The New Testament and Sex Change

My colleague and friend Claude Mariottini is a fan of comparing translations and thus also of the textual tradition. Just in case you wonder what I’m going on about with that for the title of the post here it is:

Two women in the NT were given “sex changes” by the translation tradition.

The story of Junia is well known and I wrote a small e-book on it (called Junia is Not Alone), which is now an Appendix in the revised edition of The Blue Parakeet. She was a woman but some strong voices in the church were uncomfortable with a woman apostle so they made her a man (Junias). This has now been corrected, never to revert again back to a man.

Another woman who is not as well known is Nympha, who started out her journey into the church as a woman, was somehow then colonized into a larger group (“their”) so she would not be so much a leader as a female, but then the problem of her being a church leader got to be too serious for some so they changed Nympha to Nuymphas and made her a man.

Here are the translations of Colossians 4:15 to show the sex changes, and these translations are from Claude:

Nympha the Woman, the Church Leader

NRS  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters1 in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

RSV  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brethren at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

NIV  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea,a and to Nympha and the church in her house.b

CSB  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her home.1

ESV  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers1 at Laodicea, and to Nympha and athe church in her house.

CJB  Colossians 4:15 Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, also to Nympha and the congregation that meets in her home.

Nympha, One Person among Others

ASV  Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren that are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in their house.

BBE  Colossians 4:15 Give my love to the brothers in Laodicea and to Nymphas and the church in their house.

Nympha Becomes a Man

DBY  Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the assembly which is in his house.

DRA  Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren who are at Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church that is in his house.

ETH  Colossians 4:15 Ask the peace of the brethren who are in Laodikia, and of Nymfa, and of the church which is in his house.

KJV  Colossians 4:15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.