to direct my comments or post so much at any comment you have made, but to the articles and posts which I read elsewhere, on the sites of theologians, where they emphasize and put front and centre, the submission of women to male leadership, by using one of these interpretive translations.

I feel that some of these theologians are also using their positions of authority to create translations which diminish the status of women. (I don't impute motive but simply note this effect in their translations.)

I want you to know that I appreciate your questions and contributions very much, but feel we have both once again strayed from the task at hand.

What should be done about translating from Greek to English in a way that we can all share a common text, as we once did with the King James Bible?

 
At Sun Jun 10, 11:17:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Just to clarify a few points for accuracy sake. I wrote,

If I read one more post or article about men as spiritual leaders and women as childbearers and reproductive organs, I shall...

I was refering to those articles which were freely circulated in the blogosphere about a year or so ago on the topic. I did not mean present company.

David wrote,

At what point did I "reduce a woman to her sexual organs

It would not be me using language like that, David, although I did get a chuckle out of you thinking I would.

speak of a man being "over" a woman

Russel said that, but it appears he meant it to represent something he does not endorse.

advocate "stunting half the human race,"

That is Kostenberger who advocates boundaries to keep women in the 'domestic' sphere.

discuss what percentage of the "vote" a husband and wife each have?

That was me thinking about something else I have read.

David, I didn't mean any of it to refer to present company. That is why I mentioned articles - articles posted elsewhere by influential teachers and theologians - not those of us who hang out here.

 
At Mon Jun 11, 04:35:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

David wrote to Suzanne, "If all you want for wives is 50% of the "vote" in any decision, you're selling women short."

Indeed. But at least that would be a start compared with complementarian situations in which men, however much they might preach sacrificial giving, insist that in principle they retain the right to 100% of the vote.

 
At Tue Jun 12, 03:43:00 PM, Blogger Dana said...

Earlier, David said: In this post, you posit a distinction between an authority-submission relationship and a sacrifice-submission relationship. I see no such dichotomy in Scripture. In fact, I see a connection between leadership and self-sacrifice, as Jesus describes in Matt 20:20-28 and parallels.

Later, David said: The vision of marriage which I espouse (because it's the vision I believe the Bible teaches) is one in which husband and wife each aspire to give 100% of themselves to each other.

So, if both husband and wife are called to self-sacrifice, and self-sacrifice is a form of leadership, does that not mean that both husband and wife called to be leaders? Because what I invariably hear from the complementarian camp is that sacrifice means submission for a woman and authority for a man.

Suzanne asked: What should be done about translating from Greek to English in a way that we can all share a common text, as we once did with the King James Bible?

Alas, I fear the answer is "nothing." I literally can't imagine this happening. Now that a greater proportion of people are able to read, and that the church is no longer dominated by a group that primarily uses texts in a dead foreign language, even the wealth, power and influence of a king would not be able to produce a translation that would become definitive.

At least, nothing in the sense I think you were asking about; prayer, however, can be a very effective tool. I think it'd take an act of God to get a common text these days.

 

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