WOMEN AND SCRIPTURE:

When Hebrew and Greek become English

 

 

 

 

(Compiled by: Sandra Dufield)

 

“The Bible is the inspired, trustworthy Word of God written and as such stands as the true

revelation of God’s message, regardless of any human reaction to it….We must recognize

that in some places Scripture is not completely clear to us.  We need further light, such as a clearer

rendering of the text or a greater understanding of the Bible background.” (Gretchen Gaebelein Hull)

 

 

“…Christians who are serious about studying the Bible on any subject need to be

aware of how easy it is for translators to incorporate their own ideas into their translations….all

translations are human products, produced by people who, like all of us, have unconscious sets of

blinders.  Like all of us, translators work from their own outlooks, their own prejudices.  We

have all been bent and influenced by the many forces of the society in which we live and by the

traditions of the churches of which we are a part.  This is true of every translator, every

commentator, every preacher, every lay reader and every student of the Bible.  Usually we are

not even vaguely aware of our blind spots – and we all have many….But only the original words

of the Holy Scriptures can claim unique inspiration.”  (Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen)

 

 

“We cannot believe that the church of God is already possessed of all that light which God

intends to give it; nor that all Satan’s lurking-places have been found out.”  (Jonathan Edwards)

 

“…once the distinctive character of each phase of the creation-fall-redemption model is recognized,

a coherent method of interpretation emerges from the Scripture itself….biblical texts that pertain

to each phase (creation or fall or redemption) are to be interpreted within their specific frame of

reference.  This eliminates the hodgepodge method of taking verses from various time frames and

bringing them together to make them say in collage what they do not teach in their original settings. 

As ridiculous as it seems, this scissors-and-paste approach to the Bible is often popular among the

very people who claim to honor the Bible as God’s Word.  The need to remind themselves that

respect of the integrity of each text requires that it be interpreted in relation to its historical

setting or its particular canonical context.”  (Gilbert Bilezikian)

 

 

PRINCIPLES OF BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

(As found in the books Heirs Together and Women Be Free by Patricia Gundry)

 

1.      Always interpret a verse in agreement with its context (its surrounding verses or chapters).  That is, the meaning of the part must be consistent with the whole.

 

2.      Interpret a passage in the light of its probable meaning to the persons for whom it was originally written.

 

3.      When interpreting a passage, consider the customs and events taking place when it was written.

 

4.      Interpret a passage in the light of all other Scripture.

 

5.      Do not use an obscure passage to disprove one with clear and obvious meaning.

 

6.      Interpret a passage according to the best use of the original language.

 

7.      Interpret social teaching in line with doctrinal teaching.

 

8.      If there is a principle set forth in the passage, do not interpret or apply the passage in such a manner as to deny or reverse the principle.

 

9.      Interpret the unknown in accordance with the known.

 

10.  Do not interpret a passage in such a way as to make it deny what we know to be true of God from other Scripture.


 

Original Greek / Hebrew Word

Reference

Translated Referring To God, Specific Individuals or The Church

Translated Referring to Men

Translated Referring to Women

A Consistent Translation of Original Language Would Give::

Hesuchia (Greek):

primary & secondary meanings “convey the idea that individuals are to settle down or stop agitating.” 1

2 Thess 3:12

 

settle down (hesuchia) and earn the bread they eat”

 

 

1 Tim 2:2

(to the church) “live peaceful and quiet (hesuchia) lives”

 

 

 

1 Tim 2:11

 

 

“Let a woman learn in silence (hesuchia) with all submissiveness” RSV

“Let a woman settle down (hesuchia) and submit to instruction” 1

1 Tim 2:12

 

 

“she is to keep silent (hesuchia)” RSV

 

she must be silent (hesuchia)” NIV

 

This specific mistranslation of original Greek has been used to restrict the role and ministry of women in the church.

 

“she is to be peaceable (hesuchia)

“she is to settle down (hesuchia) and show self control. 1

 

(see another 1 Timothy 2:12 reference below for additional information)

Chayil (Hebrew): “valorous”, “strong” and “powerful” 1

Nehemiah 11:14

 

“..mighty men of valor (chayil)” NKJV

 

 

Proverbs 31:10

 

 

“A (‘good’, ‘noble’, or ‘virtuous’) (chayil) wife, who can find her”

“a strong (chayil) woman, who can find her” 1

Sophrosune (Greek): “sane” or “self-controlled” 1

1 Tim 3:2

 

“Now the overseer must be above reproach…temperate, self-controlled (sophrosune)…” NIV

 

 

1 Tim 2:15

 

 

“…if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety (sophrosune).” NIV

modesty is also substituted

“…if they continue in faith, love and holiness with self-control (sophrosune).” 1 NKJV

 

Or “acting sensibly”

‘Ezer  (Hebrew):

Rescuer, strength, empowerer, help, deliverer, power.

 

“As it was used in the Old Testament, ’ezer did not imply superiority (or subordination) on the part of the ones giving (or receiving) assistance.” 1

 

The word [‘ezer, helper] denotes not domesticity or subordination but competency and superior strength (Ex. 18:4; Deut. 33:26, 29; Psalm 33:20, 70:5, 121:1).”  4

Genesis 2:18

 

The Hebrew word kenegedo is the modifier of ‘ezer in Gen. 2:18, meaning Eve is “corresponding to him [Adam]” or “equivalent” 1

 

 

‘Ezer is used often in the Bible to refer to God or to describe God’s activity in relation to people.

 

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence does my help (‘ezer) come? My help (‘ezer) comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

 

“a helper (‘ezer) suitable for him” NIV

“a helper (‘ezer) fit for him” RSV

“an help (‘ezer) meet for him” KJV

Surviving pagan views of women forced a subordinate role for Eve (women) into the interpretation of Gen. 2:18.  “There is not a hint, not even a whisper about anything like a hierarchical order existing between man and woman in the creation account….The creation order established oneness, not hierarchy (Gen. 2:24).”  4

“a power corresponding to man” 2

“a power equal to man” 3

 

“…the woman was instrumental in rescuing the man from being alone and, therefore, from not being yet the community of oneness that God had intended to create with both of them (Gen. 1:27)….The biblical text becomes violated when the word ‘helper’ is wrenched away and lifted out of this specific context to be given other meanings that demean women by reducing them to the level of ‘complements’ or docile conveniences created to improve the quality of male life.” 4  Eve received, along with Adam, the God created ability and mandate to co-rule, co-steward, and co-dominion over creation (Gen. 1:28-31).

Psalm 40:17

(to God) “You are my help and my deliverer (‘ezer); Oh my God, do not delay” NIV

 

 

 

I Chronicles 12:18

 

 

(fellow warriors speaking to David) “Thine are we….thine helpers (‘ezer); for thy God helpeth (‘ezer) thee” KJV

 

“In no sense can God be understood as being subordinate to the will or direction of David.” 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iounian (Greek)

The name of a woman: Junia.

 

The Greek word in Rom. 16:7 is “Ίουνίας” 18 or, “Ίουνίαν” 19.  Both show the “acute accent on the penult” 19 ( ί ), which indicates the name is feminine.  The masculine version of this name would be “Ίουνιâν” which has “a circumflex accent on the ultima” 19 (â).

                             

Romans 16:7

 

 

 

“Greet Andronicus and Junias (Iounian)...They are outstanding among the apostles…” NIV

 

English translators removed the feminine name Junia, and replaced it with the masculine name Junias.

This mistranslation of Scripture is thought to have occurred because translators believed Paul would not have allowed a woman in the position of leading and teaching in the church.  Translators took the liberty of altering scripture to reconcile it to their cultural understanding of male and female functions in ministry.

“Greet Andronicus and Junia (Iounian) ….They are outstanding among the apostles…”

 

“…Fourth-century bishop of Constantinople, John Chrysostom,…wrote of Junia, ‘Oh how great is the devotion of this woman that she should be counted worthy of the appellation [title] of apostle!’” 28

 

Craig Keener says of Andronicus and Junia, “…the Greek is most naturally read as claiming that they were apostles.” 29

Paul uses several different Greek words associated with the use of authority. 

