First Impressions of the Common English Bible New Testament: Galatians

Yesterday I received my free copy of the Common English Bible (CEB) New Testament.  The tag line for the CEB is as follows: A fresh translation to touch the heart and mind.

The CEB is a result of 115 leading biblical scholars from 22 denominations, field tested by 77 reading specialists in 13 denominations.

Here’s the grind: for the next several weeks, I’ll be posting my First Impressions of the CEB from Paul’s Letters, beginning with Galatians, with the ESV as a match up, from time to time:

—from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians:

1:6— “another gospel” and 1:7—“another gospel.”  The CEB takes the Greek adjectives heteros and allo, respectively, as synonyms.  However, the ESV doesn’t: “different gospel” and “another,” respectively.

2:9— “shook hands… as equals” vs “the right hand of fellowship” (ESV).  I’m feeling that English idiom.

2:16— “by faith in Jesus Christ” for the Greek διὰ πίστεως Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ.  I was actually expecting “through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ” here.  Perhaps that would be the case in Romans 3:22.

2:20—interestingly the CEB doesn’t translate Χριστῷ συνεσταύρωμαι, “I’ve been crucified with Christ.”  And there’s no footnote to explain this omission.

3:1— “You irrational Galatians!” vs “O foolish Galatians!” (ESV)  I really like “irrational” better in light of the questions that follow (vv. 2-5).

4:5—the Greek υἱοθεσίαν is rendered simply as “adopted” vs “the adoption of sons” (ESV) or “adoption of children” (NRSV).

4:23, 29— “conceived the normal way” vs “born according to the flesh” (ESV).  Given Paul’s use of sarx, “flesh,” in Galatians, which is often portrayed as an antagonist, the CEB’s “normal way” misses the point.

4:21-5:1 marks a section vs 4:21-31 and then 5:1 in the ESV.  Given the Greek text and even the flow of thought, I go with the CEB here.

5:13-19— “selfish impulses,” “selfish desires,” “selfish motives” for sarx vs “flesh” in the ESV.  I say keep it simple with “flesh.”

6:14— “God forbid” for that Pauline negative μὴ γένοιτο, “far be it” (ESV).  Interestingly, even the NLT has “God forbid” here.  Why not?  It still rocks!

All in all, the CEB does have that freshness to it.  I find it a smooth read as well.

Next, I shall consider Romans.

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67 Responses to First Impressions of the Common English Bible New Testament: Galatians

  1. Craig Benno says:

    I think I prefer the translation in 4:5 as being adoption of sons, and not children.

    I wrote about what Paul meant by Son’s in verse 3:26 http://craigbenno1.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/some-thoughts-about-the-huioi-being-translated-as-sons-in-gal-326/and believe that thought has to continue through to 4.5 to gain the full meaning of what Paul is saying.

    Overall though I like what you have shown and believe it will be a worthwhile version to read.

  2. T.C. R says:

    Craig,

    I’ve always felt that 3:25-5:7 is a section. Interestingly the CEB does have it that way.

    Now to render υἱοὶ as “sons” and not as the gender inclusive “children” or “daughters and son” is going to put us into that debate of what exactly was Paul drawing on – the Greco-Roman custom of adoption of males as heirs or Israel as God’s firstborn son? It’s a tough call. 😉

    Btw, the link doesn’t work.

  3. Craig Benno says:

    I think Paul can be interpreted as doing both, but I actually think Paul is combining both the Greco Roman and Hebrew culture. . Especially when you consider the context of the letter in regards to the Jewish circumciser’s… and that circumcision was a point of Jewish male pride.

  4. T.C. R says:

    Craig,

    Thanks for correcting the link. Your post is quite good. I’ve also argued something similar before but not as extensive in terms of going all the way back to Gal. 3:26 and moving forward to 4:7, which I think is one section of thought.

    Here again we need to part ways with those ill Bible divisions. 😉

    Let me chew on that combination of both cultures. Do you have James Dunn’s commentary on Galatians? I’ve yet to own it. I’m planning on getting it rather soon. I’ve delayed too long.

    • Craig Benno says:

      I don’t have Dunn’s book either…. one day…one day.

      The divisions in the Bible frustrate me no end…..

      Why I think Paul is drawing on both cultures is because of the inclusiveness of his message throughout Galatians. He is writing to both Jew and Greek. Paul has developed a pattern in drawing from both cultures which is shown in Romans and Ephesians and then draws them together to make his point.

  5. Sue says:

    Either one believes that women really are ‘sons’ or we don’t. It is a tough call. Perhaps being female is a transient role with no spiritual reality, no eternal significance. Maybe we should, as females, reject our femininity and embrace our equal rights as sons. Perhaps there was an original intention in God’s mind to create only one sex, the male.

    On the one hand, perhaps there are no females in heaven, we are all one sex, which would explain the lack of marrying.

    On the other hand, CBMW teaches the eternal subordinate role of the female, so there must be male and female in heaven.

    However, the reformation came about without the translating “sons” in this phrase at all. Better not to even raise this issue, I guess they were thinking.

    • T.C. R says:

      Sue,

      What are we supposed to do with a text like Exodus 4:23 and its theological important through the narrative of Scripture?

      We’ve had similar discussions. 😉

    • Craig Benno says:

      Hi Sue.
      I’m not sure which angle your coming from here; so sorry if I’m mishearing you.

      I believe that Paul is teaching a full inclusive Gospel and in his statement that there is neither Male or Female he is stating a full gospel equality. I do believe that Scripture does teach gender differences in a way that affirms ones masculinity and femininity without subordinating one to the other, while affirming a mutual submission to each other.

  6. asphaleia says:

    Where can I get my 365 new translations per year calendar.

    I’m going to take advantage of your mention of συνεσταύρωμαι to ask why your blogroll link to the blog of that name spells it with a Roman S rather than a sigma.

    Heavens man, don’t you realize obsessive-compulsives have feelings too… 😉

  7. Gary Zimmerli says:

    (Hmmm… I wonder why mine hasn’t come yet.)

  8. Scott W says:

    TC-
    I’ve been using the CEB in addition to the NRSV which is the text for the Daily Office reading I do. But I also started to compare the CEB to the TNIV, which is the closest in philosophy and purpose than the NRSV/ESV.

    Impression so far. The only thing that is little bothersome the of contractions at times, which is my “issue.” Overall, I have to salute the scholars and editors and reading groups who accomplished this task in such a short time-a little over 2 years. I found that it’s not given to paraphrase; in some cases it’s fairly “literal” But it attempts to clarify in common english idioms which versions like the ESV would render straight. And, occasionally, it translated verbs with a stronger nuance.

    In Acts during the sea journeys there is a lot of technical nautical jargon (e.g., “lee). The CEB renders these passages beautifully in understandable terms which the ESV and NRSV presumes a more sophisticates vocabulary.

    And I like the fact that the CEB eschews the Latinate theological vocabulary of most versions, which can feed into transferring to the biblical text the developed theological discourse and controversies of much later times to th text itself. TC, I’d like to get your take on the rendering of dikaioo in a couple of places in CEB Romans as “make righteous.” CEB is a model of clarity of expression. I know that Richard Hays was the translator of Romans for the CEB, with Beverly Gaventa of Princeton Seminary as Co-translator; and Marion Soards of Louisville Presbyterian Seminary was the translator of Galatians.

  9. T.C. R says:

    Marv,

    You’re rocking, man. 😀

    Gary,

    In time.

    Scott W,

    I do love the freshness of the CEB.

    Yes, I too have a problem with some of the contractions. Just some.

    When I do Romans, I’ll say more about the Latinate theological vocab and the rendering of dikaioo, esp. in light of Gal. 2:16. I’ll say this much: I’m a fan of Richard Hays. 😉

    So far I’ve read a few spots in Acts but not on the voyage. Perhaps later this week.

  10. Theophrastus says:

    TC: Did you learn anything from this new translation? I have to admit I’m a bit skeptical — it looks very nice, but does it really provide “added value” beyond that available in existing translations?

    I’ve seen a number of translations recently (examples: Robert Alter’s Psalms (2007), Willis Barnstone’s Restored New Testament (2009), New English Translation of the Septuagint) from which I learned new things.

    In contrast, I find many current “popular” translations are just “more of the same” (the most egregious example being the ESV, which teaches me nothing that I have not learned from the RSV and the KJV). I haven’t yet started to look over the CEB, but I wonder if it might also be another “more of the same” translation.

    Let me ask the question in another way: would you recommend the CEB to someone who has already read the Bible in translation?

  11. Sue says:

    TC,

    Should I assume that you mean ex. 4:22. Certainly Israel, as a son, was a recognized metaphor. But Zion, as daughter is also important.

    “Rise and thresh, Daughter Zion,
    for I will give you horns of iron;
    I will give you hooves of bronze,
    and you will break to pieces many nations.”
    You will devote their ill-gotten gains to the LORD,
    their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

    Micah 4:22.

    In fact, the TNIV is especially clear here, doing away with “daughter of Zion.” The point is that in Hebrew Israel is a masculine word, and Zion and Jerusalem are feminine words.

    There is no rational reason to translate υἱοθεσία as adoption of sons, rather than adoption of children. I doubt if there is even one person in the whole world, who, without reading a commentary or a footnote, or listening to a sermon, is going to read “adoption of sons” and be blessed by relating this to a certain legal point of Roman law, or to Israel as son, (ignoring the daughtership of Zion.)

    As you know, the reformation was able to dispense with this nicety – using the word “sons.” Choosing male terms now, when Luther and Calvin could do without them, seems like a deliberate attempt to distance women from the full blessings of new life in Christ. It comes across as a way of limiting women’s full rights as Christians.

    In modern Greek, the word υἱοθεσία is used for adoption of either male of female children, so I suspect that the notion that it refers to male children only in ancient Greece is unfounded. Naturally, I do accept that male children had more rights in ancient Greece, and that the term υἱοθεσία could refer in certain contexts to only males. However, that does not justify the fact that some Bibles read today in churches have eliminated the time honoured expression “children of God” completely. Such Bibles are making a deliberate statement about the low status of women in the church.

    Fortunately, the CEB will not be one of those.

    • Sue says:

      Craig,

      I believe that Paul is teaching a full inclusive Gospel and in his statement that there is neither Male or Female he is stating a full gospel equality.

      Using the term “sons of God” rather than “children of God” gives the impression that the eradication of male and female creates a single sex, but male.

      I do believe that Scripture does teach gender differences in a way that affirms ones masculinity and femininity without subordinating one to the other, while affirming a mutual submission to each other.

      I honestly have to say that I am not familiar with how the Bible teaches gender differences. If we put aside passages relating to specific social roles, master slave, husband wife, how does the Bible address the gender differences between unmarried men and women?

    • T.C. R says:

      Theo,

      Yes, the use of contemporary English idioms and metaphors as I noted in the original post.

      As I also said above, there is some freshness to the CEB. I shall be posting on Romans before the weekend is here.

      Before switching to the ESV, I had never been part of the KJV/RSV tradition for very long.

      Choosing male terms now, when Luther and Calvin could do without them, seems like a deliberate attempt to distance women from the full blessings of new life in Christ. It comes across as a way of limiting women’s full rights as Christians.

      Sue,

      You couldn’t be more wrong. When we consider Paul’s use of “sons” from Gal. 3:26-4:7, he is arguing for the full blessings of new life in Christ for women as well. Why can’t you see that? I don’t think you need to get hang up over the term “sons” as only referring to males.

      See where it is point in Paul’s usage – it is pointing to both males and females and so forth.

      In modern Greek, the word υἱοθεσία is used for adoption of either male of female children, so I suspect that the notion that it refers to male children only in ancient Greece is unfounded.

      We need to avoid lexical anachronism here. I’ve cited scholars upon scholars, even egalitarians, who support υἱοθεσία as referring to adoption of males only. But that’s not the point.

  12. Sue says:

    An historical analysis suggests that the term refers to adult males who were not slaves. But the effect is that, just as those under the law, all the descendants of Israel, are called ” children of Israel” so all the children of God should be called “children of God.”

  13. Craig Benno says:

    I disagree that Paul in the book to the Galations is talking about children of Israel. He is making a distinct point in this book that the Children of Abraham are those who are believers in Christ Jesus….Paul then takes great pains to draw the distinction that because there is no distinction between gender, nationality and class of people that they all are considered equal as sons of God…

    I agree that Paul may draw the distinction in Romans about the children of Israel… but his thrust there is to build up how bad the gentiles are… get the Jewish people to agree and then pull the rug from under them telling them they just as bad and then continues in the next vein to do the same to the Gentiles and back and forth it goes.

    Paul does the same type of argument in the book of Ephesians.

    In Galations he is using a different argument to answer a different problem. …

  14. Scott W says:

    One very interesting rendering I found just thumbing through the CEB NT is 1 John 3:9:
    “9Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA remains in them. “(marginal note:Or genetic character). DNA renders the Greek sperma, which is used figuratively. I’ve never seen a rendering like that! Most translations just go with “seed,” which is an archaic way of speaking of sperm or the male generative principle. I don’t think any translation has the “cajones” to touch that one!:) But as much as I think DNA might be too anachronistic; in common english it may be a close as you can get with a figurative rendering of seed, sperm for a contemporary audience.

  15. Sue says:

    i am not aware that the Greek word sperma was an equivalent for sperm. It actually means the “seed” as in a plant seed. This part of the plant is the ovule, which, once pollinated, becomes a viable seed. This is a distinctly female part of a plant. The pollen is male.

    In animals, the word sperma was used for either the male sperm, or in general for the offspring or product of reproduction. This is why Eve and Sarah both had “seed.”

    11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. KJV Heb. 11:11.

    I suppose that in the ESV the word “seed” was dropped because it doesn’t sound right to men today to think of women as having “seed.”

    The Bible is done immeasurable damage by viewing it through exclusive male lenses. Many people, reading Greek, assume that the Greek word has the same meaning as the English cognate word.

  16. Sue says:

    The implications of your comment is still sinking in, Scott. That you think of God as having a “male generative principle’ is astounding. If that were the case about the Bible, we would all be better off worshiping a phallus, as is the case in some cultures, rather than the cross.

    I think it must be pointed out that there are two religions named Christianity. One is about maleness and the other is about God.

  17. T.C. R says:

    Craig,

    I agree. Against the backdrop of the Jew-Gentile tension, Paul is laboring to show that there is one people of God, precisely because of God’s promise to Abraham, and that promise finding its fulfillment in the Jewish Messiah, but on behalf of all humanity, Jew and non-Jewish, compromising the People of God.

    Scott W,

    Stuff like that is why I’m liking the CEB and the freshness it brings. As you said it’s anachronistic, but it’s a worthy effort of capturing the underlying text.

  18. Sue says:

    You couldn’t be more wrong. When we consider Paul’s use of “sons” from Gal. 3:26-4:7, he is arguing for the full blessings of new life in Christ for women as well. Why can’t you see that?

    TC,

    You yourself are not arguing that women have the full blessings of new life in Christ. This undercuts the discussion right away.

    Next, I believe that there are three valid ways to translate υἱοθεσία in antiquity- adoption, adoption of sons, adoption of children. But many Bible translators like concordance, and so they have taken every mention of the children of God, and turned it into the sons of God. So, women, once raised with Bibles which said “children of God’ now find this expression has been eradicated. These same Christian groups relegate women to a lower status. Some women block off their emotions in this regard. The deprivation, the lack of integrity is so shocking to the senses, that sometimes the only way for women to cope with this doublespeak is to deny it.

    If you can demonstrate that using the term “adoption as sons” has influenced even one man to treat a woman as an equal, I will apologize. My sense is that some men treat women as equals and some don’t, but this phrase has little effect on men’s actions in this regard.

  19. Sue says:

    As you said it’s anachronistic, but it’s a worthy effort of capturing the underlying text.

    DNA is much closer than translating it as “sperm” in English. The meaning is different. I am surprised at the constant comment that honest translations are ‘anachronisms.’

  20. Theophrastus says:

    Hi TC —

    Thanks for your comment, but I was wondering — did you actually learn something new from the CEB?

    Other translations, such as the Good News, the HCSB, the CEV, God’s Word, and the NLT also try to use contemporary idioms (with varying degrees of literalness) — how is the CEB fundamentally different?

  21. T.C. R says:

    Sue,

    We need to teach our people how to read the Bible for all its worth, which includes taking seriously the customs of the their day and making the needed applications as they have been reworked in Scripture, not least Paul.

    Theo,

    I got you.

    For instance, when I compare/contrast the CEB against the CEV at Gal. 2:9, the CEB is more accurate even with its use of contemporary idioms.

    This much more I’ll say before my posting Romans: the CEB reads at a popular level but folks who are more thoughtful would appreciate it.

    But I still don’t know if I’ve answered your question. 😉

  22. Sue says:

    We need to teach our people how to read the Bible for all its worth, which includes taking seriously the customs of the their day and making the needed applications as they have been reworked in Scripture, not least Paul

    So you recommend reworking the translations of Calvin and Luther in regards to gender and tightening up the constraints eradicating one possible meaning of the original Greek. As I have stressed, we are talking about the ambiguity in the original, that it can mean either “adoption of children” or “adoption of sons.” But translators today have eliminated the phrase “children” in regards to God, although not in regards to “Israel” and have subsequently used this to disinherit women, to alienate them from the full blessings of the gospel.

    Somehow, I do not see this as progress. Women are being deceived. They are taught that “adoption of sons” is the MORE accurate translation, instead of the truth, which is that it is one POSSIBLE translation. Women will not be deceived forever. They have traded truth for stability and a good marriage, but those who do not get return on the dollar are going to cry foul one day.

    I regret that I am so outspoken, but to see this misunderstanding of words, the attribution of “male generative principle” to God, demonstrates how far this religion has strayed from its roots. The text was never intended to be interpreted by men only. It is impossible. If we do not include men and women in community, it is an exercise in futility.

    One strength of the CEB is the significant inclusion of women in the translation, and thank goodness, we do NOT read translations like ‘cajones,’ not because this is the wrong stylistic level, but because this is NOT the meaning of the Greek word sperma.

  23. Sue says:

    PS Of course, I have a bias towards the CEB since my former colleagues and classmates are among the translators. This is the text created by the academic environment which I enjoyed as a student.

  24. I am really wondering why they left out “I am crucified with Christ” in Gal. 2:20! What led to that serious omission?

    Dan

  25. T.C. R says:

    I regret that I am so outspoken, but to see this misunderstanding of words, the attribution of “male generative principle” to God, demonstrates how far this religion has strayed from its roots. The text was never intended to be interpreted by men only. It is impossible. If we do not include men and women in community, it is an exercise in futility.

    Sue,

    I admire your outspokenness very much, and I’ve been made to rethinking a lot of things because of many our our exchanges. So thank you.

    But I see no intent to deceive when we find “adoption as sons” even in a translation like the TNIV, with a fitting footnote. Are you questioning the TNIV’s translators scholarship?

    P.S. – I’m enjoying the CEB. Great to know that some of your former classmates and academic colleagues were translators.

    Dan,

    My suspicion is that the CEB NT will be adjusted after feedback. The same thing happened to the TNIV NT. I hope this is done at Gal. 2:20.

  26. Sue says:

    TC,

    Thanks for the comment. As you know, I admire your level-headedness and open spirit in all of this.

    You mention the TNIV. I do know that translators make certain choices in order to pacify, and the translators of the TNIV were under tremendous pressure. I would have to say that in regards to Fee, this has been a tragedy of significant proportion. It makes me feel a ill actually to think of what has happened. It is very distressing.

    But, what is completely disregarded here is my affirmation that there are THREE valid ways to translate the term υἱοθεσία, “adopted” “adopted as sons” and “adopted as children.” It is you who raised the point, who criticised the CEB for their choice. It is not me who criticises the TNIV or the ESV for using “adopted as sons.”

    What profoundly offends me is that “children of God” has been limited if not removed from the ESV. That offends me. If they do this for concordance with “adoption of sons” then it is simply wrong. υἱοθεσία meant BOTH, adoption of sons, AND adoption of children.

    I was told that the NRSV is not a suitable Bible for preaching the gospel because of the lack of “sons” when translating this verse. But Luther and Calvin did not see this lack as an impediment.

    They rightly understood that in translating υἱοθεσία, literally ‘placing as a son/child,’ the German word die Kindschaft and the Latin, adoptio were sufficient. Adoption, has this meaning in the Lewis and Short Dictionary, from the 1800’s,

    – a taking or receiving of one in the place of a child (also of a grandchild)

    What is truly reprehensible, is when someone makes the remark that using “adoption” or “adoption of children” is not appropriate for preaching the gospel, or is the result of modern feminist influence. This reveals a shocking lack of information, training in literature, ability to read either Luther or Calvin in the original, and it is a sin against good taste. But I have to admit that the most admired of theologians is guilty of this sin. May God forgive me the day I ever allowed myself to be open to the influence of theologians. It stunted my personal growth for years.

  27. Sue says:

    I am puzzled about what happened to “I am crucified with Christ.”

  28. Sue says:

    I intended to write,

    The Latin word ‘adoptio” has this meaning in the Lewis and Short Dictionary, from the 1800′s,

    – a taking or receiving of one in the place of a child (also of a grandchild)

    TC,

    I need to acknowledge that you did not personally criticize the term “adoption” but simply noted this term in the translation. Apologies for jumping on this. However, I do feel that this kind of thing leads to a male centred view of the text, one that does males no good.

    We all need to recognize that it is our humanity, our ability to empathize in ways that are appropriate to our circumstances, it is our response to others as human beings, and even for other living creatures, which provides the foundation for community. On the other hand, our sexuality is what is offered in intimacy and privacy, an exclusive relationship of giving to one other person, and not something to be spread high and wide.

  29. Theophrastus says:

    I looked over my sample copy this afternoon. I’m sorry to say that I judged the book by its cover.

    The back cover makes a big deal about “Color maps by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC” (highlighting the statement in white against a green background and including the the NG logo) — and then there is exactly one page (front and back) with a map (on one side, one tiny map of Paul’s journeys and on one side, one tiny map of the “Geography of Palestine”.)

    Repeated multiple times on the cover (both on the front cover and even printed on the spine) is “explore this new translation”.

    Strangely on the lower-right hand side of the back cover, it claims that the edition is “New Testament & Portions”, but it seems that really means “New Testament & no other Portions.”

    The back cover claims “Take a fresh look at the Bible while you experience a new translation.” Now, it seems odd to me to say “experience” a new translation (is that what our schools teach today? “Writing, Arithmetic, and Experiencing”? Did you “experience” the latest potboiler by James North Patterson? Is this an homage to Jimi Hendrix — “Are you Experienced?”) But it also seems to exaggerate by implying that anyone “experiencing” the Common English Bible will revise her opinions because of the “fresh experience”.

    Regarding the quote of Eileen Parfrey on the back cover — first, she repeats “reading” three times in 34 words — can’t she find a “fresh” word? Also, I’m not certain that it is wise to claim that people who read about hell-fire were “fired up” by reading this translation. (Especially since the front cover shows something being doused by water!)

    Based on this odd cover, I guess I should brace myself for another bruising Bible translation battle “my Bible is better than yours”.

    ——

    Looking inside, I’m not convinced that the translation reads naturally. For example, take 1 Timothy 3:1 “This saying is reliable: If anyone has a goal to be a supervisor in the church, they want a good thing.” That reads strangely on several levels, and not just because of the singular “they”. Or read 1 Timothy 3:3 “They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or a bully.” Is this talking about people who are bullies, or people who are addicted to bullies?

    The verses starting at Mark 16:9 are set off with a gray line and a flat statement “Additions added later” (which must be insulting to those who read those verses as Scripture!) Plus they have footnote saying “In most critical editions of the Gk New Testament, the Gospel of Mark ends at 16:8.” First, that is repetitive, and second, why use gray lines here when they editors do not seem to be used elsewhere in the text — even when the text contains statements that the editors believe are interpolated?

  30. Sue says:

    Fortunately I am only perusing the online edition so I have escaped a great deal of provocation, it appears!

  31. Pingback: Received the Common English Bible (NT) in the Mail | Apprentice2Jesus

  32. T.C. R says:

    Sue,

    I too understand your point of reference and “circumstances.” But their’s a larger context that you’re missing here by insisting on the proper translation of υἱοθεσία. I’m bent on theology, not linguistics colored by the “times.”

    Here’s what I mean: in the Exodus narrative, which is a foreshadow of the Jewish Messiah as the One through whom God would put the world to rights, we encounter Israel as God’s “firstborn son” and then the death of the “firstborn sons” at the 10th plague.

    Where Israel failed as God’s “firstborn son,” Jesus of Nazareth succeeded because of his obedience to the Father, so that in him we all, men and women, are “sons,” our derived status in God’s faithful Son (Gal. 3:26).

    For me, this has nothing to do with suppressing womanhood and the like. I’m working with the biblical narrative.

    Theo,

    Gender inclusive translations are going to present similar problems.

    Regarding Mark 16:9-20, the TNIV has this section in italics as well as John 7:53-8:11. I think it’s an unfair criticism of the CEB here.

    I shall be posting on Romans soon.

    Sue,

    Regarding Gal. 2:20 and “I have been crucified with Christ” is untranslated in the CEB. I don’t know why, except to say that “I no longer live” should perhaps sufficed. I really don’t know (perhaps a Matt. 5:2 going on…)

  33. Theophrastus says:

    Why does the fragment in Mark say “Additions added later” (let’s ignore that fact that it repeats “add” twice) and the fragment in John not say that?

  34. Sue says:

    TC,

    I argue that we can never create an exact parallel, so at some point we have to blink. In Hebrew and Greek, the plural of “son” actually meant “children,” but in English it does not. By maintaining “sons” in English, we give a false impression of the original language.

    Here is the catch. At the time that ten prominent theologians drafted the Colorado Springs Guidelines, none of them had any idea that the plural of adelphos, in Greek, meant brothers and sisters, specifically Cleopatra and her brother. Now how do we account for this kind of ignorance of the original languages? I maintain that it is exactly because maleness is over read into the original. These men were victims, or perhaps perpetrators, of a false teaching.

    I don’t disagree with your point about the narrative, except that we can construct a female centred narrative as well, from the heifer, from Eve, the giver of life, from Jerusalem, the daughter, from the woman as protector, Miriam, the guardian of Moses and her people, Rahab, the guardian of her household, from the little maid and Namaan’s wife.

    Women have read the Bible this way for 2000 years, causing women to go out as healers and teachers of justice in imitation of Christ.

    While the masculine is a feature of the text, it is not the centre of the text. Maleness ought not to be an essential of the gospel. And yet, some have made it so. Those who teach that women are in the image of God inasmuch as they are in a headship relationship with a man – father, brother, husband, or whatever, those people have made relationship to maleness an essential to being in the image of God. Some people are now seeing this kind of religion as something other than the gospel.

    Maleness in the narrative must be given its proper place. I have to yet to figure out what that is, however. I don’t have the answers, but gender accuracy is a challenge not met by translating every mention of generic humans as male.

  35. Sue says:

    With regard to “I am crucified with Christ” this phrase belongs in some texts to verse Gal. 2:19 and in others to verse 20. Perhaps it fell between the cracks, and exists on a computer somewhere, unassigned to either verse.

  36. Craig Benno says:

    Hi Sue. it would sure make it easier to follow the thread if you hit the reply button under the replies to your posts….

    Two things.
    1.) I appreciate your passon for gender equality and believe fully in it.

    2.) I am wondering why it is you are refusing to engage with what it is I and TC have said? I linked twice to my short article on why I believe the translation should continue to be sons. Yes we can replace the word “Sons” with “Children” however in doing so, the whole thrust of what Paul is saying to the Judaisers will be lost.

  37. Sue says:

    it would sure make it easier to follow the thread if you hit the reply button under the replies to your posts….

    I personally have difficulty following threaded comments. I miss the ones added higher up. But that is my bad.

    Two things.
    1.) I appreciate your passon for gender equality and believe fully in it.

    Thank you. I appreciate that.

    2.) I am wondering why it is you are refusing to engage with what it is I and TC have said? I linked twice to my short article on why I believe the translation should continue to be sons. Yes we can replace the word “Sons” with “Children” however in doing so, the whole thrust of what Paul is saying to the Judaisers will be lost.

    I did read your article and I thought that to a certain extent I did engage. However, you, and I think TC, are saying that the “thrust” of what Paul was saying would be lost.

    Are you saying that Luther and Calvin did not understand this text? Did they simply miss the meaning of this passage?

    Excuse my ignorance on this point. TC appears to believe that they did, and that we have developed insight in our day and age that was simply not clear to the Reformers. I somehow tend to doubt this, but I really don’t know.

  38. Sue says:

    In addition, you and TC seem to have a completely different understanding of the text. You seem to support women enjoying the full blessings of new life in Christ, – as much as anyone does – we are all limited by our circumstances, – and TC supports women enjoying whatever blessings their husbands allow, a vastly different thing.

  39. T.C. R says:

    I don’t disagree with your point about the narrative, except that we can construct a female centred narrative as well, from the heifer, from Eve, the giver of life, from Jerusalem, the daughter, from the woman as protector, Miriam, the guardian of Moses and her people, Rahab, the guardian of her household, from the little maid and Namaan’s wife.

    Sue,

    True, except that such construct is not the overarching one in the narrative of Scripture.

    It’s time we look beyond mere words and embrace the narrative of Scripture that informs the words under consideration.

    If you’re an egalitarian, then you should have not problem with what I’m saying. 😉

  40. T.C. R says:

    Sue,

    We make a mistake to view Reformers like Luther and Calvin the beginning and end of everything. Perhaps you need to read my quote from someone the likes of N.T. Wright. Do you embrace everything Luther and Calvin say?

    Luther and Calvin are not infallible, and they would be the first to admit such.

    Regarding Galatians 3, I’ve NEVER introduced a husband’s relationship to his wife and this “full blessing” concept. That’s not my preoccupation here.

  41. Sue says:

    We make a mistake to view Reformers like Luther and Calvin the beginning and end of everything. Perhaps you need to read my quote from someone the likes of N.T. Wright. Do you embrace everything Luther and Calvin say?

