1 Cor 13:7 – the language of love

One of the most famous and beloved passages in the NT is 1 Cor 13. I have been digging into the Greek text of verse 7 recently and thought I might share my thoughts with you.

The Greek words are: πάντα στέγει, πάντα πιστεύει, πάντα ἐλπίζει, πάντα ὑπομένει.
RSV provides a fairly literal translation: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The verse is poetic in two ways: the rhetorical repetition of πάντα (panta) – all things or everything or all the way and a chiasm. Let me explain the chiasm.
The Greek word στέγει (stegei) is very close in meaning to ὑπομένει (hupomenei), so the first and last words are close. Similarly the word for believe and hope are close in meaning, so the two middle words correspond to each other.

στέγω only occurs 4 times in the NT and all in Paul’s letters. Let us look at them:
1 Cor 9:12 – we endure everything (NET), we put up with anything (NIV)
1 Cor 13:7 – bears all things (NET), always protects (NIV)
1 Th 3:1 – we could bear it no longer (NET), we could stand it no longer (NIV)
1 Th 3:5 – I could bear it no longer (NET), I could stand it no longer (NIV)

I like the NIV idiom ”I cannot stand it”. This idiom is mainly used in a negative construction, I believe, so for the positive usage NIV says ”we put up with anything.” Why NIV did not also say ”Love puts up with anything” in v. 7 I do not know. It would be consistent with 9:12 and give the meaning nicely. Why did they use ”protect” and why say ”always” instead of ”everything” or “anything”? Paul commonly used the standard word for always (pantote). I can only guess the reason for the NIV rendering. My guess is that it was to forestall possible misuses of the text. Because we have a long tradition of pretty unreadable Bible translations, Bible readers, including pastors, cannot stand to read many verses at a go before they get tired. Maybe that is one reason for their habit to take one or two verses out of context and meditate or preach on them. The result is often some strange teaching and ideas. Of course, we are not to ”put up with everything” in every situation. But this text talks about the characteristics of love. It must be set in the context of a relationship between people, especially the context of a natural and spiritual family. PANTA – everything/all things is a rhetorical hyperbole, it does not literally and absolutely mean everything, but it does mean a lot. A loving person puts up with a lot that an unloving person would not put up with. Another reason for the NIV may be that a text is supposed to be read aloud, and ”Love bears everything” might possibly be understood when spoken as ”Love bares everything.” Or maybe ”bear” is just too old-fashioned English?

The final word ὑπομένω (hupomenw) means to endure something, to stay put when others might have left. These words describe love very well, including the relationship between husband and wife. If I have love, I can put up with (almost) everything in my spouse, and I will stay put in the relationship through difficult times.

The two middle words are πιστεύω (pisteuw) and ἐλπίζω (elpizw). PISTEUW can have a semantic frame with three participants or with two. When pisteuw has three participants, it means that A entrusts P to G.
We see this in John 2:24 IHSOUS OUK EPISTEUEN AUTON AUTOIS – Jesus was not entrusting him(self) to them. Jesus is Agent, him(self) is Patient and AUTOIS is the Goal/Direction. It is normal for the semantic Patient to be encoded with the accusative case and the Goal with the Dative case or a preposition such as EIS and occasionally EN or EPI, and this is how PISTEUW is used.

In many instances of this verb, the Patient is not expressed openly, but assumed, and in that case it refers to the same person as the Agent. In John 3:15 we find hO PISTEUWN EN AUTWi and the next verse has the variation with the same meaning hO PISTEUWN EIS AUTON. John 4:21 has PISTEUE MOI – entrust (yourself) to me. This is the same as “put your trust in me” or “believe in me.”

This tri-valent APG verb is sometimes used in the middle-passive. One of the functions of passive is to make the Agent (or Goal) implicit. Usually the Patient takes over the subject slot in a passive construction, but in some cases the Goal can also be subject in Greek.
1 Cor 9:17 OIKONOMIAN PEPISTEUMAI – a stewardship has been entrusted to me or: I have been entrusted with a stewardship. Implied/assumed Agent is God, Patient (accusative) is OIKONOMIAN and Goal is me, expressed as subject.
Gal 2:7 PEPISTEUMAI TO EUAGGELION – the gospel has been entrusted to me (also 1 Th 2:4)
1 Tim 1:11 TO EUAGGELION…hO EPISTEUQHN EGW – the gospel which has been entrusted to me. (also Tit 1:3)
Rom 3:2 EPISTEUQHSAN TA LOGIA TOU QEOU – The words of God were entrusted to them. The implicit Agent is God, the Patient is TA LOGIA TOU QEOU and the Goal is represented by the plural subject – they/them.

Now, the verb PISTEUW can also have only two participants with the meaning “accept as true”. In this case, we have the Agent (or Experiencer) and the Patient (object). The Patient can be in the form of a clause introduced by hOTI (that) or it can be an infinitive (or participle) with accusative or it can be a noun that stands for a statement.
Mat 9:28 PISTEUTE hOTI DUNAMAI TOUTO POIHSAI – Do you accept as true that I am able to do this?
John17:9 (+21) EPISTEUSAN hOTI SU ME APESTEILAS – They accepted as true that you have sent me.
John 11:27 EGW PEPISTEUKA hOTI SU EI hO CRISTOS hO hUIOS TOU QEOU – I have accepted as true that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.
Acts 8:37b (v.l.) PISTEUW TON hUION TOU QEOU EINAI TON IHSOUN CRISTON – I accept as true that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Jn 11:26 PISTEUEIS TOUTO – Do you accept this as true?
Rom 14:2 hOS PISTEUEI FAGEIN PANTA – he who accepts as true that he can eat anything.
1 Cor 13:7 PANTA PISTEUEI – it (love) accepts all things as true

Quite often the verb is used without any object or prepositional phrases, and in such cases there is no way to know whether it is the tri-valent verb “entrust” or the di-valent verb “accept as true”. Context will usually clarify it, but not always.

