August 13, 2019


Rev. Dr. Laura J. Hunt explains:

“If Greek and Hebrew are not where you like to spend your time, then what translation do you use? The Common English Bible, the 2011 NIV, and the New Revised Standard Version are all solid translations. And reading and studying the Bible from multiple versions lets you see which passages everyone generally translates in the same way and which require difficult decisions. The English Standard Version, though, despite its recent popularity and ready availability, has some significant issues for Free Methodists. Rather than argue the case myself, I have rounded up the best discussions I can find online (plus one on the New Living Translation). If you have other favorite blog posts, or your own comments or concerns, I’d love to see them in the comment section below!

“I had another question come up with the ESV today (English Standard Version), so I thought I would post a round-up of blogs that address these issues. As an ordained Free Methodist, I cannot put this too strongly. The ESV is not suitable for use in our denomination. (The NLT is similarly problematic. I recommend the CEB, the 2011 NIV, and the NRSV.)

The first link is to this endorsement of the ESV by a group opposed to the Free Methodist position on women. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is dedicated to the promotion of what they believe to be God-ordained complementary roles for men and women including the unilateral submission of wives to husbands and the prohibition of women from leadership roles in the church. The Free Methodist church, by contrast, believes in mutual submission in marriage as in the church (Eph 5:21) and in leadership according to gifts and calling, regardless of gender (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12).

This link takes you to a paper by Mark Strauss. Note that he, himself, is a complementarian; however, he finds many problems with the ESV beyond gender translation issues.

Next comes a broad sampling of gender translation problems from Carolyn Custis James.

Matt Lynch explains Gen 3:16 in detail, and also provides a heads-up on the odd permanent/non-permanent hiccup the translation went through.

Marg Mowczko brings in Romans 16:7 and the Junia debate and deftly discusses the unwarrented insertion of modern concepts of masculinity.

Here we find a broader theological issue that complementarians regularly struggle with, often walking on the edge and sometimes over the line into the early church heresy of subordinationism. The ESV translation supports this heresy in some places.

Does all this really matter? Yes! Poor translations communicate to both women and men that women are not fully included. If you are not grounding your reading and preaching in the Hebrew and Greek texts, I recommend that you rely on the CEB, the NIV2011, and the NRSV.”

To read Dr. Hunt’s original post you can click here: