The Gospel Coalition

As most readers of this blog will know, a new version of the NIV is going to be released by Zondervan in 2011. The translation and the introductory notes are already available online. One of the early controversies surrounds the rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12. The 1984 NIV reads: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."  This verse was changed in the 2005 TNIV: "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet." The new NIV keeps the TNIV reading (and drops the TNIV footnote unfortunately). Since the 1984 NIV and the TNIV are being made obsolete with this new edition, the NIV now has "assume authority" instead of "exercise authority" for this crucial verse.

Denny Burk has written a fine piece criticizing this decision. I won't repeat his arguments here. I think H. Scott Baldwin and others have demonstrated that the best rendering of the Greek in 1 Timothy 2:12 is "exercise authority." I'm no professional, but from all I've read I think "assume authority" is a mistake on translation grounds. At the very least, it's odd that the NIV thinks the meaning of authentein has gotten less clear from 1984 to 2010, when the scholarship that's taken place in the last 25 years suggests the NIV got it right back then.

But I don't want to talk about Greek. I want to talk about English and what the word "assume" means. Many complementarians object to the new NIV translation, not only because egalitarians have been pushing for this rendering (as Burk points out), but because "assume authority" communicates something different than "exercise authority." For their part, the Committee on Bible Translation (the group of scholars responsible for the NIV) insist that "assume authority" was chosen precisely because it does not side with either egalitarians or complementarians. Craig Blomberg and Doug Moo, for example, maintain that the NIV rendering does not tip the scales one way or the other. Their goal was to stay neutral and bow to no theological agenda.

Blomberg and Moo are among evangelicalism's best scholars (and complementarians too). I use one of their books almost every week it seems. They deserve our respect and trust. We should take them at their word: CBT was not trying to play favorites in the debate over gender roles.

But acknowledging this does not mean we can't still disagree with the CBT's decision on 1 Timothy 2:12. As I said earlier, quite apart from the Greek, I think their English rendering does not do what the committee thinks it does. The new NIV obviously moves away from a complementarian-friendly translation of the text (as per the 1984 edition). The 2011 NIV may strive for neutrality, but on this issue it's definitely migrated in a certain direction.

More to the point, look at these two quotes which defend the CBT approach to authentein. The first from is Blomberg:
I can tell you authoritatively that we did NOT choose this rendering to tip the scales one way or the other. Whether you are a complementarian or an egalitarian, you have some view of what Paul thinks women should not do here, in terms of exercising authority. When they violate that, whatever it is, they inappropriately assume authority. That's all we were saying.

And here is Moo:
Moo wrote, "[T]he translators believed that 'assume authority' could be taken in either direction. We often use this phrase in a neutral way (e.g., 'When will the new President assume authority'?). ... [I]t is our intent to provide a translation that is faithful to the text, bowing to no particular theological agenda.

The argument is that "assume authority" is neutral because it can be read in two different ways. Indeed, the first two definitions for "assume (used with object)" in this online dictionary are: "to take for granted or without proof; suppose; postulate; posit" and "to take upon oneself; undertake." The third definition is closely related to the second: "to take over the duties or responsibilities of." So "assume authority" can mean "supposing you have authority (that you don't have)" or "taking on the duties or responsibilities of authority." The first definition in the last sentence sounds more like "usurp," which strengthens the egalitarians case. The second definition sounds more like "exercise authority," which helps the complementarian side (and is truer to the Greek in my estimation, the KJV rendering notwithstanding). The CBT figures "assume authority" plays it safe in the middle; neither side can claim it for their own.

The problem, I fear, is that most English speakers will hear "assume authority" in the "usurp" sense, not in the "exercise" sense. Moo gives the example: "When will the new President assume authority?" He argues this shows "assume authority" can be quite neutral and need not imply a wrongful grabbing of authority, which is what egalitarians hope the verse says, because then Paul is forbidding the illegitimate appropriation of authority not the exercise of authority itself.

But Moo's example may not be the most germane. First off, it's a question. And second, it looks to the future. In asking "when will the President assume authority?" we know by context that a neutral view of "assume" is in view. No one asks, "When will the President begin to assume authority he doesn't have?" By asking a question that looks to the future we know "assume" means something like "take over the duties or responsibilities of." But when we tell someone "do not assume..." most hearers are already thinking of a pejorative sense of the word. Unless we are talking about presidents or generals coming to power, we don't normally use "assume authority" in a neutral sense. I would argue most of us hear "assume authority" as "presuming to have authority (we don't)" or "taking authority for oneself." In both cases, the problem is not with the authority per se, but with the means of obtaining it.

This is the problem with the NIV rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12. "Assume authority" will be heard, despite the intentions of the CBT, as authority inappropriately gotten. People will not think of "assuming the responsibilities of the office" as in Moo's example. Why would Paul prohibit persons from assuming the responsibilities of their office (ala the President) anyway? No, to "assume authority" implies the authority was not simply exercised but was taken wrongfully.

I believe we see a tacit admission of this point in the Blomberg quotation above. "Exercising authority" is used broadly in the second sentence; then "assume authority" is used negatively in the third sentence with the adverb "inappropriately." If "exercise authority" is the best translation, then authority is the problem. If "assume authority" is the best rendering, we are dealing with the inappropriate assumption of authority. This change's Paul's prohibition considerably. The CBT cannot have it both ways. In the Translator's Notes the CBT states, "The exercise of authority that Paul was forbidding was one that women inappropriately assumed, but whether that referred to all forms of authority over men in church or only certain forms in certain contexts is up to the individual interpreter to decide." But is the interpretation really up for debate if it has already been established that the problem in Ephesus was  with authority "women inappropriately assumed"? Does this not suggest Paul's command is about the assumption of authority, not the mere exercising of it? And even if "assume" leaves the door open for a more neutral interpretation, is this really how most English speakers will read the text?

Taking into account the ear of English readers--which is the NIV's translation philosophy--I have to conclude that the NIV rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12 is not neutral. At best, "assume" still implies taking authority. At worst (and more likely), the NIV makes it sound like Paul is against the inappropriate assumption of authority, not women-over-men authority in general. And this understanding is precisely what egalitarians have been arguing for and what, according to recent scholarship, the usage of authentein in Greek literature argues against.


Comments:

Ashley Thayer

March 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Loralee, Sue, Sandy, HELP!!! I need more resources and reading material that explores egalitarianism and gender roles in an academic manner. I have been in despair over what I see as sexism in the church body and a lack of sermons and discussion over the difficult texts regarding gender roles in scripture. I want to hear more about translations and yes, I've read Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Keller. Is there any way to have an email discussion apart from this public blog?
Blessings.

Sue

March 24, 2014 at 05:59 PM

Hi Ashley,

My email is suzmccarth at gmail.com

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 12:02 AM

Hi Sandy,

First let me say that I don't know what the correct interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 actually is. But I do want to defend the fact that there are multiple orthodox interpretations, and some of those are complementarian.

It seems to me that one original interpretation is that a woman ought not to teach or be the lord of her husband. Another is that by teaching a woman was usurping the authority of a man. These are two traditional intepretations. In both of these interpretations authentein had a negative meaning.

The expression "to be the lord of" is something that no church leader should ever do, and this is clear from looking at the traditional commentaries like John Calvin on 1 Peter 5:3. It is clear that, theoretically at least, no leader was to be the lord over other Christians.

Chrysostom even told husbands never to authentein their wives. Obviously if authentein meant to lead properly, then Chrysostom was egal, which I doubt very much. How could the word be used of something a husband must never do, if it meant something positive and proper? Really, it can't. I don't think there is even a 1 percent chance that the word had a positive meaning in Timothy.

In fact, throughout history there has never been a tradition of interpreting authentein in a positive way, until recently.

I am wondering if present day complementarians believe that traditional commentaries have been mistaken as to this word for 2000 years. Or is it simply that the only important point is that the interpretation be complementarian. I always had the impression that those who support literal and word for word translations, actually care about the meaning of a word, the lexical meaning of a word, and don't want an interpretive translation.

If authentein had a positive connotation, why was that unknown until the last century or so? Or is there really such a thing as the perspicuity of scripture? There are at least 4 different interpretations which can be defended from the evidence.

As I said, the NIV 2011 uses a strongly supported historic and traditional translation of this verse, not necessarily either comp or egal.

Mike

December 9, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Jeff, I have considered whether all this is merely sexism in disguise. Let's look at the definition from Wikipedia: "Sexism, a term coined in the mid-20th century, is the belief or attitude that one gender or sex is inferior to, less competent, or less valuable than the other." How that is determined varies, but American culture enforces a fundamental belief: the greater/higher (or less) the position, role or level of authority one has, the greater (or less) the corresponding status, value and worth of the person. Americans like to talk otherwise in their egalitarian culture, but this equation is drilled into them from the day they are born, wouldn't you agree? But Jesus and the apostles turned this equation on its head. Our value is not longer tied to our position, role or level of authority, because of Christ. Hallelujah! Unfortunately, the American worldview is a strong one, and breaking free from it is a struggle. Jeff, can you imagine a society where everybody has rejected this equation and lives at peace with one another in terms of value, worth and status? It's called the Kingdom of God, and we can experience it now. I feel for the sisters due to the torment they feel over this equation. Let it rot in hell, where it came from. Instead, let us embrace our value in Christ, regardless of where we find ourselves in our
individual ministries. Jeff, that's the way I see it from my global reading of Scripture, not just this passage. Blessings, brother.

Jeff

December 9, 2010 at 10:12 PM

"or be sexist (in your estimation)"

My estimation? Sexism has a definition that you can look up in the dictionary. What definition are you using?

Mike

December 9, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Jeff, let me rephrase it since I apparently didn't communicate my intent very well: "My culture says one thing. I interpret God's Word to be saying another thing. This causes a dilemma for me because I love the sisters and they might think wrongly toward me. Nevertheless, I feel I must come down on the side of God's word (albeit, my particular interpretation of it) because he takes a higher place in my life." Now, just because I have this certain interpretation of Scripture doesn't necessarily follow that I must have less love for my sisters, or be sexist (in your estimation). Perhaps my original wording "love for God" should have been "desire to obey God" Does that make it any clearer? God bless you, Jeff.

Jeff

December 9, 2010 at 09:09 PM

Mike wrote: "We are brought up in an egalitarian culture, and the pull is strong to comform. If not for the Scripture, I would go along with it. The world wants to make it a power issue, but it really isn’t. I love the sisters, I love what God is doing through them. But I love God more, just like you do. "

This is just classic! You launder your sexism through God: "It's not that I want to be chauvinist, but God makes me!"

Mike

December 9, 2010 at 07:55 PM

Loralee, thanks for your generous clarification. As I said before, I agree that we can make too much out of the exact nuance of the translation in this verse. However, I don't agree that we should consider some parts of Scripture as "isolated" (though I agree that they are open to interpretation). As for "working side by side," I don't see how that is very different from the "working together" of complementarianism. We don't just "live in a culture hemorrhaging" from the wounds you spoke about. There are more than enough sick people that need help. We don't need to worry about who is to treat them. Consider the incredible number of hurting women. Many of them are going untreated, and nobody needs to be in a teaching position over men to help them. I'm with you -- let's role up our sleeves and get to work together in the Spirit of God. (Also, if I may gently say this, your comment that our interpretations are "intellectually irresponsible if not morally questionable" doesn't help any. The immediate context of the passage, especially the following one in vv 13-14 are not easily dismissed by many of us, though I am certainly open to being proved wrong. I hope you can accept that.) May God be glorified in our disagreement.

Dr. Michael Conforti

December 9, 2010 at 07:47 PM

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize winner and survivor of the Holocaust, once said that "with the advent of the rational mind came the capacity to rationalize anything and everything." Anything and everything can be absorbed into a particular bias and subjective relativism to satisfy deeply personal needs. Interpretation of any Scripture, of any phenomena is just that..interpretive, which means speculative and full of conjecture.

Translation, on the other hand, is much more exacting and honoring of the letter of the word itself and it's original intent and ontology. So many religions, philosophies and psychologies become ideological Rorshachs; where we can imagine and project anything we want onto any phenomena.

People are deeply hurt and wounded when subjective biases are paraded as Scriptural truth. So too with this discussion about whether women have the right to teach and preach. These opinions about the role of women are not only archaic and exemplify poor scholarship; but are also oppressive, destructive and abusive.

When one believes they speak for God, we sail in dangerous waters between the Scylla and Charybdis when we believe we have a monopoly on what God is saying. In far too many cases, our opinion of what God said represents a corrupted opinion of our own personal bias. Basically every mythological story involves a human's attempt to usurp the workings and intention of a God. This is inflationary hubris. Like Bruggel's Icarus, one flies too high believing their ascent is in service of a divine plan. These are wings made of wax. And a true God would only laugh and scorn the one parading as a vicar of God on earth.

Humility and receptivity speak more to a spiritual life, than damnation and oppression. I pity all the people who have been oppressed by so-called religious beliefs: those who were told dancing was not acceptable, and that women's roles are subservient to men and to all those others oppressed by this so-called divine plan.

Why not take time to explore what is in fact spiritual and remove it from the canons of theological dogmatism?

Sandy Grant

December 9, 2010 at 07:29 AM

Sue, you are certainly correct that there just are not many uses of the word authentein in the century or so either side of Paul's writing. So any conclusions must be tentative due to paucity of evidence close to relevant time.

Some uses appear to be negative. However I note you mentioned

The other reference is (2nd century) Ptolemy Tetrabiblos “If Saturn alone is ruler of the body and dominates mercury and the moon.”

I am not convinced that's an example of negative use. It's just descriptive of influence, and I agree with Baldwin that dominate and domineer are not automatic synonyms. Still it is not speaking of people here, of course.

Chrysostom gives some help, because although he dates later, around 390 AD, he uses the word a number of times. You are right, and Baldwin agrees, that the use in his comment on Colossians regarding husbands and wives is negative, where a husband is not to authentein ("act the despot").

However the use is intransitive here (i.e. wife is not the object of authentein, contrary to what you have written elsewhere).

In my view not all Chrysostom's uses of the word are negative. God and the Lord Jesus rightly authentein. Elsewhere, you have suggested that this is something that only properly belongs to God.

But I think Chrysostom has some positive uses of humans.

In the Homilies on Acts, Chrysostom writes of Peter taking the lead in seeking a replacement for Judas in chapter 1 as follows, “For observe, they were a hundred and twenty, and he asks for one out of the whole body: with good right. He has authority (or ‘gives orders’ BDAG) firstly of (‘in’ or ‘regarding’) the matter[= Gk pr?tos tou pragmatos authentei] as having been put in charge of them: for to him had Christ said, “And when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”

(This is the Parker translation. However, I have inserted the additional words in italics of the relevant textual variant, translated by me. It appears Parker left the variant untranslated. Baldwin appears to not have noticed this in the first edition of the book I have and wrongly italicized the following phrase as a translation of authentei.)

So, if I have understood this correctly, the key thing is that Peter is the subject of authentei and Chrystostom entirely approves of Peter taking the lead in this matter of appointing a replacement for Judas. In context, this is clearly a positive use. James and the other Apostles are commended by Chrysostom for willingly accepting Peter in this role. So the variant shows a use of authentein in a positive way, with a human subject.

In the Homilies on Genesis Chrysostom writes of Eve, “the woman was given to you as a helper, not as being in charge [= Gk authentousan,]; as one who agrees, not as mistress of the manor; as of one mind, not as tutor; as yoked together, not ruling; as subject to, not highest over; as being in concert with you, not as prevailing over.” It seems that in this series of antitheses, the second in each case is not a bad thing in itself, just something in Chrysostom’s view not given to Eve. For example, it seems to me that being a female household ruler, or a tutor, or ruling others would be legitimate human activities in the right context, although not in Chrysostom’s view, given to Eve in her context.

Lastly, I would also note Chrysostom’s Sermons on Genesis, where he mentions that Eve once taught (= Gk didaskein) Adam and exercised authority (= Gk authentein) over Adam, in each case he adds an adverb “wrongly” (= Gk kak?s) to modify the verb. This provides evidence that the verbs didaskein and authentein by themselves were not unambiguously negative, but were wrong for Eve in her context.

Again, it is fair to say the Chrysostom evidence is later than the NT, but it does provide evidence from the one author that there are a range of meanings for authentein, positive as well as negative.

That being the case, it makes the agreed thinness of the evidence for didaskein by itself being negative in Paul important, given Kostenberger's observations about syntax.

You will note that I have not entered into the NIV 2010 translation of the verse.

Sandy Grant

December 9, 2010 at 06:22 AM

Sue, thanks for agreeing that the evidence for seeing didaskein as negative in Paul is "thin".

Several comments in regards to your posts.

1. BDAG also lists to "assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to" alongside the meaning of "dictate to" that you mentioned for authentein.

2. You wrote...

In fact, throughout history there has never been a tradition of interpreting authentein in a positive way, until recently.
[...]
I am wondering if present day complementarians believe that traditional commentaries have been mistaken as to this word for 2000 years.
[...]
If authentein had a positive connotation, why was that unknown until the last century or so?

I agree your evidence of how translators and commentators understood the term has some importance.

However your own evidence indicates that your claim here is overstated, given you also said
“To have authority” appears in Tyndale and Geneva but has no traditional precedent or translation history supporting it.

So it was translated positively as "to have authority" in English several centuries before the last century.

One of the problems is that by and large (unlike today with NIV-CBT et al) we do not always have access to the translators' notes or commentaries from the key translators of KJV and Geneva and Tyndale and so it is somewhat speculative to guess why they picked usurp authority or exercise authority.

Further, I understand there are examples where further research into original languages has overturned traditional translations popular throughout the history of Bible translation. That is, poor translations sometimes crept in quite early and were passed on effectively unchallenged for centuries, before being corrected only in recent times. A quick limited example might be what NIV 2010 does with 'valley of the shadow of death" in Ps 23:4.

So the history of translation you provide is important evidence but not decisive in itself. For example, the extensive computer aided searching of the growing body of extant ancient Greek texts just was not available in early centuries.

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 06:20 PM

I did not treat the citation of Chrysostom on Genesis with enough detail,

We see that authentein is in line with,

- mistress [despote] of the manor;
- tutor;
-ruling;
- highest over;
- prevailing over.”

It seems that in this series of antitheses, the second in each case is not a bad thing in itself, just something in Chrysostom’s view not given to Eve. For example, it seems to me that being a female household ruler, or a tutor, or ruling others would be legitimate human activities in the right context, although not in Chrysostom’s view, given to Eve in her context.

I believe that in the NT, this kind of leadership is not in view, in the church or home. Although it is said that the wife is to be the householder, the head of the house, I doubt very much that authentein is in view, or sovereign rule is in view for church leaders, or for either husband or wife. I do not find even one reference in the NT to "rulers" used of leaders in church and home. They are always "Roman rulers."

Loralee Scott-Conforti

December 9, 2010 at 06:14 PM

Mike,

Please don't misinterpret my comment with regards to hypocrisy.(hmm easy to see how even contemporary communication is subject to misinterpretation?) I was not directing that personally. My statement was that we were hypocritical in our Scriptural scholarship if we held that only one part of Paul's letter was to be interpreted literally while another part is not.

My point is that seen in the overall New Testament picture of how Jesus elevated and promoted women's roles in the church and value in society, to hang an entire theology that discriminates against women preaching the word on one or two isolated verses of Scripture with obscure intent that are open to interpretation, is simply intellectually irresponsible if not morally questionable.

We live in a culture hemorrhaging from the wounds of polytheism, agnosticism and relativism. I would think that if we were truly "all on the same side" you would be welcoming every member of the team to work side by side in the emergency room instead of spending time bickering over who is "allowed" to treat the sick and who isn't.

Sandy Grant

December 9, 2010 at 05:56 AM

Jake, you wrote...

I did not notice a reference to the Collins database in either Dr. Blomberg’s or Dr. Moo’s defense of their choice, but if the CBT is trying to be neutral here, and if the Collins database supports this use of “assume,” what’s the problem with it?


Just for the record, the research from the Collins database did not address the use of "assume" at all in any way. You can read it here, but in brief it addressed three issues in current English use:
(i) the use of generic pronouns;
(ii) the use of mankind and synonyms;
(iii) the use of forefather and synonyms.

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 05:41 PM

Sandy,

I agree that you have established that authentein is rightly used with regard to:

1. the ruling of one astronomical body over another
2. God's sovereign power
3. Peter's role with respect to the other apostles, (in a document written at the time of pope Innocent)

I would point out that this in no way indicates that any NT author would ever have used authentein as the proper designation for leading in church. I argue that this is not possible.

If we look at 1 Peter 5:3, we see the word katakurieuein. This word in the gospels is used as a synonym of kurieuein, to be the lord of. I understand that the gospels and epistles explicilty deny church leaders sovereign rule over church members. This is my understanding. My the time of the popes, they were called "lord" and this is something which appears in contradiction to the NT.

That authentein is modified by kakos also does not indicate that authentein was a neutral word when unmodified. We designate people all the time as having difficulty, or having mild, moderate or severe difficulty. On its own, difficulty is not a neutral word.

I suggest that complementarians have presented a simplified exegesis to the public when they go online, and on radio, against the translation of the NIV2011.

As a former member of the church where Dr. Packer attended, I am ashamed of my association with someone who declares that the TNIV and possibly the NIV 2011 are untrustworthy. This is a shame in the Christian community. This is a besmirchment of the reputation of Christ, that his followers slander each other in public.

