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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Grudem and Aner

In all seriousness, it has crossed my mind that someone is playing a joke on me. I have considered on the other hand that the pages for the Greek letter alpha may be entirely missing from Wayne Grudem's Liddell-Scott. I have even asked myself if we should take up a collection to buy him a new one.

Ultimately I have decided to apply for a position as Wayne Grudem's research assistant - where I would receive minimum visibility and recognition, of course, as God has properly ordained for women.

This would at least ensure, however, that I would receive some slight remuneration, commensurate with my lack of order and prominence, of course, for my research, which would not be not negligible, since I would have to develop an excel spreadsheet and correction date timeline for many inaccuracies - well, maybe not 4000 - but a lot, nonetheless. It would be a very challenging position.

Wayne Grudem has written here pp. 48, 51,
    Liddell-Scott: The standard reference work, the Liddell-Scott Lexicon (p. 138) for all of ancient Greek, gives no meaning “person,” but only “man, husband,” and some specific variations on those. This is very significant because aner is not a rare word: it is extremely common in Greek. Thousands upon thousands of examples of it are found in Greek from the 8th century BC (Homer) onward. If any meaning “person” existed, scholars likely would have found clear examples centuries ago. ...

    If substantial evidence is forthcoming, I would be happy to change my understanding of plural andres, and I recognize that there may be such evidence that I have not yet seen, especially with regard to fixed idioms such as “men of Athens,” etc. (In any case the CSG allow for unusual exceptions in certain cases.) But I have not yet seen clear evidence that this is the case. So I cannot at this point agree with the claim on the TNIV web site that aner “was occasionally used as a generic term for human beings.”
I note that he states that he would be happy to change his understanding of ανδρες give evidence. Considering the following evidence provided by the Liddell-Scott does anyone think that he could be convinced to change his mind regarding the plural of aner?

1. ανδρες as 'people'
    αὐτὸς δ', ἀργυρότοξε, ἄναξ ἑκατηβόλ' Ἄπολλον,
    ἄλλοτε μέν τ' ἐπὶ Κύνθου ἐβήσαο παιπαλόεντος,
    ἄλλοτε δ' ἂν νήσους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἠλάσκαζες.

    And you, O lord Apollo, god of the silver bow,
    shooting afar, now walked on craggy Cynthus,
    and now kept wandering about the islands and the people in them. Homeric Hymns 3.142
2. ανδρες as 'race of men', which I note refers to human beings of both sex.
    καὶ ἡμιθέων* γένος ἀνδρῶν

    and the race of men half-divine Iliad 12:23
3. ανδρες as 'mankind'

    ἐξ οὗ Κενταύροισι καὶ ἀνδράσι νεῖκος ἐτύχθη

    From hence the feud arose between the centaurs and mankind; Odyssey 21:303
4. ανδρες as 'men' generic

    τὴν δ' ἠμείβετ' ἔπειτα πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε:

    In answer to her spoke the father of men and gods:
5. ανδρες as 'men' with the same referent as 'people'

    ἀκίνδυνοι δ' ἀρεταὶ
    οὔτε παρ' ἀνδράσιν* οὔτ' ἐν ναυσὶ κοίλαιςτίμιαι:
    πολλοὶ δὲ μέμνανται, καλὸν εἴ τι ποναθῇ*.

    But excellence without danger is honored
    neither among men nor in hollow ships.
    But many people remember,
    if a fine thing is done with toil. Pindar Odes 6.9-12
I would like to note that scholars did find these clear examples centuries ago.


Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.

Homer. The Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919.

Homer. The Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1924.

Pindar. Odes. 1990.

The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White. Homeric Hymns. Cambridge, MA.,Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tent vs tabernacle cont.

I have assembled here a few more translations for John 1:14. I have tried to represent each significant variant once. This does not represent a popularity count for the different ways to translate σκηνοω.

My main question is whether σκηνοω should be translated in accordance with the Hebrew scriptures as translated in the LXX since this text was known to the authors of the Christian scriptures?

    And so the Word became flesh and took a place among us for a time; and we saw his glory--such glory as is given to an only son by his father--saw it to be true and full of grace. Bible in Basic English

    The Word became man and he lived among us. We saw with our own eyes that he is great. He is great the way God the Father made his only Son great. We saw that he is full of loving kindness and truth. Bible in Worldwide English

    And the word became flesh, and tented7 among us, and we observed his glory, glory as of [the] uniquely-begotten8 from [the] father, full of grace and truth (7 indicates a temporary, not permanent dwelling. May also refer to the Tabernacle) Faithful Translation

    And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth. Green's Literal

    And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among vs (& we beheld his glory, the glory as of the onely begotten of the Father) full of grace and trueth KJV

    The Logos became incarnate, and had his tabernacle among us, being full of grace and truth; and we contemplated his glory, such glory as the Monogenes derived from the father. Mace

    And the Word became flesh and tented with us. And we gazed on his glory - glory as of the Father’s only Son - full of grace and truth. Montgomery

    And, the Word, became, flesh, and pitched his tent among us, and we gazed upon his glory,—a glory, as an Only-begotten from his Father. Full of favour and truth. Rotherham

    And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth Young's Literal

    And the Word came in the flesh, and lived for a time in our midst, so that we saw His glory--the glory as of the Father's only Son, sent from His presence. He was full of grace and truth. Weymouth

    Now34 the Word became flesh35 and took up residence36 among us. We37 saw his glory – the glory of the one and only,38 full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.
    (tn Grk “and tabernacled.”sn The Greek word translated took up residence (σκηνόω, skhnow) alludes to the OT tabernacle, where the Shekinah, the visible glory of God’s presence, resided. The author is suggesting that this glory can now be seen in Jesus (note the following verse). The verb used here may imply that the Shekinah glory that once was found in the tabernacle has taken up residence in the person of Jesus. Cf. also John 2:19-21...) NET Bible

    The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. NIV 1977

    So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw his splendour (the splendour as of a father's only son), full of grace and truth. JB Philipps

    And the message was embodied and lived among us, and we observed its glory: glory like from a father's only son, full of favor and truth. Non-eclesiasitical NT F. Daniels

    And the Word took human form and lived among us. We have seen his splendor, the splendor of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of favor and truth. Source
In preparing this post I have used texts found through the Bible Bureau and the Bible Tool. Are there any other ways of translating σκηνοω in John 1:14 that should be considered?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

tabernacle vs tent

The discussion around how to translate John 1:14 is complicated by the fact that the Greek word σκηνη and the Latin tabernaculum were used to translate two different Hebrew words. In English 'tabernacle' and 'tent' have come down to us as two separate words, when in Hebrew there was more or less, 'dwelling' and 'tent . 'Tabernacle' is strictly speaking the Latin for 'tent' but these appear as two separate words now in English translations. It is all a bit muddled in my view. John 1:14 in Greek is,

    καὶ ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν καὶ ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ δόξαν ὡς μονογενοῦς παρὰ πατρός πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας
and in Latin.

    et Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis et vidimus gloriam eius gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiae et veritatis
The TNIV is typical of English translations,

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Latin habitare and the English 'dwell' or 'dwelling' reflects the meaning of the original Hebrew word sakan in Ex. 26:1. My question is whether it is better to stay with the traditional 'dwell' or chose either 'tabernacle' as Wesley, the ISV and some literal concordant translations do, or 'pitch a tent' which I have found so far only in Rotherham.

Here is a brief outline of the problem.
    הַמִּשְׁכָּן Ex. 26:1 dwelling or habitation

    ἡ σκηνη LXX

    tabernaculum Vulgate
      tabernacle JKV
      tabernacle TNIV

      אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד Ex. 27:21 tent of meeting

      ἡ σκηνη τοῦ μαρτυρίου
      tabernaculum testimonii
          tabernacle of the congregation KJV
          tent of meeting TNIV

        In addition the Greek in John 1 recalls not only the tent of meeting, but also the idea of a testimony. John 1:15 continues with the testimony in verse 15.

          Ἰωάννης μαρτυρεῖ περὶ αὐτοῦ καὶ κέκραγεν λέγων οὗτος ἦν ὃν εἶπον ὁ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος ἔμπροσθέν μου γέγονεν ὅτι πρῶτός μου ἦν
        This is only a very brief sketch of the difficulty.

        Tuesday, March 27, 2007

        John 1:14

        I have been thinking over a few of the translation issues in the first chapter of John. I don't have a clear theme in mind but I would like to ask about a few diverse points. One of the concerns that most often occurs to me in reading the Greek scriptures is whether the writers were using Greek vocabulary in the sense that it had taken on in the Septuagint. For example, here is John 1:14.

          And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)

          The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (TNIV)
        Those who favour the notion that the vocabulary in John's gospel owes much to Judaism often quote John 1:14 in one of the following ways,
          And, the Word, became, flesh, and pitched his tent among us, and we gazed upon his glory, - a glory, as an Only-begotten from his Father. Full of favour and truth. (Rotherham)

          And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth. (Wesley)

          The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh'khinah, the Sh'khinah of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth. Complete Jewish Bible (Stern)
        I find it somewhat surprising that there is no major translation which has,

          The word became human and tabernacled amongst us and we saw his Sh'khinah glory, the glory of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.
        I am not sure if this is significant or not. Evidently there is no major translation which chooses to depart from the traditional phrasing here.

          Rereading Isaiah 9:1: The Use of Gender Inclusive Language

          In a recent post Dr. Claude Mariottini states:
          One verse where some translations have chosen to use inclusive language is Isaiah 9:1. However, the use of inclusive language in Isaiah 9:1 has completely changed the original meaning of the text and fails to represent the intent of the message of the writer.
          You'll want to read the rest of this interesting post.

          Monday, March 26, 2007

          Technically speaking...what is grace?

          When you hear the word grace, does this feeling of having your deepest needs met well up inside you? It should. That's Biblical. Now, if you walk up to the average person in a shopping mall parking lot and talk about grace, does the person sense you are using a term that refers to his or her deepest needs? It should. It did in the culture of the 1st century. Grace held society together. It gave it its ethics, its relationships, its roles. It defined how the haves met the needs of the have-nots and how the have-nots reciprocated in return.

          Here's what David A. deSilva had to say about this in his book, "Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity, Unlocking New Testament Culture."
          Grace, then, held two parties together in a bond of reciprocal exchanges, a bond in which each party committed to provide what he or she (or they) could to serve the needs or desires of the other. Public benefactions were frequent, particularly as a means by which local elites reaffirmed or increased their stature in the public eye. Such graces did not form long-lasting bonds of mutual commitment, but friendship relations and personal patronage did. In the case of social equals, this amounted to an exchange of like goods, and services, always within the context of mutual loyalty and commitment. Between a social or political superior and his or her juniors, goods and opportunities were channeled down from above, and respect, public praise and loyal service were returned from below, again within the context of mutual commitment. Giving was to be done for the sake of generosity and bringing another benefit, and not with a view to material profit from returns. Receiving, however, was always to be accompanied by the desire and commitment to return grace for grace. Though often profitably compared to a dance that had to be kept "grace-full" in a circle of giving and receiving, these relationships were far more than ornamental or recreational (as dances are). They formed the bedrock of society, a person's principal assurance of aid and support in an uncertain and insecure world. (pages 118-119)
          So, you see, grace was the warp and woof that quilted people into a societal fabric. It was a common word; a word that spoke to people's needs. For many, it spoke to their deepest needs.

          The use of the common vernacular has a way of sewing the meaning of a message into the very life of the one listening to that message. Paul, more than any other author, used that commonly known word to thread his message into the lives of anyone who would listen to him. I've often said that communication is the most intimate thing two or more people can do since it is the one thing that makes physical changes to the brains of those involved in the conversation--nerons change. Grace should do that.

          Let me ask a another question. When you hear the word grace, does the concept of a religious, technical term come to mind? If it does, then that is unBiblical. Certainly, the Bible added meaning to the common word grace. It gave it something uncommon. Grace by its very nature will always be uncommon (until people's deepest need is fully relieved by the re-creation). However, it didn't make grace mean something different. It didn't turn a common word into a technical word, an ethereal, other-worldly word. It simply expanded it to encompass the need of eternal importance--one's soul. Grace was a common word applied to something of a larger-than-the-world worth. It was expanded by the text to apply to far more than food, and shelter, a person's worth in society, and other basic needs. But, in spite of this application, it was still a common, non-technical word.

          Please understand that while I question the use of the English word grace, I most certainly am not undermining the very nature of what we Christians refer to when we use the term grace. I'm simply raising the question about how we communicate that beautiful truth, especially in our Bibles. Indeed, I'm asking whether we communicate the beautiful truth of it at all, if we use a word that in our common tongue doesn't mean what the original authors meant by their use of the word.

          In our effort to make Better Bibles, how do we handle this? Should we use an uncommon word out of a sense of protecting God's truth, unlike the original authors who used a common word? Or, do we find a common word that communicates God's truth to the people who so desperately need to hear it?

          NIV vs. TNIV: Matthew 11:12

          Rick Mansfield has compared the TNIV revision to the original wording in the NIV of Matthew 11:12 on the TNIV Truth blog.

          Rick concludes:
          Though the exact translation of the phrase is not a closed subject and still open to debate, in my opinion, the TNIV translators made a fair corrective to the NIV in this verse that fits in not only with the immediate context, but also with the context of the Bible as a whole and in many ways, with the context of church history.
          Rick wrestles seriously with the exegesis of this verse and you will want to read his entire post.

          Note the new address for the TNIV Truth blog.

          The Men of This Generation (Luke 11:31)

          In Greek there is a clear distinction between anthropos which, at least in the plural, usually refers generically to men and women and aner which, with a few debatable exceptions, refers gender specifically to men only. There are similar, but perhaps less clear, distinctions in Hebrew. It is important for Bible translations that a careful distinction is made between these passages, to avoid confusion over which passages should be interpreted as applying only to men and which also apply to women.

          So I was interested to find aner, in the plural, in Luke 11:31. This word is not in the parallel verse, Matthew 12:42; nor is it found in a very similar context in the following verse, Luke 11:32 (although it is used for the men of Nineveh). It seems clear that Luke has deliberately used this word in verse 31. What is his point? Well, he is contrasting these men with a woman, the queen of the south, and it is in this context that he chooses to use aner instead of the generic anthropos, or simply omitting the word as in verse 32 and in Matthew 12:42. So it seems to me that he wants to make a deliberate contrast between the listening woman and the men who ignore God's wisdom.

          But what have various translations done with aner here? As expected, translations like RSV and NIV which do not take special care with gender language render "men"; so also does ESV, which tends to follow RSV in such matters. But, surprisingly, the translations which are supposed to be gender accurate, NRSV, TNIV and GNT/TEV (actually not only the recent gender generic updated version), use "people" here. I wonder why? Do exegetes really believe that aner here has a gender generic sense? This seems to me highly unlikely. Could it be that they are trying to avoid attributing to Luke a different thought from Matthew's? Maybe, but it is bad translation technique to make parallel passages say the same in translation when the original is in fact different.

          Perhaps someone can enlighten me about why the most recent versions are avoiding "men" here.

          Sunday, March 25, 2007

          Lindisfarne 9

          Eadfrid, bishop of the Lindisfarne church, (was) he (who) at the first wrote this book in honour of God and St Cuthbert, and all the saints in common that are in the island. And Edilwald, bishop of the people of the Lindisfarne island made it firm on the outside, and covered it as well as he could.

          And Billfrid, the anchorite, he wrought in smith's work the ornaments that are on the outside and adorned it with gold, and also with gems, overlaid with silver, unalloyed metal.

          And Aldred, an unworthy and most miserable priest, with the help of God, and St. Cuthbert, glossed it above in English and made himself at home with the three parts. Matthew's part, for the honour of God, and St. Cuthbert. Mark's part for the bishop. And Luke's part for the brotherhood, together with eight oras of silver for admission.

          And St. John's part for himself, together with four oras of silver, (deposited) with God and St. Cuthbert; to the end that he may gain admittance into heaven, through God's mercy, and on earth happiness and peace, promotion and dignity, wisdom and prudence, through St. Cuthbert's merits.

          Eadfrid, Oediluad, Billfrid, and Aldred made and adorned this gospel book in honour of God and St. Cuthbert.

          Above is the colophon found at the end of the Lindisfarne Gospels. It is a text written in Old English at the end of the 10th century. Here we see a text composed in English which has the significant feature of beginning each major section after the introduction with 'and'.

          Surely we are looking at the influence of the Hebrew vav translated into Greek as kai, into Latin as et, represented then by the Latin ampersand & (et), then the Tironian shorthand 7 (et) and finally the English 'and'.

          There are also several Greek ampersands but they have a separate history. It is an equally interesting one since two different Greek ampersands appear together in the printed Textus Receptus of Erasmus.

          I wonder if anyone has yet written a book on the short history of 'and'. Hmm. Nice thought!


          The gift that is in you

          I should not have read this post - but I did. A pastor's wife wrote and recounted that she has been asked to contribute to the worship service. Should she contribute and, if so, what? The post explores this question. May a woman lead in worship?

          The author of the post then quotes from Randy Stinson.
            It would depend on how that particular church understands the degree of authority that she holds over the assembled congregation and the extent to which she provides instruction. Is her position understood as one of authority over the congregation similar to a pastor/elder? Does she provide doctrinal commentary between songs or other doctrinal instruction to the choir or congregation? Does her “leading” involve the exercising of authority over others or, rather, the providing of leadership regarding timing, tempo, music, etc.? Does she direct the church to a particular song in a hymnal and invite those assembled to praise the Lord, or does she engage in more biblical exhortation like a pastor?
          The post discusses how a woman may contribute in a musical way and never with an exhortation or doctrinal teaching. And then the blog author concludes with these words 'enthusiastically support your husband with your musical gifts.' But at no time does the woman indicate that she has musical gifts!

          How sad it is to be told that God only wants back from us something that we may never have been given. Randy Stinson is teaching that the sexes are different by design at a conference in April.

          On a related note, I attended a seminar on the history of psychoanalysis this week. Near the end of the talk the speaker said this.

            What is most important for me is that we each have an 'other' - not someone to help us change - but someone to help us be ourselves. The boy and girl need a caregiver who helps them to be themselves, their true selves, not a caregiver who wants to change them, who wants them to be something they are not.
            Here was a man who all his life was driven by knowing that his parents had not wanted him to be the way he was. How often are Christian men and women told that God, our father, does not want us to be the way he made us?

            What do the scriptures tell us about gifts. First, they are not distributed by sex. Next, God determines how they are distributed - he gifts people by his grace and according to his will. We are to desire gifts, we are to earnestly seek them, we may receive them through the agency of others, but we are not to neglect the gift that is in us.

            The gift, the χάρισμα, is a product of God's grace and favour towards us - it is not of our own doing. We are to seek earnestly to be ourselves, to develop and use the gifts given to us for the common good and for the glory of God.

            There are several different Greek words which are all usually translated into English by the word 'gift'. The two most common ones are δωρεὰ and χάρισμα. It is interesting to see how a few different translations deal with an instance where both words are used in one verse, Romans 5:15. The blue are χάρισμα and the green δωρεὰ.
              ἀλλ' οὐχ ὡς τὸ παράπτωμα οὕτως καὶ τὸ χάρισμα εἰ γὰρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι οἱ πολλοὶ ἀπέθανον πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἡ δωρεὰ ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐπερίσσευσεν

              But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many KJV

              But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. ESV

              But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! TNIV

              15But [shall] not the act of favour [be] as the offence? For if by the offence of one the many have died, much rather has the grace of God, and the free gift in grace, which [is] by the one man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many. Darby


            Saturday, March 24, 2007

            Catherine Booth

            I found a book of sermons called Aggressive Christianity by Catherine Booth this afternoon. The sermons illustrate so well many of the points peripheral to Bible translation that I would like to draw attention to. I hope to post a few excerpts over the next little while on my bookshelf blog. This excerpt goes well with my post on the seal of apostleship.


            Time magazine: Bible literacy

            Time Magazine Cover Story on Bible Literacy
            22 March 2007 -- article below
            • Exciting news of the amazing publicity achievement by Chuck Stetson's Bible Literacy Project, forwarded by Sheila Weber. This prominent coverage will reach more than 4 million readers and is a landmark in their six-year effort to ensure that students know the narratives, themes and people of the Bible by the time they graduate from public high school. The Time article argues that academic study of the Bible in public schools is important and needed.
            • The "Bible Literacy Project" is a member of the Forum of Bible Agencies-North America (FOBA-NA) involved in various Bible literacy and engagement ventures. The Forum heartily endorses their work as part of the Forum's commitment to "producing resources that will encourage individuals to engage with God's Word and grow to apply God's truth in every aspect of living."
            • A big thank you to the many agencies in the Forum who have contributed financially to the Byron Johnson research study, as we see the kind of positive national publicity that comes with a well-researched project.
            • We urge you to pick up a copy of the April 2nd issue of TIME from your newsstand and share it with your local school administrator.
            • VOLUNTEER to bring this course to your school next fall! Here’s how! SCHOOLS can CALL toll free 866-805-6574 or
            • LEARN MORE at For a complete overview
            • For media interviews, contact: Sheila Weber, BLP Vice President, Communications (646-322-6853

            The Case for Teaching the Bible

            Why We Should Teach the Bible in Public School
            TIME Magazine: April 2, 2007. By DAVID VAN BIEMA -- TIME's senior religion writer. His first cover story on the topic ran in 1996.
            Source URL:,9171,1601845-1,00.html

            Miss Kendrick came ready, with props. The day's topic was the Gospel of Matthew. "You can divide all the Beatitudes into two parts," Jennifer Kendrick explained to her teenage audience. "The 'Blessed are the whatevers,' like 'the meek,' and then the reward they will get. So I've made some puzzle pieces here." She passed out construction-paper sheets, each bearing either the name of a virtuous group or its reward, in black marker. "And you've got to find the person who has the other half. What's the first one in the Bible?"

            "The poor in spirit," mumbled a crew-cut boy.

            "O.K. What goes with the poor in spirit?"

            A girl in the front of the room replied, reading from her sheet, "For they will see God."

            "Nope," chirped Kendrick. "O.K., find the person that matches yours. I'll take the roll."

            By which she meant an official attendance roll. Because the day was Thursday, not Sunday. And the location was not Oakwood Baptist Church, a mile down Texas State Highway 46, but New Braunfels High School, a public school that began offering a Bible-literacy class last fall. The class has its share of conservative Christians. Front-row center sat Rachel Williams, 18, whose mother does teach Sunday school at Oakwood. But not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn't outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. "Some of my friends are Christian," she said, shrugging, "and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I'm like, Okaaaay ... clueless." Williams signed up for a similar reason. "If somebody is going to carry on a sophisticated conversation with me, I would rather know what they're talking about than look like a moron or fight my way through it," she says. The class has "gotten a lot of positive feedback," she adds. "It's going to really rise in popularity."

            Click here to read the rest of the article at the Time magazine website.

            many Bible versions: a blessing or curse

            Henry Neufeld has blogged another important post, this one on how we can turn confusion over the large number of different English Bible versions available from something negative into a blessing. There are some important details in the post which you will want to read. Henry concludes:

            More important than any of the specifics is to constantly celebrate the availability of the scriptures in your teaching, preaching, and in your daily life. Be aware that even very good technical criticism can drive people from the Bible. My own dislike for the Living Bible had to be sidelined just a bit when I found that it was the first Bible my wife had read, and resulted in her coming to the Lord. What if someone had gotten to her first with a charge of corruption? Criticism of Bible versions is healthy, and often required. There is no Bible version that cannot be justifiably criticized. But such criticism should always be put into context.

            The abundance of Bibles is a blessing–let’s strive to keep it that way!

            I agree.

            Friday, March 23, 2007

            The seal of apostleship

            The early church began with an informal and itinerant ministry model, having a focus on proclaiming the good news. The young church had practises which many of us do not share today, that of living in community or holding a portion or whole of our assets in common, that of caring for the elderly and needy in practical ways, that of healing.

            But quickly the church developed into a group of people seeking a formal organisation as difficult decisions had to be made to create one cohesive body out of many diverse factions. Whether this was a top down bishopric, or a bottom up chairmanship is moot, but a visible structure emerged.
            To my mind the scriptures provide principles for how people are to interact, not an organizational model. The message of the gospel is not about any one specific visible structure but about a people joined together in the spirit.

            Although there was in the Jewish religion a specific visible mark of membership - circumcision, for Christians the seal was the indwelling spirit; an invisible mark.

            However, just as the church quickly set up new visible structures, in the same way, it established a new visible seal. So in Greek the word 'seal' σφραγίς came to mean the 'sign of the cross', since this was annointed on the forehead of Christians at their baptism.

              ὁ βασιλεύς ἐξέρχεται καί ἀνερχεται ἐν τῷ καθίσματι, καί στάς ἕμπροσθεν τοῦ σένζου, σφραγίζει τόν λαόν ..

              The emperor comes out and mounts his special seat. Standing in front of the throne he makes the sign of the cross over [seals] the people (C. Porphyrogenitus, 10th century.)
            But the scriptures teach us that the seal is that which is given to us by God, not by humans.

            There is another kind of invisible seal given by God. Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they were the 'seal' of his apostleship.

              Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 1 Cor. 9:2
            I am close to finishing my series on women leaders, which has been written explicitly for a particular young woman ready to graduate from high school and enter university. Here I am gathering together some of the final threads of this discussion.

            Women leaders through the centuries have left a legacy of theological instruction, financial provision, physical care, evangelism in the most remote parts of the world, preaching indoors and out, concern for social welfare, prison reform, abolition, and temperance among other contributions. Those who have benefited from the leadership of women are themselves the seal of their apostleship, of their leadership.

            I can only recommend that young women become familiar with the the history of Hilda of Whitby, Maragret Fell, Anne Hutchinson, Susanna Wesley, Elizabeth Fry, Phoebe Palmer, Catherine Booth, Florence Li Tim Oi and many others.

            Read Hebrews 11 and 12:1, and consider that these women listed above are the witnesses for young women today,

              Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
            Some regular readers may find that I repeat myself. Yes, I do! I also hope that some of this will be considered a rebuttal to this book, which I have been challenged in the past to respond to in greater depth. I'm trying!


            A Woman's Place

            Women Preachers

            15 greatest black women preachers

            Translation Note:

            The Greek phrase used in this post is from De Cairimoniis by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, cited in The Development of the Greek Language by Wendy Moleas. Bristol Classical Press, 1991.

            This quote is part of a longer passage used in the book to illustrate the use of simple syntax and parataxis - the kai coordinating conjunction - in 10th century Greek, as well as instances of Latin loan words. Oddly the translation into English omits one 'and', thus obscuring the very point that Moleas is trying to make.


            1 Thess. 2:7: "little children" or "gentle"

            One of my favorite bloggers, Ted Gossard, has posted about being like children in mission. Ted begins:
            I was struck in my Bible reading this morning by Paul's description of himself and his fellow workers when they had come and were serving the Thessalonians with the gospel and their lives. He likened himself and those working with him as being like young children among them (1 Thessalonians 2:7). It can read "gentle" among you, my Greek New Testament categorizing the reading the TNIV adopts as "almost certain". There is one letter difference. Gentle among you is powerful as well. But I especially find the thought of being like young children among these new believers, intriguing. He also likens himself and his fellow workers to a nursing mother and a father dealing with his children.
            I want to follow up on Ted's observation that there is a text critical issue of whether Paul told the Thessalonians that he had been like "young children" or "gentle" among them.

            The translators of the TNIV chose to follow the "B" reading of the UBS Greek New Testament 4th edition which has the word nhpioi in the text. The "B" grade is elevated one level from the "C" grade ("considerable degree of doubt") this reading was given in the 3rd edition of the UBS Greek New Testament. As Ted pointed out, there is only one letter difference between the two readings. nhpioi means 'little children' while hpioi means 'gentle.'

            Click here to read the rest of my post on the TNIV Truth blog.

            Thursday, March 22, 2007

            Women Leaders: 1 Cor. 12: 27 - 31

            I regard this passage as a significant one in understanding leadership in the church today. In this passage the gifts are ranked from greater to lesser - apostles, prophets, teachers and so on.

              Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues [d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire [e] the greater gifts. TNIV 1 Cor. 12: 27 - 31
            Prophets are placed above teachers, and we know that women were prophets in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. How is it understood then that women may not be teachers within the assembly?

            There are two ways of explaining how this passage supports the exclusion of women from leadership. The first one requires demonstrating that while women prophesied in the early church, they were not actually prophets. This view is held by J.T. Riddle, who recently wrote the following in the Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
              Women may prophesy in the church, and, indeed, the fact that they do so is a fulfillment of scripture (Acts 2:17–18). They do not, however, fill the role or office of prophet within the early church, since this role requires the authoritative teaching and regulation of doctrine (see 1 Tim 2:11–12). Both the essential equality of men and women and the distinctions in their roles are rooted in the created order (see 1 Cor 11:7–12; 1 Tim 2:13–15). Far from being inconsistent, Paul’s thought is imminently coherent JBMW vol. 11/1 page 28 J.T. Riddle

            For Riddle, the role of the prophet requires authoritative teaching and therefore, women are not prophets. He explains that women do prophesy but are not actually called prophets in Acts. This hinges on demonstrating that while Philip's daughters, Acts 21:8-9, prophesied, they were not called prophets/prophetesses.

            The activity of Philip's daughers is compared to the event in Acts 19:6, where 12 men who had been baptized, spoke in tongues and prophesied. These manifestations of the Spirit are simply considered to be illustrations of the coming of the Spirit. However, I am not so sure if it is correct to equate the ongoing activity of Philip's daughters with the event mentioned in Acts 19:6.

            The use of the English finite past tense, 'prophesied', in both Acts 19 and Acts 21 obscures the fact that in Acts 19 the past imperfect tense is used in Greek, while in Acts 21, the present participle is used. In fact, the NASB translates this verse as,

              Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses. NASB

              And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. KJV

            In Acts 19, a particular event is outlined, but in Acts 21, the term 'who prophesied' modifies Philip's daughters, and does not describe an event. It is difficult to express this difference in English but I believe that it is not appropriate to make a simplistic comparison between the event of Acts 19 and the description of Philip's daughters in Acts 21, based on the English occurence of the past tense verb 'prophesied.'.

            The other argument against women in leadership is to bifurcate the roles of teacher and prophet along the folowing lines,

              So teaching in the New Testament epistles consisted of explaining and applying the words of scripture or the equally authoritative teachings of Jesus and of the apostles. In the New Testament epistles, "teaching" was very much like what we call "Biblical teaching" today. Many charismatic and Pentecostal churches today understand this difference quite well: Prophecy, like other miraculous gifts, is subject to the governing authority of the elders or pastors of the church. Prophecy and teaching are different gifts. Grudem 2004, page 229

            From Grudem's argument, I would infer that prophets are below, that is subject to, the governing authority of teachers. This appears to directly contradict the passage in 1 Cor. 12.

            I have always understood, first, that there were women prophets throughout the scriptures from Miriam to Anna, and that there was no reason to believe that role of prophet was restricted to men with the coming of the Spirit in Acts.

            The other concept to explore is the role of prophet itself. What does it entail?

            Here are a handful of explanations of the role of prophet that I have been able to find.

              God delivered a message to the prophet, who was in turn to transmit that message to the people. The divine message was always a moral one about how people ought to live. Often the message involved the extent to which people were living up to higher ethical standards. Hanan, A.

              A prophet is basically a spokesman for G-d, a person chosen by G-d to speak to people on G-d's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to G-d. They set the standards for the entire community.

              According to some views, prophecy is not a gift that is arbitrarily conferred upon people; rather, it is the culmination of a person's spiritual and ethical development. When a person reaches a sufficient level of spiritual and ethical achievement, the Shechinah (Divine Spirit) comes to rest upon him or her. Likewise, the gift of prophecy leaves the person if that person lapses from his or her spiritual and ethical perfection. Judaism 101

              Most of his "words" are addressed to criticizing present wrongdoing. Injustice, oppression, and rich, even luxurious, worship while the poor starve, are the issues he speaks about most.

