Responses (2): but "brothers" often means "brothers and sisters"...

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Here is another argument against my post pointing out Denny Burk is wrong and the Atlantic got it right in their reporting that the Christian Standard Bible is gender-neutered in hundreds of places.

A reader writes:

[The translators] are simply trying to communicate the Scriptures in a clear way. Adelphoi does often mean brothers and sisters, so it's not wrong... There is an example in Euripides, Electra, line 536, where adelphos refers to both brother and sister...

...lexicography and semantics can be tricky... When Paul refers to the churches by adelphoi, he clearly has the whole congregation in mind. ...This is common in the ancient languages, where the masculine is the so-called "standard" linguistic gender.

...we are wrong when we assume that grammatical gender and biological gender are always the same thing

The one thing obvious is this man hasn't read the very post he is criticizing...

Nowhere did I say or imply that "adelphoi" in the New Testament Epistles refers only to men. Just the opposite—I said it's a "male inclusive." Which is to say it's a word with a male semantic meaning component that's used to refer to men and women. That's the meaning of "male" and that's the meaning of "inclusive."

This man goes on to quote Euripides and talk about "lexicography," "semantics," "linguistic gender," "grammatical gender," and "biological gender"—what sane people used to refer to as "sex." This man presents himself as an expert, but he's not. Plus we don't need an expert because this stuff is simple.

What the Holy Spirit has done in God's Word is use the name of the first man Adam to name the race descended from him. This name God gave us matters very much for a whole host of reasons I laid out in the prior post. Start with the Biblical truth that in Adam we all died. Not in Eve. Not in Adam and Eve. Adam is our federal head and because of his sin alone we all are corrupt, we all will die, and we all will suffer eternally in Hell unless we have been washed in the blood of God's Perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament continues this usage by naming the entire church—both men and women—"adelphoi," the Greek word "brothers." God could have used the words "brothers and sisters" but He didn't. He reminded every woman that Eve was created second and Adam first, that Eve was made for Adam and not Adam for Eve, that Adam named Eve and not Eve Adam, and on it goes.

But you see, these theological truths carried by God's use of male inclusives are never spoken of by men like Denny Burk and all the publishers and scholars producing these newly revised Bible products. They can't get their minds around anything deeper in God's chosen words than:

Women are going to have their feelings hurt if we don't get rid of the male inclusive. It wasn't inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was simply a habit of speech back in the day. Forget God's word "adam." Forget God's word "adelphoi." We're going another way. It will be "humankind" or "mortals" in our Bible! It will be "brothers and sisters" or "siblings" for us!

Twenty years ago, I was talking to a friend who had been to seminary and graduate school and loved Scripture. We were discussing the neutering of God's Word by Tyndale House, Zondervan, and the scholars producing their Bible products. 

I asked my friend, "Do you think it's OK to translate "adelphoi" (Greek "brothers") as "brothers and sisters?"

He said "yes."

I continued, "If I can show you 'brothers and sisters' leaves behind meaning that is in the word 'brother,' would you still think changing 'brothers' to 'brothers and sisters' is OK?"

He said "no."

I then said, "Changing 'brothers' to 'brothers and sisters' leaves behind the federal headship of Adam."

He said, "You're right, 'adelphoi' shouldn't be translated "brothers and sisters."

Just that simple.

Now there are many meanings left behind when "adam" is deleted and "mortal" is inserted, when "adelphoi" is deleted and "brothers and sisters" or "siblings" is inserted. I've spelled out some of them in my prior post.

Thing is, none of these defenders of the neutering of Scripture will talk about those meanings. They have only one thing on their minds, and that is sex.

Over and over again, they trot out the ignorant statements, "That Hebrew name 'adam' God gave the race includes both men and women!" They're so excited to say it. They think they've discovered something, and they have if they would stop long enough to think about it. But they don't. As soon as they discover the meaning of this male inclusive, they throw it out.

"That Hebrew name 'adam' God gave the race includes both men and women! So we'll get rid of it and insert 'humankind,' 'persons,' or 'mortals.'"

Give a man a tiny bit of Hebrew and Greek, stir in a dash of linguistics verbiage, and you have some guy who assumes Scripture's use of the male inclusive is "accidental." It's an "artifact" of "ancient patriarchal cultures."

In other words, God didn't inspire the Bible's words. Just the concepts behind the words.

God didn't name the race "adam." He simply caved to the linguistic patterns pervasive within...

The Garden of Eden.

Such pride. Such faithlessness.

For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:18)

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!