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 05:23 PM

I am just commenting here to correct my link and respond briefly to this.

For example, the extensive computer aided searching of the growing body of extant ancient Greek texts just was not available in early centuries.

I am not aware of new evidence for authentein. I have the full text of the [supposed] only two early occurrences of authentein, on my blog, as complete passages. They don't give much support for much of anything at all.

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 05:20 PM

One of the problems is that by and large (unlike today with NIV-CBT et al) we do not always have access to the translators’ notes or commentaries from the key translators of KJV and Geneva and Tyndale and so it is somewhat speculative to guess why they picked usurp authority or exercise authority.

We certainly do have access to Erasmus Latin translation of the Greek text. It was published side by side with his Greek NT on the same page, and is available online. We also have access to Erasmus notes and Latin paraphrases of the NT.

First, I do not find Erasmus in any way an egalitarian, (except for some of his marriage dissertations on the wife in the home having a certain authority.) I am also not claiming that he was egalitarian, or that an egalitarian interpretation is traditional.

I am claiming that there is a range of traditional interpretations, and the present complementarian translation is only one among several options.

Back to Erasmus. He used "auctoritatem usurpare" with the note that it might mean "cogere" to compel. Unfortunately from this computer I do not have access to the facsimile dtatabase for Erasmus. His intent was to create a more exact and scholarly Latin translation than that of Jerome.

My point is not that you would accept my egal position, but rather, that you would understand that current complementarian scholarship on this issue is in my view, shallow, dating back to 1984. THere needs to be more openness to the NIV 2011, which has a traditional translation of this word authentein.

But from "auctoritatem usurpare" in Erasmus, there was a wide range of derivative translations. They included "have, use, exercise, assume and usurp authority." It is clear that those translators, who like Lancelot Andrewes, chose "usurp," did indeed think of this as a very negative term. We know from Lancelot Andrewes sermons that a usurper was a criminal worthy of death.

My initial research indicates to me that Erasmus and Andrewes were superior Greek scholars to Tyndale, and I am convinced that Tyndale did not base his choice of "to have authority" on superior Greek scholarship, but on his interpretation of auctoritatem usurpare in Erasmus. He seems to have decided that this was an acceptable English equivalent.

I may be wrong, but for lack of having anyone else to engage in this discussion with, I hold this opinion. Tyndale is deeply indebted to both Erasmus and Luther, we know that. I would look to them first. Luther had "to be the lord of" and Calvin had "auctoritatem sumere."

My overall point is that this verse is unclear, is not of simple and undisputed meaning.

As a woman, I wasted 50 years in an extremely unfortunate circumstance of being subject to complementarian whimsical and shifting theology, and I regret it very much. I had to move on.

Women should not be held hostage spiritually to such a contentious issue, about which it is extremely difficult to come to any sure conclusions.

I will pick up on other threads of the argument later.

Mike

December 9, 2010 at 05:07 PM

Loralee, I can't speak for most complementarians, but I did not come to my conclusions because of any discrimination against women. For me, I see the issue as being similar to Calvinism. Nobody is born a Calvinist, humanly speaking :). We are brought up in a culture that emphasizes self-determination and freedom of choice. We are told that we are the ones ultimately in control of our own destiny. I would imagine most of us went through a difficult time accepting what the Scriptures say on the matter. The same goes for egalitarianism. We are brought up in an egalitarian culture, and the pull is strong to comform. If not for the Scripture, I would go along with it. The world wants to make it a power issue, but it really isn't. I love the sisters, I love what God is doing through them. But I love God more, just like you do. Please don't vilify us as hypocrites and gender biased. Ultimately, aren't we on the same side? God bless you!

Loralee Scott-Conforti

December 9, 2010 at 03:26 PM

Amazing to me that so much energy and time is going into the nuance of interpretation here. Realizing that the bigger issue is the seemingly never-ending debate of whether women are scripturally justified in teaching/preaching to men. In light of Jesus example in his dealings with women, which were nothing short of culturally revolutionary and religiously heretical in that culture; why are we having this discussion? He commissioned a Samaritan woman to evangelize her community, he first appeared in resurrected form to a woman and told her to spread the news...we all know the stories. Clearly, Paul is dealing with a particular issue of women's behavior in the teaching atmosphere (which they were brand new to) which is both specific and cultural. Phoebe was recognized by Paul as a "diakonos" "deaconess" which means she was doing the work of a teacher/preacher. Why would Paul contradict himself?

Unbelievable to me that we will spend so much time and energy "protecting" the "church" from women called by God, wanting to teach or preach the Gospel. What are we protecting people from?? All of this exegetical gymnastics has nothing whatsoever to do with the heart and mind of Christ. It is poorly spent scholarship which attempts to exploit Scripture to substantiate a personal and culturally biased perspective. Our hypocrisy shows when we disregard the first part of this verse which condemns women wearing their hair in braids or gold jewelry. Why is it so easy for us to see the cultural, irrelevance of this injunction and yet cling to only that part of it which may be a bit of a challenge for men?
We are all called as believers to "submit" first and foremost to the Lordship of Christ. This blanket gender discrimination wrapped in the "guise" of scriptural interpretation by leaders who are gifted and called is truly disheartening and disappointing.

[...] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2010/12/07/assuming-too-much-about-assume-in-1-timo... var ve_publisher = "WordPress"; var ve_site = "WORDPRESS_A1"; var ve_area = "WORDPRESS_A1"; var ve_location = "WORDPRESS_A1_ROS_300X250"; var ve_placement = "ROS"; var ve_width = 300; var ve_height = 250; var ve_alternate = "collapse"; var ve_clicktrack = "http://stats.wordpress.com/g.gif?v=wpcom&x_adframes=A1_click"; var ve_imptrack = "http://stats.wordpress.com/g.gif?v=wpcom&x_adframes=A1_imp"; document.write(""); [...]

Sue

December 9, 2010 at 01:06 AM

Even though the evidence that didaskein could be negative is slim, the evidence that authentein could be positive does not exist.

Doyle

December 8, 2010 at 12:14 PM

And the debate rages on. Two subjects that will generate the most comments on this and many blogs are egalitarianism and homosexuality. And if you look at church history and how each movement has crept (or is creeping) into the church, you will find them very closely related.

Thomas

December 8, 2010 at 11:55 AM

That's just it Dan, no matter how egals try to interpret 1 Timothy Paul comes off as sexist or someone practicing blanket discrimination. Very basic common sense and leadership would suggest if you had a handful of women either wrongly taking authority or teaching out of place, you would never then ban ALL women from teaching.

This would be like if I had two Hispanics in my church wrongly assuming authority, so I decided the best course of action would be to ban all Hispanics from having any authority.

This just shows how it is nonsensical to think the egal view on 1 Timothy is on solid footing as it makes Paul look very thoughtless or even sexist. Given that we believe him to be an inspired author of God's Word and and we have so many other writings of his in which he shows himself to be no fool, I find this conclusion to be highly unlikely.

Dan Phillips

December 8, 2010 at 10:57 AM

So... women shouldn't assume authority wrongly, but men can?

Sandy Grant

December 8, 2010 at 09:51 PM

Hello Sue, and writing as a complementarian, thank you for insisting people look more closely at the evidence for the meaning of authentein and not just rely on quoting Baldwin's study. Even fine studies like that need to be read carefully and double-checked.

There is not a lot of evidence for its meaning over all, and some of it is certainly for a negative meaning, although some others are perhaps is more neutral than you would allow. Even, in some later cases at least, it's positive in the author's eyes. However that's not what I am picking up on here, although it's the main blog topic.

You wrote...

Kostenberger’s syntactic argument simply suggests that authentein must have the same force as “didaskein.” Since didaskein has a negative force in Titus 1 this puts us no furhter ahead.


I wonder if you are overplaying the evidence for a negative force for didaskein from the Titus 1:11 reference.

Leaving aside the verse under dispute here (1 Tim 2:12), it is the only negative use of didaskein in the Pastorals. Normally Paul uses compound words based on didaskein ('law-teachers', 1 Tim 1:7, or 'false teaching', 1 Tim 1:3, 1 Tim 6:3) when referring to teaching in a negative way.

The immediate context of Tit 1:11 shows didaskein is negative, by specifying immediately that it's teaching things that "ought not to be" taught that is the problem with the those from the circumcision [group].

But normally, 1 Tim 4:11, 1 Tim 6:2, 2 Tim 2:2, didaskein is positive. And this is the typical pattern in the Pauline epistles more broadly.

I think it is fair to suggest that normally or by default we would understand didaskein/teaching to be positive in Paul, unless the immediate context indicates otherwise.

So perhaps you have overstated your dismissal of didaskein as obviously negative in 1 Tim 2:2 simply by citing the very selective evidence of Titus 1:11.

Chris Land

December 8, 2010 at 09:26 AM

My question is why is no one paying attention to Galatians 3:13 where the updated NIV replaces the word "tree" with "pole?" Can someone please address this issue?

Thomas

December 8, 2010 at 08:25 AM

Mike and Jeremy, yes I think we can all have a good laugh about it. Sorry that I over-reacted to your comment Jeremy. Scum of the Earth is not a very common name and I can see how you thought I was being insulting by labeling a church that way.

Back to my point though, I am not sure how Blomberg can be considered a complementarian when his wife serves in an elder like role in a church.

Cris

December 8, 2010 at 04:42 AM

Beat Attitude - Good thing you're going for a Christmas gift for the NIV, because that gives you a chance to get the version of the NIV that matches the audio Bible being listened to. When the updated NIV is released in print in March, 2011, the 1984 and 2005 translations will be discontinued and no longer sold. It will take a little time for the change to filter through various product lines, but the 2011 updated NIV will be the,/i> NIV going forward.

As for text size, look for at least 8-pt (8 to 10 as medium range) as the measurement. Look at samples on-line at sellers or publishers to get a comparison. Crossway.org lists the lists the text size for the ESV, I'm sure the others do so for NIV.

Beat Attitude

December 8, 2010 at 03:29 AM

Slightly off topic question...I need to buy a NIV study bible for my mother-in-law for her daily readings (christmas present). I'm an ESV guy, but she plans to read along with a CD she has (which is NIV).

I'm looking for one where the text is not too small...I'm also wondering about the "life application study bible". Anyone got any comments on that? She is currently reading the Carson "For the Love of God" but I think his language is a little too academic for her.

I'll be steering clear of TNIV and this new translation too...

Advice appreciated. Hope this isn't too O/T for your blog post Kevin.

Mike

December 8, 2010 at 01:38 AM

Jeremy, I had the same reaction when I read the name, so don't feel bad. After doing a quick search, I thought back to your comment, "Scum of the earth church? Thomas, you are aware that..." and had a good laugh. And I'm still chuckling. I hope you can too (and hopefully Thomas, by now).

Sue, thanks for pointing out the evidence in the data. I am fine with the new translation. The main crux of all this, however, lies less in the exact meaning of authentein, but in the context, which is huge. The new translation appears to do nothing to shift the weight in favor of egalitarianism, so, along with you, I'm not sure why this issue is dividing complementarians.

Jeff

December 7, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Why are we being so obtuse on this issue? Look, the author meant what he said. We shouldn't reinterpret it through a 21th century lens where women are regarded as equal. On the other hand, let's not take it to heart. It's a blatantly sexist statement.

Clarification Dave

December 7, 2010 at 10:38 AM

I don't think that Baldwin actually offers the phrase "exercise authority" as one of the options for translating authentein. (see Women in the Church,39-51).

Schreiner does in his chapter, 85-120.

Payne deal with this phenomenon.

Clarification Dave

December 7, 2010 at 10:29 AM

It would be refreshing if complementarians would deal with Philip Payne's 2009 addressing of the "authentein" issue (Man and Woman: One in Christ, 361-397) which critiques Baldwin's and Kostenberger's 1995/2005 analyses.

One, of course, can still adopt Baldwin's and Kostenberger's conclusions, but in my opinion, one should do so having critically dismissed what Payne has had to say rather than ignore his rebuttals and his affirmation that "assume authority" is the better English translation.

Thomas Schreiner's dismissive review of Payne's book has been addressed in detail point by point at Payne's website.

[...] Kevin DeYoung has a good article discussing the Translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 in the New edition of the NIV …a new version of the NIV is going to be released by Zondervan in 2011…One of the early controversies surrounds the rendering of 1 Timothy 2:12. The 1984 NIV reads: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” This verse was changed in the 2005 TNIV: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” The new NIV keeps the TNIV reading (and drops the TNIV footnote unfortunately). Since the 1984 NIV and the TNIV are being made obsolete with this new edition, the NIV now has “assume authority” instead of “exercise authority” for this crucial verse. [...]

Michael

December 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Jake, you ask, "if the CBT is trying to be neutral here, and if the Collins database supports this use of “assume,” what’s the problem with it?"

Firstly, an attempt to be neutral is not necessarily the same as being Biblical.

Secondly, the Collins database should not impose upon the meaning that the original authors intended. This database is measuring English spoken worldwide, with no regard for their beliefs. So if the word "justification" falls out of common use, even though its the best English word for it, we have to use something else? If we follow this logic, "sexual immorality" should read "hooking up" or "having fun", shouldn't it?

Thomas

December 7, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Tim you are right that there are SOME denominations that have not taken the slippery slope to deeper theological liberalism, but there are many others that have. To ignore this is a bit reductionstic of modern church history.

The entire mainline faction of Protestantism has taken the very trajectory of first embracing egalitarian understandings of the Bible and moving on from there. Therefore, this is a valid critic that complementarians offer.

C. McFarland

December 7, 2010 at 10:09 AM

It makes me a little bit nervous when the deciding factor in deciding the best translation of a word is staying "neutral" between two opposing viewpoints.

Thomas

December 7, 2010 at 10:02 AM

Not sure how you can call Dr. Blomberg a complementarian. His wife is a de facto elder at Scum Of The Earth church in Denver, also a church where women regularly preach.

Dr. Blomberg has written essays on his complementarian views but it seems they do not consistently play out.

Jake

December 7, 2010 at 09:59 AM

Pastor DeYoung, thank you so much for your always helpful and informative blog. Definitely one of my favorites.

It seems to me that the biggest part of your argument (and those who have agreed with you so far in the comments) is about what we THINK readers feel about the word "assume." The CBT, however, made use of the Collins Bank of English, a database of over 4.4 BILLION English words from throughout the English-speaking world, that contains wide range of examples of spoken and written English and provides empirical data about how the language is actually used (prior to this, the only way one could choose the appropriate English equivalent in translation was by the feel of it - "in my experience, it seems I hear people use the word in THIS way...") or consult a dictionary, even though almost no one reads the Bible with a dictionary in their other hand in order to be sure they understand why the translator's chose a given word.

You could certainly still be right about this, and I did not notice a reference to the Collins database in either Dr. Blomberg's or Dr. Moo's defense of their choice, but if the CBT is trying to be neutral here, and if the Collins database supports this use of "assume," what's the problem with it?

Ryan K.

December 7, 2010 at 09:35 AM

You are right here Kevin that the English "assume" conveys only an improper move of procedure in taking authority. The slant is similar as if I was going to assume I was leading my study group but actually had not been deemed to do so. In this situation it is in no way improper for me to lead the study group, I simply made a wrong assumption.

Even the word assumption carries meaning in our culture of just being misinformed or poor communication on the part of one or both parties. This translation clearly mutes the meaning of a divine restriction of women teaching over men.

Jeremy

December 7, 2010 at 09:19 PM

Wow, interesting name for a church. I didn't think I would have had to even fact check that. Sorry.

Joey

December 7, 2010 at 09:18 PM

CJ Mahaney:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KADQpp0RYFY

Tim

December 7, 2010 at 09:15 AM

Adam Parker,
I'm not sure which egalitarians you've been around. No doubt many do hold their views for social reasons, and could care less about what Paul said. This is common in groups with a low view of Scripture, which seems to be primarily what you've encountered.

However, many egalitarians do share a high view of Scripture and are absolutely interested in submitting to what Paul said on the issue. They simply come to different exegetical conclusions about what he actually taught on the issue.

I'm not saying that any interpretation goes, or that some interpretations aren't incorrect. But I think it's vital to distinguish between those who simply say "To heck with Paul! I'll do what I want" and those who say, "In submission to what I believe God's inerrant word says, I hold egalitarian views."

Tim

December 7, 2010 at 09:09 AM

Glenn,
While some groups have taken the trajectory you mention, a number of groups have not (and do not show any sign of doing so). For example, the Assemblies of God have a very high, orthodox view of Scripture, allow female pastors (the equivalent of elders), and do not show *ANY* inclination to compromise on issues of homosexuality.

(Disclaimer: I write this as Reformed and complementarian, so please do not assume I'm necessarily in agreement with the AOG's stance - I just don't believe the inevitability argument holds water here).

Glenn

December 7, 2010 at 08:53 AM

Sadly you are right, this is a decision that will fall into the hands of the egalitarians who will use it to try and persuade others that the Bible says something that it really does not.

This will also prove to be not a "mountain out of a molehill" as claimed by Jonathan above, but will prove to be the first crack that will widen in years to come.

Just as churches and denominations that allow women Elders invariably end up sliding towards allowing practising homosexuals to become Elders and the acceptance of that lifestyle as normal (although it can take some years the evidence is there for all to see)

Jonathan McGregor

December 7, 2010 at 08:40 AM

Pastor DeYoung,

Thanks for your blog! I always find your writing helpful.

Maybe the disagreement that you and the above commenters register proves your point, but I don't think the average reader reads "assume authority" as "usurp authority." It seems to me that we usually read phrase-wise or clause-wise, rather than word-wise... so we don't usually stop to consider the dictionary definitions or other contextual meanings of the individual words we are reading. When we read phrases like "assume authority" or "assume responsibility," I think we read them as "take on authority" or "take on responsibility," unless the context gives us some reason to think otherwise (just as, incidentally, we read "take on authority" to mean "assume authority" unless we have a reason to take it as "oppose authority"). The use of "assume authority" to mean "take on authority" is the normal, or "unmarked" usage; the use of the same phrase to mean "usurp authority" would be a non-standard or "marked" usage. We will assume (no pun intended) the unmarked usage in normal reading unless we encounter contextual markers to key us in to the marked usage.

To counter your above reading, the fact that Blomberg uses the adverb "inappropriately" to modify the phrase "assume authority" in his third sentence shows that "assume authority" doesn't normally carry the connotation of inappropriateness with it.

All that to say, writing to you as a convinced complementarian, I think you may be making a mountain out of a molehill of normal English usage here. The translation seems perfectly acceptable to me, and I think Moo and Blomberg's defense of it is fair and convincing.

Sue

December 7, 2010 at 08:22 PM

You are correct in stating that the reformers might have thought that by using authentein "a woman’s exercising authority would be by its nature a usurping of authority–which the word exercising by itself doesn’t convey."

However, there is another theory. In England Queens held proper authority. And in every state in Europe women had been princesses or abbesses with ruling power of some kind.

Another consideration is that the term "usurper" was used by Lancelot Andrewes, the chief editor of the KJV, as a word for a legal traitor, a criminal, someone who should be beheaded. It seems hard to escape the implication that in the KJV, the phrase "usurp authority" meant to take authority illegally. However, historically, women did have recognized authority. The precursor to the KJV, the Bishop's Bible (during Elizabeith's reign) also had "to usurp authority" (this came from Erasmus' Greek, 1515). It seems that there is a distinct possibility that some of these men were loyal subjects of a female ruler.

Queen Elizabeth was named supreme ruler of the church - at least, I think that was the term, does anyone know - although not "head" of the church as Henry was. She did have a position of authority over the church.

It is complicated. On the one hand, some of the Reformers were very much against women in leadership, but on the other hand, some were beholden to female rulers.

Erasmus, in his notes on authentein suggested that it might mean cogere, to compel. Once again, there are passages written by Erasmus which are negative towards women, and other passages in which he promotes the notion that the woman manages her home as if she were the leader in the home, (although for the sake of the husband.)

I really don't think of any of these reformers as egalitarian. I think they all had a traditional view that women should not preach in church. But I am not sure that they got this from 1 Tim. 2:12. Many seemed to think that 1 Tim 2:12 referred to a wife and husband.

One thing seems clear - the wording of 1 Tim. 2:12 is not likely to mean "I do not permit a woman to teach and lead in church."

It likely means "I do not permit a woman to teach and make an autocrat of herself."

Larry

December 7, 2010 at 08:02 PM

Sue, I appreciate the wealth of background you've brought to the discussion, it helped me a lot. While Kevin DeY's thoughts focus on the subjective sense of the term 'assume' to lay English-language ears, you show that "assume authority" comes from a solid historical tradition and shouldn't be dismissed as a new attempt to subvert the text. Indeed, the apostle seems then to imply by using authentein that a woman's exercising authority would be by its nature a usurping of authority--which the word exercising by itself doesn't convey. Is that right?
I also want to object to the notion that the translators' attempt to find an ambiguous term that doesn't overtly play into comp'ism or eg'ism should not be scoffed at, since the translators want to recognize both views as held by people who hold to the authority of the Scriptures. We should not ask translators to carry a torch for our view--a view that doesn't hang on this or any one Scripture, and should easily survive one ambiguous rendering.

