Dan Wallace on NIV 2011 and English Bible history

Dan Wallace contra mundaneAt Reclaiming the Mind Dan Wallace offers part 1 of a review of NIV 2011. This first part is in fact a review of the history of English Bible translations, mostly from 1885 to the present day. In general this is the kind of excellent work one would expect from Wallace. See also my brief post at Better Bibles Blog.

There are, however, some small points which I could take issue with. Specifically, concerning the NRSV rendering of 1 Timothy 3:2, Wallace writes:

The text now sounds like Paul would allow women to be elders/bishops, but that seems to be a case of historical revisionism.

I realise that this is a very brief statement of what many scholars including Wallace have argued elsewhere in great detail. Indeed I discussed this same phrase in detail in a six part series here at Gentle Wisdom, five years ago. But I don’t think Wallace’s passing comment should be allowed to pass without comment from me. Firstly, there is no real evidence that Paul would not allow women to be church leaders, as a general rule rather than in the specific situation of this letter (2:11-12). Secondly, if, as Wallace concedes might be true, the Greek phrase here means simply “married only once” without specifying gender, then it would be wrong to translate it with a phrase which does specify gender.

I look forward to the other three parts of the review, which will presumably appear soon at the same place. I expect that Wallace will have something to say about gender language in NIV 2011, and I will very likely respond to that.

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  1. Pingback: Dan Wallace concludes by strongly endorsing NIV 2011 - Gentle Wisdom

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