The Hair Issue; Studies From I Cor. 11

**{Note:  The text below was pasted from an article I wrote elsewhere.  For some reason the font styles differ in some paragraphs and I cannot seem to correct it.  Still, the data is there – please pardon the annoying/varying fonts until I can get this figured out.}

*In 1992 Dr. Gregory Boyd put out his inflammatory work entitled “Oneness Pentecostals and the Trinity.”  In this book he charges, “neither the early church, nor the church throughout the ages, has ever held to the very eccentric notion that a woman should never cut her hair.”

*Not only is this entirely false, (cf., e..g., Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, John Chrysostom, et al.), but more importantly, apparently Dr. Boyd (also an Open Theist) does not consider the book of I Corinthians a part of “the early church.”  Below are a few (i) grammatical, (ii) historical and (iii) theological considerations that keep drifting through my mind.

*”If a woman has no covering, let her be for now with short hair, but since it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair shorn or shaved, she should grow it again.”  (I Cor. 11.6; NIV Footnote)

*”And since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, then she should have long hair.”  (I Cor. 11.6; NLT—Footnote)

*Today’s English Version, I Cor. 11.5-6:  “And any woman who prays or speaks God’s message in public worship with nothing on her head disgraces her husband; there is no difference between her and a woman whose head has been shaved.  If the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair. And since it is a shameful thing for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair, she should cover her head.

*Social scientists Bruce Malina and Jerome Neyrey:  “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of honor and shame in the socialization of males and females in the ancient Mediterranean world…..To know the gender of someone was already to know a whole set of norms to which they must conform if they were to be honorable in that society.  Such expectations formed clear cultural norms about what clothes (Deut. 22:5), hairdos (1 Cor. 11:4-14), and sexual partners (Rom. 1:26-27) are appropriate to males and females.”  (Drs. Bruce Malina and Robert Neyrey, Portraits of Paul: An Archaeology of Ancient Personality {Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 1996}, p. 182.)

*I once asked a Trinitarian apologist about these passages, to which he responded, “Well, the idea is that this was a cultural notion limited to the Corinthians based upon temple prostitution.”  I counter responded by pointing him to Pauline usage of “nature” and the fact that I Cor. 11 was addressed to “…all that in every place call upon the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord…”  (I Cor. 1.2).

*Indeed, Paul’s universal salutation effectively undercuts the “cultural” card, silencing those seeking to nullify these passages.  Incidentally, if the first portion of I Cor. 11 is relegated to merely “cultural” status, what prohibits the latter section of the same chapter dealing with the Lord’s Supper from being demoted to the same?  Using identical logic, we should now equally stop observing the Lord’s Supper!

*The Greek verb translated as “shorn” (κείρασθαι) appears in the middle voice indicating that the action is performed upon—or with reference to—the subject.  Here’s what some of the most authoritative lexicographers in existence state about this specific term: Mid. [voice] cut one’s hair or have one’s hair cut…Abs(olute sense)…I Cor. 11:6a, b(Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon; 2nd ed., p. 427 [BDAG affirms the same thing}).  “To have one’s hair cut” (Dr. F.W. Gingrich’s, Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, p. 114).

*Analytical Greek NT Lexicon:  “middle cut one’s hair, have one’s hair cut off (1 C 11.6).”

*Louw & Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain:  19.23  “κείρω to cut the hair of a person or animal – to cut hair, to shear.  εἰ γὰρ οὐ κατακαλύπτεται γυνήκαὶ κειράσθω if the woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut her hair 1CO. 11.6″

*For these grammatical reasons, many linguists have translated this verb as “cut off,” or simply “to cut” (e.g., RSV, NEB, Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts, NAB, NIV, Amplified Bible, James Moffatt).

*Additionally, on p. 245 of the United Bible Societies A Translators Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, we read:  “To be shorn, literally ‘cut-her-hair’ in Greek, probably referred to a regular trimming of her hair.”

*This is the lexical definition of the verb translated “shorn/κείρασθαι” and hence is the very thing the Holy Spirit is prohibiting through the writings of the Apostle Paul.

*Regarding the adjective translated “shame (or) disgrace” (v. 6), see here BAGD, p. 25:it is disgraceful…for a woman to cut her hair.”  Thayer’s; p. 17: “disgrace, dishonorable.” Louw & Nida: “since it is shameful for a woman to shave or cut her hair, she should cover her head 1CO. 11:6.” 

*This is the same GK. word (αἰσχρόν) employed in Eph. 5.12 of, “things in secret are shameful even to mention” and Titus 1.10-11 of certain Jews who were “ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach for the sake of dishonest gain” (NIV).  {Note:  I have more lexical quotes to this end.}

*This is a very strong Greek adjective always denoting a forceful offense.

*In this vein, as it relates to the verb “long/komao (#2863)” in v. 15, “if a woman has long hair,” lexicographers affirm: “In a number of languages it may be necessary to translate komao/long as ‘to let one’s hair grow long’ or ‘not to cut one’s hair” (Drs. Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain, UBS).

*The idea here is that if the receptor language does not have a word for “uncut hair,” the translator should communicate this idea by his choice of words.  (Cf. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains {New York: United Bible Societies, 1996}, 8.14, 11.15.)

*Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon:  “let one’s hair grow long…I Cor. 11:14, 15” (p. 442).

*The following quotes were accessed from Bro. Jason Weatherly’s blog: http://theweatherlyreport.blogspot.com/

1.  I posed the following question to Janet Downie, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:  “In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to ‘uncut hair’?”

Response:  “The participle komaontes/komoontes (κομάω from the noun κόμη ‘hair’) does mean ‘having abundant hair,’ ‘with a full head of hair’ — so that implies uncut.  Homeric warriors and later Greeks seem to have worn their hair long.”

2.  I proposed the following question to the blogger’s third language expert:  “So, my question is – is it possible that akersekomes and komaō are used synonymously in Classical Greek?  Is it possible that the context of Classical Greek indicates that komaō indicated long hair that was not (yet) cut?”

Dr. David Leitao, Professor of Classics, San Francisco University responded with:  “Yes, in some contexts, akersokomes and kom(o/a)on (the participle form of komao) could be synonyms.  It’s not quite true that boys left their hair to grow uncut until adulthood.  That was the custom in some areas and at some times, but far from universal.  The word akersokomes was probably used mostly commonly of Apollo, a special case.  And there’s the case of the Achaeans in the Iliad (and the Spartans of later years), who were described as komoontes (‘wearing the hair long, i.e. uncut’).  Hope this helps.”

3.  I sent the following question to Professor Mark Griffith, Professor of Classics, Berkley University:  “In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to ‘uncut hair’?”

Professor Griffith answered:  “Yes, that would be a natural meaning for that word.  Translators of the Iliad, for example, often render the formula KARA KOMOÔNTES ACHAIOI as ‘the long-haired Achaeans’  There are various theories as to why this epithet was applied to the Bronze Age or Archaic ‘Achaeans.’  As you probably know, in some societies young men did not cut their hair until reaching a certain age, as part of an adolescent rite of passage.  But of course not all the Achaeans in Homer’s poem are adolescents, by any means.  In the Classical period in Athens (5th C. BCE or so), the style of growing one’s hair long and luxurious (KOMOÔ or in Attic Greek KOMAÔ) was regarded as rather an aristocratic (and/or Spartan) habit.

4. I posed the question to Professor Anthony Kaldellis one of the Professors in this department:  “In Classical Greek, is it possible to understand the participle komoōntes as referring to ‘uncut hair’?”

Professor Kaldellis’ answer was:  “If it’s from komaô, sure, but more like letting the hair grow long rather than not cutting it, same thing in the end.”  In other words “letting the hair grow long” is the “same thing in the end” as “uncut hair,” which is what we affirm.

**(End quotes from Bro. Jason Weatherly’s blog)

*CEV:  A woman should wear something on her head.  It is a disgrace for a woman to shave her head or cut her hair (I Cor. 11.6).

*As it relates to the wearing of a literal veil, v. 15 could not be clearer:  “Her hair is given her for/anti a covering.”  The Greek preposition translated “for” is anti, where we get the English prefix “anti” and is defined as “instead of” or “against.”  The most straightforward rendering would be (and often is), “her hair is given her instead of a veil.”

*Paul further explained that even the nature of things teaches us on this matter.  How so?  First, nature teaches that there should be a visible distinction between male and female.  Second, in almost all cultures, men have worn short hair in comparison to women.  Third, men are ten times more likely to go bald than women.  It is natural for a man not to have any hair but unnatural for a woman not to have hair.  In addition, the Old Testament indicates that it is shameful for a woman to cut or lose her hair (Isaiah 3.17, 24; Jeremiah 7.29).

*From a historical perspective, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; Vol. 5, p. 18, informs us: “Women never cut their hair (cf. Jer. vii. 29), and long hair was their greatest ornament (Cant. iv. 1; cf. I Cor. xi 15; Cant. vii. 5).”

*The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. 6, p. 158, “Hair”:  A woman’s hair was never cut except as a sign of deep mourning or of degradation.”  Remember, Jesus endorsed the Jewish concept(s) of God to the woman at the well (Jn. 4) and Paul affirmed that to the Jews were written, “the oracles of God” (Rom.).

*The World of Ancient Israel, pg. 84,  “When a woman was accused and found guilty of adultery, her hair was cut or her head shaved.”

*I have a myriad of additional quotes from historians who reference the Sioux’s practice of scalping the hair of the head as the emblem of losing one’s power and authority.  Adolf Hitler had all the women’s hair shaved upon their arrival at concentration camps during WW II.  At the liberation of Auschwitz, Jan. 1945, there was 7 tons of hair found in the camp’s warehouse (See Teresa Swiebocka’s, Auschwitz: A History in Photographs; p. 25).

*From a theological perspective, a woman’s hair is said to be a “covering,” and v. 7 specifies precisely what her hair is covering:  “For a man ought not to cover his head covered, since he is the image and glory of God; but (i.e., in contrast to this) the woman is the glory of man” (NET).

*That is, man’s hair is to be short “since he is the…glory of God,” but, in contrast to this—since woman is “the glory of man”—she should have long-uncut hair to “cover” man’s glory.

*My mind races to another “covering of Glory” in the tabernacle of Moses, namely the mercy seat.  Hannah lamented when the Ark of the Covenant was taken that “the glory of the LORD has departed.”  To the Hebrew mind, this is what the Ark represented as is well documented throughout Scripture.  Curiously, it was on this “covering” that Yahveh had Cherubim positioned as if “looking into.”  Interestingly, Paul explicitly ties in the notion that “because of the Angels” (I Cor. 11.10) women are to have this “covering” of uncut hair.

*No matter what interpretation one takes, just as angels were monitoring the OT covering of Glory, so angels are monitoring the NT “covering” of “glory.”  Consider for a moment what would have happened if Moses would have “shortened” the “covering” of the “glory?”  Sadly, this is the equivalent of what many in Pentecost and Dr. Boyd are advocating!

**What does “long hair” mean?  We will define it in two ways: (i) The literal definition of the word itself (which should be sufficient standing alone); (ii) Its usage else were in Scripture.

*Long Hair:  First, as we’ve seen above, the Greek term translated “long hair” is komaō and is defined as, “to allow the hair to grow.”  If one cuts their hair they are not “allowing it to grow,” particularly since the hair grows from the root and not the ends.  And, if a man has “long hair” it is a shame to him (1 Corinthians 11.14); that is, if a man has long and uncut hair.  Long hair on a man is equally uncut hair; therefore long hair on a woman would coequally be uncut hair.  Uncut hair is a shame to a man and a glory to a woman.  Or, as Dr. John Gill states, “But if a woman have long hair….And wears it, without cutting it, as men do.”

*The following quotation is extrapolated from Dr. Daniel Segraves, “Hair Length in the Bible” WAP, 1989 (pp. 43–45):

A question generally arises at this point:  How long must one’s hair be to fit the biblical definition of “long?”  The answer centers on the meaning of the Greek words Koma {a verb} and Kome’ {a noun}.  “Koma” is translated “have long hair” both in vv. 14 and 15.  According to Gingrich’s lexicon, this Greek verb means, “to wear long hair, let one’s hair grow long.”  Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon renders it “to let the hair grow, have long hair.”  Obviously, someone cannot allow hair to grow and cut it at the same time, particularly since the hair grows from the root & not the ends.

“Kome” is the Greek noun translated “hair” in the phrase “for her hair is given her for a covering” (v. 15).  The passages cited by Bauer’s Lexicon and Moulton and Miligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament indicate that “kome’” refers to uncut hair.  The passages cited by these works in which this noun occurs in Greek literature demand the meaning of “uncut hair.”  The same Greek word, “kome’,” is also used in the LXX to describe the Nazarite, who were forbidden to cut their hair.

*Dr. Spiros Zodhaites: komáo; contracted komo, fut. komeso, from kóme (G2864), hair.  To have long hair (1Co_11:14-15).  Paul teaches that a woman’s hair ought to be different from a man’s, and that a woman’s hair is equivalent to a “peribólaion” (G4018), something that is wrapped around, a veil or mantle.  From the context, it seems that the woman’s hair ought to be distinct from a man’s hair, not only in length, but also in ornamentation.

*Secondly, the way long hair is used elsewhere in Scripture would seem to demand the idea of uncut, or not trimmed.

*”They shall not shave their heads or let their locks grow long; they shall surely trim the hair of their heads.” Ezekiel 44.20

*In this verse it is clear that trimming the hair would prevent it from being long. Long hair is untrimmed hair.  This is not the only verse that indicates this:

*”All the days of his vow of separation, no razor shall touch his head.  Until the time is completed for which he separates himself to the LORD, he shall be holy.  He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long” (Numbers 6.5; ESV).

*The command to the one under the Nazarite Vow is:  “He shall let the locks of hair of his head grow long.”  This is set in contrast to, “no razor shall touch his head.”  Clearly the Nazarite vow prohibited any cutting of the hair.

*Again, Dr. John Gill:  “he might not shave his beard, nor cut off his locks, and shave his head, nor cut short his locks with a pair of scissors, nor any with anything by which the hair may be removed, as Ben Gersom; nor pluck off his hair with his hands, as Maimonides says (x); but let it grow as long as it would during the time of his separation.”

*As mentioned above, some have argued that I Corinthians 11 merely applies to first-century Corinthian culture and so can be disregarded today.  However, v. 16 states that none of the “churches of God” had any other custom than what Paul had just taught.  At that time, there were Jewish, Greek, Roman, and various Asian churches.  Despite their many cultures, they all agreed on this practice.

*Finally, Revelation 9.8 describes a demonic army as having “hair as the hair of women.”  There is no biological difference between the hair of men and of women.  The difference is the length it is allowed to grow.  This fact was so evident in the late first-century churches that John – writing ca. thirty years after Paul – knew all his readers would understand his description.

*Let us hold fast to the written Word of God in the face of religious tradition!

Response to Dr. James White

*While doing some reading on-line I noticed a post from Dr. James White regarding the controversy surrounding Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue gay “marriage” licenses.  And, since White mentioned me specifically, I decided to respond.  

*Below I have copied White’s typical misrepresentations of Oneness believers (even though he’s been repeatedly informed otherwise) in red with my categorical responses in blue (as here) immediately following.  For corroboration of White’s post, see HERE.  Enjoy!    

Just a few hours ago, though, I read a tweet, replete with links, showing that Kim Davis attends an Apostolic (Oneness) church—i.e., a non-Trinitarian church—no, more specifically, an anti-Trinitarian church.  OK, well, nothing like throwing a curve ball at the situation.  I made very brief mention of this (not really commenting at all) on Twitter, and it has exploded with a number of, well, odd-ball comments (again showing that those who follow me on Twitter are an, uh, eclectic group).

In any case, many have asked, “So what?”  Well, good question.  Constitutionally it doesn’t mean a thing, obviously.  It doesn’t really impact the issue of whether the local magistrate should support and engage in promoting a clearly unjust, absurd and in fact evil governmental policy (the SC decision isn’t a law—it just absurdly says the Constitution does not allow all the laws that currently exist).

What it does impact is how we relate to Kim Davis herself. And for a large number of folks—the majority of evangelicals I would assume—it really doesn’t matter.  I mean, if she was one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, yeah, that might matter.  A Mormon?  Well, maybe a bit less, but still problematic for many.  But a Oneness Pentecostal?

*Here White poisons the well as he seeks to link Oneness Pentecostal believers with clearly aberrant groups such as JW’s (who openly deny that Jesus Christ is the supreme God) and Mormons (who openly confess Polytheism).  

*Ironically, Oneness believers could just as easily link Trinitarianism with these groups inasmuch as, along with JW’s, Trinitarians deny Jesus Christ as the single-supreme God of the Bible contra I John 5.20, Colossians 2.8-10, John 14.8-10, etc.  

*And, along with Mormonism, Trinitarians equally confess more than one identified as “God.”  In fact, in our debate in Australia Dr. White openly “affirmed” multiple “separate centers of consciousness within God” – the very definition of Polytheism (see the cross-exam portion of this debate).  

*There are also other clear similarities between Mormonism and Trinitarianism that we could point to.  Hence, Oneness believers can just as easily make these same links, which does nothing at all to foster mutual understanding between opposing camps. 

Well, as I mentioned to Michael Michael L Brown on the DL last week, I think the majority of people attending “evangelical” churches in the US would test “modalist” on any meaningful test of their knowledge of the Trinity.

*First, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” and Trinitarians have been told this ad nauseum.  The ancient Modalists confessed three sequential “modes” of God’s existence.  That is, ancient “modalists” believed that the Father became the Son of God while He ceased being the Father.  The Son of God then became the Holy Spirit while He ceased being the Son of God.  

*Modern Oneness believers do not accept this theological error.  Oneness believers confess three simultaneous and distinct manifestations of the one-single God’s existence (e.g., I Timothy 3.16, John 1.1-14)…big difference.  Again, Trinitarians like White have been told this repeatedly, yet they continue to openly misrepresent our beliefs (i.e., straw-man attack). 

*Further, if “the majority of people” attending Trinitarian churches have a Oneness understanding of God, then apparently Dr. White views the “majority of people” sitting on Trinitarian churches as lost (?)!  And, isn’t it strange that “the majority of people” reading the Scriptures would all independently conclude the Oneness identity of God?  Why?  Obviously this an indirect concession that the Oneness position is the natural deduction of the straight-forward reading of the Bible by “the majority of the people” (and only serves to advance the Oneness posture).

Since that is the case, why should they think Davis’ Oneness position would be relevant, when they don’t think the matter is worthy of enough attention for their own personal orthodoxy?  If most people who call themselves Christians are so lacadaisical as to spend more time mastering the complicated instructions for the most recent first person shooter video game than to come to understand the hypostatic union and the relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, why should they care if Kim Davis goes to a church that takes a minority view on the same topics?

*Here White seeks to pit the Oneness position as an outer-fringe belief-system, when the reality is there are millions and millions of Oneness believers worldwide (see Dr. Talmadge French’s voluminous work, “Our God is One” found HERE).  

*In fact, above White concedes that “the majority” of Trinitarians have a Oneness understanding of the Godhead…not such a “minority view” now is it?  Apparently White has never read that “few” would “find” true biblical salvation (Matthew 7.14).  Not to mention how such logic commits the Argumentum Ad Populum (formal logical) Fallacy – something I would think that an experienced, professional apologist would know better than to practice (?).

Well, I get all that, to be sure.  And if we dare say, “Hmm, well, this surely impacts how we should pray for this woman, since her foundation for doing what she is doing is seriously flawed,” we will get BLASTED by many who will find us “doctrinaire” and “narrow” and “unloving” and fill-in-the-blank.

*Ironically, it is White’s quirky notion of a God who supposedly exists as, “three divine individuals, each with their own separate center of consciousness apart from the other two divine individuals” (White’s own confession during our debate) that is “seriously flawed” – to put it mildly. 

But the reality is that modalism has never produced an orthodox representation of the gospel—not in the early church, and not today.  It can’t, since the gospel is inherently Trinitarian to its core.

*Again, Oneness believers are not “Modalists” in the sense that White erroneously charges.  Further, Oneness believers openly and gladly renounce White’s supposed “orthodox representation of the gospel” found within his clearly Tritheistic confession of “multiple-eternal-divine-centers-of-consciousness” canard.  If such a theological construct be considered “orthodox,” then sign us Oneness believers up as “unorthodox!”

*Moreover, the “Gospel” is biblically defined as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God enfleshed (i.e., I Corinthians 15), with absolutely nothing ever stated in Scripture regarding “inherent Trinitarian(ism).”  This is purely White’s anti-biblical religious tradition found nowhere in the inspired writings of Scripture.  The “Gospel” message is that God loved humanity so much that He Himself became a Man for the redemption of a lost humanity (not just “the elect”).  

*Contrary to the biblical message of the Gospel, Trinitarianism teaches that the supposed “first divine individual” in the Godhead loved humanity so much that He ordered the supposed “second divine individual” to be beat, spit upon, openly humiliated and ultimately crucified…while He remained in the bliss of Heaven.  

*At this point Trinitarians appeal to the supposed “volunteering” of the Son of God in the “Eternal Covenant of Redemption” – again, both of which are entirely anti-biblical traditions.  Indeed, I find it amusing how White is constantly chiding the RCC for their unbiblical “traditions,” when he and the supposed “Reform” movement have just as many unbiblical religious “traditions” as the Pope (e.g., “T.U.L.I.P.”)!   

You can’t talk about the Son interceding for His people, for example, in any meaningful fashion when the Son is merely the human nature that came into being at Bethlehem.  There are other issues (see my debates on line with Dr. Sabin and with Roger Perkins for details) as well.

*First, Oneness believers do not confess that the Son of God is merely the “human nature” of Christ that “came into being at Bethlehem.”  However, if White includes the humanity of Christ in the Sonship, then White equally believes that there’s a sense in which God’s Son “came into being at Bethlehem.”  That is, unless White wishes to join hands with some of the cult-groups he mentions above by affirming that Christ was a “pre-existent man?”  

*Contrary to White’s charge, Oneness believers accept the biblical identification of the Son of God as the one-single God of the OT incarnate (Matthew 1.23, I Timothy 3.16, John 1.1-14) – but He is absolutely not the “second of three eternal divine individuals in the Trinity.”  Jesus Christ is the one YHVH of the Bible enfleshed – period.  

*Further, nor can White speak of biblical monotheism “in any meaningful fashion” if “God the Son” is so radically separated from “God the Father” that each divine person can pray to one another in Heaven, which, obviously, would connote bodily separation within the Godhead – contrary to Colossians 2.9 (and a whole passel of other Scriptures).  

*Yes, by all means, please see my debate with Dr. White on my “Debates” tab above and listen to him unashamedly tell the world that he worships a God who exists with multiple, “separate centers of consciousness.”  And, yes, there are indeed “other (soteriological) issues” that Oneness believers would reject as anti-biblical within Trinitarianism, and we stand ready to provide a biblical defense of these doctrines.

*I have received innumerable contacts from all over the world regarding the debate with White and, by God’s grace, even led some out of Trinitarianism into biblical Christianity.  To God the Glory!  

I am still uncertain about the proper way of juggling all the issues we are facing in this matter.  I am uncomfortable with some of the simplistic cheer-leading approaches I have seen thus far.  But surely this information regarding her understanding of the gospel and the Godhead (or lack thereof) is important to any Christian analysis of the developing situation.

*As we have seen above, it is White’s fanciful notion of a God who has supposedly eternally existed with multiple, independent minds – that not one Bible writer was inspired by the Holy Spirit to mention – that constitutes the “lack of (biblical) understanding.”

*White is fond of labeling Oneness believers as “heretics” (he thinks this keeps him in the “stream of the Reformation”), and yet the overwhelmingly vast majority of Trinitarians I have spoken with adamantly disagree with his “separate-divine-centers-of-consciousness” heterodoxy (of course, always masquerading as “orthodoxy”).  Thus, ironically, White’s own confession has placed him outside of the majority of his fellow Trinitarians.  

*Though we Oneness believers certainly do not glory in this – it is White and the supposed “Reform” movement that represent the abandonment of biblical Christianity (i.e., Heresy).  However, we will continue sincerely praying that God would deliver the Trinitarian world from their religious traditions into biblical salvation via Acts 2.38-Mark 12.29, etc.  

*Indeed, the lack of understanding clearly does not stem from Oneness believers who affirm that the God who identified Himself with no less than 9,000 single-person-pronouns can be taken at His word.  

*Moreover, we will continue to evangelize the Trinitarian community out of this theological error that so openly militates against the biblical presentation of God’s identity and status.  Simply put, God is – and will always be – unequivocally-uncompromisingly One (Galatians 3.20, The Amplified Bible).   

(By the way, Dan Phillips tweeted relevant links regarding Kim Davis’ church: http://tl.gd/n_1snd3cq)

*There were no theological assertions to be addressed in Phillips’ links.  

*Thank you for reading ~ God Bless!

Junia(s), an “Apostle?”

*Recently I was sent several Instagram posts of excerpts from Eldon Epp’s book touting Junia(s) of Romans 16.7 as supposedly The First Woman Apostle.  In Epp’s work, he claims that those who reject Junia(s) as an “apostle” are guilty of “gender bias” which has purportedly been “exposed” and “overcome” in recent years.  Obviously this charge is dead on arrival inasmuch as those who object to the anti-biblical notion that Junia(s) was a female “apostle” are merely allowing the inspired biblical data to inform our dogma (i.e., exegesis) contra importing our personal preferences into the inspired text (i.e., eisegesis) – a text that never states the same.  

*Indeed, the “gender bias” would be from anyone somehow opting to place females in a position clearly prohibited in God’s word.  Simply put, said individuals place a green light where God has clearly placed a red light  and then somehow (amazingly) claim that such a position is “biblical” (?).

*To illustrate, Epp states that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the churches.”  And, certainly there is a specific context and exegesis to Paul’s statement in I Corinthians 14.34 – one that we have analyzed at length (assuming this is the passage the author is referencing).  However, I would stop short of woodenly stating that “Paul did not insist on women keeping silent in the church” inasmuch as this is the diametrical opposite of what Paul clearly states below:

New International Version
Women should remain silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.

New Living Translation
Women should be silent during the church meetings.  It is not proper for them to speak.  They should be submissive, just as the law says.

English Standard Version
the women should keep silent in the churches.  For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

Berean Study Bible
women should be silent in the churches.  They are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law says.

Berean Literal Bible
let the women be silent in the churches.  For it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in submission, as the Law also says.

New American Standard Bible
The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

King James Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.

International Standard Version
The women must keep silent in the churches.  They are not allowed to speak out, but must place themselves in submission, as the oral law also says.

NET Bible
The women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  Rather, let them be in submission, as in fact the law says.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Let your women be silent in the assemblies, for they are not allowed to speak, but to be in subjection, just as The Written Law also says.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
The women must keep silent.  They don’t have the right to speak.  They must take their place as Moses’ Teachings say.

New American Standard 1977
Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Let your women keep silence in the congregations {Gr. ekklesia – called out ones}, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be in subjection, as also saith the law.

King James 2000 Bible
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be submissive, as also says the law.

American King James Version
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted to them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also said the law.

American Standard Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Let women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith.

Darby Bible Translation
Let [your] women be silent in the assemblies, for it is not permitted to them to speak; but to be in subjection, as the law also says.

English Revised Version
Let the women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as also saith the law.

Webster’s Bible Translation
Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Weymouth New Testament
Let married women be silent in the Churches, for they are not permitted to speak.  They must be content with a subordinate place, as the Law also says;

World English Bible
Let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says.

Young’s Literal Translation
Your women in the assemblies let them be silent, for it hath not been permitted to them to speak, but to be subject, as also the law saith;

*It is my understanding that other books are currently being written on the topic of “women preachers,” which I look forward to both reviewing and critiquing on this blog.  For now, below we will delve into the actual exegesis of Romans 16.7, highlighting the role of Junia(s) in these key texts.

(Romans 16.7; NET): Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Obviously, there is nothing in this text specifically identifying Junia(s) as either (i) a female; (ii) an apostle.  Such a conclusion is necessarily read into this text – not extracted from the text being allowed to stand on its own merit.  

NA28 Greek text:  Ἀνδρόνικον καὶ Ἰουνίαν τοὺς συγγενεῖς μου καὶ συναιχμαλώτους μου, οἵτινές εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις, οἳ καὶ πρὸ ἐμοῦ γέγοναν ἐν Χριστῷ.

*Primarily, there are two issues at heart in this text:  (i) The gender of the noun “Junia(s);”  (ii) Should the Greek adjective translated “well known” (ἐπίσημοι) be understood with the comparative force (i.e., locative) or the elative (i.e., instrumental) tag?  First, the gender of this individual.  Below is hopefully a balanced and fair review of the lexical, exegetical and historical data from the most respected Greek resources available.

*United Bible Societies (UBS) A Translators Handbook of the New Testament:  Adronicus and Junias are not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament; they could easily have been husband and wife, or brother and sister.

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based on Semantic Domain:  93.178 Ἰουνιᾶς ᾶ m: a Jewish Christian greeted in ROM. 16.7 – Junias.  

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ (also Ἰουνίας) Junias, masculine proper noun (probably RO 16.7; see Ἰουλία).

*BDAG:  Ἰουνιᾶς, ᾶ, ὁ Junias (not found elsewh., could be a short form of the common Junianus; s. B- D- F §125, 2; Rob. 172) according to the rdg. of the N. text a Judean Christian, who was imprisoned w. Paul or shared a similar experience Ro 16:7; s. on Ἀνδρόνικος.  But the accented form Ἰουνιᾶν has no support as such in the ms. tradition; for critique of B- D- R §125, 2, 6 in connection w. the N. rdg. s. UPlisch, NTS 42, ’96, 477f, n. 2.  For the strong probability that a woman named Junia is meant s. prec. entry.

