Monday, October 24, 2011

If Someone Is In Christ, It's A New Creation

Adapted from a comment I made at a blogpost where a church discussed how it had concluded that women could be in church leadership:

In the incarnation God became human, and at the crucifixion Jesus died for all humans' sins as the last Αδάμ/אדם, and through the resurrection Jesus became a life-giving Spirit, the New Creation, the New Human, in Whom all who believe in Him are, whether Jew or Gentile or slave or free or male or female, and with Whom they all are clothed.

Christ is the κεφαλή of the church, which is His body and His bride. All the members of the body, regardless of gender, are to grow up into Him Who is the κεφαλή, and to help all the other members do the same, using the gifts and grace Christ has given them. It's not about gendered or gender-restricted "roles," but about χαρίσματα and χάρις. There is not "male and female" here, but Christ, Who is over all, and through all, and in all.

If someone is in Christ, it's a New Creation.

There is one body, and all its members are priests. It is inconsistent to reject the sacerdotalism that would have male priests in persona Christi stand between believers and God the Father, as is the case in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, but retain its vestige in the guise of "male-only" pastors and elders.

We should not judge by the flesh or by appearances and restrict how God's Spirit gifts and builds His church. There is no "male" human nature that Christ exclusively took on, or "male" sin nature that Christ separately nailed to the cross. Human is human, and sin is sin, whether the human is male or female. The Jesus Who lives in male believers is not a different Jesus from the one Who lives in female believers.

Which qualities or fruits or gifts of the Spirit are male? Which are female? Which aspects of the nature of Christ can only be exercised and expressed in the church by males, or can only be exercised and expressed in the church by females? Indeed, if nurturing and caring for and giving His life to and for the church, His body, are priorities of Christ's, then an argument could be made that females are better suited to lead and pastor churches than males.

But it's not about whether it should be "males" or "females" who lead Christ's church. CHRIST leads His church, and He gives and gifts and empowers and builds as He wills.

(Also see "A Quiz For Complementarians")

Saturday, October 08, 2011

New Living Translation 1 Timothy 2:11-15 Fail

Mardel had this $140 (Yikes!) Cambridge New Living Translation (NLT) Bible in new condition on sale in their Special Purchase/Bargain Bibles rack for $25: NLT Pitt Minion Reference Bible, Goatskin Leather, Black

It feels great, it's eminently portable, the print is small but still easily readable by me, it has center-column references, it opens perfectly flat, it has two ribbon markers, etc.

I've recommended the NLT to others because of things Bible translators have said, as well as because of some of the passages I've read, so I ALMOST bought this as a briefcase Bible.

But two things stopped me:

1. Though I won a NLT Study Bible (2007) in a drawing from Logos Bible Software, I still mainly work from the Greek text for the New Testament and (as best as I can) my JPS Hebrew-English Tanakh and the Septuagint for the Old Testament.

2. For "fun" I turned to 1 Timothy 2:11-15, and saw that the NLT translates the passage this way:
11Women should learn quietly and submissively. 12I do not let women teach men or have authority over them.[b] Let them listen quietly. 13For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. 14And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. 15But women will be saved through childbearing,[c] assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.

b. 1 Timothy 2:12 Or teach men or usurp their authority.

c. 1 Timothy 2:15 Or will be saved by accepting their role as mothers, or will be saved by the birth of the Child.
The Greek for the passage is:
11 γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ: 12 διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω, οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλ' εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ. 13 Ἀδὰμ γὰρ πρῶτος ἐπλάσθη, εἶτα Εὕα: 14 καὶ Ἀδὰμ οὐκ ἠπατήθη, ἡ δὲ γυνὴ ἐξαπατηθεῖσα ἐν παραβάσει γέγονεν. 15 σωθήσεται δὲ διὰ τῆς τεκνογονίας, ἐὰν μείνωσιν ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ καὶ ἁγιασμῷ μετὰ σωφροσύνης. (Boldface indicating emphasis is per The Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament)

My rough and quick translation: "11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 But I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been [greatly?] deceived, has come to be in transgression. 15 But she will be saved through childbearing, if they continue in faith and love and holy living with self-control."
I don't see how the NLT's "The woman was deceived, and sin was the result" is a good translation choice. It
  1. obscures the subordinate participial clause "having been deceived";
  2. loses the emphasis in the Greek on "in transgression"; and
  3. severs the connection between the woman's "fallen" state and her (their?) need to be delivered from it per 2:15 by making it appear that "sin" was what happened, not that the woman came to be in a state of (γέγονεν, a perfect verb) transgression.
The NLT also changes the singular "woman" in 2:11-12 to the plural "women," changes the singular verb "she will be saved" in 2:15a to the plural "women will be saved," and IMO overly interprets the Genesis Fall account by adding "by Satan." (When Paul alluded to this in 2 Corinthians 11:3, he wrote "the serpent," not "Satan.")

So I'm sticking with my original language Bibles and, for portability, my other (and cheaper) hand-sized Bibles. Someone else can get this $140 Bible for $25.

More discussion of questionable or curious translations in the NLT can be found in this thread where I first raised the subject of this post.