 

 

 

(1) Authenteo (Greek)

Usurping authority, abusing power and authority.  Associated with strife. 1

 

Not normally used in Greek when referring to the legitimate proper use of authority. 1

 

(Continued next page)

Authenteo (Continued)

Four of these words are: Authenteo, Epitage, Exousia, and Huperoche,  

 

 

1 Timothy 2:12

 

 

(1 Tim. 2:12 is the only time “authenteo” is used in the entire New Testament. 1)

In Greek, each of these words associated with authority have a distinct meaning. 

 

This distinction is not acknowledged in English Bible translations.  In English, each word translates to the generic “authority”. 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority (authenteo) over a man” NIV

 

Restricting women from teaching, preaching and holding positions of leadership, has been torn from its unique temporary Ephesus context and incorrectly been applied universally

                         

to all women in all churches throughout all time.  This restriction is “founded upon a single obscure disputed Greek word.”  1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I do not permit a woman to (abuse, domineer, or usurp) authority (authenteo) over a man.”

 

Paul is thought to have said this in response to the unruly domineering behavior of women with pagan worship backgrounds.  Pagan mythology and Gnostic influence in Ephesus (a location for the worship of Artemis and Isis) taught that Eve existed before Adam (spiritually) and that Eve was not deceived, but was actually enlightened by the serpent.                           

These false teachings were being brought into the church and needed to be stopped and corrected. 6  Paul gave this correction in verses 13 & 14: “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”  Paul also addresses Eve’s origins in Ephesians 5:23 when he says, “the husband is the head [“kephale” (source)] of the wife.”

(see “kephale” below)

(2) Huperoche (Greek)

Superiority in rank, authority. 1

1Timothy 2:1-2

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority (huperoche)…”

 

 

 

(3) Exousia (Greek)

Authority, jurisdiction, power, or right.  It “…conveys a sense of ability and capacity.” 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Continued next page)

Exousia (continued)

2 Corinthians 10:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 9:4

 

 

 

 

1 Corinthians 11:10

“For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority (exousia) the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down…”

NIV

 

“Don’t we have the right (exousia) to food and drink?” NIV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority (exousia) on her head” NIV

                    

“For this cause ought the woman to have power (exousia) on her head because of the angels.” KJV

 

King James Version incorrectly “…adds an explanatory footnote: ‘That is, a covering, in sign that she is under the power of her husband.’” 1

 

The Living Letters, Phillips, and Good News for Modern Man Bible translations say the covering is a sign of the husband’s authority over the wife. 5 The original Greek biblical text never says this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Therefore ought the woman authority [liberty] (exousia) to have on the head because of the angels.” 1

“…literally translated says that a woman ought to have power over her own head.”  8                        There is not the slightest justification from a linguistic point of view to translate exousia as a ‘sign of authority.’”  1

 

“The most straightforward meaning of the expression [verse 10] taken alone would probably be that the woman ought to have authority over her own head, that is, authority to make decisions about her head (in this context most likely on the subject of veiling).” 9

 

“Authority [exousia] usually has an active sense indicating one’s own power….” 10

 

“We think Paul was saying that the women who were praying and prophesying in the church at Corinth…should have some symbol on their heads…to show that they had authority from God to speak.”  5

(4) Epitage (Greek)

Authority, commandment. 1

Titus 2:15

“These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority (epitage)…”

 

 

 

Diakonos (Greek)

Deacon or minister

 

Diakonos “…appears twenty times in Paul’s letters.  In sixteen of those instances it is translated ‘minister’, in three ‘deacon.’  Only in the case of Phoebe is it translated ‘servant.’  The word should be ‘minister’ here too.  We do not know in what manner Phoebe ministered, whether in teaching, overseeing, or other practical ministries; but she was definitely a minister, not a servant.  The Greek word generally translated “servant” is the word doulos, which referred to slaves.  In this case it is definitely not accurate to use it.” 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 16: 1 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colossians 1:23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Thess. 3:2    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colossians 1:7 ►

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ephesians 6:21►

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“…the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached…which I, Paul, became a minister (diakonos).” NKJV

 

 

“and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God (diakonos) and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ….” NKJV

 

 

“You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister (diakonos) of Christ on our behalf…” NIV

 

 

“Tychicus. A beloved brother and faithful minister (diakonos) in the Lord, will make all things known to you…. NKJV

“I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant (diakonos) of the church in Cenchrea.” NIV

 

Living Letters Bible translates diakonos “a dear Christian woman.”  Good News for Modern Man says, “who serves the church at Cenchrea.”  5

“I Commend to you our sister Phoebe, a minister (diakonos) of the church in Cenchrea.”

 

“…the word ‘deacon’ in reference to Phoebe, is translated some other way (“servant”) in KJV, ‘deaconess’ in others….However, Paul describes her with the same word that he uses to describe himself, Apollos, Tychicus, Epaphras, Timothy….”  7

 

The New King James Version translates “diakonos” as “minister” when referring to men and “servant” when referring to a woman: Phoebe.

 

“There is no such Greek word as deaconess.”  5

 

 

Gunaikas (Greek) Women

1 Timothy 3:11

 

(Addressing the qualifications for deacons)

 

 

“Even so must their wives (gunaikas) be….” KJV

 

“In the same way, their wives (gunaikas) are to be ….” NIV

 

“…the phrase “their wives” does not appear in the Greek.” [i]

“Likewise, women (gunaikas) deacons are to be….”

 

“In 1611, King James of England appointed a committee of scholars to translate the Bible. Anglican priests on the committee, in order to prevent women from serving as deacons, translated women in verse 11 as ‘wives’….” [ii]

 

Although Scripture recognized women would be deacons, the 1611 Anglican priests could not. According to their “Translation Notes” opened in 1961 after being under Royal Seal for 350 years, one priest justifies this intentional alteration of Scripture, writing: “ If we let the women be deacons, the next thing you know they will want to be priests.[iii]

Prostatis (Greek)

Champion, protector, leader or presider 21

 

“Justin Martyr used the term to indicate the person presiding at Communion.  The verbal equivalent occurs at Rom. 12:8; 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 3:4-5, 12; 5:17; Titus 3:8, 14,in all of which descries the action of governing.”  21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 16:2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Phoebe) “…so that you may welcome her in the Lord as is fitting for the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a benefactor (prostatis) of many and of myself as well.” NRSV

 

“… she has been a great help (prostatis) to many people….” NIV

 

“…she has been a helper (prostatis) of many….” NKJV

“…she has been a leader [or champion or defender] (prostatis) of many and of myself as well.”

 

“Some scholars have suggested that the last phrase of Rom. 16:2 should be translated ‘She has been ordained, even by me, as an officer over many.’” 21

 

“From classical Greek writings on through patristic writings it is used in its masculine form as chief, the leader of a party, one who stands before and protects, champion, defender, ruler, leader, supporter...Thayers Greek Lexicon gives the primary meaning for this word as ‘a woman set over others.’” 11

Hamebâsarot (Hebrew)

“The women who bring the news” 17

 

The “ot” ending in Hebrew is a feminine indicator and means “women.” 17

Psalm 68:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Lord gave the word; great was the company of those who proclaimed it (hamebâsarot).” NKJV

 

“…great was the company of those that publish the word of the Lord (hamebâsarot).” KJV

When the Old Testament was first translated into English, women did not teach or preach. This Hebrew text has them doing so. The English translators ignored the Hebrew feminine indicator that meant “women,” and replaced it with a generic “those.”

 

 

 

 

“…great was the company of those women who publish the word of the Lord (hamebâsarot).” 5

 

The Hebrew word for “publish” is bâsar.  Used in this passage, it means to “announce (glad news): -messenger, preach, publish, shew forth….16

The correct translation of this Old Testament passage suggests some women legitimately proclaimed the Word of God publicly.

Kephale (Greek)

Head.

 

In modern English, “head” means leader or authority.  In ancient Greek “head” (kephale) rarely meant this.  “The linguistic evidence points strongly, if not overwhelmingly, away from the common [English] reading of head as ‘chief,’ ‘ruler,’ ‘authority over’….The range of meanings which kephale had in ordinary Greek were ‘origin’ or ‘source’ or ‘starting point’….” 12

 

The normal Greek meaning of kephale was “source, source of life, source of origin, exalted originator and completer.” 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Continued next page)

 

Kephale (Continued)

1 Corinthians 11:3

 

“Obviously, Christ is Lord of all and therefore Lord of the church.  But never does the New Testament define Christ’s relation to the church as its head in terms of lordship, authority or rulership.  As head to the church, Christ is always the servant who gives the church all she needs to become his radiant Bride.  So is the husband to his wife (Eph. 5:25-30), within a relationship of mutual submission (v.21)”  4

“…the head (kephale) of every man is Christ, and the head (kephale) of the woman is the man, and the head (kephale) of Christ is God.” (NIV)

 

“…the head (kephale) of every man is Christ; the head (kephale) of the woman is her husband, and the head (kephale)of Christ is God.” (RSV)

 

“…a wife is responsible to (kephale) her husband, her husband is responsible to (kephale) Christ, and Christ is responsible to (kephale) God.” (Living Letters)

 

“…Christ is supreme over (kephale) every man, the husband is supreme over (kephale) his wife, and God is supreme over (kephale) Christ.” (Good News for Modern Man)

 

In Hebrew the word for “head” is ro’sh.  In Hebrew, head (ro’sh) does mean “chief, leader and superior rank.” 14 When the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew to Greek (the Septuagint, translated between 250 and 150 B.C.), ro’sh was very rarely translated to the Greek word for “head,” kephale.  Of the 180 times ro’sh was translated into Greek, only 17 times was it translated to kephale.  And in only 8 out of those 17 times did the “translators clearly chose to use kephale for ro’sh when it had a ‘superior rank’ meaning.” 14  (see Beyond Sex Roles, by Gilbert Bilezikian)

 

Paul was constantly rejecting pagan and Gnostic teachings brought into the church.  Some of these taught that Eve existed before Adam. 6 When “head” (kephale) is used in 1 Cor. 11:3 and Eph. 5:23 ”…Paul is not establishing a chain of command – he is establishing ►

► origins.  Rather than a ‘ruler’ over the wife, the husband is the ‘source’ or ‘beginning’ of woman (made from the side of Adam), even as God is the ‘origin’ of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3).” 15  

  

“There are hundreds of references in the New Testament to religious, governmental, civic, familial and military authority figures.  Not one of them is ever designated as ‘head’ [kephale].”  4

 

In the New Testament men are never “…given unilateral authority over women or are permitted to act as their leaders….The word ‘head’ used figuratively in the English language refers to boss, person in authority, leader.  It never has that meaning in New Testament Greek….There is no text in Scripture that enjoins wives to obey their husbands….There is no allowance made in the New Testament or license given for any one believer to wield authority over another adult believer….►

“…the head (kephale) of every man is the Christ; and head (kephale) of every woman is the man; and head (kephale) of Christ is God.” 5

 

► Leadership is always defined in the New Testament as shared leadership ….The call is for mutual subjection (Eph. 5:21)….husbands and wives are bonded in relationships of non-hierarchical complementarity.”  4

 

Addressing heresy surrounding the Trinity, early Greek Father Saint John Chrysostom said, “If you think ‘head’ means ‘chief’ or ‘boss’ you skew the godhead!” 15

 

Ancient author Athanasius said of “head” (kephale), “For the head (which is the source) of all things is the Son, but God is the head (which is the source) of Christ.”  23

 

Archbishop of Alexandria, Cyril said Adam “…became first head, which is source….Christ was named the second Adam, he has been placed as head, which is source, of those who through him have been formed a new unto him….Therefore he himself our source, which is head, has appeared as a human being….Because head means source, He establishes the truth for those who are wavering in their mind that man is the head of woman, for she was taken out of him….” 23

 

 

Colossians 1:15-18

(NRSV)

 

“Christ is the source of the church’s cohesion as in Him ‘all things hold together’ (v.17), and He is the source of the church’s life since He ‘is the beginning’ (v.18)….In the text relative to Christ’s headship there is no reference to rank, authority, or rulership (vv. 18-20).” 22

 

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him.  He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head (kephale) of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

 

