Bock on 1 Timothy 2:12 in the NIV 2011

Commenting on places where he agrees and disagrees with the CBMW statement, Darrell Bock writes:

1 Timothy 2:12

This is a key example where the CBMW is correct. It may well be that this is the text that matters most to the CBMW. It is 1 Timothy 2:12. The NIV has “assume authority” “have authority” or “exercise authority” in its rendering of this verse. I think the statement’s complaint here is right and fair. There is no alternative in the margin, either. That is yet another unfortunate feature of the rendering. I suspect this rendering bothered the statement writers more than any other in their list.

So how to handle it? This is an example where I would continue to appeal for a revision on the principle that any translation has places where one can improve it. Of all the examples I will treat, this is the one that merits more reconsideration by the NIV committee than any other text.

Denny Burk is to be commended for his courageous work on this text, and his discussion of the changes from NIV 1984 through the TNIV to the NIV 2011 is especially worthy of attention. See his post, “The NIV on 1 Timothy 2:12,” for a nice chart tracking the progressive translation of the verse in the NIV.

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  1. Jim:

    All the best in your labors. Just a note to say there is more than one text discussed in my blog as you know. Only right to tell the whole story of my response.

  2. I have enjoyed this microcosmic look at these passages. I still think, after reading Dr,Bock’s blog that he and others want to avoid the macro-cosmic issue of intent and purpose behind the direction the NIV2011 takes gender translation. Their translators need to engage the issues addressed by CBMW.

  3. Jerome – dominari
    Erasmus – autoritatem usurpare
    Calvin – auctoritatem sumere (translated in 1855 as “assume authority”)
    Luther – Herr sei

  4. This scripture has kept women from Christian service in her church. Churches have used this scripture to prohibit women from taking up the offering, teaching teen age boys, mixed classes, being a deacon, and from being a pastor.

    Since there is a variety of ways this scripture can be interpreted, it is with great pleasure that Baptists decide that there is only one way it can be interpreted. Women can’t. Whatever it is a particular church decides that they don’t want a woman to do, they pull out this scripture and say “women can’t.”

    Wouldn’t it be Christ-like to say that since nobody knows exactly what this scripture limits and doesn’t limit, that we Christians will let God call women as He chooses to do and at whatever He chooses. If it is to pastor, then God calls women to pastor. If it is to teach men, then we can allow God to call women to teach men.

    Instead, Baptists have chosen the harsh rule over women. This is harmful to the Gospel, to the Body of Christ, and it is harmful to women and to young girls who feel they are called into ministry.

    It is easy to ignore Jesus’ example of giving the good news to women to tell. We do it all the time. At some point, we must remember that it is His gospel, and if he chooses to call women to proclaim it as he did with the woman at the well, and to Mary at the tomb, who are we to stand in His way?

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