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10 Reasons Why the New NIV is Bad for Women

| September 16, 2011

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The new gender-inclusive NIV was published earlier this year. It contains thousands of changes to the Bible’s male-gendered language. Having a gender-inclusive Bible appears to be the latest trend amongst cutting-edge, cappuccino-slurping Christian hipsters. Don’t get me wrong. I like to be hip. And I enjoy cappuccino as much as the next person. But my biggest beef with gender-inclusive Bibles is that they lack doctrinal precision. If you mess with the words, you mess with the meaning. Respected Bible scholars have explained why inclusive translations such as the New International Version (NIV), New Revised Standard (NRSV), and Common English Bible (CEB) are deeply flawed. If you haven’t yet considered their arguments, you might want to check out these Gender Neutral Bible Articles.

Notwithstanding the doctrinal imprecision and blatant politically-correct translating agenda, there are additional reasons why I dislike gender inclusive Bibles. Undoubtedly the publishers had good intentions, and genuinely wanted to help women, but in my mind, a gender-inclusive Bible is BAD for women. Really, really bad for women! I react to people reading from the new, gender-inclusive NIV the way I react to nails scratching down a chalk board.  Here are ten reasons why:

1.  It obscures the profound symbolism of gender:

Gender has a profound, cosmic meaning. God created manhood, womanhood, marriage and sex to put the love story of Christ and the Church on display. When we mess with the Bible’s gender language, we obscure gender’s symbolism. We make truths about God and the gospel more difficult to understand

2. It exalts gender above that to which it points:

Changing the Bible’s gender language implies that the Bible’s gender language is about us. It’s not. The Bible is ultimately not about male and female—it’s about Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God. The Bible does not use predominantly male gendered language to exalt men; it uses it to exalt THE Man who paid the ultimate price to redeem His Bride.

3. It diminishes the unique beauty of womanhood:

Blurring the Bible’s gender language contributes to the blurring of gender distinctions. It diminishes and devalues the unique role and beauty of womanhood.

4. It is less inclusive of women:

Gender inclusive Bibles cast women as “other” rather than part of the collective whole. God collectively named male and female “man” (Hebrew: ‘adam. See Gen. 5:2) to indicate that male and female would share a common condition for which He would provide a common answer. Because both male and female are ‘adam, both are equally represented by the first man, Adam. Both are fallen and in need of a Savior. The good news of the gospel is that both are also equally represented by the Second Man—the Last Adam—Jesus Christ. When God named male and female ‘adam, he had the Last Adam in mind. So when, in order to appease modern sensibilities, we change “man” to something we think is more inclusive,” we diminish the theological meaning and exclude woman. If woman is not specifically identified as “man” then how can she be represented by the first man, Adam? What’s more, how can she be represented by the Second Man, the Last Adam, Jesus Christ? Gender inclusive Bibles are supposed to be more inclusive of women, but pardoxically, the language theologically does the exact opposite. It excludes women from the collective whole.

5. It demeans women:

Gender inclusive Bibles imply that women are too stupid to figure out that in the Bible, the words “man” and “brothers” are inclusive terms. The male translators have to fix the words for us, since we’re not theologically astute enough or bright enough to get it on our own. Quite frankly, I feel like gender-inclusive Bibles insult a woman’s intelligence.

6. It patronizes women:

Poor little girls. The translators need to change the words of the Bible so our feelings don’t get hurt. Boo hoo. Women are so easily offended.  Sorry, . . . but changing the words of the Bible because you think some women might be offended by its language is downright patronizing.

7. It calls God’s attitude toward women into question:

Making changes to gender language is based on the premise that God ought to have given gals and guys equal air time. Trying to minimize the discrepancy suggests that God didn’t care enough about women to take our feelings into account. The natural conclusion is that He obviously loves his boys more than He loves his girls. The conclusion is wrong. And the premise is wrong.

8. It calls God’s wisdom into question:

Poor God. His bad. He needs our help. He wasn’t smart enough to get the words right. He obviously isn’t as enlightened as people living in the new millennium. We have to step in and update His image, to make the Bible more palatable to woman’s modern sensibilities.

9. It encourages further changes to Scripture:

I know of at least one Muslim that is aghast that Christians would have the audacity to tamper with the wording of our Holy Book. And since we’re audacious enough to tamper with gender wording for humans, it won’t be long till we’re audacious enough to tamper with gender wording for God. Translators will undoubtedly feel the need to update God’s names so that HE becomes more gender inclusive. Terms like “Mother-Father God,” “Jesus, child of woman and man,” “Great Source of Being in the Sky” and our “God-Goddess” communicate the concept of a gender-inclusive deity much better than the male-gendered language of the Bible. Don’t be naive. I’ve studied feminist theology long enough to know that naming self leads to naming the world leads to naming god.  It’s audacious indeed!

10. It leads women away from truth:

I care about women. Deeply. I long to see them experience healing and wholeness in Christ Jesus. I do them a disservice when I apologize for the Bible, fail to embrace its unvarnished beauty and power, and shrink back from sharing the Words that are perceived by some as foolishness and a stumbling block, yet are actually the power and wisdom of God for righteousness and sanctification and redemption. I fail women when I try to make God or His Word more palatable. I empty the cross of its power (1 Cor. 1:17-30).

Gender and gender language is important. It touches on the essence of a woman’s identity, the essence of the character of God, and on the essence of the gospel. We get things so very wrong when we think we can improve on the Bible’s teaching on gender or the gender language it uses. The big picture informs us that from the very beginning, God’s plan for gender has very little to do with us and very much to do with Him. And we need to trust that even if we don’t fully understand them, the words, images and means He has chosen to display His glory are not only right, they are also good. Very good!  And also very good for women!

A Battle Worth Fighting

I understand that language changes over time, and that translation is not always an easy task. But I am saddened that Christians seem so eager to jump on the cultural bandwagon to update God’s Holy Book with inclusive language. I don’t think they realize what is at stake. I have had students struggle with understanding concepts about God because their native language did not lend itself to translating/expressing the gendered concepts that exist in the original languages of the Bible. We will lose something very critical and essential if we lose the linguistic concepts afforded us by the gendered nature of English. Retaining gender distinctiveness in our language is a battle worth fighting. There is a great deal at stake.

So ladies, please don’t jump on the gender-inclusive Bible bandwagon. Be hip. Be courageous. Be politically incorrect. Insist on a Bible that acurately translates gender language– like the ESV, Holman Christian Standard, or  New America Standard.  Because in the end, inclusive language, and inclusive language Bibles, are bad for women.

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Comments (144)

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  1. Pam Trowbridge says:

    considering all the people out there that must use the term “Father God” all the time, we need to have other means of reminding people that God is three persons, one entity, and encompasses all genders. I find that phrase an insult to women, mothers, and God. It disrespects the person of Jesus and the Spirit in the entity of God. Poor Spirit gets overlooked a lot by Christians. So maybe we need a gender neutral Bible to remind us that God is all genders.

    • Jeanine says:

      I diagree. God doesnt need a gender to define Him. He defines gender. God doesnt need our opinions to define who He is (or to “explain” it better. He already revealed His heart and what he wanted. The only thing we need is to be more God centered and less ME centered. We can’t be christians and define christianity our way. That would be better called MEanity. So I am sorry. We dont need a gender inclusive Bible. We just need the Bible in the way God reveled it and gave it to us. I think is pretty arrgant to think we are better thinkers than the last two thousand years of christianity. That is post modernism in it’s best expression. So if we want to be christians we have to live , and be defined the way He decided: male and female. He left it clear from the beginning. And Jesus came as a man.

      • Rachel says:

        Right on!

      • Gary Shogren says:

        This isn’t even relevant to the discussion of the NIV, where God is “he” and “Father”, Jesus is “Son”, the Spirit is “he”, etc., etc.

        In both versions of the NIV, women are women and men are men – read 1 Cor 7, Eph 5, Col 3, 1 Tim 2.

        We shouldn’t make up problems with the NIV that in fact don’t exist.

    • Jeremy says:

      I agree that many people praying don’t mention the Spirit, but if they’re praying to God, their Father, that’s what they say. God isn’t all genders, He described *Himself* as God the Father. Jesus refers to His Father. God is not all genders.

