Is it bigotry to suggest that the term “submit” in Ephesians 5:22 is not in the original text and that translators who imported it into the text may be misled to believe that Christian submission is one-sided? Apparently, one of my readers has recorded his criticism saying that my view borders on bigotry. I set the challenge aside to craft a response when I had time to research a complete answer. I failed to answer in a timely fashion, and another project and ill health put this research on the back shelf. It is now time to provide the evidence for the missing verb in Ephesians 5:22. This post responds to the first part of the criticism that I copied below. I hope that my readers will find the discussion helpful.
First of all, your scholarship is shallow and you are showing a very judgmental attitude toward the translators. It borders on bigotry, I suggest you check your heart before the Lord.
FYI the verse 22 DOES have the word “submit” (upotasso) in it. Only two manuscripts–P46 and B have upotasso left out. “Submit (upotasso) IS in thousands of manuscripts, including Aleph, A, D, F, G, I, K, P, Psi, the Uncials, the Byzantine; ancient translations into Italic, Syriac, Georgian, and Slavic; and ancient quotations by Chysostom, Origen, Basil, Theodore, Ambrosiaster, Ambrose, Jerome, Pelagius, and Augustine (not to mention Ignatius, in the Epistle to the Philadelphians, chap IV). Why did the editors of the NA27 Greek text leave it out? If there’s a bias in this issue, it would seem to be one that wishes to avoid the submission of women to men as taught in this verse. The only major translation that seems to follow the NA27 at this point is the New American Standard. All the others–and rightfully so, given the manuscript evidence–follow vast majority of the manuscripts, and the critical editions such as the Majority Text, Stephanus, Scrivener, and render the verse, “wives, to your own husbands submit, as to the Lord”. (Submitted by Tom)
Why did the editors of the NA27 Greek text leave out the Greek word for “submit”?
Tom suggests that the bias is with the NA27 team. Did they want to avoid the issue of the submission of wives? Tom seems to suggest that at best the scholars who produced the Greek text of NA27 had no good reason to leave out “submit” in Ephesians 5:22 or at worst that they were themselves biased. I set out to look objectively at the evidence. I found several compelling reasons for the omission of the verb “submit”. I also found out that the NA27 is not the only Greek text that has the term omitted in Ephesians 5:22. The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Society for Biblical Literature), the UBS 4th edition and the NA28 all leave out the verb in verse 22. There are also countless scholars and commentaries that note that the earliest manuscripts do not have the verb in verse 22. So, let’s have a careful look at the evidence. Continue reading →
Recently, I listened to a pastor describe the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. I was very interested to hear what he had to say since I had never heard anyone explain the context of 1 Corinthians to show how there is support for the silencing of women. I was quite surprised when he claimed the context of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 was 1 Timothy 2. I had heard him emphasize the importance of context, context, context many times. However, his explanation of what qualifies as context was always the same as mine. The context of a disputed verse are the verses and chapters that surround it. It is never a passage in another book. While another passage in another book can be related, it isn’t the context. So I asked him again. Could he please give the direct context from the book of 1 Corinthians that supports the silencing of women. I have not yet heard back from him, but I thought it would be a good idea to go back through the entire book of 1 Corinthians to gather all of the evidence that Paul documents for why the two verses of 1 Cor. 14:34-35 were added to his letter. I found so much more than I expected from looking at a wider context! There is way more material than I could put into one article, so I am going to try to distil the evidence into categories and then I will give a conclusion of Paul’s reasoning. I will challenge anyone who thinks I have not considered the entire context. I welcome you to bring me correction and show me the supporting context from the book of First Corinthians that defines and upholds the silencing of women in the church.
CONTEXT: The Corinthian’s Letter to Paul – Questions and Claims
1 Cor. 1:11 Paul reveals there are quarrels among the Corinthians – information passed on to him from Cloe’s people. The key purpose of the book is to deal with these conflicts and quarrels. Watch carefully throughout the book of 1 Corinthians how Paul ties in his correction with the source of the conflicts.
1 Cor. 7:1 Paul mentions a letter that the Corinthians had written to Paul. The letter from the Corinthians to Paul plus the report from Cloe’s people bring to Paul information about the quarrels.