“The mention of Christ as having first place (prōteuōn) [v.18] in all things….declares Christ’s primacy as originator of the church (He is “the head of the body”), the creator of all things (He is “the beginning”), and the initiator of the universal resurrection (“the first-born from the dead”).  All three functions describe Him as the source of new realities.”  22

 

 

Colossians 2:19

(NRSV)

 

 

 

“…the head (kephale), from whom the whole body nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The body draws from the head the vitalities that make cohesion and growth possible.  Again headship is described in terms that evoke solicitous 

► servanthood and sustained provision of life resources.”  22

 

Hupotasso (Greek)

Submit or be subject

 

“…hupotasso…has several different meanings…Beside the sense of complying with the wishes of another, the verb sometimes has the concept of responsible behavior toward others [1 Cor. 14:32; 1 Cor. 14:35]…Similarly, Christians were told to comply (hupotasso) with the institutions of the state (Rom. 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13). Never for a moment did they give slavish obedience or compromise themselves when commanded to worship the emperor

                                        

Ephesians 5:22

 

 

…Another meaning is that of being brought into a sphere of influence [Rom. 8:20]…one of identifying with a concept, person, or thing rather than obeying It [2 Cor. 9:13] …Hupotasso in a positive sense can also mean to add or unite one person or thing with another [1 Cor. 15]… Children and slaves are to obey (hupakouo), while wives are asked to ‘be subject’ (hupotasso) and to show respect for their husbands (Eph. 5:33).” 24

                        

 

 

 

“…the Greek word for submission, hupotasso, is written in the Greek middle voice, which means it is something that an individual imposes upon himself or herself. It means to choose to yield to another, rather than demanding one’s own way.  Submission remains the freewill right of the one choosing to yield. It cannot be demanded from another individual or imposed upon one person by another.” 25

                               

 

 

 

 

 

► “…when the Bible talks about submission, or directs someone to submit, it is instead an expansion on the particulars of the Servanthood principle (Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Gal. 5:13)….The words ‘submit’ and ‘subordinate’ are not synonymous. Submit means a voluntary yielding of oneself to another…’subordinate’ indicates a position under the authority of a superior….Jesus is the prime example of one who was submissive, even though not subordinate (John 10:17-18; Luke 2:51; Phil. 2:6-7). The biblical concept of submission is ultimately linked to the example of Jesus, and his divine character (1 Pet. 2:20-21; 3:1, 7; 5:5). We are to submit ‘in the same way’ Jesus did.” 21  

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” (NIV)

This translation for Eph. 5:22 is incorrect. The original Greek text does not say “submit.”  Verse 22 has no verb “submit” and actually only says, “wives to your husbands.”  So, verse 22 is dependent on the verb “submit” found in the previous verse, verse 21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Therefore, the submission of wives (v. 22) exists within a context that includes the submission of husbands. Both functions within the larger context of mutual submission. (v. 21).14

Also, the original Greek writings were not divided by paragraphs and chapters. The divisions we see today happened during translation. The tragic result of placing verses 21 and 22 into separate paragraphs and then wrongly inserting “submit” into v. 22, is the false unbiblical notion of unilateral wifely submission. 

Submit (hupotasso) to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” 11  

(Eph. 5:21 + 22)

 

► In Ephesians 5:21-33, “…authority is not the issue, but rather self-sacrificing love and mutual respect. Here husbands and wives are told to let their relationship imitate the relationship of Christ and the church in the sense that the church submits to the life-giving, self-sacrificing love of Christ for the church.” 26

 

“How desperately we need to see that mutual submission in marriage and the family is not subtraction of wifely submission, but the addition of husbandly submission. Only that is the perfect biblical equation. In decision making within marriage, the ‘one’ who makes the decisions should be the ‘two become one.’” 27

 

“Those insisting upon the biblical mandate that wives should be subject to their husbands would do very well to consider the instructions that husbands should be subject to their wives (1 Cor. 7:3-4; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:21; Phil. 2:3; 1 Peter 3:7).  While all Christians are called to be subject to one another, Paul made it very clear that it was not right to yield the slightest submission to an individual whose behavior or communications were wrong (Gal. 2:5-6).” 24

 

 

Oikodespotin (Greek) The verb form of despotis (“present, active, infinitive”), it means: “to rule a household.” 20 

 

Despotis (Greek)

“authority, master, owner.” 20

 

Despotis “…is translated ‘master’ of slaves in Titus 2:9, 1 Timothy 6:1, and 1Peter 2:18.  It is translated ‘lord’ in Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, and Revelation 6:10.” 20

 

1Timothy 5:14

 

 

Other places in scripture, when referring to men, despotis is translated “head” and used as “head of the house,” even though “kephale” (the actual Greek word for “head,”) is not written in the text.