*Dr. Bruce Metzger (known as the “Dean of Textual Criticism”), Textual Commentary on the Greek NT (his Magnum Opus):  Ἰουνίαν; On the basis of the weight of manuscript evidence the Committee was unanimous in rejecting Ἰουλίαν (see also the next variant in ver. 15) in favor of Ἰουνιαν, but was divided as to how the latter should be accented.  Some members, considering it unlikely that a woman would be among those styled “apostles,” understood the name to be masculine Ἰουνιᾶν (“Junias”), thought to be a shortened form of Junianus (see Bauer-Aland, Wörterbuch, pp. 770 f.).  

Others, however, were impressed by the facts that (1) the female Latin name Junia occurs more than 250 times in Greek and Latin inscriptions found in Rome alone, whereas the male name Junias is unattested anywhere, and (2) when Greek manuscripts began to be accented, scribes wrote the feminine Ἰουνίαν (“Junia”).  (For recent discussions, see R. R. Schulz in Expository Times, iic (1986–87), pp. 108–110; J. A. Fitzmyer, Romans (Anchor Bible Commentary, 1993), pp. 737 f.; and R. S. Cervin in New Testament Studies, xl (1994), pp. 464–470.)  The “A” decision of the Committee must be understood as applicable only as to the spelling of the name Ἰουνιαν, not the accentuation.

*NET Full-Translator-Notes:  The feminine name Junia, though common in Latin, is quite rare in Greek (apparently only three instances of it occur in Greek literature outside Rom 16:7, according to the data in the TLG [D. Moo, Romans [NICNT], 922]).  The masculine Junias (as a contraction for Junianas), however, is rarer still:  Only one instance of the masculine name is known in extant Greek literature (Epiphanius mentions Junias in his Index discipulorum 125).  

Further, since there are apparently other husband- wife teams mentioned in this salutation (Prisca and Aquila [v. 3], Philologus and Julia [v. 15]), it might be natural to think of Junia as a feminine name.  (This ought not be pressed too far, however, for in v. 12 all three individuals are women [though the first two are linked together], and in vv. 9-11 all the individuals are men.)  In Greek only a difference of accent distinguishes between Junias (male) and Junia (female).

*The exegetes of the ground-breaking 541 pg. work, Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (pp. 79-81), did a complete search of all the Greek writings from Homer (B.C. ninth century?) into the fifth century A.D. available now on computer through the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which contains 2,889 authors and 8,203 works.  They asked the computer for all forms of Iounia—so that they could pick up all possible cases.  The result of their in-depth search yielded a mere three references other than Romans 16.7.  

*These include Plutarch (ca. A.D. 50 – ca.120), Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403), and John Chrysostom (A.D. 347-407).  While Plutarch and Chrysostom indicate that Junia(s) indicates a woman’s name, Epiphanius has the persuasive argument based upon his chosen grammar and first-hand knowledge.  Epiphanius was the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus and wrote an Index of Disciples, in which he states:  “Iounias, of whom Paul makes mention, became bishop of Apameia of Syria” (Index Disciplulorum, 125.19-20).  His chosen Greek phrase translated “of whom” is a masculine relative pronoun (hou) and well demonstrates that he thought Iounias was a man.

*Though debatable, the nod seems to go to Epiphanius inasmuch as Plutarch & Chrysostom appear to make their deductions based squarely on Rom. 16.7 (they give no other information), whereas Epiphanius seems to have more first-hand information about Junias (i.e., he became bishop of Apameia), and specifically uses the masculine contra the feminine pronoun in describing Junias.

*Some egalitarians have called into question the quote from Epiphanius since he equally refers to Prisca as a “man” in the preceding sentence.  However, Prisca is nowhere else called a man, whereas Junia(s) is repeatedly called a man in the ancient world.  Hence, to reject Epiphanius’s quote of Junia(s) as a man simply because he has referred to Prisca as a man is a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Indeed, using such logic one could discard the entire witness of Epiphanius.  Each assertion must be weighed individually as opposed to merely “counting noses.”    

*Perhaps even more compelling than Epiphanius, however, is a Latin quotation from Origen (died 252 A.D.), in our earliest extant commentary on Romans.  He states that Paul refers to “Andronicus and Junias and Herodian, all of whom he calls relatives and fellow captives” (Origen’s Commentary on Romans, preserved in a Latin translation by Rufinus, c. 345-c. 410 A.D., in J.P. Migne’s, Patrologia Graeca, vol. 14, col. 1289).  

*The name Junias in Origen’s quote above is a Latin masculine singular nominative, indicating that one of the ancient world’s most respected scholars considered Junias a man.  Coupled with the seemingly first-hand information of Epiphanius, these grammatical and ancient historical references offer compelling evidence toward Junias being a man.

*Again, some egalitarians have objected to Origen’s quotation calling Junia(s) a man based upon the paper by Drs. Daniel Wallace and Mike Burer regarding this text which indicates that Origen “cite(d) the name once as a masculine and once as feminine.”  This paper apparently concluded that the masculine form was a “later corruption of his text.”  Ironically, however, Wallace and Burer equally “concluded” exegetically that Junia(s) was not an apostle in the same paper!  

*And, absolutely no viable motive nor evidence have been offered as to why a later scribe would supposedly “corrupt” Origen’s writings by inserting the masculine form.  The cold facts and raw data has this ancient writer calling Junia(s) a man, and to claim “corruption of the text” at this point is special pleading.  As stated above, using this approach one could claim textual “corruption” of any doctrine that one seeks to dismiss from ancient writings (and does indeed happen quite often).

*On the other hand, to be fair, Dr. Daniel Wallace points out, “the church fathers: an almost universal sense that this was a woman’s name surfaces—at least through the twelfth century.  Nevertheless, this must be couched tentatively because although at least seventeen fathers discuss the issue, the majority of these are Latin fathers” (Dr. Dan Wallace, Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7).  

*In the same article, Wallace points out: “If jIounian should have the circumflex over the ultima (jIounia’n) then it is a man’s name; if it should have the acute accent over the penult (jIounivan) then it is a woman’s name.  For help, we need to look in several places.  First, we should consider the accents on the Greek manuscripts.  This will be of limited value since accents were not added until the ninth century to the NT manuscripts.

“Thus, their ability to reflect earlier opinions is questionable at best.  Nevertheless, they are usually decent indicators as to the opinion in the ninth century.  And what they reveal is that jIounian was largely considered a man’s name (for the bulk of the MSS have the circumflex over the ultima).”  

*Many bloggers have attempted to discredit the quotes by Epiphanius and Origen (in particular, Suzanne McCarthy), all the while most-readily accepting the quotes of Chrysostom and others which refer to this individual as a woman—quite telling!

Berean Literal Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, and who were in Christ before me.

New American Standard Bible:
Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

*Masculine names suffixed with the English translation “–as” in the NT are quite common:  Andrew (Andre-as, Mt. 10.2), Elijah (Eli-as, Mt. 11.14), Isaiah (Esai-as, Jn. 1.23), Zachari-as (Lk. 1.5).  Dr. A.T. Robertson well demonstrates that numerous names suffixed in “–as” are contracted forms for clearly masculine nouns (Grammar of the Greek New Testament, pp. 171-173).  In fact, Robertson is clear on the matter of Junia(s)’ gender that, “This name can be either masculine or feminine in the Greek” (WP, Concise Edition, pg. 387).  Other clear examples in the NT (among many) include Silas (Acts 15.22) and Silvanus (I Thess. 1.1; I Ptr. 5.12).

*Dr. Bruce K. Waltke, in his voluminous exegetical-canonical work, An Old Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), p. 241 states:  “Al Wolters of Redeemer College (Hamilton, Ontario) in personal communication makes a convincing philological argument that Junia (Gr. Iounia) in Rom. 16:7 is a Jewish name;  Yehunniah (‘Yah is gracious’).  If so, the name is masculine, not feminine.”

*In sum, there is simply no textual, grammatical, or historical basis to assert that Junia(s) was definitively a female, as Epp adamantly claims in his work.  Since we only have these three extra-biblical references in a survey of hundreds of years and literally thousands of ancient literary manuscripts, one could hardly make such an adamant claim of the early Greek-speaking world—from neither a Classical or Koine’ perspective.  

*The grammatical evidence is simply too ambiguous based upon this peculiar accusative form and the weight of a mere accent mark.  The fact that Andronicus and Junia(s) are identified as a pair hardly demands a husband/wife team.  All one has to do is look five verses later for evidence of this: “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord” (v. 12).

**Meaning of the adjective “well known (to the apostles)” (ἐπίσημοι):

*Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon Based upon Semantic Domain:  28.31 ἐπίσημος ον:  pertaining to being well known or outstanding, either because of positive or negative characteristics – outstanding, famous, notorious, infamous.  εἰσιν ἐπίσημοι ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις they are outstanding among the apostles ROM 16.7.

*Friberg’s Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT:  ἐπίσημος, ον. (1) in a positive sense outstanding, well- known (RO 16.7);  (2) in a negative sense notorious, infamous, having a bad reputation (MT 27.16).

*BDAG:  ἐπίσημος, ον (σῆμα, ‘sign’; trag., Hdt. +).  1 of exceptional quality, splendid, prominent, outstanding (Hdt., trag. et al.; pap, LXX, EpArist, Philo; Joseph.) κριὸς ἐ. ἐκ ποιμνίου a splendid ram fr. the flock MPol 14:1.  Of pers. (Diod. S. 5, 83, 1; Jos., Bell. 6, 201; 3 Macc 6:1; Just., A II, 12, 5) ἐ. ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις outstanding among the apostles Ro 16:7. διδάσκαλος MPol 19:1.  

*LXX Lexical Dictionary:  ἐπίσημος,- ος,- ον +A 1- 0- 0- 2- 6- 9 Gn 30:42; Est 5:4; 8:12; 1 Mc 11:37; 14:48 marked Gn 30:42; notable, remarkable 3 Mc 6:1; conspicuous 1 Mc 11:37; significant Est 5:4; see ἄσημος ΤΩΝΤ.

*NET Full-Translators-Notes: 16:7:  Or “prominent, outstanding, famous.”  The term ἐπίσημος (episemos) is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known”).  The key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  

When a comparative notion is seen, that to which ἐπίσημος is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case (cf., e. g., 3 Macc 6:1 [Ελεαζαρος δέ τις ἀνὴρ ἐπίσημος τῶν ἀπὸ τής χώρας ἱερέων “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country”]; cf. also Pss. Sol. 17:30).  

