I love words and everything about them, including their shifting meanings and the subtle way they influence one another in a sentence. Like a family that may take on a collective personality, words create a “community” together by forming meaning they cannot impart alone.
As Christians, we work hard to understand the community of words in the Bible in order to determine how to apply it to our lives. However, when we are not studying the text in the original languages and cultures, it can be difficult to determine the meaning of God’s Word.
How is it that Bible translators take foreign words from foreign cultures and transform them to something lay people can understand? Ann Nyland’s article provides a glimpse of what that process involves as she examines the way papyrus material can and should influence Bible translation.
The present culture also influences the meaning of words. Consider the word “submission.” It evokes a powerful response from many Christians. Alan Johnson explores the meaning of submission as used in the New Testament and how our understanding of it affects not only our own lives, but also the lives of non-Christians. For many people, patriarchy and the blatant oppression of people due to gender is considered deplorable: Is the message of the Gospel compromised when women are prevented from exercising their gifts because of their gender?
As a ministry, CBE uses words with respect in order to act on the vision God has laid on the organization’s heart: to share the message of biblical equality. Ultimately, the ministry wants to help equip all people to carry out the work to which God has called us— regardless of gender, race, or class. David Hamilton looks at a I Cor. 14:26-40, arguing that Paul’s mission was the same as CBE’s—to equip all people to minister on behalf of the Gospel, including women. Dr. Bilezikian explores the issue of biblical equality from the opposite side of the problem, challenging all of us to find a Bible passage that prohibits the ordination of women to church ministry positions. Finally, for those who have suffered as a result of acting on their call from God, Evelyn Bence shares a vision from St. Bridget of Sweden to help give all of us “fresh courage to face an age-old problem.”
CBE strives to impart a vision of what the community of God would look like if we are all free to act on our God-given callings. I hope this issue of Priscilla Paper will inspire and equip you to act on the vision God has given you as you minister in God’s community.