If you get a few moments, I recommend you read through Andrew Bartlett’s 4-part series on the “Worst NT Translations Relating to Women.” Bartlett is the author of Men and Women in Christ: Fresh Light From The Biblical Texts. I haven’t read the book yet, but if his 4-part series on this subject is any indication of how good it is, I’m sure it would be well worth the read.
At the beginning of his 4-part series, Bartlett helpfully takes a few moments to define what he means by “worst translations.” He categorizes these mistranslations of key New Testament texts into four different types: (1) translations “with the least shred of justification”; (2) translations “with the most negative description of women”; (3) translations that are “the most misleading”; and (4) translations “with the greatest impact on women.”
Each one of these receives its own treatment, and in my mind at least, Bartlett makes some astute observations. I very much enjoyed the last post in the series. There he tackles 1 Tim. 2:12, which is perhaps the key text in many debates between egalitarians and complementarians. On this text, I found his comments interesting. He writes,
“There are reputable evangelical scholars on each side of this [complementarian vs. egalitarian] debate. When I started writing Men and Women in Christ: Fresh Light from the Biblical Texts, I fully expected to find reasonably strong and finely balanced arguments on both sides, meaning that any conclusion about women pastors could only be tentative. But I was surprised to find that the complementarian position on this issue was more fragile than I had expected. One of the biggest surprises for me concerned the translation of 1 Timothy 2:12.”
I have to say that I concur. When I began researching this question years ago myself, I came to the same conclusion.
At any rate, you can check out Bartlett’s posts here: