Sunday, November 07, 2010

"Honor such men"

Those who campaigned against the TNIV, lead by the editor of the ESV, like to use the following verse as a foundation for their disapproval of the TNIV.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, Rev. 22:18
Wayne Grudem concludes his summary of concerns against the TNIV with these words,
If the TNIV should gain wide acceptance, the precedent will be established for other Bible translations to mute unpopular nuances and details of meaning for the sake of "political correctness." The loss of many other doctrines unpopular in the culture will soon follow. And at every case Bible readers will never know if what they are reading is really the Word of God or the translators' ideas of something that would be a little less offensive than what God actually said. "You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it" (Deut. 4:2).
However, I cannot help but notice that Grudem was himself responsible for adding the word "men" to the ESV. In Phil. 2:29 it reads,
29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men,
In fact, this phrase, "honor such men" is now a quotable Bible phrase, one that was not available in the KJV. It is clear that Grudem, the editor of the ESV, feels that no words should be added to the word of God with the exclusion of the word "man" or "men." How silly of me not to understand this the first time around.

Here is the Greek for this verse, no "men" in sight.
προσδέχεσθε οὖν αὐτὸν ἐν κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς, καὶ τοὺς τοιούτους ἐντίμους ἔχετε,
When Paul writes about Epaphroditus and then says honour "those who are like him," we have to look at what it is about Epaphroditus that is significant in this passage, and whether women could meet the same criteria. Here is the passage in Philippians about Epaphroditus, and I then follow up with a similar passage in Romans 16, written about Phoebe and Priscilla.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. 26 For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. 27 Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.
I cannot imagine any rationale at all for saying that Phil. 2:29 should be translated as "honor such men." It is very difficult for me to feel that the commentary promoting manhood in the Bible ought to be taken seriously. Very difficult indeed.


Donald Johnson said...

They might claim it is an inclusive men that they mean. But I am sure some expositors do not see it that way. So they add to confusion when their is no need to do so.

Donald Johnson said...

The ESV also adds "a sign of" in the crucial 1 Cor 11:10.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

There is simply no way of knowing whether "men" in the ESV means "men" as in males, or "men" as in people. It is the most inconsistent translation that has ever been produced.

EricW said...

Wayne Grudem will be... Wayne Grudem.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Readers of the ESV need to be aware that there is a certain amount of wishful thinking involved in this translation.

EricW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricW said...

I was at the Annual ETS meeting (San Antonio, IIRC) when the ESV came out. People like J.I. Packer (very old) were lauding it as the greatest Bible/Translation since Moses came down from Sinai with the actual words of God inscribed by God Himself with His own finger. (Okay, I exaggerate slightly.)

I also heard secondhand from a fellow traveler who attended it that during one of the sessions where our dear friend Wayne Grudem was criticizing the NIV translation vis-a-vis the ESV, Douglas Moo stood up and basically told Grudem that he was being dishonest and knew it.

Yes, Crossway has an agenda (make money with the ESV) and Grudem, et al., have an agenda (keep women in their God-ordained second-class-citizen-status place). [/sarcasm]

Donald Johnson said...

Moo worked on the NIV 2010.