So, “accept everything as true” shows the attitude of love. You accept that this other person (husband, wife, child, etc.) speaks the truth and can be trusted. It does not mean that we are to accept and believe every wind of doctrine that comes our way. The accusative object “everything” indicates that this is not a matter of believing in God or Jesus, but of accepting as true what the other person is saying.

ἐλπίζω (elpizw – hope) can be used with a semantic Goal in the dative case or a preposition like EIS (towards), e.g. John 5:45 ”Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.” (NET). Also 2 Cor 1:10, 1 Pet 3:5. Sometimes EPI (on) is used as in Rom 15:12 ”The root of Jesse will come, and the one who rises to rule over the Gentiles, in (EPI) him will the Gentiles hope.” (NET). Also 1 Tim 4:10, 5:5, 6:17, 1 Pet 1:13. Or an EN (in) can be used as in 1 Cor 15:19 and Php 2:19 ”I hope in the Lord Jesus” (KJV has trust here – I place my hope and trust in Jesus).

However, in most cases ἐλπίζω (elpizw) has the two semantic participants Agent and Patient (object). This object may be a clause introduced by hOTI (that) or it may be a noun that stands for something that you can hope and expect will happen.

In 1 Cor 13:7, the two words hope and believe are parallel in the sense that they are both used with an object (Patient). Love accepts everything as true and hopes for everything. A relationship has hopes and aspirations, but these hopes require acceptance and love to be realized.

What will an NIV revision have that the NET Bible hasn’t already got?


This is a sincere question. The more I look at the NET Bible, the more it seems to be a good successor to the NIV franchise. I say that because I personally have to wonder if the NIV will ever recover from the series of deadends that they’ve produced in the last decade in search of an update for the classic NIV.

I’ll admit up front that NET has a lot of stylistic problems that drive me crazy. For example, I can’t read the Psalms at all because they just sound too awkward. But the NET has a lot going for it:

  1. Wide acceptability: Despite making many of the same translation decisions as the TNIV, the NET hasn’t got any of the heat.
  2. Wide accessibility: It’s the premier electronic Bible translation available in more formats than any other Bible.
  3. Scholarship: Those notes!
  4. Free: It is a top-notch translation but without the kinds of usage restrictions that hinder NIV.

If Biblica wanted to save the NIV franchise, they might consider making the NIV Study Bible with text and notes freely available for download and republication. That would be a serious heavy-duty contender to the NET Bible. But I doubt they’ll do that and again the NET seems to rule the roost for freely-available Bible translations.

I’ll admit that the Zondervan/Biblica distribution system is hard to beat for print. But NET owns the Net.

What advantages should I anticipate in waiting for the 2011 NIV revision and then pitching out all my existing NIV resources that I can’t have right now with the NET?

What do you think?

Text and notes

There has been a discussion about the NET Bible here. It got me thinking again of the relationship between the text and the footnotes. Here are a couple of examples from Psalm 51 which I have been working on. First, let me say that these notes are excellent. There is no doubt and I wish I had made more use of them in writing my paper.

However, the question is, do the notes justify the translation? What do people think about this? The translation is less than literal, somewhat interpretive and does not always follow the notes. Let me just say, yes, I like the notes, not always, but they for the most part great to have.

    Psalm 51:7

    Sprinkle me19 with water20 and I will be pure;21
    wash me22 and I will be whiter than snow.

      20 tn Heb “cleanse me with hyssop.” “Hyssop” was a small plant (see 1 Kgs 4:33) used to apply water (or blood) in purification rites (see Exod 12:22; Lev 14:4-6, 49-52; Num 19:6-18. The psalmist uses the language and imagery of such rites to describe spiritual cleansing through forgiveness.

    Psalm 51:10

    51:10 Create for me a pure heart, O God!
    Renew a resolute spirit within me!30
    Do not reject me!31
    Do not take your Holy Spirit32 away from me!33
    Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance!
    Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey!34

      34tn Heb “and [with] a willing spirit sustain me.” The psalmist asks that God make him the kind of person who willingly obeys the divine commandments. The imperfect verbal form is used here to express the psalmist’s wish or request.

    1 Tim 2:12 But I do not allow19 a woman to teach or exercise authority20 over a man. She must remain quiet.21

      20tn According to BDAG 150 s.v. αὐθεντέω this Greek verb means “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to” (cf. JB “tell a man what to do”).

I am feeling pretty ambivalent about these examples. What do you think?

WLBA 12: Junias

If you are finding this tedious think of my position. Here I am writing about something as unimaginative as the petty diminishment of women by Bible translators in my series on the Woman’s Literal Bible Assessment, the WLBA. Fortunately I am resurrecting my personal blog to save myself from this dreariness. But sometimes a boring job just has to be done.

The Junia of Rom. 16:7 was recognized as Junia, a feminine name, in the printed versions of the Greek New Testament from the time of Erasmus until 1927. In that year the Nestle-Aland text accented the name Ἰουνιᾶν so it would be masculine in form, Junias. Since the name is in the accusative case in Greek text it appears as either masculine Ἰουνιᾶν or ᾿Ιουνίαν, feminine. That means that, of course, the early texts without accents did not indicate whether it was masculine or feminine. However, no male name Junias has been known in Greek.

From 1927 until 1998, the name had been accented as masculine and entered as a possible masculine name in some lexicons. Now there is a scholarly consensus that it is a feminine name.

