On the ESV…

I know that a number of people with whom I interact on this blog and other blogs enjoy the ESV. With that in mind, I am incredibly curious about how they would respond to Iyov’s highly critical words about the ESV.

Seriously, what do you think?

59 thoughts on “On the ESV…

  1. Well, I posted about the upcoming ESV but I have to admit that as I have been learning more of the biblical languages, the more disturbed I am by what I read in many parts of the ESV – they claim to be essentially literal but I think that claim is inconsistent (especially with 2 Tim 2:2 as Suzanne has pointed out on John Hobbins’ blog that Iyov links). Anyone whose seriously studied the biblical language and hold various doctrinal assertions with an open hand know quite well that literal isn’t always better – language is dynamic and fluid and, in my opinion, has a mix of literal and dynamic – it all depends on the context.

    It is seriously doubtful real translators were on the ESV “translation” team – but if their were, then perhaps Grudem went behind them and made “corrections” as he saw fit.

    I may keep going with the NRSV.

  2. I’d agree with Iyov. He makes good points. I can’t stand the ESV and think it is an example of yet another unneeded English translation that doesn’t really fulfill any special purpose.

    Bryan

  3. I enjoy the ESV, so I’ll answer. Though, it may be somewhat surprising.

    First of all, I was one who was a bit deceived by the advertising. Iyov is absolutely correct on that issue. As I’m learning more about the Greek language, I find more places where I see they translated rather idiomatically, or archaic, or flat out annoying (“at table,” I know that it’s an actual phrase, but I’ve never heard anyone use it).

    Iyov’s fact that it has a “narrow perspective” is a bit of a nonsequitar. What does the fact that it’s associated with Calvinists have to do with the fact that many of the oversight committee did not have much if any training in biblical languages? Don’t get me wrong, these are points to bring up, but it sounds as if one arises from the other. Instead, they should be two separate issues:
    1) translation committees should be as ecumenical as possible, and
    2) we should expect them to “know” (uh oh!) the languages

    Separated out, I agree with both premises. In fact, as a Calvinist, I don’t want just Calvinists on a committee. I think the 2 premise just makes sense. Two valid points, but one is not a ground for the other.

    As a complimentarian, I also agree that the fulcrum of a translation should never be a theological issue. If you come to that conviction, it should be by the scriptures alone- not the biases of the translating committee. Of course, all translation is interpretation at some level, but a theological issue should not be a reason for translating.

    So at this point, I’ve agreed with everything Iyov has said (either fully, or in part), you’re probably wondering why I would still read it.

    The answer is pretty simple: I like the way it reads.

    Regardless of dubious beginnings, the text is what it is. I’m not an ESV-Only guy, and I read from any number of other translations including the NRSV, TNIV, KJV, etc. If I come across a text that is awkward or archaic, I look it up elsewhere. If I’m studying to teach, or preach, or for a devotional, I always have more than one translation. If I’m reading to just read, then I have no problem picking up an ESV to just read it. That’s just it though. I like the way it reads for the most part, so I read it. I have no problem with others who don’t like it not reading it. I don’t push it on others, and I don’t try and get them to stop reading whatever translation they want. Mostly because I probably read it too.

  4. Oh, and I think I managed to hit everyone in the above post.
    Arminians will disagree because I’m a Calvinist.
    Calvinist will disagree because I said I would rather have an ecumenical committee.
    Egalitarians will disagree because I’m a complimentarian.
    Complimentarians will disagree because I said it shouldn’t be the reason to translate.
    ESV-lovers will disagree because I even mentioned other translations.
    ESV-haters will disagree because I still read it anyways.
    And Southern Baptists will be mad because I didn’t hype the HCSB enough….

    😉

  5. Even though I just posted a post called “What’s so great about the ESV” in which I listed all the benefits aside from the translation, the more I read the ESV itself the less I like it. I chose the NRSV as my main Bible two years ago. I’m glad I made that choice as ESV was my second. I’m going to probably switch to HCSB next year though.

    archaic language-I am realizing this the more I read it. Shall, for (instead of because), folly (who says that within the last 50 years?) etc.

    unoriginal-do we want an original Bible? But I think what he means is it isn’t different enough from the RSV to really warrant it being done. It seems the NRSV committee spent more time and care in that translation even though it may have some of the same faults he lists.

    “word-for-word precision”-I can’t believe they would say this in their own description of the translation. Much of the marketing or comments by the editor are downright prideful. But I don’t think that should influence the decision to read it or not, unless it’s so vehement it goes against your conscience.

    I’m not one who likes archaic English but I like the more essentially literal translations which is a tough spot. If I would have known about or taken the HCSB more seriously two years ago I probably would have gone with that.

    I will be getting the ESV study Bible for all the (Calvinist leaning) material that will be in it. Will the maps and diagrams be Calvinist too?
    Jeff

    Be glad I’m not named Briyan

  6. I like the ESV as well as I like any other translation. I have a lot of preferences but there is no single translation that I feel truly at ease with. I’ll be comparing the RSV with the ESV for a while to see the difference.

  7. Brian, as I said at Iyoj’s blog, at one time I was highly critical of the ESV, but I’ve toned down.

    Dr. Dan B. Wallace of DTS and I exchanged a few emails and we both agreed that it’s better than the NASB.

    But I still maintain that the ESV should have done more as a revision of the RSV. That is still my biggest criticism.

    But like Kevin Sam said, there’s a place for translations like the ESV.

    In fact, I just purchased the A Commentary of the NT use of the OT, eds Carson and Beale, and to my surprise Carson makes good plentiful use of the ESV.

    So it can’t be all that bad when Carson, a pro-TNIV dude, uses it.

  8. Scripture zealot, the HCSB is quite good. But you would not believe that Dan B. Wallace says that the ESV is better than the HCSB.

    How about that!

  9. Jeff, yes, I’m glad you’re not a Brian.

    Bryan, don’t worry I don’t hate you even though I’m an ESV-hating (well, not really) egalitarian. The fact that we’re both Calvinists is enough for me.

    I used the ESV for two years as my main Bible until I picked up a TNIV. One of my bigger problems with the ESV is that the bindings are always cheep glue bindings. Mine’s already falling apart.

  10. SZ wrote:

    “word-for-word precision”-I can’t believe they would say this in their own description of the translation. Much of the marketing or comments by the editor are downright prideful.

    I’ve been whipped too many times by ESV-lovers for trying to make that point. I really do think that the revision team became so theologically enamored with “the idea of the ESV” that it’s become an idol of sorts and they can’t bear to see its shortcomings as a minor revision of a 50-year old translation. There’s just no other way to describe some of the editorial comments and marketing statements that have been made – truly mind blowing.

    So, yes, I agree with Iyov.

  11. I am surprised that the deliberate exclusion of women does not impact on men more than it does. I think John’s point is that his congregation likes the way the ESV sounds. I can only respond that if you did not know Greek and were not familiar with the KJV you would not know that the translators made several deliberate choices to exclude women.

    Since I was a member of Dr. Packer’s congregation at the time of this translation, I am well aware of the need that congregation had for a Bible which would exclude women from the ministry.

    The fallout in human terms is tragic.

    For those who don’t know Greek and would never proof text from a Bible anyway, I suppose this is not relevant.

  12. I’ve not read a single translation that I’ve felt deliberately excludes women. Not worth arguing over but I completely disagree.

  13. TC: Scripture zealot, the HCSB is quite good. But you would not believe that Dan B. Wallace says that the ESV is better than the HCSB.

    How about that!

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at because I’m kind of dull about getting things.

    From what little I read about Mr Wallace I gather he would like the NET better than ESV or HCSB? And is the HCSB better than the NASB? (half joking)

    Jeff

  14. I’ve not read a single translation that I’ve felt deliberately excludes women. Not worth arguing over but I completely disagree.

    Women were excluded from the translation process and the translation itself leans in the direction of excluding women from ministry.

  15. Nathan,

    When our Inter Varsity group used 2 Tim. 2:2 from the NASB as a motto, we understood it to mean “men” as in people, because the Greek word is ανθροπος. But when I saw that the ESV uses “people” for ανθροπος in 1 Tim. 2:1 and “men” for the same word in 2 Tim. 2:2, I asked Dr. Packer why and he said “We think it means men.” So I must assume that women are excluded from that verse which we used, both men and women, as our motto as young adults. My daughter cannot use that verse with reference to herself.

    When the City of Vancouver posts Matt. 5:9 in a public place,

    Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God

    it is intended to refer to men and women both. The ESV could not be used for this.

    The ESV deliberately excludes women and I know this because I asked the general editor. Exactly what do you disagree with?

  16. PS Are you aware that the first entry for αδελφοι in the LSJ lexicon is “brothers and sisters?” Every translation that chooses “brothers” above “brothers and sisters” is making a statement by choosing the marked or less usual sense of the word.

  17. Sue, I’m with you all the way. I hate read “brothers” for αδελφοι when it’s evident that “brothers and sisters” are in mind.

    Scripture zealot, I think the NET is quite good. In fact, it was because of some mistranslation it the NET why Wallace and I began to exchange emails.

    They are working on a second edition, so I’m looking to see it my suggestions were taken.

  18. it was because of some mistranslation it the NET why Wallace and I began to exchange emails.

    I wonder why there is no hurry to fix Romans 16:7 in the NET. It has not been edited although the citations supporting the interpretation of “well-known to” have been shown not to support Wallace’s hypothesis.

    But the note in the NET Bible that really does not ring true for women is this,

    1 Tim. 2:15.
    The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man,

    I think that it is important to point out that childbearing in the scriptures is in no way related to submission to the leadership of the man. Think of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Tamar, etc. Think of Hannah, Ruth, and Mary herself. In each case, the woman took initiative. Childbearing is considered to be a domain of female initiative in scripture. To turn childbearing into an act of submission to the male reflects the kind of biblical gynecology that Wallace teaches elsewhere.

    It is disrespectful of an act which a woman considers to be a voluntary sacrificial act for the sake of the child and for the sake of giving birth to new life. The woman makes a sacrifice of her physical health to bear children and create new life in partnership with God. The woman does not sacrifice her body in order to submit to male leadership.

    While the man is a partner in the creation of new life, it is not his physical health that is sacrificed in the act of childbearing.

    Whoever wrote that note has not even the vaguest or most remote notion of what childbearing means to women, how difficult it is, how rewarding it is, and why no women would ever think of it as an act of submission to the male.

    Even if no one knows what the verse means, a crusty old bachelor like JN Darby translated that verse as “she shall be preserved…” He cut his losses. I think that men should try to protect their wives from these Bibles if their wives don’t know Greek.

  19. Sue,

    I wonder why there is no hurry to fix Romans 16:7 in the NET. It has not been edited although the citations supporting the interpretation of “well-known to” have been shown not to support Wallace’s hypothesis.

    Well, not even the TNIV has “fixed” it, for its rendering is quite dubious.

    Even if no one knows what the verse means, a crusty old bachelor like JN Darby translated that verse as “she shall be preserved…” He cut his losses. I think that men should try to protect their wives from these Bibles if their wives don’t know Greek.

    What is 1 Tim 2:15 doing in a context that deals with a woman’s submission? I think that is the first question we need to ask ourselves.

    Was Paul’s injunction local and therefore temporal or universal and therefore permanent?

    Well, that’s another debate.

  20. Woman’s submission is submission to learning, in this passages, not submission to the male. Think of the role of childbearing in the scriptures. Who knows what the verse means. But women are “preserved” by childbearing, not in submission because of childbearing.

