- We affirm that the Bible is written in such a way that all things necessary for our salvation and for our Christian life and growth are very clearly set out in Scripture.
- The clarity of Scripture means that the Bible is written in such a way that its teachings are able to be understood by all who will read it seeking God's help and being willing to follow it.
- When I wrote the commentary I initially went with Position 4. But when I got to chapter 5, I could not say that a widow had to be married only once in order to be enrolled in widows list since Paul encourages the younger widows to remarry. So I went back and changed my commentary to Position 3.
This allows for a person to be an elder who has been divorced in the distant past—how far in the distance needs to be decided in your position paper. I didn’t come to this conclusion for this reason, but it is one of the ramifications.
But in this debate, let’s be fair. 1 Tim 3:2 is a confusing text, and whatever it says, it does not say it clearly. At least to us; I am sure Timothy had not doubt as to Paul’s meaning.
- This conclusion still leaves open the question whether it is more likely that the IOTNIAN of Rom 16:7 reflects a Hebrew masculine name or a Latin feminine one. The answer to that question depends largely on how one assesses the likelihood that Paul would have considered a woman to be "prominent among the apostles" (see Metzger, Textual Commentary, 475).
- To some, probability will still favor the quasi consensus of recent scholarship that IOTNIAN in Rom 16:7 refers to a woman. To others, the epigraphic and philological evidence for the existence of a Hebrew name Yëhunnï/Ίουνιας will tip the scales in favor of a male apostle. In my own opinion, a plausible (but not a decisive) case can be made for either position.
- Do I need or dare to reiterate my suspicion — hardening into a conviction? — that this author has not taken any great pains to structure his expression to make it what some Greeks called εὐσύνοπτον — the current buzz word seems to be “transparent.” I think it must be a thankless task to attempt a really convincing and thorough punctuation of Ephesians: one must read a mind that seems to know what it wants to say but can’t quite articulate it clearly.
I have often demonstrated that certain conclusions about passages on gender in the Bible are not supported by the evidence. Then people ask me what my interpretation is. Frankly, I don't see why I have to have one. I am in good company. Or would readers rather that I jump off one horse and onto another as fast as some other people in this business.