              Popular views of the Bible prophets see them as "religious" figures. This is wrong in two ways. Firstly it suggests a separation of religion and the rest of life which is modern and Western In Ancient Israel there was not a distinct private religious sphere. Secondly it suggests that they spoke about "religious" issues. They did, but they spoke more about what we call politics. Even prophets who had a strong burden to correct false religious practice, like Hosea, addressed political issues strongly too (cf. Hos 5:11 with 5:13; 9:1 with 9:3). Postmodern Bible Commentary

            From these few references I understand that the role of prophet is associated with holiness, scholarship, moral guidance, ethics and other qualities which we would normally not disassociate from teaching. I have certainly understood the role of prophet to be distinct from the role of priest. When Christ came to be our permanent high priest, the church was left with apostles, prophets and teachers, roles which are all closer to the role of the Hebrew prophet, than to that of the priest.

            Another part of this discussion which concerns me is the dichotomy that we have today between the role of leadership in secular and Christian circles. There are some who teach that women can be leaders in government and the workplace but not in the church. Within this teaching, God has divided human activity into spheres. This sphere assignment is not historically stable so personally I have great difficulty attributing it to God.

            I appeal to readers for additional comments on the role of prophets in the scriptures.


            Wednesday, March 21, 2007

            insight for Bible translation

            There is a Semitic idiom which occurs frequently* throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. It is literally translated to English as "in the eyes of X," or, slightly less literally, "in the sight of X." In English we normally express the meaning of that idiom with wordings such as "X was pleased with Y" or "Y pleased X", or "Y liked X".

            1. Most literal

            The first instance of the Semitic idiom is found in Gen. 6:8 where we are told in the most literal translations of the idiom that
            But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD (KJV)
            But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD (NIV, TNIV, NASB, ESV, Alter)
            Noah, however, found favor in the eyes of the Lord (HCSB)
            2. Moderately literal

            The NRSV and NET Bible move one step away from the most literal translation by translating the Hebrew for 'eyes' with English "sight," the action that is done with the eyes:
            But Noah found favor in the sight of the LORD (NRSV, NET)
            In English we do not normally refer to doing anything "in the eyes of" anyone or even "in the sight of" anyone, whether we are referring to literal eyesight or cognition that is figuratively represented by eyesight. The wording "in the sight of" does come close to the English wording of doing something "in plain sight of" someone, but this wording refers to literal eyesight, not cognitive "eyesight" or consideration, which is the figurative usage of the Semitic idiom.

            (UPDATE: See comment to this post by David Lang who points out some examples of "in the sight of" used in English. Further study is needed to determine how widely this expression is used by English speakers and whether it is a borrowing from literal versions of the Bible.)

            3. Moderately idiomatic

            Some translations move yet closer toward a natural English expression of the meaning of the Semitic idiom, as in:
            Noah, however, had won the LORD's favour (REB)
            But Noah won Yahweh's favour (NJB)
            But Noah found favor with the LORD (NAB, NJPS, NLT)
            4. Most idiomatic

            Finally, the most natural translations of the Semitic idiom are found in these versions:
            But the LORD was pleased with Noah. (TEV/GNB)
            But the LORD was pleased with Noah (CEV, GW)
            But Noah pleased the LORD (NCV)
            What can you see (!) as the advantages and disadvantages of these four different degrees of literalness for translation of the Semitic idiom?

            What audiences do you feel would these different degrees of literalness appeal to the most?

            Which audiences do you think would understand the figurative meaning of the Semitic idiom from each degree of translation shown in the four categories?


            *Some other occurrences of this idiom are in Gen. 38:7, 10; 41:37; Ex. 5:21; 24:17; Lev. 10:19; Num. 20:12; Deut. 4:25; 6:18; 9:18; 12:25; 13:18; Judges 2:11; 1 Sam. 12:17; 26:24; 2 Sam. 11:27; 15:25; 1 Ki 3:10; 15:5, 11; 16:25; 2 Ki 3:18; 1 Chron. 13:4; 2 Chron. 21:6; 25:2; 28:1; 29:6; Prov. 17:8; Is. 49:5; Jer. 52:2; Zech. 8:6

            New Testament examples are literally translated as "before the ___," or "well-pleasing to ___," but are sometimes translated as the Semitic idiom, "in the sight of", e.g. Luke 1:6, 15; Acts 4:19; 7:20; 8:21; 24:16; Rom. 12:17; Gal. 3:11; 1 Tim. 2:3; James 1:27

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            Tuesday, March 20, 2007

            Women Leaders: 1 Cor. 12: 7 - 11

            This is another of the passages that I was asked to write about,

              Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, [a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
            There are no issues regarding gender in this passage that I can see. Clearly the Spirit distributes gifts to each one as he determines. However, there are a few other interesting details.

            The 'message' of wisdom, and the 'message' of knowledge are λογος - logos in Greek. This might be better translated as 'utterance' (ESV) or 'word' (KJV). In any case, it is clearly the 'expression' of wisdom or knowledge. There is no case here for a received message that is not expressed. Individuals are given the gift of expressing wisdom, not the gift of receiving or having wisdom.

            I notice that the TNIV does not seem to translate the word ἰδια in verse 11. This is translated as 'individually' in the ESV and 'severally' in the KJV. Possibly the TNIV translators felt that 'individually' was stronger than the force of the Greek term and so simply translated it as 'each one'. In any case the gifts are given to individuals to be used for the common good, not for the sake of the individual who is given the gift.

            The JK version of verse 11 is interesting for other reasons,

              But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
            Of course, one understands that 'every man' was used to mean 'everyone' and is generally inclusive throughout the KJV. What I want to note here is the use of 'dividing' for 'distributing'. This sheds light on the KJ version of the following verse.

              Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15 JKV
            The KJV suggest that Timothy was to distribute the word of God rightly, for the building up of the body of Christ. The focus is not on ascertaining orthodoxy.

            However, I would suggest that there should be no false dichotomy between nurturing the body of Christ and preserving pure doctrine. The full force of these passages is on the visible and audible expression of wisdom and knowledge for the building up of the community of believers.


            Monday, March 19, 2007

            Every nuance of meaning

            Forgive me for this. It is just one of those little things. I have never seen a treatment of this issue. However, since people do continue to complain about the loss of the masculine generic 'he' in English as a translation for autos in Greek, let me ask this.

            Why is the Spirit, which is a neuter noun in Greek, referred to as 'he' in English. Is the neuter not a nuance of the original? No, probably not, since the Spirit was feminine in Hebrew.

            But, I am wondering what the rationale is for maintaining a grammatical gender in one case, and not in another. Maybe it doesn't hit everyone at first glance because it is one of those pesky vowel-stem verbs, but in this verse, there is definitely a neuter participle, διαιροῡν - who apportions, in the Greek. It should be followed by a neuter pronoun - it, as it wills.

              All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Cor. 12:11
            Here are excerpts from the TNIV and the Gender Neutral Bible Controversy.

              Some adherents of gender-neutral language seem not to understand a basic principle which Poythress and Grudem clearly recognize — that nuances of meaning are of tremendous importance in translation (as indeed they are in any act of communication). Linguists are in agreement that any change in grammar or wording, no matter how slight, always changes meaning.

              Meditation is appropriate to Scripture, because every detail, every word, every nuance of meaning comes to us from God himself, and nothing is to be missed. Of course, included among these details are nuances and aspects of meaning related to gender—the special concern of this book.
            Well I shall seem very nit-picky myself. But it is a terrible character trait, that if you love detail, as some of us do, oddly enough, you love detail for the sake of detail. Bear with me - I can be very tedious.

            Rom. 12:1 poll

            I invite you to answer the question in the poll just posted on the TNIV Truth blog. The poll surveys how people think the Greek word adelphoi should be translated in Rom. 12:1.

            ElShaddai Edwards: Genesis 1:28

            ElShaddai Edwards has just blogged on the wording of Gen. 1:28, a key verse, in several English translations.

            He concludes:
            I like the NLTse for its' slightly smoother English, the royal "govern/reign" word choice and the clear "animals". "Scurry" is my only pause, but I like the word in general and probably won't get worked up about it. TNIV would be my second choice, for the "increase in number" and "living creature/ground" word choices.
            I recommend that you read the entire post. It's good to see an increasing number of bloggers interacting with the Bible text in different English versions.

            Sunday, March 18, 2007

            Authentein and Grudem

            I have more or less avoided discussing authenteo - to have/exercise/assume authority in 1 Tim. 2:12 up until now. I hadn't read the entire list of 82 examples cited in the appendix to Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. 2004. But now I have! It was a rainy day.

            So, two things.

            First, what does Grudem say about authenteo in the main text of his book?

            Second, what do the footnotes to his appendix say?

            He suggests in the main text that authenteo is 'approximately synonymous' with exousiazo/exousia echo - 'to have authority' and that we know what it means,
              There is a verb exousiazo which means "to have the right of control, have the right/power for something or over someone," but it is not very common in the New Testament either, since it is used only four times (Luke 22:25; 1 Corinthians 6:12, 7:4 [twice]).

              The noun exousia is quite common (102 times in the New Testament), but I see no reason why Paul had to be limited to using only common words or why anyone should say he should have used a noun in this verse. Nor can I see any reason why he should not be able to use words that were approximately synonymous, but had different nuances of meaning. There may have been nuances of exousia that he wanted to avoid, or nuances of authenteo that he wanted to include, but it is difficult for us to say what those might be.
              In any case, the verb he did use means "to have authority over,"and that meaning now, in the light of much scholarly research, is established beyond reasonable doubt. (Page 322)
            He quotes Scott Baldwin, who says regarding authenteo,

              In analysing this material it becomes evident that the one unifying concept is that of authority. (page 675)
            One gets the impression from this that the meaning for authenteo is established beyond reasonable doubt. However, Kostenberger disagrees,

              At the heart of the book [Women the the Church. 1995] were the two chapters devoted to lexical and semantic analysis. In the former, the likelihood was suggested that “exercise authority” (Grk. authentein) carries a neutral or positive connotation, but owing to the scarcity of the term in ancient literature (the only NT occurrence is 1 Tim. 2:12; found only twice preceding the NT in extrabiblical literature) no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone.
            So what is the evidence which Köstenberger admits is not decisive?

            Of the 82 examples which Baldwin found and Grudem included in the appendix to his book, only two preceded Paul's epistle. The other examples followed the writing of the epistle by at least one century. They can be excluded as evidence.

            So what are the two examples which might give evidence for the meaning of authenteo?

            Here is the first,

              [1st cent. BC] Philodemus, Rhetorica {ref: 133.14}, "those in authority" {ptc}
              Text: Philodemus Philodemi: Volumina Rhetorica, vol. ed. S. Sudhaus (Leipzig, 1896), 133.
              Translation: Hubbell, "The Rhetoric of Philodemus,"Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 23 (1920): 306

              "To tell the truth the rhetors do a great deal of harm to many people, and incur the enmity of powerful rulers, whereas philosophers gain the friendship of public men by helping them out of their trouble. Ought we not to consider that men who incur the enmity of those in authority are villains, and hated by both gods and men?"
            This sounds pretty solid - until you read the footnotes, that is. In Grudem's words,
              Several issues bear on this perplexing text. First, while it is true that Philodemus produced elegant but indecent love epigrams ... even a cursory review of this prose work shows that it is serious treatise in seven books concerning the nature and effect of rhetors and rhetoric. ... The assertion of C.C. Kroeger that the word here must have an erotic sense because it was "penned by the rhetorician and obscene epigrammatist" is apposite.
            Well, maybe so. It was written by an author known for his obscene writings. Grudem is not disputing that, but he asserts that in this case it doesn't matter. Okay, maybe it doesn't. But what about this? Grudem continues,

              Second, the text as given is a reconstruction by Sudhaus. It is entirely possible that authentein could be read as authentaisin, the Old Attic plural of authentes, in which case, it is a noun and not a verbal form at all. [cognate nouns were disallowed from this study. note by S. M.]

              Third, it should be remembered that Hubbell is not giving a precise translation but a paraphrase. ... (page 679)
            As if this wasn't problematic enough, Linda Belleville (Belleville. page 215) gives evidence that in this case, Grudem quoted Baldwin, who quoted Knight who misunderstood Hubbell. Knight thought that authenteo was the word for 'those in authority' in this passage, but it was actually the word for 'powerful rulers'. In fact, neither Baldwin or Grudem went to the text to check this out. So Grudem wrongly refers to this passage as providing the meaning of 'those in authority' for authenteo.

            That it the first piece of evidence. What about the second?

              [27 BC] BGU 1208 {ref: line 38}
              Text: F. Schubart et al., eds. Äegyptische Irkunden aus den königlichen Museen zu Berlin, vol. 4 (Berlin: Weidmannsche, 1912), 351

              Translation: John R. Werner, Wycliffe Bible Translators, International Linguistics Center, Dallas, Tex. letter as quoted by George W. Knight III "ΑΥΘΕΝΤΕΩ in Reference to Women in 1 Timothy 2:12," NTS 30 (1984): 143-57.

              "I exercised authority over him, and he consented to provide for Calatytis the Boatman on terms of full fare, within the hour." (page 680)
            Here we see the translation provided on request to Knight who had set out to prove the meaning of "exercise authority" for this word. What does Grudem say in the footnote?

              The translation of this text is disputed. G. W. Knight, 145, gives Werner's translation here. ... P. B. Payne ... implies that the translation of D. Peterson is superior, "When I had prevailed upon him to provide, ... This passage is about a hostile relationship, his action is called 'insolence' in the text." It is difficult to evaluate the strength of Payne's argument. ... However, the meaning of "compel" does seem appropriate. (page 680)
            I won't hide from you the fact that I have left out various lexicon citations that Grudem believes support his interpretation. However, I have quoted his conclusion in all honesty. "The meaning of 'compel' does seem appropriate." I am dealing with examples only. We don't have conclusive lexical evidence outside of these examples.

            Are these two examples Grudem's only contemporary evidence? Yes, they are. That is why Köstenberger admits that no firm conclusions could be reached on the basis of lexical study alone. He uses other internal linguistic evidence - syntactic, not lexical.

            However, when Grudem quotes Baldwin saying,
              In analysing this material it becomes evident that the one unifying concept is that of authority. (page 675)
            he gives the impression that Baldwin's evidence is relevant to the discussion. It is not. Grudem does supply Köstenberger's linguistic evidence, but I want to make one thing entirely clear. In spite of all the studies undertaken to prove the clear lexical meaning of the verb authenteo at the time of Paul's writing, we do not have sufficient evidence to acertain its lexical meaning in any unambiguous manner.

            So how is it that Grudem had this to say about the TNIV?
              To take one example: in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation that gives the egalitarian side everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”. If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women's roles in the church will be over, because women pastors and elders can just say, “I’m not assuming authority on my own initiative; it was given to me by the other pastors and elders.”
              Therefore any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to “assume authority.” Then in the footnotes to 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV also introduces so many alternative translations that the verse will just seem confusing and impossible to understand.
            I suggest that the TNIV is being very correct to provide the footnotes which they do. The ESV has none here. I suggest that the TNIV is in line with the evidence provided in the footnotes to the appendix in Grudem's book, Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth. The TNIV is also in line with the KJV.

            Why does Grudem, a translator of the ESV, offer public gratuitous negative opinions on the TNIV? I don't know. The more I look at the TNIV the more I realize that the footnotes alone make it an excellent choice in a Bible translation.


            Belleville, Linda. Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Tim. 2:11-15 in Discovering Biblical Equality. Pierce and Groothuis.

            Grudem, Wayne. Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth

            Köstenberger, Andreas. 1 Timothy 2:12 - Once more.

            Kruse Kronicle. DBE: Chapter 12 – Teaching and Usurping Authority: 1 Timothy 2:11-15

            Scholer, David. The Evangelical Debate over Biblical “Headship”

            I would like to add that I am expecially uncomfortable when I read the blogs of otherwise intelligent people who gave Evangelical Feminism and Biblical Truth a good review. It was called scholarly partly because of the inclusion of some of this irrelevant or innacurate appendix material. Imagine, if you can, that there are women who have reined in their gifts on the basis of this book!

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            Saturday, March 17, 2007

            Rotherham Bible

            I am going to post a few passages from the Rotherham Bible. 1897. Maybe some of you won't like it, but I find it delightful - refreshing and unique; and possibly somewhat transparent to the Greek! It is a good reminder that the bible was written in another language with a different syntax.