I do not find it surprising or out of the way that any translation from 1927 until 1998 has Junias in the masculine. In fact, the Revised versions of 1881 also had Junias. It was certain from the notes of the various Bibles texts and commentaries and from meetings for the RV translation, the N-A 1927 and the lexicons, that the only reason that Junias as a masculine was suggested was because of the belief that a woman could not be an apostle.

Eldon Jay Epp notes that it was the belief that a woman could not be an apostle which influenced translations, lexicions and critical texts. He provides this example from the Hastings Dictionary of the Bible article, 1899, by A. C. Headlam,

    There is little doubt as to whether the two [Andronicus and Junia(s)] are to be included among the apostles-probably they are … In that case it is hardly likely that the name is feminine, although, curiously enough, Chrysostom does not consider the idea of a female apostle impossible.

About more recent translations Epp writes,

    What may be more difficult to understand now is that such a socio-cultural environment, one imbued with a view of a limited role for women in the church, still could influence some editors of the Greek New Testament in the mid-1990’s to the extent that they could impose the masculine form upon an unaccented Greek name (unaccented at least for the first several centuries of Christianity) (a) when all church writers of the first millenium of Christianity took the name as feminine; (b) when there was ample evidence that the name in question was a very common female name at the time of earliest Christianity; and (c) in face of the fact that the alleged masculine forms are nowhere attested in the Greco-Roman milieu. *

Epp quotes James G.D. Dunn who writes,

    The assumption that it must be a male is a striking indictment of male presumption regarding the character and structure of earliest Christianity.**

If readers find fault in my concern that there is now male bias in some of the contemporary Bible translations, they need to be cognisant of the fact that male bias in Bible translation has a proven history; it is not a recently invented conspiracy theory. It did happen and it still happens.

I find it unremarkable that translations such as the RSV, NIV, NEB, NASB, and NRSV, those prior to 1998 have a male Junias. This is in accordance with the critical text, commentaries and lexicons. The translations themselves must be treated as derivative, only guilty in the second degree. But this is not a case of ambiguity, Junia was female.

About the Wallace – Burer hypothesis, that Junia was only “well-known to” the apostles, Epp comments on Belleville’s analysis, which I recreated and writes,

    So far, this leaves Burer and Wallace’s “working hypothesis” somewhat in a shambles and with exceptionally minimal data.

Burer did write to me last month indicating the intent to respond to the critique by Belleville, Epp, Bauckham and points brought up here. In the meantime, this hypothesis is undefended.

It is crucial to realize that a conservative element today does not only want to keep women from being ordained, but they want to restrict the exercise of the very qualities of leadership to men, and relegate women to being receivers and responders or followers. Thus a female apostle is less acceptable now than in the days of Chrysostom and cannot be allowed to remain in the text.

*Epp, Eldon Jay. Junia, The First Woman Apostle. 2005. Augsburg Fortress.
**Dunn, James D.G. Romans 9-16. WBC 38. Dallas. Word, 1988.

Lunchroom chat and a Woman’s Bible

Last year I mentioned a few conversations I have had at work over lunch. When the chat dies down, I will sometimes just turn to a colleague and ask her what Bible(s) she has used. Since I work in a public school with a staff from a mixed background, Catholic, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, this can be interesting. So far, I have had some in depth conversations about the Good News Bible, and the King James Version, the only two which seem to be widely recognized.

Today I asked a colleague whom I knew to be an evangelical,

“What Bible do you use in your house church?”

“Oh, we all use something different – I don’t know, well, you know, NRV and The Word.”

I nodded sympathetically and waited.

“By Eugene Peterson.”

“Oh yeah, the Message.”

“Yeah, that’s it. I have a Woman’s Bible, maybe NRV, hmmm, NIV? It has all these little boxes, devotions, for women and all that. Oh, I love it.”

“Not the TNIV?”

“How would I recognize that?”

“Well, if it had brothers and sisters in it.”

“Oh, no, I don’t mind something not being gender inclusive. You know the best Bible for the sheer poetry is the King James Bible. Yes, that is the best.”

And I would have to agree. The King James version offers not only poetry but in places a more literal translation. I still stubbornly hold to the idea that the literal and non-interpretive style of the KJV serves women well. Other literal Bibles are also good for women. I was also familiar with the Young’s literal translation. Maybe it is my familiarity with these translations that makes me so uneasy at some of the Bibles I start out to review here. I am simply taken by surprise!

Here is the question – which modern Bibles are closest to a traditional and literal interpretation for the following verses? I have provided the KJV, Young’s literal version, the Emphasized Bible, Luther Bible, and Latin Vulgate for comparison. Is it just me, or are Bibles in this century more selectively interpretive in these verses.

Rom. 16:1


servant KJV
ministrant YLT
minister EB
im Dienste Luther
in ministerio Latin

Rom. 16:2


succourer KJV
leader YLT
defender EB
Beistand Luther
astitit Latin

Rom. 16:7

ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις

of note among the apostles KJV
Junias – of note among the apostles YLT
Junias – of note among the Apostle EB
Junias – berühmte Apostel Luther
nobiles in Apostolis Latin

1 Cor. 11:10

ἐξουσίαν ἔχειν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς

have power on her head KJV
[a token of] authority upon the head YLT
to have permission EB
eine Macht auf dem Haupt haben Luther
potestatem habere supra caput Latin

1 Tim. 2:12


to usurp authority KJV
rule YLT
have authority over a man EB
daß sie des Mannes Herr sei Luther
dominari Latin

I don’t think readers realize that when I noticed that the NET notes didn’t mention “leader” for προστάτις, I was genuinely surprised because we used the Young’s Literal Translation as a reference Bible when I was young. Some may talk about my having a “preferred” interpretation but I am displaying legitimate concern when a traditional and literal understanding is not even referenced in notes.

