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This is the fourth blog in a series on Bible word studies for egalitarians. This entry explores whether words have gender and shows how the grammatical gender in Hebrew and Greek show up in Bible translation.

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This is the third in a series about Bible word studies and translation for egalitarians. This entry focuses on a particular instance of a word doesn’t contain all the meaning that the word can carry in 1 Timothy 2.

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How do we know what a word means? A linguist could spend a career answering this question, but here’s the simple answer: Words do not have meaning outside of context. It is the context that makes meaning.

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This is the first in a series of four blogs that demonstrate common Bible word study fallacies and why they are important for egalitarians studying Scripture to know. Word studies are a common part of Bible interpretation.

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As we all know, Jacob (also called Israel) had twelve sons. You probably also know from the tragic story in Genesis 34 that Jacob had a daughter as well, Dinah. But did you know that Jacob had other daughters?

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Most evangelical egalitarians know that the Bible has words that mean “man/men” and words that mean “person/people, human(s).” Many egalitarians also know that some Bible translations use “man/men” to translate words which aren’t limited to men. 

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“The Bible doesn’t say that men are the priests of the homes or heads of their households,” I told them. “It does say that husbands are the heads of their wives, but what does that actually mean?”

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In studying the Old Testament, we uncover the unmistakable narratives of women who took leadership and teaching roles among God’s people. Deborah, Miriam, and Huldah stand out as impressive examples of these OT women leaders. Similarly in the earliest days of the Christian church, women were teaching and proclaiming Christian doctrine to men. Anna, Priscilla, and Mary were listed as outstanding among the apostles (Junia). Women even prophesied before the congregation of God’s people (the daughters of Phillip).

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Women advanced the gospel by ministering beside Paul, building the church as teachers, evangelists, prophets and as an apostle—Junia. Paul offers the theological foundations for the shared authority of women with all of its spiritual and social implications, throughout his epistles.

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Simeon’s statement to Mary at Jesus’ circumcision, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34), is a lens through which we can view Jesus’ encounters with people. Jesus humbled the proud, the rich, and the powerful. 

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