Cleansing the Bible of counter-cultural female roles not only masculinizes history, it also deprives women of a broader picture of how God has and might use women and their gifts in church, home, and society.
This article has shown that the Gen 3:15 Edenic covenant began in the Garden with the woman. It was then initially fulfilled with Deborah and Jael in Judg 4 and 5. Indeed, the Jael story actualizes the Gen 3:15 promise.
“This is not a gender matter, it’s a language matter.” Professor Jimmy Duke speaks for many in his comments on translations (Saint Paul Pioneer, June, 1997:4D). I beg to disagree. As a professor of New Testament who has served on several translation committees, and as a woman, I propose that the May 27 “Guidelines for Translation” released from Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs are solely “a gender matter.”
A historical case can be made that Christianity has, all things considered, been good for women. It has not been the mighty agent of gender oppression that it is sometimes made out to be. Still, contemporary Christians can hardly feel smug about the track record of our religious tradition.
A year ago in this journal I wrote: “We should be thankful for the NIV Inclusive Language Edition.… This translation is… a blessing for and a gift to the Church and its ministry…. We should also pray and lend our support for the appearance and ready availability of this edition of the NIV in the U.S. as soon as possible.”