But I want to ask which modern Bible would be a candidate for the most traditional and literal translation with regards to these verses? Which ones are the farthest removed from tradition? I have only checked a handful so far. Believe it or not!


I’m going to score these Bibles out of 4, counting Rom. 16: 1 and 2 together. If we look at the accepted text base and lexicons which are contemporary with these Bibles, they would all score 3 out of 4 for being literal.

Young’s Literal Translation – 2 1/2 out of 4,
Emphasized Bible – 2 out of 4,
King James Version – 3 out 4,
Luther – 2 out of 4,
Vulgate – 3 out of 4

ESV 2001 – 1 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – patron
Rom.16:7 – well known to
1 Cor. 11:10 – a symbol of authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – exercise authority

TNIV 2001 – 4 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – deacon
Rom. 16:2 – benefactor
Rom.16:7 – outstanding among
1 Cor. 11:10 – have authority over her own head
1 Tim. 2:12 – assume authority

HCSB 1999 – 2 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – benefactor
Rom.16:7 – outstanding among
1 Cor. 11:10 – [a symbol of] authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority

NET – 1996 – 2005, 0 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – great help
Rom.16:7 – well known to
1 Cor. 11:10 – symbol of authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – exercise authority

NLT 1996 – 2 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – deacon
Rom. 16:2 – helpful
Rom.16:7 – respected among
1 Cor. 11:10 – wear a covering on her head to show she is under authority
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority

CEV 1995 – 3 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – leader
Rom. 16:2 – respected leader
Rom.16:7 – Junias (male) highly respected by
1 Cor. 11:10 – sign of her authority
1 Tim. 2:12 – tell men what to do

NRSV – 1989, 2 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – deacon
Rom. 16:2 – benefactor
Rom. 16:7 – prominent among
1 Cor. 11:10 – symbol of authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority over a man

NIV – 1978 – 1984, 0 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – great help
Rom. 16:7 – Junias among the apostles
1 Cor. 11:10 – symbol of authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority over a man

NASB – 1960 – 1995, 0 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – helper
Rom. 16:7 – Junias among the apostles
1 Cor. 11:10 – symbol of authority on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – exercise authority over a man

RSV 1 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – deaconess
Rom. 16:2 – helper
Rom. 16:7 – Junias among the apostles
1 Cor. 11:10 – veil on her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority

ISV – 2003 – 1 out of 4

Rom. 16:1 – servant
Rom. 16:2 – has assisted
Rom. 16:7 – Junias among the apostles
1 Cor. 11:10 – authority over her own head
1 Tim. 2:12 – have authority


Rom. 16:1 – in the ministry
Rom. 16:2 – has assisted
Rom. 16:7 – Junias among the apostles
1 Cor. 11:10 – a power over her head
1 Tim. 2:12 – use authority over the man

Junia: A Response to Michael Burer

I guess you could call this “Not Junia Again!” I have written about Junia before but the issue is complex and difficult to cover well. Here is a little of the history. I read Romans 16:7 in the NET Bible,

    Greet Andronicus and Junia,6 my compatriots7 and my fellow prisoners. They are well known8 to the apostles,9 and they were in Christ before me.

    In the King James version,

      Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

    I then read the NET Bible note, along with the article Was Junia Really an Apostle (see page 4) by Burer and Wallace, which it cites.

      Or “prominent, outstanding, famous.” The term ἐπίσημος (epishmo”) is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known”).

      The key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts. When a comparative notion is seen, that to which ἐπίσημος is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case (cf., e.g., 3 Macc 6:1 [Ελεαζαρος δέ τις ἀνὴρ ἐπίσημος τῶν ἀπὸ τής χώρας ἱερέων “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country”]; cf. also Pss. Sol. 17:30).

      When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6). Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.

      In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.” See M. H. Burer and D. B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle? A Re-examination of Rom 16.7,” NTS 47 (2001): 76-91, who argue for the elative notion here.

    I blogged about this issue here and then commented on Adrian’s blog and Michael Burer responded. I am taking this occasion to continue the dialogue. Since the NET Bible note itself has not been altered, I will comment on this first, and then on Burer’s response.

    Here are the issues.

    First, by “comparative” the annotator also means that the noun modifed is “one of the group” – this use of the adjective is inclusive. By “elative” the annotator means that the noun modified is not “one of the group”- this use can be called exclusive.

    Wallace and Burer set out to estabish a new rule, that when the adjective ἐπίσημος is followed by a genitive, it is comparative and therefore inclusive. Conversely, when the adjective is followed by ἐν plus the dative, it is elative and therefore, exclusive. The noun modified, in this case Junia, is no longer one of the group. According to the authors, if ἐπίσημος is followed by ἐν plus the dative, Junia is not among the apostles.

    Here is a summary of my remarks in response.

    1. In the lexicons, ἐπίσημος is an adjective which means “marked on” or “distinguished” as in “having a mark placed on it.” Only in the Louw-Nida lexicon does it take on the additional sense of “well known.” Here is the Louw-Nida entry.

      28.31 Know (28) Well Known, Clearly Shown, Revealed (28.28-28.56) pertaining to being well known or outstanding, either because of positive or negative characteristics – outstanding, famous, notorious, infamous. εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις they are outstanding among the apostles ROM.16:7

    At no point does this lexicon collocate “well known” with “to” for ἐπίσημος, since this does not match the Greek sense of the word.

    2. I would also suggest that it is not reliable to base an hypothesis on whether a genitive or ἐν plus dative is used. Consider these instances.

      ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν Matt. 23:11 (genitive)
      the greatest among you

      ὁ μείζων ἐν ὑμῖν Luke 22:26 (en plus dative)
      the greatest among you

    In view of these examples I cannot give credit to an argument which proposes a difference based on the fact that the adjective is followed by ἐν plus dative rather than the genitive. These two constructions can be used synonymously.

    However, here Wallace asks,

      would we not expect ἐπίσημοι τῶν ἀποστόλων if the meaning were “outstanding among the apostles”?

    The answer must be “not necessarily”. Here are a few examples of the comparative form of an adjective followed by ἐν plus dative, but there are more in the Greek NT.

      καὶ σύ Βηθλέεμ γῆ Ἰούδα οὐδαμῶς
      ἐλαχίστη εἶ ἐν τοῖς ἡγεμόσιν Ἰούδα Matt. 2:6

      ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
      are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; ESV

      ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν οὐκ ἐγήγερται ἐν γεννητοῖς γυναικῶν μείζων Ἰωάννου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ ὁ δὲ μικρότερος ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν μείζων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν Matt. 11:11

      Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. ESV

      Ἰούδαν τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαββᾶν καὶ Σιλᾶν
      ἄνδρας ἡγουμένους ἐν τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς Acts 15:22

      Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas,
      leading men among the brothers ESV

    The Greek of the New Testament does not support the thesis that ἐν plus dative renders ἐπίσημος elative rather than comparative, and consequently, that Junia is not one of the apostles.

    3. The references provided in the note are also problematic. The different versions of the Septuagint render Pss. Sol. 2:6 and 17:30 in a variety of ways. What is certain is that in neither of these cases does ἐπίσημος modify a personal noun. In fact, it is in doubt whether the word is ἐπίσημος instead of its cognate noun ἐπίσημον.

    However, if it is the adjective ἐπίσημος, then the modified noun is elided and the entire construction still may not have any bearing on Rom. 16:7. While there is evidence that ἐπίσημος with an elided noun can be used with a partitive genitive, and an inclusive meaning; there is little evidence of the converse, that it has an exclusive or elative sense with ἐν plus the dative.

    In fact, it would be quite extraordinary for an adjective modifying an elided noun to have an exclusive sense.

    For example,

      She is the best known of the teachers.
      He is the best known to the teachers.

    The first, inclusive, is grammatical without an antecedent – it is implied that she is a teacher; the second, exclusive, is not grammatical without an antecedent – for obvious reasons. What is “he”? The elided noun in an inclusive or partitive expression is implied by the surrounding context, but the elision of the noun in an exclusive phrase does not render a grammatically acceptable result. Although Wallace and Burer have proven that the first exists, they do not provide convincing evidence for the second. For this reason I question their categorization of Pss. Sol. 2:6.

    Someone also needs to bring into this discussion the fact that the Psalms of Solomon is considered to be a translation of a Hebrew poetic Vorlage.

    4. I have read both studies by Wallace and Burer, listed below, and I understand that the much disputed Pss. Sol. 2:6 and 17:30 are considered to be their best evidence. The other citations, except for one from 5 centuries earlier, are all either somewhat ambiguous or not comparable. This evidence simply does not warrant the terms “not uncommon” and “frequently”. Pss. Sol. 2:6, supposedly an example of an exclusive use, which they call “a very close parallel,” is in dispute. If there is better evidence then the NET Bible note should be altered to reflect that.

    5. There is no verb of perception involved in this Greek expression. Therefore, it is misleading to note that “in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.” The verb of perception occurs only in the English translation supplied by Wallace and Burer. In Greek, ἐπίσημος is an adjective derived either from a noun best translated as “mark” or from a verb translated as “to place a mark on.”

    6. Wallace and Burer are aware that there is no scholarly consensus concerning their hypothesis. Wallace in all honesty states this here. They also admit that others have expressed concern regarding their original citation of Pss. Sol. 2:6, in which they simply wrote ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, thus giving the impression that it matched the structure of Rom. 16:7, rather than ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν. They had originally stated that ἐπισήμῳ was an adjective modifyng a personal noun, which it is not.

    On Adrian’s blog, Burer writes,

      We appreciate that several writers have pointed out that our translation and citation of the passage in the original piece were not the best. (In reflecting on this, neither Dr. Wallace nor I could remember who was responsible for this part of the article.) We should have included more of the Greek text, including the preposition ἐν so that readers could see that there was another way of understanding the construction.

    If Pss. Sol. 2:6 found its way into the NET Bible notes as a significant citation, then they should both have been familiar with this example.

    Burer continues,

      The English translation we gave, “a spectacle among the gentiles,” was exactly the wording given in a recent, standard English translation of Psalms of Solomon, in James Charlesworth’s The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (1985), vol. 2, p. 652.

    Once again the impression is that they felt confident of the English translation they were using. At no time does Burer quote from the recent and scholarly New English Translation of the Septuagint, not yet published in hard copy but available on the internet at the time that Burer wrote this piece. This is a singular omission.

    For Pss. Sol. 2:6, this translation offers, “their neck in a seal, with a mark among the nations,” NETS, rather than “a spectacle among the gentiles.” This translation fits well with the preceding expression in the line, “in a seal,” since in Greek, σφραγῖς, “seal”, and ἐπίσημον, “mark”, can be synonymous. Therefore, I believe it is more likely a case of poetic parallelism. “Among the nations” would then refer to the location of their “harsh captivity,”

      οἱ υἱοὶ καὶ αἱ θυγατέρες ἐν αἰχμαλωσίᾳ πονηρᾷ,
      ἐν σφραγῖδι ὁ τράχηλος αὐτῶν, ἐν ἐπισήμῳ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν

    Psalms of Solomon needs to be approached as a translation of Hebrew poetry, not originally composed in Greek.