(See Matt. 10:24-25; 24:42-44; and Luke 13:25)

 

Here “one can see that despotis is clearly intended by scriptural authors for concepts very different from kephale.”  20

 

“Therefore I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house (oikodespotin), and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.” (NASB)

 

“…manage their homes (oikodespotin)….” (NIV)

 

“It is interesting that the NASB translates the male context of the word as ‘head of the house,’ but the female context as ‘housekeeper.’”  20

 

“Therefore I want younger widows to get married, bear Children, be masters of the house [or, “rule the house”] (oikodespotin), and give the enemy no occasion for reproach.”

 

“…1 Timothy 5:14 is the only instruction from Paul in which he uses such strong language – despotis - for someone to master or lord over the household, and he clearly states that it is to be a woman!”  20

 

This passage cannot be used to support wife only rule in the home, but it can be used to bring into question the concept of husband only leadership and rule in the home.

 

For information concerning interpretation of Scripture as it relates to men and women, see books listed below.

 

- Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family, By: Gilbert Bilezikian (Baker Books)

- Listening to the Spirit in the Text, By: Gordon D. Fee (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing)

- Women, Authority & The Bible, Edited by Alvera Mickelsen

- Speaking of Women: Interpreting Paul, By: Andrew Perriman

- Equal to Serve: Women and Men Working Together Revealing the Gospel, By: Gretchen Gaebelein Hull (Baker Books)

- Paul, Women and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry I the Letters of Paul, By: Craig S. Keener

- Call Me Blessed: The Emerging Christian Woman, By: Faith Martin (Spring Valley Press)

- 10 Lies the Church Tells Women: How the Bible has been misused to keep women in spiritual bondage, By: Lee Grady

- Men Are From Israel, Women Are from Moab: Insights About the Sexes from the Book of Ruth, By Dr. Norm Wakefield and Jody Brolsma (Inter Varsity Press)

- Equal to the Task: Men & Women in Partnership, By: Ruth Haley Barton

- I Suffer Not a Woman: Rethinking 1Timothy 2:11-15 in Light of Ancient Evidence, Richard Clark Kroeger & Catherine Clark Kroeger

- Male and Female in Christ: Discover What the Bible Really Says about Women – and about Men, By: Carrie A. Miles & Laurence R. Iannaccone

- Women, Abuse and the Bible: How Scripture Can Be Used to Hurt or Heal, Edited by Catherine Clark Kroeger & James R. Beck (Baker Books)

 

 

 

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

1           Faith Martin, Call Me Blessed (1st edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988; 2nd edition. Pittsburgh, PA: Spring Valley Press, 1998)

2           Byron & Sue Ann Curtis, “Comment,” Covenanter Witness, July 1983, p.18, (cited in Call Me Blessed, Faith Martin)

3           R. David Freedman, “Woman, A Power Equal to Man,” Biblical Archeology Review, Jan. / Feb. 1983, p.56, (cited in Call Me Blessed, Faith Martin)

4           Gilbert Bilezikian, “A Challenge for Proponents of Female Subordination To Prove Their Case from The Bible,” (Challenge #1), From Christians for Biblical   Equality website: www.cbeinternational.org

5           Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen, “Does Male Dominance Tarnish Our Translations? Christianity Today, October 5, 1979

6           Catherine Clark Kroeger, “1 Timothy 2:12 – A Classicist’s View,” in Women, Authority and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter        Varsity Press, 1986) (cited in Call Me Blessed, Faith Martin)

7           Alvera Mickelsen, “Did Paul Practice What We’re Told He Preached?” Christians for Biblical Equality website: www.cbeinternational.org