Michael

December 7, 2010 at 07:48 AM

Choosing "assume authority" even when the research shows otherwise IS bowing to a theological agenda!

I'm not quite sure why this is a surprise to anyone, considering on their FAQ at biblia.com, when asked about gender neutral language they state:

“To the extent that gender inclusive language is an established part of contemporary English and that its use enhances comprehension for readers, it clearly was an important factor in decisions made by the translators.”

Doug Hibbard

December 7, 2010 at 07:41 AM

I think that's my problem with this as well: "assume" has a negative connotation in modern ears. Even the example of the President "assuming" power is often slightly jaded, as it's rarely used these days apart from a party or ideological shift in the office.

So, in all, I think this will shift the opinions of readers. It makes it sound like this instruction is only related to taking authority from someone else, not that it's applicable even in a power vacuum.

All told, though, I'm glad I'm not trying to do translation for a calling, especially dynamic equivalence. I'd never get it right.

Mike Aubrey

December 7, 2010 at 07:35 PM

William Mounce in his Pastoral Epistles makes it quite clear that he follows Baldwin and also views "assume authority" as neutral:

"Of the several subdivisions of Baldwin’s five categories, he suggests four as possible in 1 Tim 2:12: “To control, to dominate; To compel, to influence; To assume authority over; To flout the authority of” (78–79). The question of the meaning of ????????? is not insignificant. If it means “to exercise authority,” then Paul is prohibiting any type of authoritative teaching (see the next phrase) that places a woman over a man (cf. 1 Cor 11:2–12; Eph 5:22–33; 1 Pet 3:1–7). If it means “to domineer” in a negative sense, then it is prohibiting a certain type of authoritative teaching, one that is administered in a negative, domineering, coercive way, thus leaving the door open for women to exercise teaching authority in a proper way over men. While word studies have their limitations, as Baldwin points out, he has proven his point" (128)

And everyone should note that his commentary was published far, far before he began serving on the CBT (it was published in 2000).

So now we have TWO complementarian scholars who treat "assume authority" as neutral just as CBT claims it is who have published specialized literature in this realm. One of them wrote what complementarians view as the definitive lexicographical study on ????????? and the other is a person who most would view as a leading authority on New Testament Greek.

So Kevin DeYoung, are Baldwin and Mounce wrong? If you say, "Yes." Then you need to revise your sentence: "I think H. Scott Baldwin and others have demonstrated that the best rendering of the Greek in 1 Timothy 2:12 is “exercise authority.” I’m no professional, but from all I’ve read I think “assume authority” is a mistake on translation grounds."

And if you do throw out Baldwin, then you have no lexicographical study to appeal to and you need to go back to the documentary evidence--just like Sue has been trying to get you to do all along here.

So who is right? Baldwin and the new NIV & TNIV? Or Denny Burke? Last time I checked, his specialty is neither lexicography or 1 Timothy.

Sue

December 7, 2010 at 07:18 PM

"And this understanding is precisely what egalitarians have been arguing for and what, according to recent scholarship, the usage of authentein in Greek literature argues against."

That's the line that I wanted to respond to. The usage in Greek literature is rather dismal. Here is one of the occurrences,

"Wherefore all shall walk after their own will. And the children will lay hands on their parents. The wife will give up her own husband to death, and the husband will bring his own wife to judgment like a criminal. Inhuman masters will authentein their servants, and servants will assume an unruly demeanour toward their masters. None will reverence the grey hairs of the elderly, and none will have pity upon the comeliness of the youthful. The temples of God will be like houses, and there will be overturnings of the churches everywhere.The Scriptures will be despised ..." Hippolytus. End of the World

BGU 1208 is untranslated and seems to refer to the coercion of one citizen by another. Grudem thought it might mean "to compel."

The other reference is (2nd century) Ptolemy Tetrabiblos "If Saturn alone is ruler of the body and dominates mercury and the moon."

That's about it. I always look forward to other suggestions.

Mike

December 7, 2010 at 06:53 PM

Uhh... Jeremy, that is actually the real name of the church...

Sue

December 7, 2010 at 06:46 PM

Mike,

Thanks for you comment. I will have to check Baldwin's study again. I always had the impression that Baldwin had one entry for "those in authority" for Philodemus, which was later shown to have been inaccurate. However, Philodemus was once cited in the BDAG. But somehow it was a misquote in the end.

I always thought that there was a reason that people chose "to have authority" even if it was a mistaken reason.

Thomas

December 7, 2010 at 06:39 PM

Jeremy your comment is nonsensical.

What is said is factually true and therefore there is nothing childish or unhelpful about it. That is the name of the church and Blomberg's wife serves in a role that leads the church. So slow down with the rebukes Jeremy as you might want to check your facts first.

Mike Aubrey

December 7, 2010 at 06:36 PM

H. Scott Baldwin in Women in the church: An Analysis and Application of I Timothy 2:9-15 GIVES "assume authority" as one of the basic meanings for the word. The closest Baldwin gets to "exercise authority" is a *sub-entry* beneath "assume authority." And he doesn't even use the phrase then. He uses "exercise one's own jurisdiction." If you don't have the book (and you should have the book), use Amazon's search inside feature. Its there.

Have complementarians rejected that particular monograph now? Why wasn't there a rush of anger and outrage with Baldwin didn't use the phrase "exercise authority"? Why wasn't there outrage that Baldwin used the term "assume authority"? Why now? Why does the outrage come only when the words "assume authority" come from the "other side."

What nonsense!

Jeff

December 7, 2010 at 06:35 PM

I think we're making this an overly complex issue because we are trying to reconcile a simple biblical command with a newly found belief in women's rights after centuries of sexism.

[...] “assume authority” favors and egalitarian interpretation of this seminal text. Today, Kevin DeYoung has weighed-in. He [...]

Sue

December 7, 2010 at 06:20 PM

I'm sorry. I just realized now that you did not want to talk about the Greek. Excuse my comment or ignore.

Adam Parker

December 7, 2010 at 06:20 AM

Not to be too crass or unfair, but every egalitarian I've ever discussed these issues with couldn't care less what St. Paul thought about this subject. I once had a college professor tell me that Paul was just offering his opinion, and that he had no idea what he was talking about, at that. Although I am sure there are egalitarians out there who really want to stick close to what Paul said on this subject, I have yet to meet one.

And you're absolutely write that to the average reader "assume" = "authority inappropriately gotten." Thanks for your service to the church.

Sue

December 7, 2010 at 06:19 PM

"Assume authority" falls somewhere in the middle of the range of possible transalations for authentein.

1. Other occurences of authentein at that time suggest violence and coercion. BDAG provides "to dictate."

2. Jerome translated it as dominari, which was the thing that no church leader should do, in 1 Peter 5:3.

3. Luther used "be the lord of"

4. Calvin used "auctoritem sumere" which is where "assume authority" came from.

5. Erasmus used "auctoritatem usurpare" which is where "usurp authority" in the King James Bible came from.

6. "To have authority" appears in Tyndale and Geneva but has no traditional precedent or translation history supporting it.

Of all these, "assume authority" is relatively neutral and descends from the English translation of Calvin's commentary, the Calvin Bible. It is clear from Calvin's commentary that he thought that this was a negative thing that women were doing.

There is no lexical support for "to have authority" of for "lead in church."

