Kephalē in the New Testament: A survey

I backed out of writing this series about those biblical passages about women in ministry not too long ago. It wasn’t because the evidence is hard to find or interpret, but it was partly because I had so little hope of anybody listening. They’d agree, I assumed, if they already held an opinion that they saw me affirming, and they’d disagree if they saw me affirming a view they didn’t already hold. The evidence rarely seems to really matter on this issue. People will find a way – any way – to make it fit an ideology. What would be the point of writing about this? But here I am, venturing into that series.

After a cautionary introduction post on what I am about to do (which I insist you read before you read this blog post), this is the first of my blog explorations of the contentious biblical passages about men and women in the church. Any comments you make on this post or any posts in this series must conform to the guidelines I gave in that cautionary post. Talk about the evidence and the issue strictly defined by the blog post. That’s all I’m prepared to allow. Behave or I’ll kick you out. I’m deliberately being boring so as to discourage the elements that make this issue frustrating.

Why would I want to be boring? Here is why: You will probably have seen people who get caught up sharing exciting links on social media about scientific issues. Vaccines cause autism! The earth is flat! Homeopathy cures cancer! Climate change isn’t happening! Quoting what people have said, citing anecdotes, attributing evil motives, citing cultural or traditional pressure, complaining about vested interest – these are all the sorts of things that fly thick and fast in discussions about theories like these. What is less common is the boring approach of slowly, slowly, slowly checking every relevant piece of data. It is not sexy. It does not make for good Buzzfeed articles. But if you want to know what is true and what is false when it comes to the theories that should only be formed after the ponderous work has been done, this is how you do it. The boring way. I am going to write several blog posts about the meaning of one Greek word, kephalē. Fun times.

Alright. Here we go.

Continue reading “Kephalē in the New Testament: A survey”

Nuts and Bolts 016: The Root Fallacy

Did you know that I’m an Apostle? It’s true! My ex sent me packing, and the word “apostle” in the Bible comes from a Greek word that means “sent one.” Don’t argue with the Bible, this is what the Greek means!

You probably haven’t heard anyone make an argument quite like this, because to do so would expose just how absurd this sort of reasoning is. This instalment of the “nuts and bolts” series is all about the root fallacy, one of the most common mistakes that a lot of sincere, well-meaning people make when interpreting the Bible. The root fallacy is committed where a person assumes that the meaning of a word must be bound to the meaning of its etymological root.

Continue reading “Nuts and Bolts 016: The Root Fallacy”

More than one way to skin a cat: Taking care with the rules of Hebrew

Can you really annihilate what the translators and dictionaries say by simply gesturing to a well known rule in Hebrew? Probably not!

When learning a biblical language – or when just learning a few things about a biblical language for that matter, seminary students or preachers can sometimes start to feel like they’ve gained super powers – and now with just the effortless and universal application of a few of the rules they’ve learned, they can nail down exactly what the writer meant and thereby amaze their peers, win every argument and floor their congregation with their prowess. Continue reading “More than one way to skin a cat: Taking care with the rules of Hebrew”