One of the perennial controversies in English Bible translations is the issue of gender neutrality, i.e., whether to interpret Greek masculine nouns as generic uses of the masculine (short answer: often yes), and then on top of that, whether to retain the use of the generic masculine in English (a matter of style, but so far as good taste is concerned: also often yes). So you get a verse like 1 John 2:9, “ὁ λέγων ἐν τῷ φωτὶ εἶναι καὶ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ μισῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ ἐστὶν ἕως ἄρτι.” The ESV translates, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.” Conversely, the NRSV adds a feminine: “Whoever says, ‘I am in the light,’ while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness.” Whether this is to avoid implying that we’re allowed to hate women, or whether it’s simply to allow women the privilege of being generic too, the translators have not informed us.

For myself, I don’t find the generic use of the masculine particularly offensive, and I don’t think the man on the street does either. 😉 But also I don’t care very much, although there are many people who—having solved every other problem in their own life, and achieved perfect sanctification—have a great deal of energy to expend upon this issue.

All of this as prelude to my amusement upon reading Paul’s paraphrasing of 2 Samuel 7:14 in 2 Corinthians 6:18:

καὶ ἔσομαι ὑμῖν εἰς πατέρα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἔσεσθέ μοι εἰς υἱοὺς καὶ θυγατέρας, λέγει κύριος παντοκράτωρ.

And I will be a father for you (pl.) and you will be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.

The Septuagint has:

ἐγὼ ἔσομαι αὐτῷ εἰς πατέρα, καὶ αὐτὸς ἔσται μοι εἰς υἱόν·

And I will be to him a father, and he will be for me a son.

So Paul changes the singular to a plural, and not only that, but he adds in mentions of daughters specifically. Gender-neutral in the first century A.D. How about that?

(This entire post of course is a 20th/21st century anachronism. The really surprising thing should be that Paul has applied the promises made to David directly to the Church—incorporative Christology at its best.)