The 2001 Translation

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2001 Translation


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    1 Timothy 2:9-15 – verses about women

    Since this passage is about an emotionally-charged topic, here’s a breakdown of why we translate it in this way.

    Verses 9-10

    In the NKJV:

    9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

    In our translation:

    9 Likewise, the women’s clothing should be modest, respectable, and sensible; not with fancy hairstyles, gold, pearls, or expensive clothes. 10 But instead, [their fancy clothing] should be good works – something befitting women who say that they fear God.

    The problem is that all three words used (in both Greek and Aramaic) could reasonably be translated as some variation of modesty. So the differences must be subtle. So the question is, what are the differences?

    According to the interlinear Apostolic Bible, the Greek literally says ‘composed apparel with respect and discreetness’, while the Dukhrana interlinear of the Aramaic text gives ‘modest/sober apparel with modesty/reverence and modesty/sobriety.’

    Now we must turn this into everyday English. If we instead look at the opposite of these words, we can start to see how to convey this in modern terms.

    What is the opposite of being sober and modest? Probably wild (or drunk) and showing off. What’s the opposite of modesty and reverence? Probably showing off (again) and being disrespectful. What’s the opposite of modesty and sobriety? Making poor choices that also results in showing off.

    So in everyday English, we could say modest (opposite of wild showing off), respectable (opposite of disrespectful), and sensible (opposite of making poor choices). Also, if these comments are made in the context of Christian meetings (like the next comments about learning seem to be), the reference to respect could refer to respecting the solemness of the occasion.

    These Aramaic-based translations are all very similar to the Greek words, except for ‘discreetness’ instead of ‘sensible.’ However, in Greek ‘discreet’ also means ‘wise,’ ‘sanity,’ and ‘self-control’. So both languages seem to be saying the same thing.

    Verse 11

    In the NKJV:

    11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.

    In our translation:

    11 Let a woman [or, wife] learn quietly and obediently.

    In this place, our translation is very similar to others, but phrases like “in silence” and “with all submission” are old-fashioned.

    Further, some men take the phrase “all submission” out of context in order to tell women that they should allow themselves to be subjugated and abused because “the Bible says you ought to be silent and submit to me!” However, this verse is just talking about learning – being obedient to Christian teachers, probably in the context of Christian meetings.

    Look at it this way, the opposite meaning would be to behave “loudly and disruptively”. Should any Christian act like that when learning about their Faith, male or female?

    Verse 12a

    In the NKJV:

    12 And I do not permit a woman to teach ...

    In our translation:

    12 Indeed, I don’t argue that a woman [should] teach ...

    The differences between the Greek and Aramaic are interesting here. The Aramaic word is usually translated as ‘allow/permit,’ but it’s actually a stronger inflection of the verb ‘to persuade’, so it could be order, but the root is usually used to mean beg or plead. If that’s correct, then Paul isn’t setting up a rule, rather, he is stating that he would never argue for a woman to teach. In other words, he would never demand it, nor try to make it happen.

    If this is right, then it may resolve a problem, because if he really had set up a ‘rule’ that women can never teach, then what about places where the local Christian group has no Christian men willing (or able) to teach? The problem disappears when we see that it’s not a rule, it’s just not what he would argue for; it’s not the ideal.

    While the Christian books mention women praying, prophecying, singing, and preaching, they don’t mention women teaching a congregation. On the contrary, James recommended that very few ‘brothers’ should be teachers (James 3:1).

    Being a teacher is, however, different from leading the congregation in song, saying a prayer, prophecying, speaking in tongues, or sharing testimonies and experiences. Teaching is something very specific that (according to James) few should do. And nobody (male or female) should be the Leader other than the Anointed One. (see below)

    Verse 12b

    In the NKJV:

    ... or to have authority over a man...

    In our translation:

    ... nor [that she should] domineer a man;

    The Aramaic uses a strong inflection of ‘to dare’, or ‘to be bold’. The Greek can mean to be something like a despot. In the everyday English of our translation, we choose to say ‘to domineer a man’.

    One might think that authority and domination are the same thing, but they are not. Saying ‘have authority over’ implies an official appointment to an office. Therefore, the meaning of the verse is changed entirely; it sounds like Paul is implying that while women can’t gain such authority, men can.

    We have learned through our translation efforts that men are not permitted to have authority (or to act as ‘Lords’) over other Christians, for only the Anointed One is the Leader. Even the Apostles were mere servants. See our page on mistranslations to support the authority of men.

