The Book Corner

The Book Corner

Women at the Crossroads. By Kari Torjesen Malcolm. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1982. 215 pp. Paper, $5.95.

The battle continues in Christian circles concerning the role of women. Is the church to continue to urge male leadershsip or to adopt an egalitarian stance?

A relatively recent book enters the foray expressing strong convictions. Kari Torjesen Malcolm believes there is a third way between the extremes of the traditional church position and radical, secular feminism.

Mrs. Malcolm comes from an interesting background. Her parents were from Norway and worked in China under the Old China Inland Mission (now called Overseas Missionary Fellowship). Both parents were active in preaching and evangelism and she grew up feeling sex made no difference in church roles.

After several years as a prisoner in World War 2, she came to the United States and entered a Christian college. Here she was jolted by the general evangelical view that a woman’s role was primarily that of a wife and mother. She married, had children and tried to adapt to that role. Later, when she and her husband were missionaries in the Philippines, she realized her mistake and began to preach again.

Commendably, Mrs. Malcolm presses hard for women to become concerned and involved in evangelism. There is more to life than just house work — and she is right. She traces through church history some of the women involved in witnessing and missionary work.

She also urges churches to encourage single women to enter such work, if this is their calling, rather than marriage.

She writes with strong feeling, but with a spiritual note and a love for the Lord. She attributes the male leadership teaching of the church to pagan influences from Europe rather than to Scripture (p. 44). At times she seems to belittle the work of a mother and homemaker (p. 53).

She maintains that in the church there should be no difference between the male and female roles. “But why should the gender of the speaker proclaiming God’s Word make a difference?” (p. 64).

What will trouble most Bible students is the exegesis of certain passages. She feels the verb laleo does not mean to speak but to babble or gossip and so does not apply to women preaching. The prohibition against teaching in 1 Timothy 2, she says, applies only to false teaching (p. 78). She approves the retranslation of 1 Timothy 2:12 as follows: “I do not permit a woman to teach sexual immorality or to involve a man in sexual activity.” Such twisting of Scripture and violence of sound exegesis is difficult to justify.

One can find the balance of Scripture which insists on an articulate male leadership in church meetings and yet provide a ministry for women in evangelism and teaching. There can be male leadership in the home and church which will encourage rather than squelch the woman’s spiritual growth and development of gift. But let us beware of “wresting” the Word of God (2 Peter 3:16). Paul’s argument for differing roles is based on creation, not on culture (1 Timothy 2:13), and subordination does not imply inferiority.

—Donald and Marie Norbie

How to Use New Testament Greek Study Aids. By Walter Jerry Clark. Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1983. 256 pp. Paper, $6.95.

Walk into the average bookstore, including Bible bookstores, and perhaps you will observe (as I have) that “How to” books are increasing in number. Ours is a day of instant solutions and/or quick fixes, coupled with a “do it yourself” emphasis, so we need not be surprised at the spate of “How to” books in virtually every category from A - Z.

Here is a “How to” book, though, that should interest every serious Bible student who has not had the opportunity to study New Testament Greek — as well as those who have! When it comes to explaining how people with little or no knowledge of New Testament Greek can utilize the many choice tools available today to explore, enjoy and be enriched by the language treasures of the Greek New Testament, Mr. Walter Jerry Clark has, I think, done a first class job and rendered a great service in “putting the cookies on the lower shelf.”

Following a brief Introduction, the author pursues his purpose by developing such subjects as:

· Light from the Rubbish Heaps

· Greek, the Untranslatable Language

· English and English-Greek Concordances

· Translations and Study Bibles

· Lexicons and Greek-English Concordances

· Greek Word Studies

The author closes his book with three helpful appendixes, followed by three pages of acknowledgments.

It is not just my opinion but, yea, my conviction that Christian educators in our Bible colleges and seminaries should at least offer, if not require, a 101 course using the author’s work as a textbook. It seems to me that it would be far more profitable for students who are not adept at language study to master the contents of this book instead of spending years struggling over Greek grammar and syntax and end up knowing only a little Greek —and maybe only the one who lives down the street!

This simple guide to New Testament Greek is long overdue and I, for one, highly recommend it to our readers. It would make a lasting and practical gift for any serious Bible student through which he or she could develop lifelong study habits that would reap rich spiritual dividends in the study of God’s Word.

—The Editor