1 Cor. 7:25 Paul moves on to another area of concern; “Now concerning” virgins.
1 Cor. 8:1 “Now concerning” things sacrificed to idols.
1 Cor 16:1 “Now concerning” the collection for the saints. All of the “now concerning” references are Paul answering what had been sent to him in writing.
Other comments that Paul makes do not directly reference the letter from the Corinthians, but they appear to answer challenges, claims or arguments. For example, 1 Cor. 6:12 says:
1 Corinthians 6:12 (NASB) All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.
Are “all things” lawful for Paul? The negation that follows appears to be Paul’s answer to the writer of the letter who claims not to be under any law. “All things are lawful for me,” the letter says, but Paul answers “BUT NOT all things are profitable.” Again, “All things are lawful for me,” the writer concludes, but Paul answers, “BUT I will NOT be mastered by anything.” Paul’s testimony in all the churches is that we are under the “law of Christ.” We can fulfill the duty to Christ through love and service to our brother (Gal. 6:2.) Anytime a statement is made in 1 Corinthians that appears contradictory to Paul’s known position we can suspect that Paul is dealing with issues that were presented to him, for Paul does not contradict himself. The fact that Paul consistently speaks about setting aside what is good for oneself and aiming for what is helpful for others as the “common good” should tip us off that the arrogant claim that “all things are lawful” is part of the quarrel among the Corinthians.Continue reading →
In 2006 my DVD Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free came out and since that time I have seen my share of scarecrows who are intent on destroying the message of women in ministry. One such scarecrow refuses to go away and it is time to create a blog post where others who have been hurt by the issue of women in ministry can share their pain. If you are a woman in ministry or a woman teacher and you have been hurt, abused or silenced and you would like to share a short story, this is the post for you to share with us. I will moderate the comments so that any scarecrow/troll who would like to sound off against women in ministry will either have their comments moderated or removed. This is a safe place where others who are like minded can encourage you as there are many who come to this community of loving Christians who value the worth and ministry of women.
The reason I named this post Stubble, Straw and Scarecrows is because those who are vehemently opposed to women’s gifts used for the common good are planting chaff and their words are nothing more than stubble and straw. Stubble, straw, and scarecrows are not God’s tools nor are they things to be afraid of. We are to fear God and allow Him to decide what gifts we receive for the fact is that the gift we receive from God comes with His permission to use His gift for God’s glory and the common good (1 Peter 4:11). No man can give us spiritual gifts and no man may kill God’s gifts within us. We are accountable to God and we must be faithful with what God has given us rather than holding back because of the fear of man.
Phil Johnson over at Pyromaniacs has struck up some heat on a post that he titles “The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of the Discernment Divas”. In this post and in his subsequent comments he makes his position plain that women are not allowed to publicly point out an error of a “duly ordained pastor”. Phil classifies many “housewives and homeschool moms” as bad discerners who are discernment divas. These “divas” believe that God has called them into a ministry of discernment but their abilities are not in rational understanding of doctrinal truth but an ability “to use a really sharp tongue” which Phil says is counter productive and embarrassing. Phil doesn’t seem to mind that this may offend a lot of women as he tells Friel that he is a descendent of the John Knox clan. It was John Knox who offended more than a few when he wrote the book The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women in 1558. In this book, Knox wrote that women compared to men were blind, weak, sick, impotent, mad, frenetic and their counsel is foolish. Continue reading →
In a recent blog post, there has been some discussion on 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 in the comment section, and the question of whether “a woman” is generic woman or a specific woman. I always appreciate questions and challenges on my position as it continually pushes me to continue to do research in order to answer the questions that are posed to me.
The question that was posed to me was regarding “a woman” and whether there is any proof that she is a particular woman that Timothy was aware of. The reason the question was asked is because in 1 Timothy 2:14 “the woman” is referenced and it is clear from the grammar that this is not Eve because “the woman” is still in the after effects of her transgression and her deception and since Eve is dead, her transgression is not on-going. A similar situation is in 1 Timothy 2:15 where “she” will be saved…if… The grammar is future tense and again it is impossible for this to be Eve as Eve is dead and gone and her salvation cannot be in the future and conditional. Continue reading →