Kostenberger's syntactic argument simply suggests that authentein must have the same force as "didaskein." Since didaskein has a negative force in Titus 1 this puts us no furhter ahead.

In summary, Baldwin's study does not have evidence to support the conclusion that authentein meant to have authority with a positive connotation.

It is sad to see that complementarians are creating a rift among themselves over this verse.

Jeremy

December 7, 2010 at 06:14 PM

Scum of the earth church? Thomas, you are aware that you make yourself out to be childish when you say stuff like that. It does no one any good. But I was about to pipe in with regards to Blomberg. I don't think he is a complementarian in any sense.

[...] are Kevin DeYoung’s thoughts on the new NIV’s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 (one of the most important verses in the [...]

Rose

December 7, 2010 at 04:43 PM

I can't help thinking that Satan is using this discussion to distract us while men assume authority illegitimately or exercise authority that doesn't belong to them. Perhaps church polity isn't as unimportant a matter as we might think, given the pulpit exchanges and shared stages we regularly experience. The line that struck me most in this post was, "If “exercise authority” is the best translation, then authority is the problem." I think we might spend some time discussing what we think is the legitimate authority one child of God has over another, whatever that child's gender.

Dan

December 7, 2010 at 02:50 PM

"There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure,
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings"

That is exactly how the translation strikes me as an American English reader.

Considering the NIV 2011 « Cavman Considers

December 7, 2010 at 02:32 PM

[...] have an even harder time with 1 Timothy 2.  They have weakened the sense of the text greatly (Kevin DeYoung addresses this).  In the next chapter, regarding officers, the newer versions maintain the [...]

Dave Fox

December 7, 2010 at 02:24 PM

Contrary to what Blomberg and Moo would have us believe, the translation became bias as soon as the translators tried to remain neutral and unbiased.

Philip

December 7, 2010 at 02:21 PM

Yes Jeff, let's not take to heart the words of Holy Scripture.
You miss the irony it seems in a 'dynamic equivalent' group (which is supposed to take into account context and meaning) missing the import of the very next verse: For Adam was formed first, then Eve. How in light of that verse, which stands *as the explanation of the rule* can you blow it by changing away from 'exercising authority' to 'assuming authority' with that kind of context clue?

And Kevin you are right, I naturally read it as "usurp".

[...] and Reformed crowd seems to regard as a central doctrine of Christianity. This time it comes from a post by Kevin DeYoung who is upset that the updated NIV translates 1 Timothy 2:12 in way that could be interpreted as [...]

Anthony

December 13, 2010 at 03:06 PM

You know what happens when you assume....

[...] Translation: Kevin DeYoung offers his take on the new NIV’s interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 [...]

Sue

December 11, 2010 at 12:53 AM

Much of China was evangelized by Bible women who had rejected the patriarchal expectations of their own culture. Some very influential Chinese women rejected marriage and became full time evangelists, one of whom eventually came to the US and addressed students in seminaries - Christina Tsai. I cannot help but think of how many women worldwide have made enormous sacrifices, only to be insulted by the notion that they ought not to have taken initiative since that is the prerogative of men. I hope that these ideas about women will be marginalized and eventually be considered only a remote and unrepresentative imitation of Christianity.

Mike

December 10, 2010 at 12:41 AM

You made some valid points, Sue. I also appreciate the work women have done in positions of leadership. Right here in Asia I have female missionary co-workers who are going into places that really need all the leadership they can offer, including teaching men the Scriptures since there is nobody else to do it. And they are doing it with all humility in the Lord, which is a real testimony. So, I totally agree that there are times when women must take the lead, and God will help them to do it, but I just don't see that as a general pattern in Scripture.

Hopefully you and others have read my previous posts. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I'm advocating "the subjugation of women," but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are speaking in general terms. You've got a sharp mind, Sue. May God use you in great ways.

Sue

December 10, 2010 at 12:18 AM

I meant to say, "Egalitarianism will not make life perfect either." But in comparison to other systems, it is the best we have.

Sue

December 10, 2010 at 12:17 AM

There are more than enough sick people that need help. We don’t need to worry about who is to treat them. Consider the incredible number of hurting women. Many of them are going untreated, and nobody needs to be in a teaching position over men to help them.

Actually, female missionaries challenged the boundaries of their own day, entered medical school and graduated as doctors and worked in many countries offering medical services to women. As medically trained personnel, some of them trained young men and women under them and administered hospitals.

Women do need to teach, and have leadership at the highest levels to alleviate the suffering of women. Catherine Booth preached and addressed the parliament of her day on the behalf of young girls trapped in sex slavery. Anyone who denies women leadership, anyone who subjects women, makes women subject to the sins of men. That is just the way life works. Everyone who speaks for the subjection of women, causes damage to women, although perhaps not intentionally. Egalitarianism will not make life perfect.

As C. S. Lewis said, democracy is the worst form of government there is, except for every other form of government. Our democratic countries have many problems, but we don't want to return to an absolute monarchy, or to an imperial system or a dictatorship. If men don't want this, why would women?

Martha

December 10, 2010 at 08:57 AM

I've been following these postings with great interest, respectively disagreeing with my complementarian brothers. But this is quite grievous to me:

"Right here in Asia I have female missionary co-workers who are going into places that really need all the leadership they can offer, including teaching men the Scriptures since there is nobody else to do it."

So...because there are no longer...or were never...men to teach the scriptures...I guess we can settle for women doing it?! So our practice is not based on our conviction...but perceived need?!

Jeff

December 10, 2010 at 08:04 AM

"Jeff, can you imagine a society where everybody has rejected this equation and lives at peace with one another in terms of value, worth and status? "

Mike, okay, why don't you let this glorious servanthood begin with you? In your church, why don't you take the role of having to be silent, obedient, and not being able to be a pastor, and let the women have the upper position? Any man (or woman) would say this is a just blatantly sexist.

choppie

December 10, 2010 at 03:28 AM

I think that Paul thought that women were only good for one thing. If a leader of a church marries, it is simply so that he can fulfill "urges" that Paul himself could control. However, if unable to control your urges, than you should marry so you are not tempted by women of ill repute. So... I guess now I know why ministers marry! It is a shame that it is not for actual love... or something non-Paulian like that...

I am obviously no theologian, but there are verses from Paul that are never discussed that show me he was quite sexist and opinionated about women, and perhaps what Jesus said should carry more weight. Of course Jesus told the disciples to wear two robes and carry two swords for their protection after he was crucified, and to stay in the home of someone where they were teaching, and if they are not accepted, wipe the dust of the town off their feet etc...

The changes away from these verses are due to cultural changes over the years, however the only verse that does NOT ever change is the one thought to prohibit women from ministering. I don't know, but in my simple mind, it seems that changes that make the men more comfortable are simply culture, but women should still be servants in all areas... It just shows that sexism is alive and well.

Mike

December 10, 2010 at 01:20 AM

After reading my above post, I should clarify that when I said "And they are doing it will all humility in the Lord" I was thinking of their conservative background and how they would have been reluctant to do so under other circumstances. I did not mean to imply that women aren't normally humble when doing so.

Ok, I will probably make this my last post. For those two or three who have stuck it out to the end, thanks for sharpening my thoughts on this. Every blessing, Mike