    To ‘have authority over’ implies some official appointment, whereas anyone can be domineering. No appointment is needed. So, if Paul was saying that a woman shouldn’t be domineering over a man, it changes the sense to something much broader. Also, keep in mind that the Aramaic and Greek words for woman and man also mean wife and husband. The actual meaning is only seen by context. You could choose to read it as ‘nor [should a wife] domineer a husband’.

    Verse 12c

    In the NKJV:

    ...but to be in silence.

    In our translation:

    ... rather, stop it.

    Finally, instead of ‘be silent’, our translation says ‘stop it’ because the broader sense of the Aramaic word (and its root) means to cease something, including speaking and doing, but ‘be silent’ would be a reasonable choice too.

    Verses 13-14a

    In the NKJV:

    13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived ...

    In our translation:

    13 For Adam was created first, then Eve. 14 Also, Adam wasn’t seduced, but the woman was seduced ...

    The Aramaic word has a broad range of meanings – from simply making a mistake, to going astray, to be seduced. Since we know the context – what happened in the Garden – we know that seduced is the correct meaning here.

    Eve was not just deceived – there was more to it. She was enticed to look at the tree and to develop a desire for its fruit; the ‘snake’ aroused feelings in her and then used these against her. This is more than mere deception, it’s seduction.

    To translate it as ‘deceived’ could imply that she was simply tricked and that God will punish innocent people if they are fooled by someone – yes, that He punishes people for being victims! It makes far more sense when one understands that it’s not that simple; she wasn’t just lied to, she was enticed to fulfill her own desires and to sin.

    According to HELPS Word Studies, the scholar Deissmann stated that “deception with [this word] is often sensual (personal desires, pleasure)”.

    Verses 14b

    In the NKJV:

    ... fell into transgression.

    In our translation:

    ... broke the commandment.

    There are three problems with ‘fell into transgression’. First, it’s old-fashioned (and our translation is supposed to be in modern English). Secondly, it speaks generally, whereas the original text is referencing a specific event. The actual words in Greek say that Eve was in violation – meaning, she broke a law. The Aramaic says she broke the command. Yes, she ate the fruit. So that’s what we have in our translation.

    Finally, the more general statement, unfortunately, implies to some that through Eve, all women have fallen into transgression (or sin) in some way that Adam (and all men) did not. Therefore, they say, women are uniquely sinful. Yet this is not supported by the original words.

    There is no implication that by extension, through Eve, all women are somehow uniquely sinful. Surely, by this logic, the men would be uniquely sinful since Adam wasn’t seduced and knew what he was doing.

    Verse 15

    In the NKJV:

    15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

    In our translation:

    15 However, she’ll be sustained by her children – as long as they[, that is, her children] remain in the Faith in love, holiness, and sensibleness.

    This verse has caused some to think that giving birth to multiple children will save (or at least help to save) women.

    There are two main problems with this. First, only faith in the sacrifice of Jesus can save. Paul could hardly tell Timothy that a woman is saved by having kids. He can’t say that; only Jesus saves.

    The problem evaporates when you realize that the word for ‘saved’ has further everyday uses (in both Aramaic and Greek) than just salvation through Jesus. The Aramaic word can also mean the ordinary sustaining things of life (money, food, drink, shelter, etc.), or to be kept safe and well. Also, the Greek can mean to be safe and sound. Only the context reveals which is the correct meaning. We choose “sustained”.

    So Paul is not saying that the woman will be saved in a religious sense (how could he?), but looked after, sustained. But how can giving birth sustain you? Well, the Aramaic word can mean either births or children. Again, the context is key. Paul must be referring to the support of her grown, believing children in the Faith – not little babies! So here our translation says “sustained by her children”.

    If the Greek is merely a translation of an Aramaic original (as we suspect), then we can see where the misunderstanding came from – the Greek translator chose the wrong definition. He saw “births/children”, ignored the obvious context, and turned children into childbearing! Suddenly, giving birth grants women salvation.

    Further, when it says “she’ll be sustained by her children as long as they remain in the Faith”, the Aramaic word meaning ‘they remain’ has a masculine plural spelling. So it can’t be referring back to the singular woman, it must refer to her children remaining in the Faith (a mixed-sex group of people uses a plural masculine spelling). Also, newborn babies cannot be ‘in the Faith.’

    Therefore, by considering the context, Paul said that a woman will be sustained via her faithful children. Sustained in what way? Perhaps sustained in the Faith, and protected from what he mentioned previously, being seduced by something and led away from the Faith.