Devastating consequences flowed from people not listening to the testimony of a woman—consequences I witnessed and endured firsthand, even as I have had to examine and confess my own complicity. It is against this backdrop that the phrase “believe women” has taken on a new potency for me.
As a follower of Jesus, it saddens me that the church seems no better than the world in this regard. Far too often, women are not believed. Renowned psychologist and abuse expert Diane Langberg points out that “across studies the rates of false accusations run between 3 and 9 percent.” Yet time and again, women who come forward with testimony are not believed.
Next time you run into the presence or absence of a verse like Acts 8:37, don’t take it as a challenge or a conspiracy. The editors of the translation have good reasons for the path they chose and will usually leave a note to clue you in. With a little work, some consulting of textual commentaries, and some wider understanding of how thousands of manuscripts inform our understanding of the Greek New Testament, you can examine the evidence yourself and come to your own conclusion.