C. F. D. Moule wrote that the problems raised by 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 “still await a really convincing explanation.” G. B. Caird added, “It can hardly be said that the passage has yet surrendered its secret.” W. Meeks regarded it as “one of the most obscure passages in the Pauline letters.”
Biblical feminists, as opposed to other feminists outside and within the church, accept the full authority of all Scripture for all the people of God. But they recognize, with all modern people, that we do not absorb Scripture in its pure form into our understanding. Like anything else we read, reading Scripture is an interpretive process.
Evangelical tradition places a high value on the biblical text, which is a good thing. But too often, we buy into a myth that our favorite translation is God’s true Word, pure and untainted by bias. Changes are seen as a threat to God’s truth, motivated by a social or political agenda.
Language matters. It impacts our ideas. It reflects our biases. It influences those we speak to. As I sang on Christmas Eve that all men are to employ their songs, the picture in my head was of men singing praises to God. Not one woman was among “all men” in my own imagination! It’s crucial that women see ourselves in what we sing, in what we read, and in what we hear.
Some people believe that 1 Corinthians 7 means that husbands are entitled to sex and wives have an obligation to supply it. But the text, properly interpreted, doesn't support that argument. In fact, it opposes it.
Recent events in the evangelical community—particularly with the release of Todays New International Version (TNIV) Bible translation—have raised concerns over masculine language. Does Jesus ask us to be fishers of people or fishers of men (Matt. 4:19)? Is there a difference? Should we be afraid to use words like people, especially when the ancient text and context warrants this?
King-James-Only advocates have taken a personal preference, elevated it to a theological absolute, and used it to divide liberals from conservatives, believers from unbelievers, servants of God from minions of Satan. Critics of inclusive language in Bible translation are doing the very same thing with their reckless, blanket denunciations of the TNIV.
Lawyers investigate human behavior like scientists investigate the natural world, looking for the explanation that best fits all the available data. What happens when we apply that approach to 1 Corinthians 14:34–35?
The two-dot-plus-bar ‘distigme-obelos’ symbols in Vaticanus signal added text. Five characteristic features distinguish their obeloi from paragraphoi. Like scribe B's LXX obeloi, all eight distigme-obelos symbols mark the location of added text. A gap at the exact location of a widely recognised, multi-word addition follows every distigme-obelos except one with distinctive downward dipping strokes. The Vaticanus Gospels are so early that they have virtually no high stops, a feature older than even 75. Consequently, they contain none of these additions, but the Vaticanus epistles have high stops throughout and contain their one distigme-obelos-marked addition, 1 Cor 14.34–5. Contemporaneous LXX G has corresponding distigmai.