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Ambiguous Words

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Margaret Mowczko has written an excellent article on the possible range of meanings of "authentein" in I Timothy 2:12. Indeed, there are multiple reasons why this is a complex and ambiguous passage.

Likewise kephale (or head) has a range of possible meanings.

A helpful principle in interpreting the bible is to avoid creating some kind of law out of ambiguous words (or metaphors, idioms, etc.)

There are some things in the bible about which we can be quite clear.

The idea of "male headship" is not one of those things.

The idea that women cannot teach men is not one of those things.

Are my thoughts unambiguous enough?







Precedent to Precept

Biblical hermeneutics (for those who like throwing big words into conversations) is the art and discipline of interpreting scripture.

The bible is a complex book, having been written over many centuries, in different cultures, in different places, and in different languages. Scholars study other texts written in similar places and times to get clues as to what certain words might mean. They investigate cultural practices, and styles of literature / oral traditions operating when the bible was written, to help us understand what the original authors might have intended to convey.

We need to approach interpreting the biblical texts with a degree of humility. We also need to note that the scriptures are not “flat”’ some texts carry more weight than others. Jesus noted:

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should…