    Burer continues,

      In retrospect, we now think it would be better to include the preposition ἐν before the word ἐπισήμῳ in our citation, and change the statement to “The parallels include (a) people as the referent of the adjective ἐπίσημος” to reflect that here most likely the referent of the adjective ἐπίσημος is a place, not people.
      We would not be willing to change, however, the basic conclusion that this passage confirms our hypothesis that ἐπίσημος plus (ἐν plus) dative personal adjunct should be best understood as meaning “well known to . . .” This is especially so for two reasons.
      First, the other use of ἐπίσημος in Ps. Sol. 17:30 uses the genitive case (different from the dative case in 2:6) to show that the prominent place was part of the earth in keeping with our hypothesis about the inclusive use of ἐπίσημος, but this instance in 2:6 uses the dative in keeping with our hypothesis about the exclusive use of ἐπίσημος. Second, point (c) in our initial assessment of Ps. Sol. 2:6 would stand, as it is very reasonable to see ἔθνεσιν here as referring to people.

    I would reiterate that the translation of Psalms of Solomon 2:6 is unresolved. It has, therefore, not yet been established that using ἐν plus the dative instead of the genitive is indicative of an exclusive sense. Nor have they demonstrated that the noun can be elided in an exclusive phrase, and so the case falls apart. Wallace and Burer are clear that the hypothesis rests on pitting the dative against the genitive. However, they do not provide data strong enough to support their hypothesis.

    On the contrary, early church fathers, themselves native speakers of Greek, recognized Junia as one of the apostles.

      Greet Andronicus and Junia . . . who are outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7): To be an apostle is something great. But to be outstanding among the apostles—just think what a wonderful song of praise that is! They were outstanding on the basis of their works and virtuous actions. Indeed, how great the wisdom of this woman must have been that she was even deemed worthy of the title of apostle. John Chrysostom (344/54-407)(2)

    And here is the Greek Vamva version, 1850, which has unequivocally “among the apostles.” Please note that the native Greek translator here considered ἐν plus the dative to be equivalent to μεταξὺ (among) plus the genitive.

      ᾽Απάσθητε τὸν ᾽Ανδρόνικον καὶ ᾽Ιουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτνες εἴναι ἐπίσημοι μεταξὺ τῶν ἀποστόλων οἵτνες καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ ἦσαν εις τὸν Χριστόν

    There is no mention throughout church history of an alternate understanding of this expression. Overall, I believe too many problems still remain with Wallace and Burer’s hypothesis and it is far too early for this innovation to be encorporated into a Bible translation. The research is still in the preliminary stages and has not been recognized by a wider body of scholars.

    To use Wallace’s own words,

      Did God suddenly permit “more light to break forth from his holy Word,” as the old Congregationalist put it? Or is there reason to suspect that the many modern interpretations . . . are primarily the result of certain conscious or unconscious presuppositions?3

    Please note that I have not included either Burer’s full argument nor all of my counter arguments. I have provided the links and hope that people will bring up questions or point out any weaknesses in this presentation.

    On a closing note, I would like to explain that I have recreated Linda Belleville’s original research using databases now online. Belleville, Epp and Bauckham have all rebutted Wallace and Burer’s articles in a definitive manner. I have yet to see a response to their work by Wallace and Burer. Until further has been written, Junia must remain an apostle.


    Internet Resources

    Was Junia Really an Apostle (see page 4) Wallace and Burer
    Eldon Jay Epp, Junia: The First Woman Apostle A Review
    Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7 Wallace
    Junia, the Apostle: Index McCarthy
    Burer enters the Junia Debate Burer
    New English Translation of the Septuagint
    NET Bible

    Books and articles which assess and discount Wallace and Burer’s Junia hypothesis.

    Eldon Jay Epp
    R. Bauckham
    Linda Belleville. Ἰουνιᾶν . . . ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις:A Re-Examination of Romans 16:7 in Light of Primary Source Materials. New Test. Stud. 51, pp. 231-249. Printed in the United Kingdom. 2005. Cambridge University Press.

    NET Bible Review 2

    In the comments to my first post on the NET Bible, it became clear that this Bible is not valued for its English style but for its notes. In this discussion on the NET bible site, there is no mention of an in-house English stylist; however, on this page Wayne Leman is recognized as a translation consultant and W. Hall Harris III is mentioned as an English stylist. I will let Wayne jump in to comment or post on this as he sees fit. Dr. Wallace concludes his Open Letter with this invitation.

      We continue to ask for your assistance because the mutual cooperation benefits us all. And with nearly three quarters of a million words in the text and notes, the NET team needs all the editorial and proofreading help we can get!

    I must mention that, in spite of this generous expression of openness, Dr. Wallace did not respond directly to my 17 posts on Junia but designated Michael Burer to rebut them. I will analyse Burer’s response to me in a subsequent post. But first, I would like to discuss the notes in general and a few in particular pertaining to women.

    The notes are of three types, the study notes – “sn”, the translators notes – “tn”, and the ‘text critical notes – “tc”. When I read through the notes, I have a decidedly different reaction to each distinct type of note. I read through the study notes with non-critical interest, I enjoy tremendously the text critical notes, and I interact in a very critical and discriminating manner with the translator notes, assessing them one by one.

    Here are some examples of text critical notes.

    1. In John’s gospel, there are some extremely interesting issues in chapter 1, verses 18 and 34. Throughout the text critical notes, there is extensive reference to the visual aspects of the manuscripts, for example, evaluating whether the difference was one of one letter or several depending on whether a nomen sacrum was used.

    2. There is an lengthly response to Fee’s article on 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

    3. In 1 Thess. 2:7, the NET Bible has “we became little children among you” rather than “gentle” agreeing here with the TNIV.