When, however, an elative notion is found, ἐν (en) plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon (cf. Pss. Sol. 2:6).  Although ἐν plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ἐν +) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  See M. H. Burer and D. B. Wallace, “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re- examination of Rom 16.7,” NTS 47 (2001): 76- 91, who argue for the elative (instrumental) notion.

**{Note:  We should point out that the Greek adjective used here is ἐπίσημοι, a nominative-masculine-plural inflection.  Interestingly, every noun applying to the NT 5-fold ministry appears in the masculine and never in the feminine gender.  Though the doctrinal value of genders can be spurious, when all five ministerial offices appear in the masculine (as does the Greek noun translated “elder[s]”) – this can hardly be mere coincidence.  In fact, the plural Greek noun translated “apostles” (ἀποστόλοις) in Rom. 16.7 appears in the masculine – not feminine!}

*Again, renowned linguist Dr. Daniel Wallace:

At issue is whether we should translate the phrase in Romans 16:7—ejpivshmo ejn toi’ ajpostovloi—as “outstanding among the apostles” or “well known to the apostles.”  Although almost all translations assume the first rendering, this is by no means a given.  Even in a meticulous commentary such as Fitzmyer’s, though both options are discussed, no evidence is supplied for either.  But the evidence is out there; mere opinion is inadequate.  

In order to resolve this issue two items need to be examined.  First is the lexical field of the adjective “ejpivshmo.”  Second is the syntactical implication of this adjective in collocation with ejn plus the dative.  First, for the lexical issue.  “Ejpivshmo” can mean, “well known, prominent, outstanding, famous, notable, notorious” (BAGD 298 s.v. ejpivshmo; LSJ 655-56; LN 28.31 – {Cited above}).  The lexical domain can roughly be broken down into two streams: “ejpivshmo” is used either in an implied comparative sense (“prominent, outstanding [among]”) or in an elative sense (“famous, well known [to]”).

Second, the key to determining the meaning of the term in any given passage is both the general context and the specific collocation of this word with its adjuncts.  Hence, we turn to the “ejn toi’ ajpostovloi.”  As a working hypothesis, we would suggest the following:  Since a noun in the genitive is typically used with comparative adjectives, we might expect such with an implied comparison.  Thus, if in Rom 16:7 Paul meant to say that Andronicus and Junia were outstanding among the apostles, we might have expected him to use the genitive tw’n ajpostovlwn.  On the other hand, if an elative force is suggested—i.e., where no comparison is even hinted at—we might expect ejn + the dative (case).

As an aside, some commentators reject such an elative sense in this passage because of the collocation with the preposition ejn, but such a view is based on a misperception of the force of the whole construction.  On the one hand, there is a legitimate complaint about seeing ejn with the dative as indicating an agent, and to the extent that “well known by the apostles” implies an action on the apostles’ part (viz., that the apostles know) such an objection has merit.  On the other hand, the idea of something being known by someone else does not necessarily imply agency.  This is so for two reasons:  

First, the action implied may actually be the passive reception of some event or person (thus, texts such as 1 Tim 3:16, in which the line “w[fqh ajggevloi” can be translated either as, “was seen by angels” or “appeared to angels;” either way the “action” performed by angels is by its very nature relatively passive).  Such an idea can be easily accommodated in Rom 16:7:  “well known to/by the apostles” simply says that the apostles were recipients of information, not that they actively performed “knowing.”  Thus, although ejn plus a personal dative does not indicate agency, in collocation with words of perception, (ejn plus) dative personal nouns are often used to show the recipients.  In this instance, the idea would then be “well known to the apostles.”  Second, even if ejn with the dative plural is used in the sense of “among” (so Dr. Moo here, et. al.), this does not necessarily locate Andronicus and Junia within the band of apostles; rather, it is just as likely that knowledge of them existed among the apostles.

Turning to the actual data, we notice the following.  When a comparative notion is seen, that to which “ejpivshmo” is compared is frequently, if not usually, put in the genitive case.  For example, in 3 Macc. 6:1 we read, “Eleazar, a man prominent among the priests of the country.”  Here Eleazar was one of the priests of the country, yet was comparatively outstanding in their midst.  The genitive is used for the implied comparison (tw’n iJerevwn).  In Ps. Sol. 17:30 the idea is very clear that the Messiah would, “glorify the Lord in a prominent [place] in relation to all the earth.”  The prominent place is a part of the earth, indicated by the genitive modifier.

Martyrdom of Polycarp 14:1 speaks of an, “outstanding ram from a great flock.”  Here “from” (ejk) plus the genitive is used instead of the simple genitive, perhaps to suggest the ablative notion over the partitive, since this ram was chosen for sacrifice (and thus would soon be separated from the flock).  

But again, the salient features are present: (a) an implied comparison (b) of an item within a larger group, (c) followed by (ejk plus) the genitive to specify the group to which it belongs.  When, however, an elative notion is found, ejn plus a personal plural dative is not uncommon.  In Ps. Sol. 2:6, where the Jewish captives are in view, the writer indicates that, “they were a spectacle among the gentiles.”

This construction comes as close to Rom 16:7 as any I have yet seen.  The parallels include (a) people as the referent of the adjective ejpivshmo,” (b) followed by ejn plus the dative plural, (c) the dative plural referring to people as well.  All the key elements are here.

Semantically, what is significant is that, (a) the first group is not a part of the second—that is, the Jewish captives were not gentiles; and (b) what was “among” the gentiles was the Jews’ notoriety. This is precisely how we are suggesting Rom 16:7 should be taken.  That the parallels discovered so far conform to our working hypothesis at least gives warrant to seeing Andronicus’ and Junia’s fame as that which was among the apostles.  Whether the alternative view has semantic plausibility remains to be seen.

In sum, until further evidence is produced that counters the working hypothesis, we must conclude that Andronicus and Junia were not apostles, but were known to the apostles. (Junia Among the Apostles: The Double Identification Problem in Romans 16:7, A Study By: Dr. Daniel B. Wallace).

*New Living Translation:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.

*English Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners.  They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

*Aramaic Bible in Plain English:  Invoke the peace of Andronicus and of Junia, my relatives who were captives with me and were known by The Apostles and they were in The Messiah before me.

*Amplified Bible:  Remember me to Andronicus and Junias, my tribal kinsmen and once my fellow prisoners.  They are men held in high esteem among the apostles, who also were in Christ before I was.

*Contemporary English Version:  Greet my relatives Andronicus and Junias, who were in jail with me.  They are highly respected by the apostles and were followers of Christ before I was.

*Holman Christian Standard Version:  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners.  They are noteworthy in the eyes of the apostles, and they were also in Christ before me.

*Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament (Greek-English):  Greet Andronicus and Junia, my compatriots and my fellow prisoners; they were well known to the apostles, and they also were in Christ before me.

*Dr. Albert Barnes notes:  The word translated “of note” ἐπίσημοι episēmoi, denotes properly those who are “marked,” designated, or distinguished in any way, used either in a good or bad sense; compare Matthew 27:16.  Here it is used in a good sense.  “Among the apostles” – This does not mean that they “were” apostles, as has been sometimes supposed.

(1) There is no account of their having been appointed as such.  

(2) The expression is not one which would have been used if they “had” been.  It would have been “who were distinguished apostles;” compare Romans 1:1; I Corinthians 1:1; II Corinthians 1:1; Philipp. 1:1.  

(3) It by no means implies that they were apostles.  All that the expression fairly implies is, that they were known to the other apostles; that they were regarded by them as worthy of their affection and confidence; that they had been known by them, as Paul immediately adds, before he was himself converted.  They had been converted “before” he was, and were distinguished in Jerusalem among the early Christians, and honored with the friendship of the other apostles.  (Dr. Albert Barnes notes on Romans 16.7)

*Some of the pro “women preachers” group have stated that Dr. Barnes “does not offer any grammatical reasons” for his assertions, which is entirely untrue.  Barnes specifically points out that the normative grammar used if these individuals would have been apostles would have been “who were distinguished apostles.”  Dr. Barnes then points to other passages as evidence of his grammatical assertion (i.e., Romans 1.1, 1 Corinthians 1.1-2, 2 Corinthians 1.1, Philippians 1.1).

*Again, to be fair, the scales seem tipped that the noun Ἰουνίαν is feminine, though this is far from certain and may indeed be masculine.  As Wallace points out, only an accent mark makes the difference which is quite frustrating inasmuch as Paul would not have used an accent mark originally.  However, it is a certainty on an exegetical level that Junia(s) was not the supposed “first (nor later) woman apostle” (as Epp erroneously titles his work).  To assert such simply reveals a prejudiced view – as well as a flawed hermeneutical methodology in the name of personal preference, yet masquerading as grammatical-historical fact (more about this later).

*Some have pointed to several supposed “rebuttals” of Drs. Wallace and Burer’s exegetical paper on this passage entitled “Was Junia Really an Apostle?  A Re-examination of Rom 16.7” (seen Here).  In particular (and not surprisingly), the works of Eldon Epp, Linda Belleville and Suzanne McCarthy have gained much traction from egalitarians.  

*However, renowned linguists Drs. Daniel Wallace, Mike Burer, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem and Thomas Schreiner (and many other exegetes) have offered numerous in-depth surrejoinders to these  critique(s).  These responses have well demonstrated that the force of Wallace and Burer’s original exegetical points – as well as those of complimentarians on the whole – remain in-tact.  More importantly, these surrejoinders document the grammatical assumptions and errors found in the critiques of Epp, Belleville and McCarthy.  

*In fact, Dr. Burer told me personally that he has written an in-depth response to Epp, et al. which has been approved for publication in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society’s December issue (see more about Dr. Burer’s surrejoinder Here).  Indeed, I have numerous emails from these professional linguists that speak to these same overall conclusions.  More can be read at the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood site (e.g., see HereHere, Here and Here).  

*Finally, let me state that I have much more data regarding this claim made by “women preacher” advocates, but I assume you get the point by now!  As anyone – allowing the exegetical data to stand on its own merits – can see, there is nothing stated lexically, exegetically, nor intimated in this text indicating that Junia(s) was definitely (i) a woman (ii) and certainly not an “apostle.”  In fact, the polar opposite is concluded by the world’s foremost Greek linguists.

*Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more on this topic!   

Codex Beratinus {Φ}

*While recently researching the discovery of early NT Greek manuscripts (MSS), I happened across information that I found particularly interesting.  In 2007 renowned grammarian and text-critic Dr. Daniel Wallace and his team traveled to Albania to digitize approximately 13 early MSS that were housed in the national library.  Albania had been largely shut-off from the Western word until the demise of communism in March of 1992.  

*Upon arrival and subsequent investigation, Wallace and his team found a total of 45 Greek NT MSS—the second largest cache of NT MSS in the last half-century!  The most important manuscript discovered was Codex Beratinus – designated as 043 {Φ} in the Gregory-Aland numbering system – and dates back to the 6th century.  This particular codex enjoys both a long and rich history.  

*During World War II, Hitler had learned of this particular manuscript and ordered his soldiers to destroy the parchment—even if they had to kill the monks and priests who cared for it since it was housed at the Monastery of Berat.  It is now a well-known fact that Hitler’s soldiers lined up the monks and priests and inquired as to the manuscript’s whereabouts – with guns pointed at their heads.  To a man, they all deflected the soldier’s queries, risking their very lives over this important document.  

*Personally, I find it intriguing that these men would rather meet death than betray this ancient prize (though I certainly do not approve of their dishonest tactics)—especially when they already possessed printed Bibles.  In the end, the soldiers believed the monks and the parchment survived.  It had actually been well-hidden under a pile of stones in the monastery.  Today, Codex Beratinus is the number one national treasure of Albania and is housed at the National Archives of Albania.  In fact, Austria attempted to purchase the codex some years ago—and all offers were met with rejection from the Republic of Albania.

*Two things about this codex quickly attracted the attention of Wallace and his team:  (i) the manuscript was written in an uncial (all capital lettering) hand which alerted them that this was an early parchment.  (ii) the codex was dyed purple (i.e., a Royal Codex) with mostly silver writing which told them that the manuscript contained portions of the gospels—since in antiquity scribes universally used purple dye to signify that the gospels were being transmitted.

*However, (and this is what really got my attention) there were four words that were exclusively written in gold—“God,” “Lord,” “Jesus” and “Christ”—indicating that the earliest scribes saw our great God and savior, the Lord Jesus Christ as the one divinity in the biblical data.  That is, the form of this royal codex demonstrates that the early church clearly saw Jesus Christ as the one God of the Bible.

*For more on Wallace’s trip to Albania see here: http://www.csntm.org/Expedition/Albania2007

*You can view the actual parchment here:   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Page_from_the_Codex_Purpureus_Beratinus.JPG      

The Inherent Presupposition(s) of KJV-Onlyism

*Many readers have likely seen the July 10th clip circulating the internet which asserts that the NIV “removes” many passages “from the Bible.”  Not surprisingly, the post has gained much traction by KJV-only advocates {hereafter KJVO} – that is, those who affirm that the KJV alone constitutes “the word of God.”  And, any other translation of the original languages is a supposed “perversion” of God’s Word.  

*While such outlandish assertions really do not merit scholarly analysis, the outright misinformation in the post needs to be addressed.  In this piece I will briefly demonstrate the factual errors and inherent assumptions made by the original author of the article (this is not intended as an attack on anyone who may have reposted or linked the initial article) – and then I will post a rejoinder paper written by my esteemed Elder and friend, J.R. Ensey.

*First, the author makes the assertion(s) that the NIV has “removed” certain words and passages out of “the Bible” – which, obviously, means the KJV.  Hence, the writer assumes his conclusion before ever leaving the gate {i.e., “circular reasoning”}.  However, I am wondering which KJV he is calling “the Bible” since there have been numerous redactions and revisions since the 1611 KJV?  The KJV used by most today is known as the 1769 Blayney Revision, and there are two versions of this KJV revision – the Oxford and the Cambridge – which differ from one another in various places.  Which one of these two KJV’s does the original writer of the article claim as the solely “inspired word of God?”    

*Further, since KJVO’s like the author of the post typically argue that the “original KJV” is what all churches should use, I assume he uses the Apocrypha in his lessons {i.e., Roman Catholic deutero-canonical books (e.g., I Maccabees, Bel and the Dragon, I Esdras, etc.)} since it was not omitted from the KJV until 1885 A.D.  Indeed, the Apocrypha was a part of the KJV for 274 years before it was “removed.”  Hence, unbeknownst to the writer of the article, the “removal” charge is equally leveled at the KJV, not to even mention the numerous additions of the KJV {with virtually zero manuscript support – shall we discuss the Book of Revelation?}.  

*And, I assume that the original author of the clip never consults “Strong’s” concordance regarding the original languages since a 400 year old English version is apparently sufficient?  If the writer has ever been heard to say, “This Greek word means ___________” – then he has just abandoned the KJV.  What about the Chinese, Ethiopic, Japanese, Yugoslavs, etc.?  Do they all need to learn the Elizabethan English of the 1600’s to be saved?  Was no one saved prior to 1885 when the Apocrypha was “removed” from the KJV?  Did no one have the “true word of God” prior to 1611?  

*Clearly, those that make such baseless assertions have very little {if any} background in the discipline of textual-criticism, know nothing about the ancient Greek MS finds of the late 1800’s in Egypt, nor understand the history of the transmission process.  Moreover, it has been well-noted that those who actually do have some background in textual-criticism have been found guilty of sloppy research methods regarding ancient papyrological dating. 

*Before posting Elder Ensey’s article below, let me hasten to state that if someone wishes to solely use the KJV that is certainly their prerogative.  In fact, I always preach from the KJV myself!  There are places the KJV is rather lacking in its renderings {e.g., Phil. 2.6}, and there are places the KJV is absolutely excellent in its translation choices {e.g., Phil. 2.7}.  

*The point of this article is not at all to tear down the KJV, but rather to point out that no translation is absolutely flawless due to the nature of translating from an ancient language (i.e., the sender language) into a contemporary dialect (i.e., the receptor language).  And, sadly, there is such a thing as “Translation Idolatry.”  However, the core doctrines of the church remain untouched in any reputable translation {e.g., KJV, NASB, NET, ESV} and in this we can certainly rejoice and forge ahead!

*In addition to the data presented in this article, I would also point readers to this link which further explicates the NIV translation choices.

*While I could certainly continue ad-nauseum – {been researching this issue for numerous years now and have taught on this topic in numerous places} – the links below should suffice to any sincere seeker of biblical truth.  Note:  The YouTube links below are strictly educational debates and/or academical lectures on this issue:


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**Elder J.R. Ensey’s paper below in full-text {used with permission}.  In some instances I have bolded and underlined Elder Ensey’s salient points for emphasis:

This brief article is submitted in response to a July 10 Facebook posting that was read by many people, including some of our folks here in Living Way Church. It concerned the topic of Bible translations.  The purpose of this response is not to uphold or corroborate the NIV renderings, but to bring balance to the topic.

1.  The poster on FB said: “The NIV is published by Zondervan but is now owned by HarperCollins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and the Joy of Gay Sex.”

Wow, that sounds ominous—as though H-C is really into the gutter of the publishing industry.  It is stated in a way that readers would put the NIV in bad company.  Zondervan has been owned by HarperCollins for 27 years. H-C is owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns FoxNews. HarperCollins is a conglomerate publishing firm with a number of publishing houses, including Zondervan, in their stable of publishing firms.  One of them is Avon Publishing that in 1969 published The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey who died in 1997.   He was an occult nutcase in California.  It was not a “Bible” but simply a collection of essays about his experiences and teaching in his cult of Satanism.  He merely named his book The Satanic Bible.  But reading the FB post one would think that it was a Bible-like book inspired by Satan.  It is a classic example of guilt by association {a formal logical fallacy}.  

Four years ago, HarperCollins also bought Thomas Nelson Publishers in Nashville.  Both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson publish KJV Bibles.  By the poster’s logic, all KJV Bibles should be considered tarnished by being published by a company owned by HarperCollins.  Sadly, most readers won’t take the time to find out the truth but will accept what some Facebook posting says.

2.  The poster said: “The NIV has ‘removed’ 64,575 words from the Bible.”  That is roughly 8% of the 773,692 words in the KJV, including the italics.  Sounds like whole sections of the Bible have been unilaterally excised by unbelieving villains.  How deceptive such statements are.  Actually, thousands of words have not been “removed” from the Bible—one translation simply uses fewer words to say the same thing.  Let’s look at the truth below.

Many thousands of words were added to the KJV as italics.  They were not a part of the biblical text, merely added to smooth up the text for English readers.  Also, the Byzantine text family, from which the KJV was translated, was known to be an “expansive” text, i.e., the Byzantine scribes/copyists freely added words to the text, drawing some from the margins of earlier copies of manuscripts, and adding them when they appeared in other places in the text.  Words were brought in from the Vulgate and from Roman Catholic liturgical readings.  When newer versions do not include the added words they are accused of “omitting/removing/leaving out words” from “the Bible.”

The word count statistic is obviously published and quoted to make it sound like modern versions are arbitrarily leaving out words or passages they don’t like, perhaps affecting doctrines.  In applying the word count principle used by the KJV advocates, it should be noted that there are some verses where the NIV has more words than the KJV.  Does that mean that the KJV has “left out” some words of the Bible?  No, but KJV loyalists do not want the same standards applied to the KJV they insist on for later versions.  

Allow a simple illustration:  In II Timothy 4:17 in the KJV Paul states that he was delivered out of the “mouth of the lion.”  The NIV and other translations render that phrase as “the lion’s mouth.”  That is saying the same thing with only 75% of the number of words.  Apply that principle over the entire Bible and it probably amounts to thousands of words.  It is also interesting that Hebrews chapter 11 in the KJV only has approximately 920 words, while the NIV has approximately 952.  By the poster’s standards, some words have been “left out” of the faith chapter by the KJV translators.  Overall, the NIV has approximately 92-94% of the number of words the KJV has, counting the KJV’s italicized words.  Saying the same thing with fewer words does NOT mean something has been “left out” that was in the original Bible.