    Kostenberger and Wallace say that since not all women have children, single women can be “preserved” by submitting to the male. A single woman can be preserved by displaying submission to the male. I guess that would send Florence Nightingale and a few other single women missionaries to perdition.

    Here is Bruce Ware’s take on this,

    the temporal priority of the male in the image of God means that in general, within male-female relationships among singles, there should be a deference offered to the men by the women of the group, which acknowledges the woman’s reception of her human nature in the image of God through the man, but which also stops short of a full and general submission of women to men. Deference, respect, and honor should be showed to men, but never should there be an expectation that all the women must submit to the men’s wishes. And for single men, there should be a gentle and respectful leadership exerted within a mixed group, while this also falls short of the special authority that husbands and fathers have in their homes, or that elders have in the assembly.

    Clearly I do not show adequate deference to the male, do I? I like to acknowledge those people, men or women, who really have something to teach me, regardless of their gender.

    Should I defer to young men even though I am old enough to be their mother? Should I defer to the male, or should I defer to someone who is more knowledgeable and grounded in the faith?

  21. Kostenberger and Wallace say that since not all women have children, single women can be “preserved” by submitting to the male. A single woman can be preserved by displaying submission to the male. I guess that would send Florence Nightingale and a few other single women missionaries to perdition.

    Yes, I agree that this explanation is lacking and appears forced on the text. We must all agree that it is a difficult text, while being true to the rest of Scripture.

    I do like the tone of professor Ware. But I see your point.

    Should I defer to young men even though I am old enough to be their mother? Should I defer to the male, or should I defer to someone who is more knowledgeable and grounded in the faith?

    I take it that you’re egalitarian all the way. I see.

    I do believe women have a place in ministry (1 Cor 11:5, even in the public assembly), but I also believe in male leadership in the home and in the church.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I see too much in Scripture to overturn this position.

  22. I do like the tone of professor Ware

    Pray tell.

    I take it that you’re egalitarian all the way. I see.

    I don’t see. In what way would a 60 year old woman – for example – educated in the Bible languages defer to an 18 year old high school student? I grew up in the Brethren and every woman deferred to every man, in that all women were silent and all men spoke. This would accord with Ware’s teaching.

    In what way is this useful?

    I became egalitarian by reading Grudem’s study of authentein, Wallace’s Junia article and Grudem’s kephale study. I soon realized exactly how little Greek some men have before they launch themselves into a career in exegesis.

    These studies were all done by computer searching that disregarded context. Since the authors of the studies did not check the context, they were unaware that the evidence did not support the thesis. Linda Belleville, a woman, was able to check all the references in context and I have rechecked them. Many citations are indeed faulty.

    Should women defer to this kind of teaching? Where is it said in the Bible that the man is the leader of the woman anyway? Is this a useful way to do exegesis? If not, why were these Bibles, the ESV, HCSB and NET Bibles published without reference to women? Even Jerome had Paula and her daughters.

  23. If there is blame to place, I say place it on those in authority, the one’s interpreting and teaching from the Bible. There is nothing forcing me to read the words brothers and men as referring to males and not people or the human race. My preference would be that the Greek would be translated using the same English word as often as possible, but lets lay blame where it belongs. And my own opinion is that it’s not the translations but on those who misinterpret and (mis)teach out of them.

    While we’re on this topic I thought I’d mention that I purchased The Inclusive Bible after Iyov’s recommendation and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it handles this. Great discussion!

  24. Nathan,

    Brothers means males in English and that was the intent of the translators. They believe that men represent women to God, and men represent God to women. This is the express purpose of the language in the ESV.

    First hand experience with some of the committee confirms this for me. As a woman I feel excluded by this Bible.

    I do understand why some people like it but once I became aware of the choices made and why they were made I felt that I didn’t want to be reminded of all that.

    I’m glad people are checking out the IB. It sounds like it has something original to offer.

  25. It saddens me to hear how you have been hurt by fellow believers. I will probably never campaign against translations, but I suppose I understand where you (and others) are coming from. The only translations that I really struggle with are paraphrases or extremely idiomatic ones.

  26. Hmmm, there is no winking smiley after that comment… I don’t think you are being serious though, but just in case: I think the best English Bible I’ve read to date has been the REB. After that the KJV and NJB really stand out. The (T)NIV is about as idiomatic as I can get before the everyday language starts to turn me off. I’m all for understandable translation but not when the sentences make me feel like I’m back in grade school.

    I have at least four new translations (to me) to scope out this month. Lattimore’s is only the NT, but what I’ve read of it so far looks great. After all of the back and forth recently I’m going to compare the RSV to the ESV in order to see what I’m (not) missing. The other one is in my comment #25.

  27. Nathan, actually I was being serious to a degree. While you’re right about the grade school language being annoying, I dream of a very idiomatic translation being made someday that has a much higher reading level – 12th grade at least. Its a dream.

    But seriously, I don’t know if you noticed, but in verses where the majority of “typical” translations are confusing or awkward, the idiomatic translations come very close to hitting the nail on the head – the NCV, for example, in those translation comparisons I did a while back.

  28. Isn’t it quite right to recognize what the translator is doing, and to campaign against that? Why didn’t more Americans campaign against what James Murphy was doing with his pro-Nazi translation of Mein Kamp, which turned out to be the standard translation, still in use today I’m afraid. It has a few American-ears-tickling lines that Hitler’s German doesn’t quite do. I think it’s good to look at who motivates a translation and why. When there’s no women on the editorial board or the translation board, that’s sort of like having no Jews working for Goebbels. Of course, today we’ve learned to tolerate racism so much more than sexism.

  29. Last month I was considering getting copies of the NIrV, CEV and NCV. I have a GNB and NLT already and have been thinking about what translation to read to my daughter. It will probably be another year or so until she understands very well so I put off the purchase.

    I’ll have a look for your comparison series, I’m pretty sure I haven’t read it. We seem blessed to have the ‘problem’ of dozens of bibles to choose from for any purpose.

  30. What if our daughters and sons learned Hebrew and Greek? What if we brought back the diglot to the English reading world? Nathan, Kudos to you for thinking about this for her! If their generation were more blessed than ours!

  31. I gave my daughter a TNIV and I will give her a King James Version as well. After that, she can choose for herself.

  32. I’m going to teach my daughter Koine. When she starts learning the English alphabet I’ll also teach her the Greek.

    Mike, my memory is terrible, but I like re-reading things.

  33. I use the TNIV, but it’s not without its problems. We need to own this fact.

    I own this fact, TC.

    Sorry but another woman of my acquaintance shared the story of her rape with me yesterday. I would rather not know those who teach the priority of the male. It somehow does not interest me.

    That’s an important feature in a Bible for me.

  34. Sorry but another woman of my acquaintance shared the story of her rape with me yesterday.

    We should all be sorry! Too many secrets, too many shameful causes for them, too many justifications from a “text” for them. Who can console now your acquaintance? And thank you for listening, and for telling. Don’t let anyone imagine this has nothing to do with an interpretation of male “authority” or right.

  35. Sorry but another woman of my acquaintance shared the story of her rape with me yesterday. I would rather not know those who teach the priority of the male. It somehow does not interest me

    Well, I know you gave her some good godly counsel.

    At any rate, I believe we need to make a distinction between what is ontologically related and what is functionally related.

  36. TC,

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I think we are all equally capable of sin. Therefore, the teaching that women should put ourselves under someone else because of characteristics they were born with makes those born without those characteristics wonder about God’s grace. The equation of maleness and authority can neither be found in the Bible nor is it of any use to women.

  37. Sue,

    I’m sure that you have read the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments. Let me put this question to you: What do you do with all those references to male leadership in Scripture? Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 12 sons, and on and on we go.

    It’s always, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    I’m not trying to suppress women here, but I see something in Scripture, and I want to know what it represents.

  38. Tell me who was the head of Chloe, Nympha, Phoebe and Lydia? Tell me who was the leader of Hulda and Deborah?

    There is no sense in which the male must be the leader, or the woman needs a male leader. A woman could be physically well defended by having knights under her authority as Queen Elizabeth I was. There is no intrinsic good acruing to women from the authority of the male.

    Male entitlement – the notion that men have more rights than women – hurts women.

    Let me be clear. We are all of us equally sinful. People are unkind to each other. All of us has equal potential for this. A man may be hurt by a woman. We do not put men under the authority of their wives and we ought not to put women under the authority of their husbands.

    My parents had an egalitarian relationship in spite of our fundamentalist church. There was extreme order in our household and many children were fostered there. Single women are the leaders and providers of their own homes. There is no intrinsic good in male authority. Lack of male authority does not lead to anarchy.

    Women who are assaulted and violated are damaged psychically because of the teaching that men ought to be respected more than women.

    I am sure Tamar was under no such illusion.

    Egalitarian women are simply more capable of taking care of themselves when men fail them. Any women could be in this position for any reason. It is better for a woman if she can function without a male leader.

  39. Suzanne, I find myself moving more toward your view. To say that one is speaking to brothers and sisters in one verse, then to speak only to brothers is not consistent. However, I don`t think I could go to the extent of trashing any translation.

  40. I regret if it appears that I am trashing the translation.

    Let me be more detailed. I believe that the finding that Junia is only well-known to the apostles is unfounded. I believe that 2 Tim. 2:2 is unwarranted. These are examples of dozens of difficulties in the translation for women. There are a few things that I think the ESV does well, by retaining the KJ wording, not a lot but some.

    I am disturbed by the continued anti TNIV statement. I don’t think it is honest.

    These issues are important enough for me that I would not recommend the translation. It reminds me of some scholarship that is not well done, the kephale study, for example. However, these things are not going to be linked to the ESV for other people. I can see that.

  41. make a distinction between what is ontologically related and what is functionally related.

    TC, I sympathize with your questions, with the things that “are” in the Bible. “It’s always, The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” But these servants of God, it records, are as dysfunctional as just about any. Lying about their wives to great risk for them all, taking the maid servant, and so forth and so on. Surely this justifies the ESV translator decisions to put male over female.

    But ontology is not unrelated to dysfunction. Whose ontology should trump when Amnon rapes Tamar? In the name of God, the silence perpetuates.

    I’m a missionary kid, who has seen “Bible” believing “men” do the most egregious things. Two of my MK friends took their own lives because of some these things, while they were still in their teens. My own mother was silenced again and again. The visiting evangelist (a male) to my wife’s father’s church, because of the power afforded him, got into a situation where he was able to have an affair with the pianist of the church, all in the course of a week. Havoc!

    Yes, the ontology and the function. So sometimes I’ll post on these things at my blog. And this morning I’ve just posted (anonymously for a friend) the terror of this kind of silence, in a poem. There is some difficulty speaking of it publicly. Which complicates our discussions immensely. Shame. Guilt. Fear. Shame. Stuff for the inseparable ontology and function of Jesus, whose first theologian/Bible scholar was Mary of Bethany; whose first evangelist was some unnamed loose half breed woman in Samaria; whose first apostle was Mary of Magdela who had been used and abused as much as the scriptures dare name that.

  42. I guess I am having a hard time joining the abuses mentioned by Kurk and Suzanne to the translation of the Greek. I still see misinterpretation by clergy/leadership and abuse as a different problem than word preference. I guess it boils down to me missing the correlation of suicide/rape to the Greek word for brothers in the ESV.

  43. I think the point they’re trying to make is that word preference has an impact on how we live – especially if we consider the text inspired. When a text is inspired, word preference in translation can either license or forbid such behaviors.

  44. But ontology is not unrelated to dysfunction. Whose ontology should trump when Amnon rapes Tamar? In the name of God, the silence perpetuates.

    How has rape changed Amnon personhood? It surely hasn’t. He acted, no doubt, in a savage way, but such didn’t take away from his personhood, created in the image of God.

    We both can mount volumes upon volumes of arguments for each other’s position. I agree to disagree on this one, sisters (Sue and JK).

  45. When a translation encourages men to believe that they represent women to God and God to women, and they have absolutely no idea what the world of women is, then it has no benefit for women.

    That is why it says “brohers” – because the men believe that they are the representatives to God. This choice and this theology makes no space for women. Men know it all.

    There is no space for truth.

  46. >TC,
    Amnon and Tamar have personhood, before and after his rape of her. “And God said, Let us make earthling in our image, after our likeness. . . So God created earthling in his image, in the image of God created he; male and female created he.”

    If nothing needs changing, then why do John the Baptist and Jesus come out swinging: μετανοεῖτε metanoeite “change yourself” (as Matthew and Mark and I put it).

    Of course, the scribes and Pharisees (all men), who prayed every day thanking God that they were not ontologically women, did “mount volumes upon volumes of arguments” for their leadership. They scoffed at Jesus in his relationship with women. They couldn’t believe that women would actually lead in the Monarchy of God, the Royalty of the Skies.

    >TC, REally– are you saying that in our comments back and forth that we are just doing, so vacuously, what the stiff-necked Pharisees did? Are we just throwing volumes at each other? Or are we trying to understand Jesus and the scriptures through him and his charge to women and men, light and salt, leaders many in his image?

    >Suzanne, You seem to be reading TC the way I am: There’s a defeatist/ defeated tone here, with no space for truth.

    >Mike, I appreciate your listening.

    >Nathan, The rape thing is in the Bible, the suicide incidents in my own life. I am just trying to give illustrations of behaviors that men have in a culture where the only acceptable interpretation of the Bible is the one putting women down and men over them.

    >All, I do think Jesus was profound about change. He’s not just demanding it without acknowledging how we are to do it. He gives us much by way of teaching all women and men to follow him. But I don’t think–in his image but in our sin–we’re not to change, even in our thinking (which is a more literal understanding of the Greek imperative Matthew/Mark use). Change starts from the low, humble, self humbling positions. Blessed are the poor in spirit. It cannot happen with arrogance, or with hypocrisy. Both the life of Jesus and our experiences bear that out. There is dishonesty with some of the ESV translation choices. My projecting is this: it’s motivated by fear, fear of women taking over in society, or homosexuals, or of a “soft” bible. The fear is unfounded but powerful, I think.

  47. I think there is some difference here, but I’m with TC on this 50%.

    I agree to disagree on this one, sisters and brothers (Sue and JK).

  48. Kurk: Well, this is my blog. Of course I’m going to read the comments – even if I’m not entirely part of the discussion.

    Nathan: As I said, translations aren’t perfect and word choice can affect theology – which is 1) a good reason to use multiple translations – especially on passages that are highly debated and 2) a very good reason to learn Greek and study linguistics.

    Many NT scholars know their Greek and they know how Greek is similar or different than English, but the majority don’t know the significance of such differences and it affects their exegesis. For example THIS POST that I wrote a few months ago. I may have called it a minor criticism, but its actually a huge one that seriously affected his view of the structure of the entire letter. So its more than simply knowing Greek – its also knowing language.

  49. Well said. I can’t imagine going back to one or two English translations now. If for some reason I don’t end up learning Greek/Hebrew I will keep using what I’ve got. What is humorous is that I now have so many English translations that I no longer have a single primary translation. I fell truly blessed to have these options and am trying not to waste my opportunity by using them as frequently as I can.

    Minor update: I’m making a quick run through my Greek vocab cards and one of the books that arrived this week. It looks like I already knew roughly 300 Greek words, not counting proper names.

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