    4. In Eph. 5:22, the discussion about the ellipsis brings up the issue of page breaks in the lectionaries as a reason for an interpolated verb. It does not impact in any way on the translation or section break but is interesting nonetheless.

    5. In Romans 16:7 the note indicates that it is highly unlikely that “Junia” was actually the male name “Junias”. However, it does mention the citation of “Junias” in Epiphanius, without including the critical information that Epiphanius also thought that Priscilla was a man. I don’t see why space could not have been spared for this tidbit? Why not close the loophole?

    In general I find the text critical notes to the point and interesting. However, I am of the opinion that in several places the translation notes are somewhat unfavourable towards women.

    For example, there is the question of Phoebe in Romans 16:1-2,

      Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a servant1 of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many, including me.

    And here is the only note for this verse.

      Or “deaconess.” It is debated whether διάκονος (diakonos) here refers to a specific office within the church. . . . In any case, the evidence is not compelling either way. The view accepted in the translation above is that Phoebe was a servant of the church, not a deaconess, although this conclusion should be regarded as tentative.

    The main difficulty that leaps to the eye is that there was no office for “deaconess”, nor was there a word for “deaconess” in the New Testament church. The term diakonissa occurs a couple of centuries later. Therefore, to suggest the word “deaconess” for diakonos is a simple anachronism. The rest of the argument seems sound, and it is buttressed by Wallace’s study May Women be Deacons, in which he says,

      As I read the NT, I do see deacons functioning in an authoritative capacity. If my understanding is correct, then the only way for one to see women deacons in 1 Tim 3:11 is either to (a) divorce this verse from the overarching principle stated in 1 Tim 2:12 or (b) reinterpret 2:12 to mean something other than an abiding principle for church life.

      On the other hand, if deacons were not in roles of leadership, then what is to prevent women from filling such a role? To be sure, there are some who believe that women can be deacons, but who also believe that a female deacon functioned on a different level than a male deacon2 If such a qualification is made, then I have no problem with the category.

    It is clear that 1 Tim. 2:12 is taken as the rule against which to measure other verses in the scriptures regarding women. What is to prevent others from taking a contrasting verse as their rule? There is a certain amount of casuistry involved in this discussion, in my view. Wallace states that in the case where a female deacon functions on a different level, a woman could be a deacon. I don’t have a strong disagreement with the NET Bible on this word “deacon”, but I want to show the kind of subtle slant and background justification that is behind the notes.

    The more puzzling term in Rom. 16:2 is the translation of prostatis as “great help”. The ESV has “patron” here. There is no note on this word. It is passed over in silence and yet a significant decision has been made. There is no mention of the fact that the word prostatis is a cognate of the verb in 1 Tim. 5:17 which is translated as “leadership” in this verse – “Elders who provide effective leadership”. No mention of that!

    Once again, I am not proposing that this word should necessarily have been translated as “leader” but I do want to point out that the NET Bible does not provide the full story on women. If translation tradition had favoured women over the centuries, this verse could have been translated,

      Now I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon of the church in Cenchrea, so that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and provide her with whatever help she may need from you, for she has been a leader/provider for many, including me.

    These options are not discussed. This is really a very minor issue, but I have found several other times when the NET Bible made a decision in the translation, section headings or notes, which diminishes the status of women.

    In Eph. 5:22 the note comments on, but does not provide adequate support for putting the break between verses 21 and 22. In 1 Cor. 11:10, the notes do not mention that translating exousia as “a symbol of authority” refering to a symbol of someone else’s authority over one’s person, is absolutely without precedent in Greek literature and therefore needs a stronger defense. The notes simply don’t provide strong support for the translation decision.

    In 1 Tim. 2:12, the note for authentein says “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to” and does not in any way support the translation “exercise authority”. I am of the opinion that on occasion these notes serve a decorative function only. They do not put one in touch with the actual translation issues.

    In 1 Tim. 2:15, the notewriter waxes eloquent on childbearing and posits that it represents submission to male leadership.

      The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man

    This runs counter to the narrative of scripture, in which Hannah, Rachel, Ruth, Tamar and others take the initiative in order to bear children. This runs counter to the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and this runs counter to the injunction of Jesus,

      As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

    This runs counter to Paul’s teaching in 1 Cor. 7 that

      An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit.

    and this runs counter to the teaching that sexual intercourse is supposed to be a mutual arrangement as taught in 1 Cor. 7:4 (and Song of Solomon, so they say.)

      The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.

    I’d hate to see the NET Bible and its notes being used in a marriage prep seminar. The teaching in these notes seem so far from the Biblical narrative that I looked up an article by Wallace to ascertain if he actually approved of this teaching. I was unpleasantly surprised.

    I find that Wallace explicitly states his views on women in an article called Biblical Gynecology. Although Wallace intends this to refer only to the “study of women”, he cannot be oblivious to the fact that gynecology has exactly one meaning in English,

      The study of the reproductive system of women.

    So, once Wallace has women metaphorically under examination, “on the table”, so to speak, the question is, does he envision women only in submission to male initiative? Apparently so – women are for Wallace “responders” – that is their function, both in the home and in the church. Wallace does not mean that women respond to God, Wallace means that women respond to men – in the home and in the church. (Funny thing, I was always under the distinct impression that men respond to women.) Women, best discussed metaphorically by “childbearing” and “gynecology”, or the study of their reproductive organs, experience the redemptive work of God in their life inasmuch as they submit to man.

    Not happy to leave it at that, Wallace goes on to share with the public his views on “egalitarian women” – those who defy being defined by their reproductive organs. On anecdotal evidence, Wallace remarks that egalitarian women are rude, “arrogant” and “disrespectful.” Wallace characterizes egalitarian women as “despising women” and “treating women as second-class citizens.” In fact, according to Wallace, it is almost without exception egalitarian women who behave this way; complementarian women have never been known to do this.

    I just don’t think that providing evidence to the contrary would be useful at this point. My experience is that in the public school system and at secular universities, this kind of discourse is not allowed. I have certainly never run into this kind of officially sanctioned sexism in the non-Christian workplace. This does Grudem one better – he merely states, in Ev. Fem. and Biblical Truth, that egalitarian women are “unattractive to the opposite sex”.

    Probably 500 years from now this isn’t going to matter – but now, this matters. My sense is that Christians are so desensitized to sexism that they simply let it go by without comment. What kind of witness is this to the world?

    Next, I am going to review Wallace and Burer’s work on Junia. Stay tuned.

    Update: This line “it is almost without exception egalitarian women who behave this way” has been edited in response to a commenter, to better conform to Wallace’s argument in the paper Biblical Gynecology. Wallace also writes, “” I am not saying that egalitarian women always treat other women disrespectfully”.

    Nonetheless, Wallace pits egalitarian women against complementarian women and makes some unpleasant accusations. It is evident that egalitarian women could easily recount anecdotes which demonstrate the converse, but I don’t think it is appropriate for me to try and counter Wallace’s arguments, although I could easily do so. The simple fact remains that he should not have sunk to this level of discourse.

    NET Bible Review 1

    I am not sure whether to dignify my discussion of the NET Bible with the label “review”. However, this will not be a unidimensional perspective – the NET Bible defies any simplistic categorization. I will, nonetheless, out of modesty and awareness of my own limitations, restrict myself to the New Testament and hope that the NET Bible Old Testament and “Apocrypha” will be reviewed elsewhere or by someone else on this blog.

    Here is an example of the kind of language one can expect in the NET Bible.

      The purpose of this enlightenment is that25 through the church the multifaceted wisdom26 of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. 3:11 This was according to27 the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 3:12 in whom we have boldness and confident access28 to God29 because of30 Christ’s31 faithfulness.32 Ephesians 3:10-12

    The language is up to date and the exegesis reflects recent scholarship. “Manifold” becomes “multifaceted” as in the HCSB and “faith in Christ” becomes “Christ’s faithfulness”. “Propitiation” is replaced by “atoning sacrifice” and the Jews have become the “Jewish leaders”.

    The NET Bible reflects gender accurate language with “fishers of people” – Mark 1:17, “children of God” – Matt. 5:9, “brothers and sisters” – Hebrews 2:17, a “human” Christ – 1 Tim. 2:5 and “someone” instead of a “man” in James 2:2.

    So far, I have only noticed a handful of differences between the way that the NET Bible and the TNIV handle gender language. The NET Bible uses the generic “he” pronoun. However, it is well worth noting that this does not represent an ideological difference between the NET Bible editors and the TNIV editors. The following explanation is given in the preface to the NET Bible,

      Finally, with regard to the issue of translational gender inclusivity it is important to note the flexibility shown by the New Testament authors themselves when citing Old Testament texts. A few examples will suffice: in Isaiah 52:7 the prophet states “how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news”; this was incorporated by Paul in Romans 10:15 as “the feet of those who proclaim the good news.” In Psalm 36:1 the psalmist writes, “There is no fear of God before his eyes,” while Paul quotes this in Romans 3:18 as “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

      Again, the psalmist writes in Psalm 32:1, “Blessed is he whose lawless deeds are forgiven, whose sins are covered,” while Paul in Romans 4:7 has “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.” Even more striking is the citation by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:18 of 2 Samuel 7:14, where God states, “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.” Paul renders this as “I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.”

      Furthermore, it cannot be claimed that Paul is simply following the common version of the Greek Old Testament (the LXX) here, since the LXX follows the Hebrew text closely at this point, literally, “I will be to him for a father, and he will be to me for a son.” Although considerable flexibility is shown in Paul’s handling of this text, hardly anyone would charge him with capitulating to a feminist agenda!

    I did notice a couple of times where I found the translation a bit odd in gender terms and I would like to know more about these decisions. For exmple, Eph. 4:8 is “When he ascended on high he captured6 captives; he gave gifts to men.” There is no explanation and I don’t know if this is significant.

    In Hebrews 2:6 the traditional phrase “man” and “son of man” is retained without footnotes. This is particularly odd since Psalm 8:4 reads

      Of what importance is the human race,10 that you should notice11 them?
      Of what importance is mankind,12 that you should pay attention to them.

    I would be very interested in hearing from others what the reasoning for this might be and why it is not footnoted.

    The one other instance I noted was in Galatians 4, where once again God has “sons”. I find it somewhat strange that no one remarks on the fact that Luther’s Bible had exclusively “children” in this passage, and I have yet to hear how that this damaged the Reformation.

    In spite of these few isolated examples, I cannot find any significant difference in translation philosphy between the NET Bible and the TNIV. In fact, I find the TNIV to be much more reminiscent of the the King James tradition. I am therefore puzzled as to why Wayne Grudem’s endorsement is on the NET Bible site. Although he restricts his endorsement to the notes, he does allow his name to stand, and he has not mounted a campaign against the NET Bible. I have to ask if Grudem’s campaign against the TNIV has a basis other than the one stated.

    Here is one last observation to the effect that I have found some wording in the NET Bible awkward.

      Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have,17 given to you and confirmed by prophetic words18 when the elders laid hands on you1 TIm. 4:14
          Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters,1 by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice – alive, holy, and pleasing to God. Rom. 12:1

          For from you the message of the Lord16 has echoed forth not just in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place reports of your faith in God have spread, 1 Thess. 1:8

            Is it just me or is there something odd about the language of these verses? I shall continue this review another day.