For years I struggled with my relationship with the apostle Paul.
On the one hand, as a teenager, I was completely taken with books like Galatians and Philippians and studied chart after chart of the missionary journeys (I am a missionary kid, after all). But as an adult I had trouble reconciling the “clobber verses” often used to silence women’s voices with the rest of the New Testament.
When I began studying Paul more seriously, it didn’t take long to see that Paul’s practice of ministry stands in stark contrast to his apparent prohibitions against women speaking. When we look at the Book of Acts, alongside his letters, it becomes obvious that women played key roles in the founding and development of the infant church, and that Paul regarded them highly as ministry partners.
Paul’s women coworkers functioned as teachers, apostles, disciples, house church leaders, co-ministers, evangelists, and prophets.
He also wrote instructions to women who were prophesying and praying in public worship, so we know women were not silent in his churches. These things have been well documented by others, so I won’t belabor the point here.  Instead I want to share another piece of the puzzle that supports a more egalitarian view of Paul – something I had not come across until recently.
Paul often made his citations of the Old Testament more gender inclusive than the originals.
In a 2001 article titled “Do Gender Sensitive Translations Distort Scripture? Not Necessarily”, Darrell Bock suggests that the Holy Spirit often inspired New Testament writers to change Old Testament texts to more clearly communicate God’s message and intentions.  Many of the examples he uses to make his point come from the letters of Paul.
The nuances Paul gives to many Old Testament texts point to a decidedly egalitarian viewpoint.
He shows no qualms about these changes; in fact, one gets the impression he is working hard to make it clear that the lessons he is sharing are meant for every believer. Here are four examples:
Old Testament “There is no fear of God before his eyes” Psalm 36:1
Paul “As it is written (v. 10) ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes (v. 18)’” Rom 3
Old Testament “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” Psalm 32:1
Paul “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.’” Rom 4:6-7
Old Testament “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news.” Is 52:7
Paul “As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.’” Rom 10:15
Old Testament “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me.” 2 Sam 7:14a
Paul “I will be a Father to you [all], and you [all] shall be my sons and daughters.” 2 Cor 6:18
This gender inclusive pattern in Paul’s writing is intriguing.
“Note also the inclusion of the phrase “you all” to drive home the point [2 Corinthians 6:18]. Should we accuse the Spirit of gender bias by the inclusion of daughters here, or His/Paul’s move from singular to plural?”
Bock then quotes noted complementarian scholar D.A. Carson:
“[The apostle Paul] has taken the third-person singular (“he will be a son to me”) and rewritten it… in terms that expand the masculine “son” into both genders..The least we can say is that the apostle himself does not think that Hebrew singulars must be rendered by Greek singulars, or that Hebrew “son” should never be rendered by the Greek ‘sons and daughters.’ No one, I think, would quickly charge Paul with succumbing to a feminist agenda”. (Carson, 1998, p. 20)
In his Spirit-inspired writing, Paul is intentional about including women in the messages and mandates he sends to the churches.
In order to do this, at times Paul made the Old Testament more gender inclusive than it originally was, as if the Spirit was guiding him along a trajectory of gender reconciliation, healing, and wholeness. What should we make of this?
While we can’t responsibly call Paul an egalitarian in today’s terms, we can certainly see him heading in that direction in his teaching and ministry practice.
In light of this, it is hard to imagine that the apparent restrictions on women in 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 were anything more than temporary fixes for church-specific issues. These examples, along with other evidence of Paul’s high regard for women, show that Paul was more inclusive of women than we sometimes give him credit for.
So why do so many pastors and churches today resist Paul’s example and continue to use Bible translations that have the opposite effect?
If you are still using a gender-exclusive translation, maybe it’s time to follow Paul’s example so that the Gospel message can be understood as clearly now as it was in the early church two thousand years ago. 
 Darrell Bock is the Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
 More on gender accurate bible translations:
Meet Condescending Bible Translation Guy
Lost in Translation: A Look at 1 Timothy 2:12 by Bob Edwards
Bock, D.L. (2001). Do Gender Sensitive Translations Distort Scripture? Not Necessarily. The Biblical Studies Foundation (www.bible.org).
Carson, D.A. (1998) The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Realism. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998, p. 20
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