    • Nancy says:

      Could NOT disagree more! God refers to himself as “Father”. What could be less insulting than the term Jesus Himself used? This term was God’s idea, not an editorial idea.

    • Sandy says:

      Fathers disappear from children’s’ lives in excruciating numbers, rarely, do mothers. More people NEED a father-figure. God was wise to choose this way to be expressed. When we notice that the Holy Spirit is being excluded from our prayers, we only need to include “Him” more often, by Name. I do.

  2. Mary Kassian says:

    Sorry Pam, I have to disagree. And I think that Christ would also disagree that the term “Father God” disrespects the Trinity. “Father” was Christ’s favored term for God, and the term He instructed us to use in approaching Him.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would almost agree but when Jesus was teaching us how to pray he began with “Our Father” so I don’t really think Jesus would disagree with people starting with Father God.

  3. Ilka says:

    @Mary: To me, Pam’s comment sounds like _sarcasm/irony_…

  4. MB says:

    Does this go for Women’s Devotional Bibles as well?

    • Mary Kassian says:

      Reading books and devotionals can certainly be helpful–(paraphrases and commentaries have their place) but these types of materials don’t fall into the same category as the inspired Word of God, and should never replace a woman’s study of God’s word. I think it’s best for women to invest more time reading God’s word than reading books about God’s word — and to read the Word in a translation that’s trustworthy, acurate and true to the original text. Some devotional Bibles use acurate translations of the Bible while others rely on paraphrases. You’ll have to determine what the case is with yours . . . You may want to crack open a good Bible translation along with your devotional Bible. Looking at an acurate translation can enhance and benefit your study efforts.
      Hope this helps!

      • Norma O'Connell says:

        I agree! Women need to be studying God’s word more and reading devotionals less. Thanks for this great insight into these new translations.

      • HH says:

        I so agree with this. It seems like people rely an awful lot on devotionals or other study materials instead of studying the bible itself. I have read through the bible several times and I learn something new each time. Read your bibles and as stated below, allow the Holy Spirit to make it clear to you. He truly is the greatest teacher :).

  5. Pam Trowbridge says:

    My comment was not sarcasm, it is how I feel. Jesus refers to God as his father, not ours. And if you want to read the Bible accurately learn Greek, I have a degree in it. If you want to learn to study the Bible well, get a masters degree in theology/divinity, I do. I speak as a main line denomination retired pastor. And many evangelical churches spend little if any time on the Spirit. All I am saying is that all three parts are equal, have been there for time eternal and will always be there. So we need to worship all three equally, address all three with equal reverence and if we want to address God the Father/Creator we should not use Father God, but Father or Creator or God. The use of the term Father God in worship is a new convention, not a traditional one.

    • TF says:

      Pam, if Jesus referred to God as his father, but not ours then why did he teach us to pray “Our Father in heaven…” (Matt 6:9)?

      I personally don’t see much difference in saying God or Father or Father God. Much like the Hebrew writers sometimes referred to God as Adonai, sometimes as YHWH, and sometimes as Adonai YHWH. The repetition simply stresses the reverence. Likewise, the convention of saying Father God simply stresses the fact that God has revealed himself as Father and that we should worship him as such.

      • Ellie says:

        Worship God like we worship a father? I really don’t think anyone should WORSHIP their father. And, I think it’s very problematic when we conflate the worship of God with the worship of human men–which this language has historically formed.

        • TF says:

          “Worship God like we worship a father?”

          No. Please allow me to clarify. We should never worship anyone except God. But since God has revealed himself through Scripture as our heavenly Father, we should pray to him as just that – our heavenly Father. That’s what I was trying to convey. :-)

    • Cje7851 says:

      First off what about “OUR Father who art in heaven…” or john 20:17 “…I am ascending to my father and YOUR Father…”. Secondly studying the Bible has nothing to do with education and everything top do with the Spirit and yes you are right Holy Spirit is overlooked and it is wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pam,
      One point of objection to your comments…”if you want to read the Bible accurately then learn Greek…” Seems to me this conclusion will assume that the 98% of Christ-followers who will never learn Greek will be reading the Scriptures inaccurately their entire life. Also, ” If you want to learn to study the bible well get a degree in theology/divinity…” Based upon your statement the majority of Christ-followers will never study the Bible well. I also find this interesting as your whole point is to bring light to the Holy Spirit’s equality with Father & Son and to draw attention to His role. One of His main roles is to be our Teacher! Jesus stated this repeatedly in John 14-16. John also made this interesting statement in 1John 2:27- As for you, the anointing (Holy Spirit) remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it taught you, remain in him.” I’m not trying to pick a fight in any way, I believe I understand what you are saying, but just want to bring light to the point that while a theology/divinity degree is good, we have the greatest teacher of all dwelling within us and he can and will teach us all we need to know about the gospel!!
      ~Mike

      • Caro says:

        Totally agree with you Mike! Besides there are people who know The Bible upside down yet they never get to know God and have Jesus in their hearts. And we learn to understand The Bible because of The Holy Spirit!

    • Anonymous says:

      Not true, when Jesus taught us to preach He told us to say ” Our Father”

    • I agree with your point but disagree with your terminology. The Trinity is not “parts” of God. Parts are not complete in themselves. To call the Trinity “parts” is using the wrong word and showing that, maybe, you really don’t understand the Trinity!

  6. Roegena says:

    We must also not forget something very important here. God the Father, and later His Son Jesus, very specifically used male descriptions and pronouns for themselves when they were speaking of personal relationships, and their relationships with cities, countries, etc. Israel and other nations were known as “daughters”or “virgin daughters”in Isaiah and other prophetic books, Israel was known as “betrothed” and “wife” in Ezekiel and Hosea. Jesus deliberately said “My Father” and “He”. If you are introduced to someone and you adress them as “Mr or Mrs……” and they say to you, “Please call me….”
    it would be an insult for you to ignore their expressed wishes. Why do we think we can get away with that with God? God CHOSE the masculine pronoun to show us that He wants to have a loving, caring, protective, providing role toward us, whether we are men, women, children, cities or nations. The very LEAST we can do is address Him in the manner He has revealed to us.

  7. EXCELLENT post! Thank you for breaking this down for us! I was so surprised the publishers did this!!! ARGH! Thank you for taking a stand for truth!
    Courtney

  8. Jessica S. says:

    Excellent post!!! Thank you for posting and I shared. It’s appalling what the content is in (some bible versions). I personally use only the KJV Bible and will always do so. One lady once read out of her “The Message” bible and I cringed at the thought about how the verse was SO DIFFERENT from what I have… it’s not right. You are right to say it’s shameful to think Man knows more than God. Rev. 22:19

    • David deSilva says:

      I would urge you to consider using translations more recent than the KJV for two very important but often overlooked reasons: (1) In the four hundred years that have passed since the KJV, we have found a lot of 3rd-5th century manuscripts of the New Testament and even BC manuscripts of the Old Testament that have given us better access to the original text (the KJV is based largely on 10th-14th century manuscripts). (2) In those same four hundred years, we’ve learned a lot about the meaning especially of ancient Greek words and the nuances of Greek grammar. Remember, the Renaissance was really only getting started around the time the KJV was made.

      At least try the New American Standard Version or the English Standard Bible, both of which are based on a much more solid manuscript base, take advantage of centuries of learning about ancient Greek (and Hebrew and Aramaic), and still avoid gender-neutral translation for its own sake.

      • Sarah says:

        Unless you are using a 1611 KJV of the bible, 99% of KJV’s today are the “authorized” 1769 version so at this point it is only 242 years old and was updated at that time.

        The NASB and ESV are both fairly “new” both being finalized for publication in 1971 (though the first edition of the NASB was in 1963.) I’m sorry but the track record simply is not there. Forty years or so of being in exhistance is simply not going to cut it for me. Plus the fact that 20 or so pastors, from various denominations made these translations is another factor. You know that game “telephone” you played when you were a kid? You whispered something into your friends ear, then they passed it along, then again and again and again until finally the last person said what they thought they heard only to have it completely wrong? Yeah, that is what our bible is turning into!

        The only reason why we have so many “translations” is because people don’t totally agree with what the original, or KJV, or whatever translaton they have says. So they make their own with what they think it should say. Not a good idea. Imagine a world where you go to school to become a doctor and you are allowed to bring your own text books and no one tells you which ones to bring! It could be a text book on internal medicine, dermatology, the nervous system or anything having to do with the medical field – yet the final exam is on something completely different!!

        I also will stick with my KJV. It hasn’t been messed around with as much as the other “translations” out there and if nothing else, for consistancy sake, I’m happy with it!

        • abrutalkind says:

          You do realize the Bible wasn’t originally written in English right? It has already gone through the “telephone” as you call it. And when people come up with translations of the Bible they do it from the original language, not the KJV or past versions of the ESV or NIV. They look at the original language and how it has been translated through time. They also look at the context of the time and the historical information we have gathered. You claim the KJV is the most accurate translation when it has been proven many times not to be, it has been thoroughly compared to the original languages and found to be flawed. I am not saying that you can’t be a Christian and read it but to dismiss all other translations as lesser is short sighted. All translations have their advantages and disadvantages. Even reading in the original language is problematic due to the fact that most of the languages that the Bible was written are dead, and were written to cultures and contexts that are completely and totally foreign to us. That is why we have the Holy Spirit, to guide us through the difficulty of translation.

  9. Kay says:

    Mary, thanks for another insightful post that’s definitely worth passing on. I don’t know that I’ll have any women in my women’s ministry who will ask questions or venture into this type of Bible, but at least now I have some good thoughts to pass on to them. You’re always so articulate in expressing the truth about critical topics.

  10. Ivory says:

    Good words. But your title could be misleading as you are not talking about the NIV but the TNIV. There is a huge difference!

  11. Sue says:

    I don’t see any examples of what you say has happened – that the word of God has been changed. If the name Adam means “human being” then Adam is human being, and Christ is the second. Women are included. In fact, if you read German that is exactly what Luther’s Bible says – Mensch, “human being” and that is what the Hebrew says, and the Greek and the Latin. They all say “human being.” It just happens that in English the word for “human being” and the word for “man” were the same word at the time of the KJV. But we should rather be faithful to the Greek and Hebrew and honour them and ensure that “man” and “human being” are properly represented in English.

  12. Sue says:

    So Hebrew has adam and ish, Greek has aner and anthropos,
    German has Mensch and Mann, Latin has homo and vir.

    Is there some reason that English has to have “man” and “man” or could it not be an accurate translation with “human being” and “man.”

  13. Mary Kassian says:

    It’s not an acurate translation when the original says “man” and we translate it “man and woman.” Many nuances and theological truths about God and humanity and the representative nature of adam and the “last adam” are obscured/lost.
    If God chose male-gendered words (when He could have used neutral ones) but I don’t like reading male-gendered words in Scripture–then either God or I have a problem . . . and it’s pretty obvious where the problem lies.
    Words matter. If you change the words, you change the meaning.

    • Heather says:

      Tribal cultures update their mythology as they evolve as people. They don’t take it as a literal account of events. Why is it they with their complete lack of technology manage to recognize something you cannot?

      • Nayr says:

        @heather
        i would guess that mary and most of the people involved in this dialogue don’t believe the bible is mythology. and we DO take much of it as literal accounts.

    • David deSilva says:

      The “original” did not say “man.” Whatever the original said, it said in Greek, Hebrew, or, in the case of a few chapters in Daniel, Aramaic. I’ll only speak to the Greek language. In the overwhelming majority of places where an older translation reads “man,” the original text had a form of “anthropos,” which is a Greek generic term for a human being. There is a Greek word for a “man” (in the sense of a male human being) and for a “woman” (a female human being), these being “aner” and “gyne.” Insofar as God chose specific words to appear in scripture, we would have to say that in many instances God chose a gender-neutral term (“anthropos”) rather than a “male-gendered” word (“aner”), but WE have translated it using “man” which, in modern English, does lean toward the “male-gendered” element of humanity. So translating “anthropos” as “human being” is not changing God’s word, nor misrepresenting it for the sake of being “politically correct.” It better represents the semantic range of the Greek “anthropos” than our “man.” Now where the New Testament author uses “aner” and “gyne,” of course we (should) translate these a “a man” and “a woman” without trying to make either more inclusive.

      • abrutalkind says:

        You wrote my intro to NT book. Rock on!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you very much for this comment. As I was reading this article, I was hoping someone say something like this. This is how I feel exactly from my study of the NT and Koine Greek.

    • Brad says:

      Every time we translate any word from Greek or Hebrew into English we are changing words. EVERY translation changes the words of the original Greek or Hebrew language into words that are English.

      Brad

    • Gary Shogren says:

      I teach Greek on the graduate level. When my students memorize the word “anthropos”, they learn that it means, “man, person, human being, (pl) people.” It does NOT mean “man” alone. This is not from some politically-correct dictionary or feminist playbook, it’s the meaning that people have learned for centuries. This means that when Jesus calls his disciples, “fishers of people” is a perfectly literal translation.

      Again, Paul addresses his letters to “adelphoi”, which in the plural means “brothers, brothers and sisters, siblings”; it does NOT simply mean “brothers.” When the NIV of 1 Thess 1:4 says “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you”, “brothers and sisters is a perfectly literal and accurate translation, and more accurate than “brothers”.

      A simple test will suffice: if I ask you “do you have any brothers?” in your answer you will respond by telling me how many male siblings you have; “brothers” does not imply female siblings.

      The NIV 2011 has “he” when it is “he” in the original, also “she”, but when it is generic it does not use only the English masculine.

      By the way, neither the original NIV or the NIV 2011 has a pro-gay bias; take a look at any of the relevant verses about homosexual acts, many of which are stronger in the NIV 2011 than they are in the ESV, NKJV or NASB. (I just published a blog on this very topic).

  14. Amber says:

    While I agree with the general underlying principle that people should be very careful when it comes to making revisions to Bible translations, and not just go making changes willy-nilly, I have to disagree with the rest of this article.

    For one, you’ve got some logical fallacies in play, here. For example, for number 5, you claim that gender-inclusive language “demeans” women because it assumes that women are too stupid to figure out that terms like “man” are all-inclusive. That’s an obvious straw man fallacy. Nobody actually thinks that anyone is so stupid that they believe those terms refer only to males. We’re all familiar with words like “mankind” and we all know that they refer to humanity as a whole. But even though we obviously *know* that those terms still technically include women, they still grate because they assume that male is the default gender. Under number 4, you go on at length about how gender-inclusive language somehow makes women into the “other,” but quite frankly that just doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s the use of terms like “man” and “mankind” that makes women into the “other,” because it says plain and simple: “Male is default. Female is not.” The term “womankind,” doesn’t refer to humanity as a whole; it refers only to women. Yet “mankind” refers to both men *and* women. How is that not casting women as the “other”? Wanting women to actually feel like they matter (and aren’t “alternates” to the superior and default male state) when reading the Bible is in no way equivalent to saying that women are too stupid to figure out that “mankind” means “humankind.”

    Furthermore: if, as you claim (and I quote), “the words “man” and “brothers” are inclusive terms,” then how exactly is the meaning changed by making the term used more gender-inclusive? If it’s already implied that “man” is a term that includes women, then how exactly is it damaging to simply make that inclusion a little more direct by changing the term to “humankind”? This article is full of alarmist language about how changing the words also changes the meaning, but you don’t actually say *how* the meaning is changed. If you truly believe that God is addressing both men and women, then you *are* saying that the words already mean what the translators are changing them to actually say! Basically, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

    But back to the logical fallacies: under number 9, you have a slippery slope fallacy. Just because one change is made in one area doesn’t suddenly mean that next year we’ll have a Bible that calls God the “Great Source of Being in the Sky.” Again, you’re making alarmist claims with no actual evidence to back them up, aside from your assumption that apparently all the people responsible for gender-inclusive language are raging feminists (oh, those dirty feminists, believing that women should actually be treated like people. Tsk!).

    Your rationale for number 6 is extremely disturbing to me because it implies that women should be perfectly okay with being excluded and cast as “others.” On the contrary: we SHOULD be offended by being thought of as afterthoughts to the “default” male state. You’re essentially advocating that women should sit down, shut up, and accept the status quo which places men in the privileged, superior position. And that’s not something I’m willing to accept. I refuse to be thought of as “less than” just because I committed the heinous crime of being born without a penis.

