Focus On The MAIN Idea!


We need to fix translations of Genesis 3:16. To do that we need to get the parts of Genesis 3:16 right.

The verse is not divided 50/50. It is too complex to be taken as just one big idea. Most everyone sees that.

The original Hebrew wording is not made clear to readers of modern translations. So modern readers assume they can break the verse into two equal parts. They speak of 3:16and 3:16b. They take the first half and see it as one idea. They see the second half as another idea. This 50/50 division is not helpful. It is not precise. It is not based on the Hebrew. Basically it is incorrect.

The main idea is in God’s opening four Hebrew words to the woman. In those words, God speaks to her about two new things he is going to do. Then in the rest of the verse,  without instituting anything new, he explains to her what her life  situation has become.

The MAIN IDEA is in 3:16a and all the rest is in 3:16b-d. When my wife deeply investigated the Hebrew words of the verse she saw they broke down into four lines – Genesis 3:16 a, b, c and d.

– Genesis 3:16a is the main idea. In it God acts.

– Genesis 3:16b-d Is the rest of the verse. In it God explains  

God told the woman that she would experience sorrowful toil when working the ground that was going to be cursed because of the man’s purposeful rebellion(see verse 17).

And, God told the woman she would experience conception in fulfillment of the promise/threat to the serpent (see verse 15).

This is illustrated at the top of this post in my graphic of the verse. Notice that Genesis 3:16a is the main idea and it has two actions promised by God. 

But, check your Bible. Most likely it doesn’t show you the two things God told the woman about. Instead it incorrectly reads as if God did something that was like a virtual curse on the woman – inflicting painful childbirth on her! This idea comes from bad theology not the words of the verse.

True up Genesis 3:16! Bible translations need to make clear the two actions God promises to take. Remove the misleading words that make it look like God cursed the woman.

Bruce C. E. Fleming,

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