    Of course not! But my question was whether they missed the thrust of this passage? Nobody has responded to this. I argue that it is not important to use the male terms in order to communicate the original.

    I’ve NEVER introduced a husband’s relationship to his wife

    This reflects my presupposition that anyone who links to CBMW supports the notion that the husband is the ruler of the wife.

    But to return to the discussion of linguistic gender. There is significant ignorance of the use of gender in the Hebrew sacrifices. The sin offerings were of female animals, a female lamb, or a female goat, Lev. 4. or the heifer for purification. When John declares that Jesus is the lamb of God, there is no translation which declares that he must be a female lamb to retain the integrity of the narrative, the lamb as a sin offering.

    Why is it that only male details need to be retained for the purpose of the narrative? I don’t think that anyone benefits by feeling that they are likened to the firstborn males of the Egyptians. And, in an aside, why did God want to kill Moses anyway?

  42. T.C. R says:

    Of course not! But my question was whether they missed the thrust of this passage? Nobody has responded to this. I argue that it is not important to use the male terms in order to communicate the original.

    I would argue that they have.

    Why is it that only male details need to be retained for the purpose of the narrative? I don’t think that anyone benefits by feeling that they are likened to the firstborn males of the Egyptians. And, in an aside, why did God want to kill Moses anyway?

    If you think that we want to benefit from this reference to firstborn sons, then you’re missing what the text of Scripture is saying.

    Israel as God’s firstborn son, not Egyptian sons – then Jesus as God’s firstborn Son and our derived status in Jesus, as sons (Gal. 3:26).

  43. Sue says:

    Israel as God’s firstborn son, not Egyptian sons – then Jesus as God’s firstborn Son and our derived status in Jesus, as sons (Gal. 3:26).

    But Israel being a son and not a daughter is specific to certain passages in the Hebrew. In other places, Zion was the daughter. We derive status by being God’s children.

    I argue that the original can be read on two levels. On one level, the maleness is a feature of the text. However, the original Greek is ambiguous, because, in fact, girls were adopted in ancient Greece, although perhaps for different reasons. So, on another level, maleness is not important.

    In English, you have to transfer at some point from God’s son to God’s children, or you have a text which only addresses sons. Historically, the Bible, and all of English literature is infused with the phrase “the children of God.”

    But one could argue that the narrative demands that we understand that we are all the freeborn adult first born sons of God. But the text says υἱοθεσία, which can mean either “adopt as an heir” that is, eldest adult freeborn male, or simply “adopt.”

  44. Sue says:

    I am also curious to know what exactly it was that Luther and Calvin missed.

  45. T.C. R says:

    Sue,

    We must keep in mind that Exodus motif in Paul, not just isolated texts in the OT.

    Regarding Luther and Calvin, if they were insisting on “children” and so forth without an acknowledgment of what is going on in Paul, then, yes, they missed it.

  46. Sue says:

    We must keep in mind that Exodus motif in Paul, not just isolated texts in the OT.

    But those who advocate so loudly for this, do not advocate for a female lamb of God. Really, there is a discrepancy.

    Regarding Luther and Calvin, if they were insisting on “children” and so forth without an acknowledgment of what is going on in Paul, then, yes, they missed it.

    So you don’t actually know that they missed it, you just speculate that they missed it.

    This was one of the arguments I got into with my former minister. This and Grudem’s kephale article. It was a bitter day for me when I honestly faced the fact that the entire gospel was bound up in women being in a headship relationship with a male. Sheesh.

    Anyway, I just wanted to spout off about how differently all this reads to a female who was disenfranchised for years by the whole ball of wax. There are few enough women sharing their thoughts on these things. Thanks for letting me rant.

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  48. T.C. R says:

    Sue,

    I have Calvin’s commentary on Galatians, and yes, Calvin has missed it, but I’m not sure about Luther.

  49. Sue says:

    What did Calvin miss exactly and how does this affect his theology?

    • Craig Benno says:

      Sue two things.

      1) When it comes to translation of” Adoption” you are right to say this word is gender inclusive. However, the crunch is that Paul modifies who is being adopted by using the term “Uoi” which can only be understood as “Sons”

      Therefore this forces us to search the book to see why this is so. Which again I have pointed out in my article. It will do the Scriptures an injustice to just replace every gendered word with an inclusive word if in doing so will render the reading and interpreting the Scriptures weaker.

      2ndly) One of the things I have been struggling with is your combative style on this forum. I think it belittles the grace and the position you are trying to get across. It also seems to me that perhaps you are nursing a bitter root which is getting bigger…. All of us can become bitter if we don’t allow the grace of God to sweeten and work through those wounds… I speak of one with my own trials. You can read my story here on my other blog…

      http://mencanbeabusedtoo.wordpress.com/my-story-part-1/

      The point I am making is that I could easily become embittered on a gender basis… but have made the decision not to and keep pushing into God to bring his peace and healing and to show grace.

      Bless you Sue. craig b

  50. Sue says:

    Craig,

    I sympathize and certainly agree that men can be abused also. I have no doubt about that. We are all of us vulnerable to abuse in our personal relations. But usually the abuse is not from the pulpit, nor is the abuse taught as the will of God in your life.

    I am not saying that women are unique in the way they are abused, although the rate of physical injury is much higher in women, and the spiritual abuse is unique in many ways.

    I certainly agree, however, that complementarianism sets men up for terrible abuse, as the sole breadwinners, and responsible for all the problems in the marriage, etc. etc.

    But overall, my concern is that people simply do not understand the Greek. I am ready to give up. It is clear that truth, accuracy and what the original says will be excluded completely from the discussion.

    For example, you say,

    “When it comes to translation of” Adoption” you are right to say this word is gender inclusive. However, the crunch is that Paul modifies who is being adopted by using the term “Uoi” which can only be understood as “Sons””

    This is completely wrong. The word uiothesia, as a complete word, means “adopted.” We do know that in ancient Greece girls could be adopted. The word uiothesia is a word used for the adoption of children of EITHER sex. It is also used for adopting an heir.

    Both the Greek words uiothesia and sperma have been simply misunderstood in this thread, and these are only examples.

    I have to say that I feel the futility of arguing for what the original languages say. Obviously it is understood as being combative when I am simply frustrated at the resistance to simple facts.

  51. Sue says:

    “Uoi” which can only be understood as “Sons”

    This is the problem right here. Perhaps you have believed the Colorado Springs Gender Guidelines. I don’t know. But this is a myth.

    υἱός means one of the following
    – son
    – child
    – one of the race of people
    – equivalent to the Greek word παῖς which refers to a son or daughter

    For example in Revelations 12:5, it says “male child.” Are we going to argue that “male son” sounds correct in English. Why would the Greek say “male” if υἱός could only mean son?

  52. Sue says:

    Craig,

    I finished reading your story and I am very sorry for what you went through. I understand from other posts on your blog that things are happier now. I have to say that I am baffled at why you don’t empathize with my situation. I experienced similar things although more physical abuse. And then I am told by the church that the husband is the ruler of the wife. This is what the church is still trying to tell me. Doesn’t that seem harsh to you?

    Besides the nonsensical and idiotic approach to Greek, which amounts to attempting to read maleness into everything.

  53. Sue says:

    Craig,

    I did read your post about Gal. 3 the first time you mentioned it, but I did not respond because you said that slaves were not circumcised but castrated. In fact, if you read Genesis, slaves were castrated and in Lev. 25 you can see that they had children.

    I know you have some reason for calling me “bitter,” – it always feels momentarily good to put others down – but what I am really feeling is frustration. For some reason, it was not evident to you why I was feeling frustrated. I hope now you understand better what I am thinking when I read and respond in comments.

  54. Sue says:

    slaves were castrated

    Ouch! I meant to write “circumcised.” See Genesis 17,

    Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a(M) sign of the covenant between me and you. 12He who is(N) eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or(O) bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.

    So, when I was finished reading your post, I was not actually able to ascertain the point that you were making. This is what you called “combative” and “bitter.”

    Lighten up, Craig! Don’t always assume that you know what others are thinking!

    • Craig Benno says:

      Hi Sue.
      My comment about you seeming to be a little bitter was made from an observation from reading your comments here, your blog and another forum you frequent. The point from my linking to my personal story was to show that even in our frustration and pain of life, through the written text we can still show grace.

      You are right about the Hebrew culture of taking male slaves and circumcising them. However Paul is not talking to a Hebrew church. Rather he is writing to a Gentile church which is being infiltrated by Jewish instigators. Therefore the practice of castration was in line with the practice of the Roman / Grecian culture.

      Also note that the Hebrews were forbidden to allow castrated males into the assembly…. and hence those castrated were sentenced to being ostracised from the Hebrew God.

      Paul in speaking to both his Jewish and Gentile listeners is saying… no matter your circumstances you are sons of God… The point being that in the culture Paul is making he is calling females, slaves, children and gentiles SONS.

      Another point within the context of the book is that Paul is not allowing for any gender differences which the Jewish instigators could use if Paul used the generic term children (meaning both male / female) By his specific use of “Sons” Paul is really making a in your face point that Women, Slaves, Gentiles etc are all equal to God through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

      So the end result means that yes Paul does include females and males… but it goes deeper then gender through being inclusive of nationality and social class which the cultural term “Children” would not show forth.

  55. Sue says:

    Craig,

    Do you know what an ad hominem attack is? And do you somehow find this useful? You are not exactly a cheery guy yourself.

    You wrote,

    Sure God made male and female. Slaves were chosen to be castrated…not circumcised. But its the males whom God chose to be circumcised.

    I can’t make sense of your discussion here. What culture is it that has circumcision but does not circumcise slaves? The Hebrews? You say, no, it is the Romans. I really can’t make any sense of your thoughts on this topic, much as I would like to.

    Thanks for interacting Craig, and I am sure that others would benefit more than me by your ad hominem practices. I will have to go now.

  56. Sue says:

    So the end result means that yes Paul does include females and males… but it goes deeper then gender through being inclusive of nationality and social class which the cultural term “Children” would not show forth.

    This is odd too. Uioi is a term which means “children.”

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