    Under number 7, you say: “The natural conclusion is that He obviously loves his boys more than He loves his girls. The conclusion is wrong. And the premise is wrong.” But again, there you go making claims without backing them up. Because from where I’m sitting? Sometimes it really *does* look like God doesn’t value women as much as he does men. This is the area of the Bible I definitely struggle with the most, because on one hand you have passages saying (paraphrased) “there is no male or female…we are all one in Christ Jesus,” but then on the other, you have passages saying that women have to keep their pieholes shut in the church and be doormats to their husbands–and without any explanation for why such is the case, either. (It certainly isn’t because men are automatically more intelligent or more spiritual than women!) At this point in my life, I have made the decision that I will almost certainly not marry, because I have so much trouble reconciling the fact that God loves me and values me as much as a man–but on the other hand, if I were married, I would have to submit to my husband 24/7 no matter how big of an idiot he was. Yeah, no can do. I have a brain, and I figure God wouldn’t have given it to me if he didn’t want me to use it.

    In conclusion, number 10: you claim that you “care about women. Deeply.” If that’s really the case, maybe you shouldn’t be trying so hard to keep us squarely under the thumb of male privilege. Because I don’t feel too loved when I’m essentially being told I don’t matter as much as all those men who were lucky enough to be born into humanity’s default state.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you Amber for sticking up for women everywhere!

    • Anonymous says:

      The fact of the matter is, something that people who don’t believe in gender-inclusive translations are sometimes hesitant to say, that yes, male is the default, and yes, that is Biblical. Men and women are /equal/ but they are NOT the same! Feminism has never been about equality but about making the roles of men and women the same, which is a completely anti-Scriptural idea. Men are the head of the women as Christ is the head of the church. Men are to be the (human) leaders in the home and in the church and in the government. There is a very good reason why male is the default. Yes, there are places, many places, where brother and man are inclusive, but the fact that it uses those is still important because it better relates the role of God and the fact that we’re made in His image. And sorry, women, get used to it, your place is not the same as the man’s. Neither one is better or more privileged than the other, but both have separate roles. Yes, I am one of those crazy, Bible-believing people who believe that the men are to be the bread-winners and the women are to be keepers at home (in general). Part of the problem is the undervaluing of the family which is actually the most important of the three God-give spheres: Family, Church, and Government. Yes, there has been ill-treatment of women in the past in our country. That doesn’t mean we should over correct to yet another un-Biblical view.

      • KR Wordgazer says:

        It is really rather incoherent to say, men and women are equals and neither one is more privileged– BUT they have different roles such that women are subordinate and men are the heads and leaders.

        If the different roles were really equal roles, it might make some sense. But saying “different but equal, only one gets to be in charge and the other gets to do what she’s told” makes no sense. It’s like the old “separate but equal” idea in segregation. If the whites get a clean, new water fountain and the blacks get a dirty, broken one, then the “equal” part is only a word, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

    • Joy says:

      True submission is submitting to your husband as to the Lord. It is not being a man’s doormat.God would never use anyone as a doormat.Do you not believe that a Christian is supposed to submit to God? Is it offensive that our Creator intends for us to use our lives to fulfill His purpose?
      We are created to glorify God. And,whether we like it or not, God makes it clear that His intent in creating females was to be helpers to the males–not inferior to, but working alongside of to portray the complete image of God.

      • Anonymous says:

        So, you are claiming that women are supposed to submit to men just as they do to Christ? In other words, men should be worshipped by women as Christ is worshipped? I don’t know about everyone else, but something seems wrong there…

        Maybe it is because you are equating male humans with Christ, which we know to be false because Christ cannot be compared to anything.

        • Zach Jullion says:

          “So, you are claiming that women are supposed to submit to men just as they do to Christ?”

          http://bible.cc/ephesians/5-22.htm
          “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”

          Yup, that’s exactly what the bible says.

          The thing to keep in mind is that this is part of a covenant between a husband and his wife, and not just the woman being the man’s doormat – reading more of the passage:

          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians%205:25-28&version=ESV

          Husbands are supposed to love their wives the way Christ loved the church and sacrificed for the church – that means more than just being willing to die for your wife, that means always having what is best for her in mind. The covenant, then is that a husband should treat his wife the way Christ would treat her.

          Also keep in mind:
          http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+5:29&version=ESV

          Wives are called to submit to their husbands in so much as that is keeping in line with obeying God.

          No, men are not perfect. No, husbands do not always have what is best for their wives in mind. No, wives do not always submit as they should. We are all sinful, all flawed, all imperfect. We shouldn’t use that as an excuse to ignore biblical commands, rather, that should be a reason to grow spiritually and become more and more like Christ (who both loved mankind to the point of dying on a cross for us, and also submitted to God in doing so).

          • Zach Jullion says:

            Sorry, missed this:
            “In other words, men should be worshipped by women as Christ is worshipped?”

            No, the bible does not call wives to worship their husbands, but to submit. The two words means very different things.

      • Anonymous says:

        Amen! Thank you.

      • Jonathan says:

        I think Pharaoh would have to disagree with you about being used as a “doormat” for God. He raised him up only to display his glory in judgment upon him.

        What a doormat!

    • Anonymous says:

      i agree with much of what amber said. your logic makes no sense.

      it is not demeaning to be a little more clear and denote ‘men and women’ if that is what ‘mankind means anyway. seriously people!!! calm down and think logically.

    • David deSilva says:

      Excellent responses to the second half of Ruth’s theses. Your second through fourth paragraphs are especially incisive and give Ruth some important food for thought.

      As for the Ephesians passage, I’m struck by how many Bible translations in English have separated Eph 5:21 from Eph 5:22. Eph 5:21, of course, reads “Submit to one another in reverence for Christ.” This is the verse that supplies the verb “submit” for Eph 5:22, and yet so many translations start a new paragraph at 5:22 or even stick a section heading between 5:21 and 5:22 so that it looks like we make a new start, “Wives, submit to your husbands.” The point I’m trying to make is that the wife’s submission is just one face of MUTUAL submission throughout the household of God (5:21). Paul clearly meant it this way, as there is no verb “submit” in the Greek of 5:22 (it has to be repeated in English translations from its appearance in 5:21). The other side of this, of course, is that a husband is challenged to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and Christ loved by giving himself entirely to seek the church’s good, putting the church’s interests and good entirely ahead of his own, even to the point of dying a slave’s death on the cross for her. That is to say, something terrible has happened to the interpretation of Eph 5:21-26 by highlighting the woman’s role as the submissive one.

      • BT says:

        David deSilva, your comments are the most helpful and insightful I’ve ever heard on the Ephesians 5 problem. THANK YOU for this.

        As for the author of the original article, please take a more well-reasoned approach when dealing with such a sensitive issue. As a man, I found many of your remarks insensitive and patronizing, and above all, poorly written. This is not a personal critique, rather an as objective as possible critique of your writing and logic.

    • Becca says:

      Amber, you rock.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. Awesome reply Amber!! And I am a seminary-trained member of the human race (with a penis).

    • Jonah Griffith says:

      Thank you, Amber, for bringing some logic to this topic. I really wish Christians would more often think through their arguments before publishing them to see if they hold up against common logic. Too often people just copy and paste tid-bits they have heard from the pulpit and Sunday school. Which unfortunately, those tid-bits are often not thought through logically in the first place either.

    • Lori says:

      Yes – Amber! You’re right on! Thank you!

    • Nancy says:

      In English male IS the default gender. When gender is unspecified it is correct to use “he” or “him”. Only relatively recently have we insisted on using the cumbersome “him/her”.

  15. Jim says:

    This morning I read your comments on the NEW NIV BIBLE, I.E. WOMAN/ MAN GENDER neutral issue. I read it on a message Christian web site I get sent many times a week.

    First, I should tell you this is the 1st time I have EVER contacted anyone concerning an article I read there. AND, In fairness I should further tell you, I read that, and, many other Christian things really out of interest & looking at different points of view; for my enlightment and learning.

    I am Jewish. I am Not a Christian. I read those because I am many times fascinated how certain things are arrived at. I am rather academic, I have a J.D. and I have taught the Bible for years, some time ago. I have recently — WITH ALL GOOD INTENTIONS— RE-TRANSLATED THE “NEW TESTAMENT GOSPELS” FROM A JEWISH POINT OF VIEW.

    And, frankly, it supports the Christ Gospels even more strongly !

    BUT, TO THE POINT !! In regards to the NIV Bible, I have always been stumped by certain Translations it arrives at ? I recently had the good luck to see an editor from ” NIV” do an interview. He said to my shock that the NIV is translated for a theology purpose, and not accuracy !!
    He actually said, if A person desires accurate translation , they should go to the NASB !

    To that I think I would agree . One thing have tryed to get an answer from concerning the NIV, is in Exodus, 20, the 10 principals. it states that Children are ” punished” for the sins of their fathers ? ——- I have never been able to understand HOW they get that out of the Hebrew ??

    It does NOT say that at all ! So, when I read your article this A. M., It really did not surprise me.

    I found your valid points of how it changes things — GREAT !! And it is the same objection I have about translating the foregoing to mis- read children are ” punished” for the fathers sins, because that would teach people BAD things about G-d; and it presents G-d as a child abuser !!

    NICE ARTICLE, GOOD POINTS !! THANK YOU, JIM.

    • Akash says:

      You know something is really screwed up with this bible when one of the editors says “NIV is translated for a theology purpose, and not accuracy !!”.

      Corrupting gods word for their own benefit is just evil

  16. Tina says:

    Well this whole article just appears to have gotten all sorts of feathers ruffled :)
    Mary, thank you. First I want to say I was raised on the KJV. I now read the NIV but do have the KJV on hand to bounce back & forth. There are some scriptures that when translated do have a marked difference, however I feel that at this point in my walk with Christ I am now far enough to discern. I also feel people have to be careful what is called “Gods Word”
    Some of it is just whacky…sorry no brilliant words to describe what I’ve read from some other translations. My belief is that there is a HUGE difference between the role of man & woman. I personally feel safe & protected by my husbands spiritual covering! Is this because because I’m weak or milly mouthed? Uh…no. Get to know me & that will most definitely not be your opinion of me.
    Look at it this way, there is a company and the “manager” is a man, his “assistant” is a woman. Is she “less than” because she is the assistant? I would think not. In fact if she is wise in her words and supportive in her actions she is highly valuable and he will seek her input and perspective. The man in this analogy is not better, smarter, or more valued. He is just placed in a different position.
    God does not value nor love man more then woman (REREAD #7) he simply put man in a different position. Any issues with that positioning fall squarely in the category of trust in Him. Simply put, do you trust God enough to trust the man He has created for you?

    • Kathy says:

      The man as “manager” and woman as his “assistant” is not a Biblical viewpoint. Read the creation story. Man did not begin to “rule” over or in your words “manage” the woman until after the Fall. Having the husband rule over the woman is the result of *sin*. God’s original plan was that the man and woman be equal partners in everything, including management of God’s entire creation!

  17. Sally says:

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. Ever since the late 1800′s changes have been made to modern “translations” (see Jim’s comment above), which affect the doctrinal truths of the deity of Jesus Christ, his blood atonement, and the virgin birth, just to name a few. Even the NASB downplays the Trinity and the lordship of Christ and his resurrection, and calls the Son of God a begotten being.

    There is a spirit behind these changes… what kind of a mind does this? Not one that acknowledges the supremacy of the God of the Bible. People who take these liberties with God’s words are their own final authority, gods unto themselves.

  18. Abi says:

    To be honest, i am a women and i feel that you are just making life difficult for every man/christian on the planet! you say that it is insulting that the bible describes human kind as ‘man’ but then you also complain about the bible changing words and bits of language so that women aren’t offended! If women react like this to passages in the bible and write articles like this then how can bible translators not feel that they have to change the language of the bible in order to not upset people! The bible is a book about God so don’t make it all about humans because it isn’t supposed to be! it is supposed to be a book about what God and Jesus have done in the world and other points of Christianity so stop being offended by it and read it with an open mind. Then you might actually get something useful out of it instead of just a page of contradictory ranting on a website!

    • Mary Kassian says:

      In my mind, it’s NOT insulting that the Bible describes humanity as “man.” That’s God’s word for us.

      • Elaine says:

        Your problem is that the Bible does NOT describe humanity as “man” – that was done by translators.

        Adam means human, not “man”. Both the man and the woman are called “human” – ie. Gen. 5:1-2.
        Check it out!

        • Anonymous says:

          You are confusing two very different words. In Hebrew, there is “Adam” and “adam.” Note the difference: one is capitalized and the other is not. When the lower case adam is used, it is referring to either an individual human or a group of humans (as is the example in the reference you provided). When upper case Adam is used, it is ONLY in reference to the first man, the Adam named in Genesis. It is used as his name, not as a description (such as lower case adam would be). In Hebrew, his name means “Man” and “of the earth.” It’s extremely important to know the difference between the two so that we’re not making incorrect claims. This is also why it’s helpful to have at least some knowledge of biblical Hebrew and Greek.

          • Anonymous says:

            There’s no capitalization in Hebrew.

            This is why it’s helpful to have at least some knowledge of biblical Hebrew and Greek.

  19. DL says:

    If you want the best treatment and understanding of the gender-inclusive Bible debate that is available right now, The Gospel Coalition is offering Dr. D.A. Carson’s book on the subject for free in PDF:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/09/17/the-inclusive-language-debate/

    He addresses both sides of the issue very well (because there really are two very valid sides of the issue at hand).

    • Mary Kassian says:

      Thanks for the link. There are indeed two sides to the argument. However, I believe that in the long run, if we lose the nuances of English gendered language that mirrors the Hebrew language, we lose far more than we gain. Gender matters. And gender language matters. If it didn’t matter, God wouldn’t have used gendered language. He would have used gender-neutral language.

      • DL says:

        Mary, I think Carson gets closer to the real issues at stake. English gendered language is not inspired. God’s Holy Word was penned by the power of the Holy Spirit thru men who wrote in ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek. Do we think there is any mistake in His selection of those languages (not English) and their ability to communicate what God wanted us to know about human beings? Both Hebrew and Greek use gender neutral, singular pronouns. The English language does not even acknowledge such a category.

        You should read Carson’s book to understand what he is saying. You think it is about egalitarianim vs. complimentarianism. But it is not. It is about what “What Does God’s Word Actually Say?”

        For example: Romans 12:1, “adelphos”, means: a (unity)+ delpho (womb – born), ie, from the same womb. Fellowship of believers who have membership with one another, fellow believers united by the bond of Christ and affection. Yet, in most English translations it is rendered: “Brothers” or “Brethren”. But in the English rendering one cannot know what God’s Word actually says. Without access to the original Greek and only the English to go by, women could easily be excluded from application of Romans 12 to the church.

        The verses that follow in 3-12, where the singular, gender neutral pronoun referenced is translated “he” in the non-gender neutral Bible translations, even though Paul is still addressing the ‘adelphos’, from verse one. Again, how would anyone be able to come to the conclusion that Romans 12 applies to both women and men if a one-size fits all translation methodology is followed?

        It can’t be done. Plenty of folks on the gender police side have argued over the years that Romans 12 is addressed to men only, since their version of the Bible says clearly to them, “he” and “brothers.”

        That is just one example though. Thanks!

  20. Rachel says:

    Interesting argument, but you’ve made one gross exclusion:

    Deuteronomy 4:2
    “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”

    We can’t change the gendered language of the Bible, because we are commanded to leave it the way it is!

    • DL says:

      Rachel, not sure who you’re addressing, but if it was my comment, then I will answer that. The “gendered” language is not the problem, as the Hebrew and Greek both use non-gendered language. Surely, if the original Greek or Hebrew uses a specific gender, then we should do likewise. However, Mary and others insist that we overlay our own English constructs and ultimately change what God’s Word actually says when the origin language used was gender neutral.

    • Catherine says:

      Then we have no right to have an English Bible.

  21. H says:

    it would be better if people just stick to the KJB. The pure and rich language was certainly accurate enough during its timeline,and should be still today.
    No gender inclusive business in there,no adding nor taking away of words or even whole scripture texts,and best of all,no copyright.
    Besides that,who dares to ‘tell’ God His Word is’outdated’and needs ‘modernized adjustment’?
    No one but the actually uncaring modernists who often live lifestyle ‘notorious’ and rather wish to please after world’s taste(and their pockets) than to please Abba.