Remember:  “the Bible” is not a 17th century version, but the inspired words put down by the writers of Scripture 2000+ years ago.  The KJV is merely one in a line of English translations done in Elizabethan England over 400 years ago.  Approximately 80% of the KJV was borrowed from Tyndale’s Bible, with other sections, words and phrases taken from the Bishop’s Bible and the Geneva Bible.  As early Greek manuscripts were scarce then, they used the 1550 Stephanus and 1598 Beza editions of what would become the Textus Receptus for the basic Greek text.

The NIV is condemned for having fewer words to express the Greek in English, but is it OK for the KJV translators to “leave out” words entirely from Greek text?  Apparently so, but if modern translators leave out words contained in the KJV translation, it is called heresy.  That makes absolutely no sense at all.  Where is the consistency?

For example, the KJV clearly omits “Jesus Christ our Lord” in Romans 1:4, when it is plainly there in the TR Greek New Testament.  Jude 25 in the KJV omits “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” a phrase found in the NIV, ESV and other modern versions because of its Greek manuscript support.  My edition of the Textus Receptus (Stephanus 1550) has it in the footnotes.  Wycliffe had the phrase, as did the Cranmer Bible and the Rheims prior to 1611, but the KJV translators did not include it. By the poster’s logic, the 1611 translators were heretical modernists and liberals trying to intentionally delete references to Christ’s ministry as Mediator.  The KJV also “omitted” the phrase kai esmen, “and so we are” (ESV), “and that is what we are” (NIV) from I John 3:1.  Were the KJV translators attempting to deny that we are actually children of God?

When you hear that some new version has “omitted” something from “the Bible,” think about it. The sword cuts both ways.  What can be charged against the contemporary versions can also be charged against the KJV.  In reality, no charges need to be filed—just try to understand the process of textual criticism and the difficulty of translating from one language to another with nearly 6000 Greek manuscripts to consider.  No doctrines have had to be scrapped because of any variants in the Greek texts.

The poster suggested in print to hand someone a current Bible, such as the NIV, and say, “Find these verses:  Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16,” knowing those particular verses would not be found in the body of the text, only in footnotes.  However, even Mark 7:16 is labeled in the Textus Receptus as doubtful.  Perhaps he meant to add Luke 17:36, a verse that obviously does not belong in the Bible.  Even the KJV translators expressed as much in the margin of the 1611 KJV.  It doesn’t belong because it appears only in D and a few late manuscripts, and absent from virtually all early manuscripts, even from the Textus Receptus (1550 Stephanus).  This seems to corroborate the perception that the KJV actively pursued an “expansion of piety.”  

However, to KJV apologists, versions lacking the words have “excised” them from “the Bible.”  Have you ever wondered why there are no marginal notes in modern KJV Bibles?  Many notes included by the translators that they were not sure about certain renderings, didn’t know what certain words actually meant, and put in the margins what contemporary Bibles put in footnotes.  But the marginal notes have been removed.  Also removed from modern KJV Bibles is the important Preface where the translators expressed their opinions about the need for further translation work, and why they made certain renderings.  It is on the Net and it makes good reading.

Back to the scriptures “left out.”  Regarding Matthew 17:21, it is considered by virtually all textual critics to be an assimilation from Mark 9:29, a copyist’s practice called “parallel influence”—importing a verse or phrase from another place in the text to make them match.  Luke 18:11 is an assimilation from Luke 19:10; Matthew 23:14 from Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47.  Mark 7:16 is usually footnoted in the contemporary versions because of its absence in a number of early manuscripts, and seems to be borrowed from Mark 4:9,23 where it functions as the “conclusion” to an important teaching of the Lord.*  In Mark 9:44,46 the phrase “where their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” was inserted in later manuscripts to match v. 48.  Many manuscripts do not contain the two earlier verses, therefore they are often omitted or footnoted in contemporary versions.

That same “hand a Bible” exercise could be played like this:  Hand someone a KJV and ask them to try to find “Jesus” in Acts 16:7, or in Acts 24:24, or Romans 1:4, 8:34, or find the “cross” in Colossians 2:15, or find “salvation” in I Peter 2:2, or “nor the Son” in Matthew 24:36, or find “the holy One” in Revelation 16:5—in the Greek but omitted completely in the KJV.  Or, hand someone any Greek New Testament, including the first two editions of the Textus Receptus, and say, “Find “the three heavenly witnesses” of I John 5:7,8.  That phrase appears in no Greek Bible text before the 16th century.  Or hand someone a Majority Text (representing the inclusions in a majority of Greek manuscripts) and say find Acts 8:37.  Not there.  That is why it is “missing” or footnoted in contemporary Bibles.  Rather than play these word games, let’s sit down at a table and look at the original language Bible manuscripts and arrive at the real reason there are variants in them that have to be considered.  These silly word games ultimately prove nothing.

{* See James White, The King James Only Controversy (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1995), p. 155.}

3.  The poster said that there were 45 complete verses “removed” from the Bible (i.e, the KJV).  The ones the poster was referring to could probably be easily identified, but he did not list them.  Why?  To say some verse or phrase was “omitted” without providing an explanation borders on deception. It creates the image of someone unilaterally cutting scriptures out of the Bible that contradict their theology.  “Conspiracy is afoot” is the thought they wish to instill. If the poster will provide them, we will be happy to show the reasoning behind the variants.


4.  The poster specifically listed four words he said were “removed” from the NIV. It sounded like the whole concept behind each word was excised, as though God Himself and the whole experience of Calvary were removed.  They want readers to think the worst.

  • “Jehovah” – This is a manufactured word appearing in the Middle Ages as an outgrowth of the hesitancy to pronounce the real name of the Lord YHWH.  It appears seven times in the Old Testament, including in the compound names like Jehovah-Jireh, but none in the New Testament.  It is spelled “Iehovah” in the original KJV because the letter J was not in common use in that era.  For the sake of time let me share with the reader what the Wikipedia says about this word:
  • Jehovah (/dʒɨˈhoʊvə/ jə-HOH-və) is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.  This vocalization has been transliterated as “Yehowah”,[1] while YHWH itself has been transliterated as “Yahweh.”[2] יְהֹוָה appears 6,518 times in the traditional Masoretic Text, in addition to 305 instances of יֱהֹוִה (Jehovih).[3]  The earliest available Latin text to use a vocalization similar to Jehovah dates from the 13th century.[4]

Most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai, but there is some evidence that it may already have been in use in Late Antiquity (5th century).[5][6]  The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh, however there is disagreement.  The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai (“my Lord”).

“Jehovah” was popularized in the English-speaking world by William Tyndale and other pioneer English Protestant translators,[7] but is no longer used in mainstream English translations, with Lord or LORD used instead, generally indicating that the corresponding Hebrew is Yahweh or YHWH.[8][9] 5.

**Footnotes to above article:  {1.  GOD, NAMES OF – 5. Yahweh (Yahweh) – Bible Study Tools. Retrieved 19 November 2014.  2.  Preface to the New American Standard Bible;  3.  Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon;  4.  Pugio fidei by Raymund Martin, written in about 1270}  5.  Roy Kotansky, Jeffrey Spier, “The ‘Horned Hunter’ on a Lost Gnostic Gem“, The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 88, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), p. 318.  Quote: “Although most scholars believe “Jehovah” to be a late (c. 1100 CE) hybrid form derived by combining the Latin letters JHVH with the vowels of Adonai (the traditionally pronounced version of יהוה), many magical texts in Semitic and Greek establish an early pronunciation of the divine name as both Yehovah and Yahweh”  6.  George Wesley Buchanan, “The Tower of Siloam“, The Expository Times 2003; 115: 37; pp. 40, 41. Quote from Note 19: “This [Yehowah] is the correct pronunciation of the tetragramaton, as is clear from the pronunciation of proper names in the First Testament (FT), poetry, fifth-century Aramaic documents, Greek translations of the name in the Dead Sea Scrolls and church fathers.”  7.  In the 7th paragraph of Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible, Sir Godfry Driver wrote, “The early translators generally substituted ‘Lord’ for [YHWH]. […]  The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 A.D., in Tyndale’s translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles.”  8.  English Standard Version Translation Oversight Committee Preface to the English Standard Version Quote:  “When the vowels of the word Adonai are placed with the consonants of YHWH, this results in the familiar word Jehovah that was used in some earlier English Bible translations.  As is common among English translations today, the ESV usually renders the personal name of God (YHWH) with the word Lord (printed in small capitals).”  9.  Bruce M. Metzger for the New Revised Standard Version Committee. To the Reader}

**  “Calvary” – This word was translated from the Greek kranion, meaning “the skull.”  It came into the KJV from the Catholic Latin Vulgate. Wycliffe, who translated the Latin Vulgate into English in the 14th century, rendered it “calveri,” from the Latin “calvaria.” Tyndale picked it up at Luke 23:33 (the only place it appears) and it was carried forth in the 1611 KJV as “Calvarie,” still clinging to the Latin.  It is spelled “Calvary” in modern KJV editions, but contemporary versions correctly use the English translation of the Greek word:  “The Skull.”

**  “Holy Ghost” – This is the 17th century rendering of “Hagios Pneuma”—literally, Holy Spirit. Holy Ghost was a term introduced by Wycliffe in the 14th century as “holi goost.”  Tyndale used the same term.  In 1582 it appeared as “holy Ghost,” and in 1611 as “Holy Ghost.”  The technically correct rendering of Pneuma is “Spirit.”  Wherever “Holy Ghost” appears in the KJV, most contemporary versions use Holy Spirit.  So the words you mentioned have not really disappeared, dear poster, only an archaic rendering.

**  “Omnipotent” – This word appears once in the New Testament (Revelation 19:6).  It is translated from the Greek pantokrator – meaning “Almighty.”  The KJV translators, in their 1611 Preface to the KJV, confessed the practice of rendering the same Greek term in different ways for the sake of “varietie.”  Therefore, they rendered the same Greek term as “omnipotent” in Revelation 19:6, but as “Almighty” in II Corinthians 6:18.  God is omnipotent, but that is just another word for “Almighty.”  The “variety of words” approach can be useful in certain cases, but it confuses some readers.  Renowned Greek linguist, Dr. William Mounce says, “Theos ho pantokrator” in Revelation 19:6 is literally “God the Almighty.”  To be clearer and more accurate, hardly any contemporary versions use “omnipotent.”  Please don’t be confused when you don’t find these words in your KJV.

This is submitted as a reminder that not everything one reads on Facebook is worthy of forwarding or repeating.

Respectfully, 

JREnsey

The Long Ending of Mark {LEM}

*The debate over the inclusion versus non-inclusion of the long ending of Mark’s gospel (16.9-20 {hereafter LEM}) has raged for centuries within the discipline of textual criticism. Indeed, there is certainly no shortage of “evidence” offered on-line from opposing sides.

*The argument against the inclusion of the LEM is largely based on the omission of these passages from roughly a dozen early manuscripts (MSS)—most notably Codices Vaticanus (A.D. 350) and Sinaiticus (A.D. 360).  Significantly, however, Codex Vaticanus—the earlier of the two ancient codices—contains a blank space at the ending of Mark where the LEM would fit perfectly.

*As evidence against the LEM, linguists often point to the stylistic differences in the LEM in contrast to the rest of Mark’s gospel and hence, posit a non-Marcan interpolation.  It is commonly asserted that since there are 53 Greek words in the LEM that appear nowhere else in Mark’s gospel—and 21 Greek words that appear nowhere else in the entire NT, this points to a later intrusion into Mark’s original text.

 **Internal Considerations:  In Luke 1.1-12 there are at least 20 Greek words and forms that are found absolutely nowhere else in the entire NT—not just Luke’s gospel.  Laying aside the LEM, Mark’s gospel contains 102 Greek words and forms that are found nowhere else in the NT. Similarly, Matthew uses 137 Greek words, Luke uses 312 and John uses 114 words that are entirely exclusive to their gospels—i.e. found nowhere else in the NT.  Hence, using the same textual criteria used to dismiss the LEM, we could just as easily discard all four gospels!

*In the same vein, many textual critics have rejected the authenticity of 2 Peter as originally Petrine based upon a vast difference in literary genre from I Peter to 2 Peter. Dr. Richard Bauckham comments, “The evidence which really rules out composition during Peter’s lifetime is that of literary genre and that of date.  Either of these might be fatal for any degree of Petrine authorship. Together they must be regarded as entirely conclusive against Petrine authorship.” {Richard Bauckham, Word Biblical Commentary: Jude, 2 Peter (Waco: Word Books, 1983), 159.}

*Most of the literary distinctions between I and II Peter are easily solved when considering that Peter likely used an amanuensis (dictation secretary)—just as was likely done with the gospel of Mark inasmuch as textual critics affirm that the gospel of Mark was dictated by the apostle Peter (Peter’s characteristics are clearly demonstrated in Mark).  For an absolutely excellent text-critical article debunking a non-Petrine authorship for II Peter see here:   https://bible.org/article/2-peter-peter%E2%80%99s    

*It is common knowledge among paleographers that it was not uncommon for the last few leaves of a parchment book to fall off due to poor binding in conjunction with constant use and copying.  One of many examples would be Codex Vaticanus referenced above inasmuch as it omits the remainder of Hebrews from 9.14 onward (see here for actual photograph of Vaticanus: http://www.csntm.org/Manuscript/View/GA_03).  Yet no one believes that the remainder of Hebrews is not authentic.  Vaticanus is equally missing 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Revelation—yet, again, no reputable scholar believes these books were not in the original autographs.

*Similarly, Codex Sinaiticus contains many Apocryphal books, the spurious Epistle of Barnabas as well as portions of The Shepherd of Hermas.  Clearly these two codices, as great a discovery as they were, do not warrant an outright dismissal of the LEM simply based upon their omission—especially when the oldest of the two contains a blank space fit perfectly for these passages.     

*However, there is an even greater primitive testimony to the authenticity of the LEM.  Suffice it to say that the ancient documentation in favor of the LEM actually dates to well over a century earlier than the supposed evidence against the LEM.

**External Considerations:  The ancient Bishop Papias, writing ca. A.D. 95-120, references the same Joseph Barsabbas of Acts 1—one of the two candidates chosen for the office of apostle after Judas Iscariot lost his apostleship.  Papias relates, upon the testimony of Phillip’s daughters, that this same individual “drank a deadly poison and suffered no harm”—an example to the fulfillment of the LEM (16.18).

*Even more convincing, Justin Martyr in his “First Apology” (A.D. 156), chapter 45, states that while the apostles were “GOING forth from Jerusalem, PREACHED EVERYWHERE.”  The three Greek words in ALL CAPS above reflect three Greek words identical to the Greek words used in Mark 16.20—including the extremely rare Greek adverb translated “everywhere” (πανταχοῦ).  Indeed, this particular Greek adverb is only used 7 times in the entire NT, indicating that this was an uncommon word during the Koine’ period.  As text critics have noted, such intentional selection of words suggests that Justin is directly quoting from the LEM in ca. 156 A.D.

*A direct student of Justin Martyr, Tatian, in a famous work entitled “The Diatessaron” (ca. 172 A.D.), a single commentary integrating all four Gospels, includes the LEM.  This is well demonstrated by the Syriac manuscript of Ephrem’s Commentary on the Diatessaron, the Arabic Harmony—as well as numerous other sources.

*In ca. 180 A.D. Bishop Irenaeus wrote his infamous work entitled, “Against Heresies,” in Book III, 10.5-6 he directly quotes Mark 16.19 stating that the quotation was from the end of Mark’s gospel:  “Also, towards the conclusion of his Gospel, Mark says:  ‘So then, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God’.”

*At the seventh Council of Carthage in 256 A.D., Bishop Vincentius of Thibaris specifically quotes the LEM.  We could also add to this list of quotes favorable to the LEM the following: Tertullian refers to Mark 16.19 ca. 215 A.D.; Tregelles reports that Hippolytus (ca. 235 A.D.) quotes Mark 16.18-19 more than once; Codex Alexandrinus (ca. 400 A.D.); Ephraemi Rescriptus (ca. 450 A.D.).

*Jerome’s earliest translation of the Latin Vulgate from the Greek MSS (ca. 384 A.D.) includes the LEM.  Interestingly, the Old Latin (or “Vetus Latina”) was translated from Greek ca. 200 A.D. and the Italic form of these texts formed the basis for the Waldensian Bibles of the Middle-Ages.  Significantly, these translations equally contained the LEM reflecting the Old Latin MSS from which they were rendered, which, in turn was transcribed from Greek MSS ca. 200 A.D.—again placing an extremely early dating for the LEM in the Greek manuscript tradition.

*To date, I have seen little meaningful explanation offered for the direct quotations of the LEM from these ancient writers.  Typically, the only reasoning offered is that the supposed “intrusion” of the LEM into the biblical text originated in the early part of the 2nd century which would explain the early writer’s allusion(s) to this text.  However, this assumes that the LEM is an “interpolation” from the outset—hence starting the journey at the desired destination (i.e., circular reasoning).  Indeed, such an idea seems quite fanciful and likely reveals a theological bias against the supernatural nature of the LEM.    

*While this post merely reflects a sampling of the textual data favoring the LEM, hopefully the case has been set forth to some degree (?).  I would highly commend James Snapp’s exhaustive research into this ancient text:  http://www.textexcavation.com/snapp/PDF/snappmark.pdf.

*Hence, for me at least, it is with great certainty that we can affirm the truths set forth at the conclusion of this earliest Gospel (Matthew and Luke used Mark as their template):

9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.  10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.  11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.  13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.  17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;  18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.  20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.  Amen. (NKJV)                 

The Supreme Translation

“No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (John 1.18; NKJV; {Note: I am aware of the variant reading in this text, but said topic is not within the scope of this brief article}).

*In the world of translations there is the general theme of Dynamic Equivalence vs. Formal Equivalence—terms coined by renowned lexicographer Eugene Nida.  The former denotes the sense-for-sense translation while the latter conveys a word-for-word or a more supposedly “literal” translation.

*Any translation inherently possesses a dual nature inasmuch as said rendering has both the divine and human elements present.  The divine “nature” (I use the term loosely) is seen in the originally-inspired languages—or the sender language.  The human “nature” is demonstrated in the transmission process in an attempt to accurately convey the meaning of the original languages into the receptor dialect, depending on which translation philosophy is being adopted.

*In the text above, the Greek verb translated “declared” in the NKJV is transliterated as exēgēsato (ἐξηγήσατο) and is where we derive our English word “exegesis.”  This is a compounded term consisting of the preposition transliterated as “ek or ex” (ἐξ) meaning “from the interior outward,” and the verb hégeomai (ἡγέομαι) meaning “to draw out by showing priority.”  Hence, this verb literally defines as, “to draw from the interior outward[ly] by showing priority.”

*See here this lexical source:  1834 eksēgéomai (from 1537/ek, “completely out of {or} from,” intensifying 2233/hēgéomai, “to lead by showing priority”) — Properly, lead out completely (thoroughly bring forth), i.e., “Explain (narrate) in a way that clarifies what is uppermost (has priority).”  [1834 (eksēgéomai)] is the root of the English terms, “exegesis, exegete.”

*About A.D. 75, Josephus used 1834 (eksēgéomai) as a “technical term for the interpretation of the law as practiced by the rabbinate” (A. Schlatter, Der Evangelist Johannes, Stuttgart, 1948, p. 36, who cites Josephus, Ant. 17.149; War 1.649; 2.162; http://biblehub.com/greek/1834.htm.)

*On a grammatical level then, this text demonstrates that Jesus Christ literally exegeted the Father by narrating or lifting Him out in the Incarnation.  As the “Word made flesh,” Jesus was the most literal “Formal Equivalence” that was ever rendered!  That is, in the “Incarnation-Translation” Jesus’s dual nature of divinity and humanity worked in tandem to show priority to – and clearly lift out – the truths of the “Original.”  In sum, He was “The Supreme Translation!