              Be asking, and it shall be given you,
              Be seeking, and ye shall find, -
              Be knocking, and it shall be opened unto you.
              For whosoever asketh receiveth,
              And he that seeketh findeth, -
              And to him that knocketh shall it be opened.
              Or what man from among yourselves,
              Whom his son shall ask for a loaf, -
              A stone will give him?
              Or a fish also shall ask, -
              A serpent will give him?
              Matt. 7: 7 - 10

              And I commend to you Phoebe, our sister, -
              Being a minister also of the assembly
              which is in Cenchreae;
              In order that ye may give her welcome in
              the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints,
              And stand by her in any matter
              wherein she may have need of you;
              For she also hath proved to be a
              defender of many, and of my own self.
              Romans 16: 1 -2

              Until we all advance -
              Into the oneness of the faith, and the
              personal knowledge of the Son of God,
              Into a man of full-growth,
              Into the measure of the stature of the
              fulness of the Christ;
              That we may no longer be infants - Billow-
              tossed and shifted round with every wind
              of teaching, - In the craft of men,
              In knavery suited to the artifice of error.
              Eph. 4: 13 -14

              Friday, March 16, 2007

              Women Leaders: Eph. 4

              I had never before heard anyone suggest that this passage applied to men only. It was used in mixed groups when I was young as a means of exhortation. It says 'all', and in those days I thought 'all' meant men and women.

                Therefore it says,
                "When he ascended on high
                he led a host of captives,
                and he gave gifts to men."
                11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Eph. 4:8, 11-14 ESV

                This is why it says:
                "When he ascended on high,
                he took many captives
                and gave gifts to his people."
                11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Eph. 4:8, 11-14 TNIV
              In the ESV translation "he gave gifts to men" the word 'men' is the Greek word anthropos, a human being, or a person, a word which is used to form such terms as anthropology and philanthropy.

              I admit that it sounds more poetic to say, "he gave gifts to men". There is a distinct advantage to a word of one syllable in writing poetry. If you want a poetic version then by all means read the KJV or the NKJV. This is extremely useful in developing an understanding of the role of the Bible in English literature.

              However, the ESV team assures us that when it says 'men', they think it means 'men'. The ESV page says, "

                the words “man” and “men” are retained where a male meaning component is part of the original Greek or Hebrew
              I am not aware of the male meaning component of anthropos. But we can check and see whether the ESV team really thinks that anthropos has a male meaning component in the rest of this chapter. In verse 14, the expression translated by 'human cunning' is the cunning of anthropos. Here the translators thought the word anthropos meant 'human', because, of course, it does mean 'human'.

              In a translation like the KJV or the NIV, the word 'men' is used consistently for anthropos (pl). But in the ESV the word anthropos (pl) is often translated as people, or humans, and sometimes translated as 'men'. It is one of the most frustrating features of the ESV.

              The ESV also translates 2 Tim. 2:2 with 'men', because the ESV translators think that it means men,

                and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also
              Once again, the word is anthropos. I think that it was the discovery of this usage in the ESV that inspired me to join the BBB. I just could not believe my eyes. It was the first time that I realized that a group of men - who had at least some of them some knowledge of Greek - would deliberately use their own sense of how men and women should behave to infer into a biblical text a meaning that simply was not there. There is no male meaning component in this verse.

              Here is the same passage in the TNIV.

                And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others
              But Eph. 4:13 does say that the saints will grow into a mature manhood. That is what it sounds like in Greek - man full grown andra teleion. But, of course, it wouldn't sound very outrageous in Greek to use this word for man to describe a characteristic in a woman. Women were called, and are still called, Andrea. Women are called virtuous, from vir - 'man' in Latin.

              This term 'manhood' is contrasted with nepios the 'infant'. So we want to be mature men, not infants. I don't think that there is a sudden exclusion of women here. But this was the usual way to say adult in Greek.

              For some reason, the ESV has used 'children' here instead of 'infant'. Since this is a special word emphasizing immaturity, it is usually translated as 'infant'. There are other words in Greek which we usually translate into English with 'children.'

              I can't say that the ESV gets too many marks for transparency to the Greek in this passage. It mixes up anthropos, but it does translate manhood more or less literally. No, that isn't right - it really should be the 'mature man' - let's leave this 'manhood' thing out. It really doesn't say that.
              In Hebrews 5:13-14 the same expression occurs, this time without the 'man'.
                1for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature
              I don't see any evidence from the Greek that Eph. 4 was talking exclusively to men. I am a little concerned to see that the ESV gives this impression. And it scores worse than the TNIV on my Greek transparency scale for this passage. The ESV gets one right, 'mature man', and two wrong, 'men' and 'children'. The TNIV, two right and one wrong. If you are counting that is.


              TNIV Truth

              For those interested in debates over the TNIV, there is a new blog called TNIV Truth. Its motto under the blog title is "Telling the truth about Today's International Version of the Bible."

              Check it out.

              Thursday, March 15, 2007

              Women Leaders: Romans 12:4 - 8

              I received an email recently from someone who had seen some comments of mine deleted elsewhere. He asked me several specific questions. This is part to of what he wrote. The further questions are more difficult and may be considered another time.

                Why, when discussing the role of women in prophesying and teaching men, are the examples of Mary, the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth and Anna not mentioned? Mary’s magnificat, though not delivered in a church or temple, is nevertheless considered one of the most eloquent and theologically sound teachings on the nature of God recorded in the NT. For the last two thousand years men and women have been instructed by this prophecy. Elizabeth ’s prophecy concerning the Christ is one of the most dramatic, accurate and poignant prophecies concerning the Christ. Again, men and women for two thousand years have been instructed by her prophecy. And Anna the prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, was living and speaking in the temple when she spoke to “everyone” concerning the true identity of baby Jesus.
              I wish to thank the writer for these comments about Mary, Elizabeth and Anna. There is little that I can add to this on the level of translation from the Greek. Mary's prophecy and Elizabeth's witness were memorized and repeated and taught throughout the time of the early church.

              Throughout scripture women were prophets. There were women prophets in ancient Israel, including Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah. There were women prophets in Jesus lifetime, Mary, Elzabeth and Anna. Women were the first witnesses of Christ's resurrrection. Women were prophets in the early church - Phillip's daughters. Women prophesied in the church at Corinth.

              The writer goes on to ask,

                When teaching about spiritual gifts, does the Apostle Paul distinguish between genders? The texts I have seem to indicate that the gifts are given to all believers without regard to race, social status or gender. But I can’t read Greek. Are the words translated as “man” or “men” in Roman’s 12:6 and Eph. 4:8, and the words “to one…” and “to another…” in I Cor. 12:7-11, gender specific?
              Let's look at Romans 12:4 - 8 first and leave the others for later.

                4For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; 8the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. ESV

                For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your [a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, [b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. TNIV
              Here the two versions are extremely close. The TNIV uses the generic 'you' which is very common in English. The ESV uses the generic 'he'. The Greek uses the generic 'the same one' with a masculine grammatical ending. I don't think any translator would suggest that this passage does not apply to women. There are few translation issues in this passage - it seems to be a clear instruction to exercize your gift, whether that be the gift of prophecy or service or teaching or leadership.

              I would like to add that the word for 'service' is the same as the word for 'ministry' and, in fact, the KJV had 'ministry' in this passage.

              I think we can go through the Christian scriptures and find corroboration for women exercizing all these gifts. We have already discussed women as prophets.

              Women were also 'ministers' or 'servants'. Phoebe was the διακονος of the church of Cenchrae. The Greek word διακονος is usually translated into English by minister, servant or deacon. The exact same word is used for men and women; there is no such word in Greek as deaconess. That developed separately as an English term. The term deacon is a general word and not much can be made of it except that it did not differentiate between men and women.

              Regarding teaching, we have Lois and Eunice teaching Timothy in the home. There is Prisca teaching with her husband. Most people recognize that women have the gift of teaching. The prophecy of the mother of Jesus was learned and honoured, the witness of the women at the tomb was revered, the desire of Mary to learn at Jesus feet was respected. The woman at the well asked men to come and hear Jesus speak.