    • Nayr says:

      the king james version is the worst version of all. it makes the grossest mistakes in translation in my opinion.

      those who swear by the kjv don’t seem to understand that its detractors are trying to stop God’s Word from being changed.

  22. Sue says:

    Mary,

    I am interested in the example where the Hebrew says ish and the English says “man and woman.” I have not seen this example. You have not provided examples in this article of where the original language has been misrepresented. It is not a misrepresentation to translate adam as “human” since we stand in the tradition of Luther and Calvin when this is done. We follow there example, that adam means “human.”

    But there is an example in the ESV where the masculine is added in English and is not in the original Greek. In 1 Tim. 5:8 the Greek says that if anyone does not provide for the household, that person is worse than an unbeliever. I often wonder why the ESV adds the masculine pronouns “his” and “he” to this verse. Is it not wrong to add this kind of thing in the English?

  23. Dew says:

    I concur with Rachel: not only in Deuteronomy 4:2 does it state not to add or subtract from what has been written, but also in Revelation 22:18,19 it states: And I solemly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. I think for those who follow closely in God’s commandments and path don’t have to worry whether this New Translation is out, because if you truely trust, rely and depend on God, then you know that He has everything under control. For those who choose to mislead others by adding or removing or confusing the original word of God will be accountable to God. Our real purpose in life is really explained in Proverbs 3:5,6 says: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

    So ladies and gentlemen, basically is a decision you need to stand for. Trust God that he know what’s best for us and has already provided what we need or go on self-will run riot and think that we know better than God and lean on our own understanding by changing what He has already provided and think that by changing the gender is the best course of action. It’s individually up to each one of us to decide if to support this movement or not. My recommendation is to stick to God’s sovereignty if you don’t want to pay the price of disobedience.

    • DL says:

      But DEW, that’s what Mary seems to be the one doing. So what exactly is your argument?

    • Jonathan says:

      I understand what you’re doing here, but this is off. A translation makes “changes.” Are we all cursed?

      The point is: HOW should we translate? This is a centuries-old argument; even Jerome dealt with it when creating the Vulgate, upon which the KJV is based.

      Do we go with an “essentially literal” translation, or a thought-for-thought?

      Gender-neutral ops more for the latter. ESV/NASB, etc., opt more for the former.

      I suppose we could all just do the awesome thing and learn Koine and Ancient Hebrew from folks like Miles Van Pelt.

  24. Marg says:

    The older English Bible translations are generally less accurate than the NIV 2011 in their translations of the words “anthropos” and “adam”. In the past, these words have typically been translated as “man” when in fact they mean “person” or human being”.

    Older translations have made many passages sound as though they refer to, or apply, only to men, when in fact they apply equally to women.

    For instance, the NKJV translates 1 Timothy 2:5 as:
    “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (Their use of the capital M on “Man”.)

    The NIV 2011 translates 1 Timothy 2:5 as:
    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”

    I actually do not think that the NIV 2011 goes far enough. Translated literally from the Greek this verse says:
    “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the human being (anthropos) Christ Jesus”

    It is because of Jesus’ divinity and his humanity that he can be our mediator, not because he is male. Moreover, Jesus is not the mediator of men only (which is what many English translations imply.)

    There are many other examples of Bible verses that have been translated in English with a masculine bias, even though there is no gender bias in the original languages. (Here’s just one other example were “men” really means “people”: 1 Timothy 1:3.)

    The NIV does not claim to be a literal translation, but I like it a lot. It makes a serious attempt to convey the meaning of the verses from the original languages. In particular, it makes a point of conveying the gender(s) intended by the Bible writers!

    Translating both succinctly and accurately from Greek and Hebrew is very difficult, and no English translation is perfect. If people really want to know whether a word is singular or plural in the Greek or Hebrew they can check it from a reference source. Or learn Greek and Hebrew.

    As someone who reads and studies the Greek New Testament (UBS) daily, I recommend both the NIV 2011 and the NASB.

  25. TL says:

    “It’s not an acurate translation when the original says “man” and we translate it “man and woman.”

    The problem with this statement is that the original says ‘human’, not man. English has confused it. Adham means ‘human’, not ‘man’. Both the man and the woman are called, Human/Adham. Gen. 5:1-2 It is quite clear in the original language.

    It is further confusing because the man human decided to just keep that as his only name. It’s kind of like naming your cat, Cat.

  26. Anthea says:

    Thanks for this article, Mary.

    To the lady who doesn’t to marry because “if I were married, I would have to submit to my husband 24/7 no matter how big of an idiot he was. Yeah, no can do. I have a brain, and I figure God wouldn’t have given it to me if he didn’t want me to use it.”

    It is worth noting that if you did marry, your husband would have to love and serve you, even if you were selfish and unkind. The wife isn’t the only one taking on a tough task.

    If this lady does not marry, and she has a paid job, she will have to submit to her boss “no matter how big of an idiot he was”. Of course, she’ll be paid for her efforts at work, so perhaps the humiliation will be more palatable…

  27. Anonymous says:

    <>

    I disagree. Although there may have been individuals within feminism who wanted to make the “roles” of men and women the same (almost every group has its ignorant zealots), feminism itself is actually about giving the same respect (and yes, rights) to both men and women.

    <>

    I’m not opposed to using the KJV – I was raised on it so most of the verses I have memorized are in that version, but I think this argument is incorrect. Have you ever tried reading The Canterbury Tales? You can recognize some of the words and meanings, but you need additional notes to really understand it. KJV is not as old as Chaucer, and more more readable. But language has changed. If you want to understand best what the original text said, you need a translation that is up to date with how YOUR language (and you) have changed.

    Which is the overall point here. Some Christians may not like the way the English language has changed in reference to gender or the way in which it happened, but the fact is, it has changed. I myself think the change is a good thing and you can call me liberal if you want (although I am not and perhaps you should remember you will have to give an account!). But the fact is, language changes over time. Insisting that we keep cling to outdated language makes the Word of God less accessible, not more.

  28. Deborah says:

    You know, I used to think a bit like you, Mary, about the subject of gender inclusive Bibles. Ultimately I decided that there were three things getting in the way of my accepting them: (1) This one was huge: my pride. I didn’t want the big men w/ red pens thinking they had to cater to little me like I was some dimwit that didn’t know God included me. I found it slightly embarrassing that others in my gender had this need. It took me a while to realize that this pride was in me, but, behold, it was. (2) Most importantly, I did some research and realized that not only was God’s intent to include women, but the gender inclusive translations were actually MORE ACCURATE translations of the original language on almost every point (that is not just the best dynamic equivalent for our day but even closer to the word for word equivalent). We evangelicals were just so scared of tampering w/ God’s Word (and perhaps so concerned w/ elevating men??) that this fact got obscured (see DL’s comment above). If we can have BOTH better accuracy and help girls and women (and men) recognize the radical inclusiveness of Christ in naming all of us His priests and His children, then I had to begin to admit that these translators were definitely on to something that I shouldn’t so readily dismiss. (3) I started to encounter couples and pastors and families who were using the now-old TNIV gender inclusive translation, and my expectations of them did not match the people at all. In fact, *I* was increasingly far more attuned to women’s causes than any of the persons I met in real life who used the TNIV were. Most of them were actually staunch followers of male “headship” in the church and home who had simply recognized that oftentimes when a little girl hears “son” and “man” in Sunday school, she really doesn’t get that she’s included as is typical of certain ages (and even less educated adults, and I had moved to a less educated part of the country). And they recognized what my own heart was slow to admit in my pride from point #1–that often intelligent, educated grown women’s hearts don’t fully get it either, living as they are in a society and a church subculture which, in varied ways, tend to belittle their worth. I had been very adamant previously that the metaphor of being God’s “son” was so important to me precisely because it elevated me to the level of the males who had been privileged, but when I saw that for some people the same is profoundly unhelpful and in recognition that the contemporary equivalent (where sons do not usually receive the inheritance w/o the daughters receiving the like) is indeed “children,” I made my peace with that change as well. I always think it is a good idea to study several versions of scripture and to get back to the original languages as much as one is able, but now I fully get the devotional and pulpit use of the new NIV. I suspect I may always favor the NASB for teaching, but I would wish to pull out gender inclusive translations for longer out loud readings for the sake of the hearers.

  29. Marg says:

    Here is a critique of the ESV by Mark L. Strauss (co-author of “How to Choose a Translation for all it’s Worth”.)

    http://zondervan.typepad.com/files/improvingesv2.pdf

  30. Sue says:

    Mary,

    You wrote, “It’s not an acurate translation when the original says “man” and we translate it “man and woman.”

    I feel that you are giving your readers a false impression of the NIV. In fact, where the Hebrew says adam and the Greek says anthropos, and the German says Mensch, and the Latin says homo, then the English says “human.” This honours the original language in every way.

    Please do not sew discord and write against the translators of the NIV unless you have written to them first and privately taken up these issues in a Christian way.

  31. kelsey says:

    Wow. I own this bible and truly LOVE it. I am very saddened by this article. I think that God is rejoicing that this bible was published. He is fighting for women. The bible was written in a time when man was a word for both man and woman. It makes perfect sense to me to make a bible using our current language. Also to say “Gender inclusive Bibles imply that women are too stupid to figure out that in the Bible, the words “man” and “brothers” are inclusive terms” in my mind is ignorant. I do not think I am stupid for wanting to read a bible that says men and women. I also don’t think everyone who reads the bible reads “man” as an inclusive term. A new believer may not know that “brother” also includes sisters.

  32. Joy says:

    Just a thought—If people suddenly feel the urgent need to gender neutralize in order to not offend the female, whos’s to say that they will not next feel the need to gender neutralize so as to avoid offending the male? Or have they already done this? It seems to me that if the true intention is to avoid offense,then they would have to change the wording to avoid offending either sex, not just females. In their view, that would be the “equal” thing to do, would it not? Or is this simply another feminist attempt to hijack the Bible? Regardless, such tampering changes the meaning of the text (which we are specifically commanded NOT to do). If it becomes neutral for both genders, how would one ascertain the deeply intimate meaning of the illustration of the relationship between God and His virgin bride, the church? It seems to be another form of spriritual warfare where the enemy is intent upon blaspheming the one true God by blurring the meaning of His Word (as he did in the garden with Eve…”Did God REALLY say..?”) Where does it end???? Christians should take a stand to protect the sacred inspired Word of our God, and not allow our humanistic culture to corrupt it in the name of political correctness. Why do the feminists not attempt to demand that the Koran be gender neutralized? Because the Muslims would never tolerate such insult to their theological system. I dare say there would be violence if they did. But Christianity (the “intolerant” religion), is fair game to them. Could this be because Satan sees Christianity as the bigger threat because it is the more accurate version of God’s true message? Thus, he seeks to smear it with “gray areas” by neutralizing it’s accurate truths. Food for thought.

    • Tamara says:

      Joy said:
      “Just a thought—If people suddenly feel the urgent need to gender neutralize in order to not offend the female,…”

      I believe this premise is faulty and a red herring.

      The real issue here is not whether any particular translation offends anyone. The issue is accuracy.

      Which English words best convey – to contemporary English readers – the meaning which the original language conveys? That’s the real heart of the issue.

      The truth is that even in the KJV times, the word “man” was ambiguous (“open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations”). English speakers/readers always had to pay attention to context to figure out whether “man” meant “human being” or “male human being.” It could mean either. The word had several possible meanings.

      I think women have long felt the inequality inherent in that word usage. Female authors have been expressing discontent with it for longer than anyone has been willing to publish them. I think it is due in large part to their efforts that the meaning of the word “man” as “human” has dropped out of common usage. I see that as a good thing.

      Facts are that these days little girls really do hear “man” and “brothers” and think it doesn’t include them. Little boys do too, for that matter. At some point in all of our lives (men and women), we’ve had to have someone explain that to us. (Just because we may not remember having it explained to us doesn’t mean we always knew it). Because in real life when we say “brothers” we don’t mean siblings, we mean male siblings. So we all learned in church, or school or at home that people in olden days used to mean “person” when they said “man” and “brothers and sisters” when they said “brothers.” And most of us probably shook our heads and said to ourselves “why don’t they just say ‘person’ if that’s what they really mean?”

      So, if the original language uses a gender-neutral word like “person” or “human,” I really shake my head and wonder why anyone would translate that as “man” and introduce an ambiguity into an otherwise clear translation.

      If everyone agrees that it’s supposed to refer to all humans (male and female) then I really don’t understand why we wouldn’t choose the unambiguous words just to make sure that it’s clear.

      Don’t we want to translate God’s word in a way that reduces, rather than introduces, confusion for the reader?

  33. TL says:

    Joe, accurately rendering the original language of the Bible into our current language, in this case English, is not neutralizing gender. There is no “feminist attempt to hijack the Bible”. Such talk is reckless mind numbing fear mongering and not worthy of Christian thought. The Christian scholars who were behind the translation of the 2011 NIV prayed and studiously considered what was the best way to translate certain words in Greek and Hebrew, in order that they might be understood more accurately in English by the average reader.

    • Jonathan says:

      Sorry, but as Dale Ralph Davis says, “Subjective peace is no accurate reflection of objective truth.” They may have prayed and fasted, even torn their clothes, but that doesn’t render their judgment a stamp of approval.

      • abrutalkind says:

        So then all translation throughout time have been subject to their translators and are flawed. Language is subjective, that will always be the case. Sure some words stay consistently the same but not all of them and that is where you run into issues. Language is fluid and changes with time, definitions vary depending on cultural and contextual usage. By your statement we can never truly understand the true objective intent of the Bible because we can never truly understand the authorial intent of the writers. But that is why we were gifted the Spirit, so we could be guided to a better understanding, one beyond mere human intelligence.

  34. Marg says:

    Joy, the intent of the NIV 2011 is to convey the accurate meaning and intent of phrases which many other Bible translations make sound as though they apply only to men.

    Compare the King James Version of 2 Corinthians 5:17 with newer translations. Is it wrong for the newer translations to be “gender neutral” and not include the word “man”? “No!” Because in the Greek, the word for “man” (as in a male person) does not occur in this verse.

    There are numerous verses where the word “man” or “men” is used in English translations even though the Greek and Hebrew does not contain a word which means a male person.

  35. Anonymous says:

    if it is bad for women, it is bad for everyone. this is not a male or female issue, it is a christian issue.

  36. Sue says:

    Joy,

    I think the point is that the original Hebrew and Greek use words that mean “human” and these words were translated into Latin and German with words that meant “human.” English was a little odd in that it used “man” for “human” but now recent translations are more literal than the KJV, by using “man” when the Hebrew uses a word for a man, and “human” when the Hebrew uses a word for a human.

    So Calvin used “homo” human, and Luther used “Mensch” which also means human. The NIV translators are in the Reformation tradition.

  37. Kim Winters says:

    Dear Mary:

    What you are doing is essential to preserving (or recapturing) our freedom as biblical women! The Lord is using you mightily. Thank you so much for being faithful to share your insights, your knowledge of God’s Word (and His character) and your security in your womanhood.

    We are praying for you.
    Love in Christ,
    Kim

  38. Alan says:

    As a member of CBMW Council, I’m sure you’ve done a lot of thinking about the issue of gender and language. However, this essay trivializes the issue. Worse, it uses caricatures and attributes motives. It may score some points in the culture war around gender politics, but the Body of Christ is a casualty.

    My wife and I have spent the last year discussing and reading a lot about gender in the Bible. Your essay is the low point. I don’t wish to refute it here. You made your opinion of the NIV clear; but your statements about “gendered concepts” are not so clear. If you have the opportunity, it might be helpful to caricature less, and explain your position more; for example, what is lost when Bible translations are updated to reflect current language? While mechanical changes might hide the gender of the original language, if the end result is more true in contemporary English, isn’t something also gained? For example, in Matthew 18:15 — which translation is more precise in meaning?

    If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. (ESV)

    If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. (NIV)

    Or, you could choose another passage to illustrate how male-gendered language is more precise. Many NIV supporters will wonder, is male gendered language more precise in meaning?

