Revising The Biblical Decree On Womanhood

Bible translations, women's role in the church No Comments

The English Standard Version is now being used by many who may not be aware of some of the significant changes that have been made in that translation.  One such change is found in Genesis 3:16.  The ESV reads, “To the woman he said, I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.  Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”  In Genesis 3, God expels the first two human beings from the Garden of Eden.  Eve succumbed to temptation and sinned against God by eating of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17).  Then, she gave some of the fruit to her husband and he did it.  In doing so, Adam sinned against God.  God punishes Eve for her transgression.  In the KJV, Genesis 3:16 states, “Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.”
The ESV vs. the KJV
The ESV appears to suggest that women naturally oppose their husband’s desires.  Could this explain the battle of the sexes?  One reader responded that it sounds like wives are responsible for marital conflict (Bible Review Journal, vol. 4, no. 1, Spring, 2017, p. 27).  The ESV seems to teach that women oppose their husband’s desires, but that they (their husbands) will overrule them.  The KJV teaches that God by divine precept subjugated the woman to the man in the marriage relationship because of her being deceived and usurping his authority.  Adam was addressed by God regarding the forbidden fruit (Gen. 2:17) before Eve was created.  In all likelihood, she learned of the forbidden fruit from her husband.  When she succumbed to the temptation of Satan, she disobeyed God and disregarded the words of her husband.
Why the Translation Difference?
The translation difference hinges on a single Hebrew preposition: ‘el.  Virtually no other major translation takes this word to mean “contrary to,” as the ESV does.  The translation is false and misleading.
Two Problems Resulting From This Change
The first problem to consider is the destruction of the link between Gen. 3:16 and Eph. 5:23-24.  The subjugation of the woman to her husband in the marriage is divinely ordained by God.  It is a God-given decree that is tied to the fall of the woman.  If the subjugation of the woman to the man in marriage is not divinely decreed, then the cultural argument made by egalitarians is strengthened.  In Eph. 5:23-24, the ESV states that the husband is the head of the wife and that she is to be in submission to her husband.  However, verse 21 is already being used by egalitarians to show that the submission is mutual and equal.  While this is a misinterpretation of verse 21, it still is problematic.  The destruction of the link between Eph. 5:23-24 and Gen. 3:16 will further complicate the interpretation of both passages.
A second problem is the destruction of the link between Gen. 3:16 and I Tim. 2:12-14 subordinating women to men in the worship assembly of the New Testament church.  In I Tim. 2:13-14, the Holy Spirit through Paul makes it clear that a woman is not permitted to teach nor (in any other way) to usurp authority over the man.  He bases his argument on two important things:  (1)  Adam was created before Eve (the created order) and (2) Eve was deceived by Satan not Adam (the order and circumstances of the fall).  God by divine decree subjugated the woman to the man in marriage.  This cannot be reversed in the worship assembly (I Cor. 14:34-35).  For these reasons we do not have women preachers, women serving as elders or deacons, or women taking part in the public worship assemblies.  The ESV accommodates the egalitarians who argue for a cultural interpretation of I Tim. 2:12-14 and consequently permit a wider role for women in the church.
This translation change by the ESV translators simply demonstrates how a small change (the meaning of one preposition) can have a profound impact on the interpretation of God’s Word and the doctrines and practices of the New Testament church.

Bibles For Muslims

Bible, Bible translations, Muslims No Comments

A lengthy dispute over how to convey the Trinity to Muslims led two denominations to threaten boycotts of Wycliffe Bible Translators.  The disupte began in 2011.  Wycliffe’s partner SIL International halted seven translation projects in 2011 until a 14-member panel convened by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) could assess the debate.
The dispute focused on how to translate phrases like “God the Father” and “Son of God” in predominantly Muslim nations.  The problem is the Quran’s teaching on the subject of the Triune God.  Muslims do not believe in the diety of Jesus Christ and consequently, they do not believe in a Triune God (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).  While Muslims are monotheistic, their god Allah, is not the one, true and living God.
The Quran teaches: 5:116, “And behold! God will say, “O Jesus the son of Mary! Didst thou say unto men, “Worship me and my mother as gods in derogation of God?”  17:111, “Praise be to God, Who begets no son, and has no partner in (His) dominion: Nor (needs) He any to protect Him from humiliation, yea, magnify Him for His greatness and glory.”  19:88-92, “They say: ‘(God) Most Gracious has begotten a son!’ Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!  At it the skies are ready to burst, the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin, That they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious.  For it is not consonant with the majesty of (God) Most Gracious that he should beget a son.”
The idea of God begetting a son (assumed in a physical sense) is misunderstood by Muslims.  The Virgin Birth will have to be explained to Muslims.  But, God’s Word should not be changed to accommodate their misunderstandings.  We cannot compromise the truth in the way the Bible is translated.  Political correctness should not enter into Bible translation.
Some of the transational changes involved the following:
-Reference to “God the Father” are replaced by the Arabic word for god, “Allah.”  (But, Allah and the Triune God of the Bible are not the same).
-References to Jesus as the “Son of God” are replaced with “Messiah”, thus eliminating references to Jesus as the Son of God and thus destroying the relationship between the Father and the Son in Scripture.
-In Matthew 18:19, “Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” becomes “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, His Messiah, and His Holy Spirit.”
Most will be able to see the translational problems involved with these changes and the doctrinal import of each.  The WEA established a 14-member panel to address the translational issues.  It produced a report in April, 2013.  The report includes ten guidelines that address the translational issues.  It may be obtained at
Christianity Today had an article addressing this issue titled, “Translation Tension” by Ruth Moon in the July/August, 2013 issue.  The tension points up the difficulty encountered in Bible translation when one of the motivating factors is political correctness.  There will always be tension and conflict when truth meets error.