              I don't know of anyone who would hold a woman back from giving generously, or encouraging. However, the next term is more interesting. Are there women leaders in the early church?

              First, the word here for leading is προϊστημι - to exercize a position of leadership. To the native Greek speaker this is an obvious cognate of the word προστατις, which is the word used for Phoebe and usually translated as patron or benefactor.

              These words may not look close enough to a reader of English. However, in Greek there is a series of verbs which have a pattern of reduplication. The first consonant is repeated at the beginning of the word followed by an 'i'. Here are a few others διδωμι, τιθημι, γιγνομαι, and ἱστημι. In some cases the consonant was altered but in every case this alteration would be clear to a Greek speaker. The connection between ἱστημι and στατις would be obvious and therefore the connection between προϊστημι and προστατις would also be obvious.

              This does not prove anything but it does suggest that Greek readers of the epistles to the Romans would recognize that the word used to describe Phoebe was cognate with the word used to for leading in Romans 12:6.

              The masculine noun for this term is προστατης,

              1. one who stands before

              a) front-rank man
              b) leader, chief, administrator

              2. president or presiding officer

              3. one who stands before and protects, guardian, champion, patron

              4. one who stands before a god, suppliant

              5. prostate gland

              Προστατης was often joined with αρχιερευς to mean high priest. Christ is our prostates and our high priest. Phoebe is Paul's prostatis. I have written at much greater length about Phoebe and prostatis in my Nov. 17, 2006 post, Women leaders: Prostatis.

              I think the pasage is clear. If we have been given gifts, whether we are men or women, we are exhorted to use them, in proportion to our faith, with cheerfulness and zeal.

              The gifts of service and prophecy and leadership are not given to us in proportion to our sex, but in proportion to our faith. Acts 17:4 refers to leading women, Acts 13:50 refers to leading men. The natural and spiritual gift of leadership is not gendered in the Christian scriptures. There is no division along the lines of men being gifted for leadership and women for encouragement or nurturing. That is simply is not there. The quality of leadership is entrusted to individuals regardless of gender. The quality of nurturing is given regardless of gender. Any organization which proclaims otherwise is not being true to scripture.

              There is no indication in any discussion of gifts that women do not have the gift of leadership. There is no indication that women with the gift of leadership can only exercize that gift in some remote sphere such as the government of a country but not in the home or church. Why would God give a person a gift to be used only outside the home and Christian community? Esepecially when women are encouraged to exercize their gifts within these spheres.

              This passage is talking about the gifts which we have as members of the body of Christ. To admire the obvious gift of leadership in a woman who exercizes her gift in secular government and then deny that the exercize of that same gift to women who work in the church is to deny the Spirit.

              There are passages which mention other words and other structures which some say run counter to this. But one should consider all the scriptures.


              Wednesday, March 14, 2007

              Suck Face

              No, I have not gone completely off my rocker - knitting and all. (Oh boy, am I going to get it for this one.)

              But Lingamish has been keeping me in stitches over on his blog. It appears that he has been trying to lure me to comment on his blog instead of arguing exclusively with the usual cabal over here. Okay, if we can solve the problems of propitiation we can certainly deal with this one. I appeal to our readers. Here is Lingamish's dilemma. The language that he is translating into has no word for kiss.

              Kissing is not a universal human behaviour. I studied anthropology once upon a time so I knew that! How then should one translate the word for kiss into a language that does not have a word for kiss? Is suck going to do it for you?

              I propose that I open my new Danker's Greek Lexicon. What a wonderful way to inaugurate it.

              φιλἐω - 1. to have a special interest in someone or something, frequently with focus on close association, have affection for, like, consider someone a friend.

              2. to kiss as a special indication of affection

              With no further fuss, Lingamish, I would suggest something discreet like demonstrate affection for. Comments are welcome.

              Translation equivalence-1

              Translation theorists have often debated whether and how a wording in a translation is "equivalent" to the wording in the source language to which it corresponds. Venessa Leonardi has summarized some of the main theories of translation equivalence in her article Equivalence in Translation: Between Myth and Reality.

              In this post I'd like to come at the issue of equivalence in translation from the viewpoint of "levels" of language. Language is complex. Like anything which is complex, it resists being neatly categorized. But there are a variety of models from which we can view language. Each of them throws some light on our understanding of language. Here I will use the model of "levels" of language.

              Each language discourse or text is made up of formal and semantic units which are made up of smaller units which are made up of even smaller units until we arrive at the smallest units of language. Linguists call the smallest units of meaning "morphemes." In English the word "jumped" consists of two morphemes, "jump" plus "-ed" which means past tense. Many English words have more than one morpheme. Some have only one morpheme, such as the word "tree."

              The biblical texts are composed of language units which, ultimately, have morphemes as their smallest meaning units.

              So one level at which we can ask if there is equivalence between a translation and its source text would be the morphemic level. We might ask if a translation has language units that account for each morpheme of the source text. Although I have never seen one, it would be possible to produce interlinear translations of biblical texts at the morpheme level. I myself have published a number of texts in the Cheyenne language which have morpheme-level glosses. Of course, to be understandable in English, we also include in such publications translations at a higher level of language than just the morpheme level. Morpheme-by-morpheme translation would not be very understandable to speakers of a target language.

              Morphemes are grouped into words, the next level of language. Instead of evaluating translation equivalence at the morpheme level, we can evaluate it at the word level. We can ask if every word of the source text is accounted for in the translation.

              Words group into phrases, the next higher level of language. Phrases are grouped into clauses. Clauses group into sentences. Sentences group into paragraphs. Paragraphs group into complete texts (discourses). It is possible to check for translation equivalence at each of these levels.

              This is an overly simplified view of a levels model of language. It is a structural view of language, one which looks at language forms.

              But language does not consist simply of forms. Each form has some meaning. The study of the semantics of biblical language texts is very important. No one could translate even a single word of biblical language texts if they knew nothing about the meanings of language units in those texts. Lexicographers have provided us with the information we need to know the meanings of language units in any language. Of course, here we are focused on the lexicography of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Hellenistic (Koine) Greek. There are lexicons published for each of these languages.

              Meaning itself is complex. Language units, whether at the smallest level, morpheme, or higher levels, often have meaning that cannot be fully captured with a simple gloss. We can gloss Greek pistis as 'faith' but this one English word does not include all of the meaning of that one Greek word. Language units not only include meanings which we can capture with simple glosses, but they also typically have other kinds of meaning, including connotations, nuances, register, relationships to other lexical units, etc.

              Much of the debate over gender-inclusive language in English Bibles has revolved around the issue of nuances. In their major book on gender-inclusive language, Dr. Grudem and Dr. Poythress, insist that grammatically masculine forms in the Greek of the New Testament retain masculine nuance even when they refer to generic entities, such as a group of people composed of both males and females. (Not everyone agrees with that claim, by the way.)

              We all intuitively sense that "kick the bucket" is not an adequate translation for a source language word meaning 'die' in most language contexts. The English idiom "kick the bucket" has colloquial, rather crude, connotations which are not part of the meaning of most words referring to dying. Connotations must be taken into consideration as part of meaning when evaluating translation equivalence.

              There is an aspect of semantics which I call rhetorical meaning that is often critically important. If you are doing something I disapprove of and I say to you in an agitated voice, "What are you doing?" it is quite likely that I'm not really asking what you are doing. Instead, my rhetorical meaning is something like "Stop that right now!"

              If you are standing near the window and I am not, and I say to you, "It's sure getting hot in here," it is likely that I'm not simply conveying to you information about the temperature in the room. Instead, my statement has a rhetorical meaning something like "Please open the window!" The person to whom I am speaking must be able to infer this meaning from what I have said for my meaning to be accurately communicated. So inferences and implicatures are important aspects of the meaning of utterances. The Bible is full of wordings which cannot be understood accurately unless we know the implications intended by those speaking or writing in the biblical text. Language utterances are like the metaphorical iceberg, where we only hear the tip of the iceberg. There is far more to communication below the surface. Everything below the surface (implicit meaning) is, ultimately, part of the meaning of source language texts and must be considered as part of translation equivalence.

              In another post we'll consider translation equivalence in some Bible translation examples.