8                      Catherine Clark Kroeger, “Toward an Egalitarian Hermeneutic of Faith” Christians for Biblical Equality website: www.cbeinternational.org

9                      Liefeld, “Women, Submission and Ministry in 1 Corinthians,” in Women, Authority, and the Bible, ed. Alvera Mickelsen (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter Varsity,            1986), p. 145. (cited in Call Me Blessed, Faith Martin)

10                    Susan Foh, Women and the Word of God (Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1979), p.113. (cited in Call Me Blessed, Faith   Martin)

11                    Patricia Gundry, Woman be Free (1st edition. Zondervan Publishing Co.,1977; Grand Rapids, MI: Suitecase Books), p.101, p.71

12                    Walter C. Kaiser Jr.; Peter H. Davids; F.F. Bruce; Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1996), p.599

13                    Joe Trull, “Is the Head of the House at Home?” Priscilla Papers, Summer 2000, p. 5, originally found in Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen, “The ‘Head’ of the Epistles,” Christianity Today, February 20, 1981, as cited from Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1990)

14                    Berkeley and Alvera Mickelsen, “The ‘Head’ of the Epistles,” Christianity Today, February 20, 1981

15                    Joe Trull, “Is the Head of the House at Home?” Priscilla Papers, Summer 2000, p. 5, from Joannis Chrysostom, S.P.N. Joannis Chryostomi, Archiepiscopi Constantinopolitani, Opera Omnia Quae Existant, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graece, ed. J. P. Migne, no. 61 (Paris: Apud Garnier Fratres, 1862), p. 215 – 16.

16                    James Strong, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, (Riverside Book and Bible House, Iowa Falls, Iowa), in the Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, p. 24, reference #1319.

17                    Rabbi Alexander Greenbaum (translated) Beth El Congregation of South Hills Pittsburgh, PA

18                    James Strong, Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, In the Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, p.38, reference#2458.

19                    Daniel B. Wallace and Michael H. Burer, “Was Junia Really an Apostle?” The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Fall 2001, p. 4.

20                    Brian Neuschwander, “Women As ‘Masters of the House,’” Priscilla Papers, Summer 2000, p. 5

21                    Study Bible for Women, The New Testament, (New Revised Standard Version), Edited by Catherine Clark Kroeger, Mary Evans & Elaine Storkey (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1995) p. 321, p.400

22                    Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI 1985), Appendix.

23                    Catherine Clark Kroeger, “The Classical Concept of Head as ‘Source,’” found in Appendix III in Equal to Serve, by Gretchen Gaebelein Hull (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Books, 1998), p. 268.

24                    Catherine Clark Kroeger, “God’s Purposes in the Midst of Human Sin,” from Women, Abuse and the Bible, edited by Catherine Clark Kroeger and James R. Beck, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1996) p. 210 – 213

25                    J. Lee Grady, 10 Lies the Church Tells Women (Charisma House, Strang Communications Company, Lake Mary, Florida 2000) p.177

26                    Rebecca Merrill Groothuis, “Biblical Submission within Marriage: What we have been told the Bible teaches versus what the Bible really teaches,” Christians for Biblical Equality website address: www.cbeinternational.org/biblical_submission_within_marri.htm

27                    Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Equal to Serve, (Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1998), p. 200

28                    Dennis J. Preato, “A Female Apostle,” Priscilla Papers, Spring 2003, p. 23, from Leonard Swidler, Biblical Affirmations of Woman (Philadelphia: Westminister Press, 979), p. 299.

 

29                    Dennis J. Preato, “A Female Apostle,” Priscilla Papers, Spring 2003, p. 23, from Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women and Wives (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson

Publishers, 1992), p. 242.

 



[i]               Henlee Barnette, “Deacons and Deaconesses,” Christian Ethics Today, Summer 2007, p. 12

 

[ii]               Henlee Barnette, “Deacons and Deaconesses,” Christian Ethics Today, Summer 2007, p. 12

 

 

32            Henlee Barnette, “Deacons and Deaconesses,” Christian Ethics Today, Summer 2007, p. 12 , from Dr. Wayne Ward, “Translation Notes,” Baptists in

 

Transition, unpublished paper, June 11, 2001, p. 1-2