    We aren’t interested in your opinion of those who have a different view. We’re more interested in an intellectually honest, spirit-filled conversation about language and truth. Sincerely praying that we may be one (John 17:21).

    • Jonathan says:

      Why would anyone think the passage excluded sisters? What woman would read this and think, “Oh…I’m a girl…this doesn’t apply to me.”

      Though I haven’t developed the argument, the biblical theological thread of sonship and brotherhood may even lend weight against your use of this verse as one that proves your point.

      Very odd argument to use. The point she’s making is clear: gender neutrality obscures key points.

      If you need a list of those points, I’m sure someone would be happy to provide it for you.

  39. Girlgonewise says:

    mary, you need to block comments next time! ha. I’m reading Girls Gone Wise right now – loving it. thank you for speaking Truth.
    people just don’t understand Truth because they are numbed by this world.
    be encouraged by opposition!

  40. Hannah says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly, Mary! Initially, I thought I’d give gender “inclusive” versions a try, but my study of Greek has only solidified my distaste for them. I personally have no problem with the Trinity being masculine and my being referred to as part of mankind or as a brother. Even if I did have a problem with it, that doesn’t change the masculine Hebrew/Greek. I think there needs to be some serious heart searching in those that take issue with the gender specific wording. This is a battle as we seek further to blur the definition between man and woman – who were, according to the Final Authority, very good as they were created :-)

  41. Kristinia says:

    Great article !!! I can’t believe that if after you read the bible anyone would feel the women are less loved or less valued in the eyes of God. I believe that we need to keep the integrity of the scriptures. On a side note of humor, I wonder if my nongender exclusive NIV will be a collectors item.

  42. TF says:

    For those who keep saying ‘adam simply means “human” and not necessarily “man”…

    Remember how in your high school Spanish or French class, some nouns were considered masculine while others feminine? For example, in Spanish “garden” is el jardín (masculine) while “magazine” is la revista (feminine).

    In the same way, when ‘adam is translated as “man” it is because in Hebrew the word ‘adam is, well, masculine. This carries over nicely to languages like German where ‘adam is “den Menschen” with “den” denoting the masculine.

    English, however, is a language that doesn’t have gender prefixes on nouns, so ‘adam is rightly translated as “man” in English.

  43. richard stonier says:

    Hey Mary,

    This is really awesome. Thank you for boldly fighting radical feminism with true femininity.

    Your brother in Christ

  44. Joel Engle says:

    Mary, I led worship with you a few years ago in Whistler with Mark Driscoll. Elaine Stedman is one of the great mentors of my wife and I. She loves you very much.

    This article is absolutely on point. I was so excited about the new NIV until I read it and went “this is way off the grid.” This was the most clear explanation that I have heard on this subject.

    You rock and you are hip. :)

  45. Matt says:

    I just want to know: how much have you studied the new NIV? I agree that the gender issue has large-scale implications for our worldview and for future translations, as we move farther and farther from the “literal” end of the spectrum. But this seems rather obvious to me:

    “He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them ‘Mankind’ when they were created.” (Genesis 5:2, NIV2011)

    Did you look that up before writing your fourth point? Because you have a case against the TNIV or the NRSV, but the NIV update actually takes your stance on the Mankind/Humankind issue.

    Quite honestly, having sold your books for years (I work in Christian Retail), I have always held you in great respect as a very intelligent and very trustworthy women’s teacher, but the tone of this post has disappointed me a bit. It seems rather aggressive, even building upon conspiracy theories at times.

    For example, I do not believe that anyone anywhere has translated the Bible with the idea that women are unintelligent. Women are on those translating committees.

    I am very conservative, and I agree that we should be cautious when translating the Bible and its gender pronouns. But I also believe there are times when “brothers” means “[only the] brothers,” and there are times when it means “brothers and sisters.” I would rather have a committee of conservative scholars draw that line for me than be forced, on my own, to assume (probably incorrectly at times) what it means in a given context. Maybe I’m too unintelligent to read the Bible?

    I really hope to encourage you to press on and to keep doing what God has placed before you to do (Ephesians 2:10). I am not trying to discredit you or your work. Again, I’ve always had great respect for you. I just find this particular post to very disappointing. We can either operate from an agenda or from a mission, and this, to be blunt, felt much more like an agenda than a mission. Maybe I’m misinterpreting you, though, and I am completely open to that idea.

    You have a large platform from which you have the opportunity to proclaim the truths of God’s word, and I pray you will continue to make the most of it!

    • Jonathan says:

      The reason the translation should be kept AS IS in the original, i.e, “man” or “woman” where it is in the Greek or Hebrew, is because of biblical theology.

      If we only used systematic theological categories, it’d be fine to go gender neutral. But when you go gender neutral, you lose the unfolding themes that are tied and stitched together intentionally by the original author. In other words, you miss grand themes that are, sometimes, united by a single gender word that, unless you know those themes, you would miss entirely, and probably be fine translating it as “brothers or sisters.”

      Keeping the translation AS IS is often the only way to see biblical theological themes and threads.

  46. Annie Quick says:

    The 2011 NIV uses gender-inclusive language to apply Scripture to men and women. It NEVER uses gender-inclusive language for God, a much more controversial issue. I think that the comments on this blogpost reveal (esp. early on – see Pam Trowbridge and Mary Kassian’s response) that many readers aren’t aware of that. It would have served your audience well to point that out that huge difference, Mary.

    Gender neutrality is readily demonstrated in this verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17:

    NIV 1984:

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come!”

    NIV 2011:

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come : The old has gone, the new is here!”

    Mary, in your own words: “Gender inclusive Bibles imply that women are too stupid to figure out that in the Bible, the words “man” and “brothers” are inclusive terms.”

    Indeed, “man” and “brothers” are inclusive terms. Unlike your implication that the inability to understand that is equivalent with stupidity, some Bible readers simply do not have the luxury of a biblical education behind them, filling in the gaps that are left by certain theories of Bible translation. Not every reader, new to the faith and picking up the Bible, will understand gender inclusivity as readily as you seem to think they should. As students of the Word, well-aware that the lack of knowledge is deadly, we should applaud this effort to make biblical and linguistic scholarship even more accessible to the Bible reader.

    Your eighth point was particularly confusing to me: “Poor God. His bad. He needs our help. He wasn’t smart enough to get the words right. He obviously isn’t as enlightened as people living in the new millennium. We have to step in and update His image, to make the Bible more palatable to woman’s modern sensibilities.”

    God did get the words right, and he entrusted them to us to render them in the most ACCURATE manner in modern languages. Yes, translations of the Bible are conditioned by culture… and our current culture is rich in unprecedented linguistic research and biblical scholarship. God gifted us these blessing in order to execute faithfully the Word of God in English. This is not to say that God is unenlightened or incapable. It merely states that God bequeathed us with a task. All translation is lexical interpretation. All translation is the translator’s interpretation of what English word or phrase best captures the meaning of the equivalent word in the ancient text.

    Zondervan issued a statement in response to the Southern Baptist Convention’s criticism of the NIV that said, in part: “First, we object strongly to the accusation that the NIV ‘alters the meaning of hundreds of verses …’ Our concern is always, in every decision we make, to represent God’s unchanging Word accurately and naturally in modern English.”

    This is not stepping in and updating God’s image. This is called translation and it is a sticky theoretical and philosophical web that you would do well to investigate more thoroughly before throwing the Book at the NIV.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I found this article very hurtful. These gender neutral bibles have probably helped may women find the LORD who DID find the language hard to understand because they don’t have years and years of bible study experience. Ultimately it is still the bible, God’s word, and helps people to know him better. This article, accompanied by thousands of arguments throughout time about small difference in christian thinking and doctrine are ploys of the devil to cause distention through us. I don’t put this out as a personal attack on anyone, as I find gender distinctions important as well, just that this article is written with bitterness and we should be filled with joy that a new group of people may be brought to faith who might otherwise be hesitant believing traditional language.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I sure do love being atheist.

  49. Dianne says:

    Thank you so much for articulating these thoughts. I’ve always had a huge issue with gender-neutral Bible translations. Well said!

  50. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for putting these thoughts into written form. I think you’ve delivered scripturally accurate, golden nuggets of truth.

    NIV has been trying to publish a gender-neutral version since the mid-1990s, if not earlier. They published it in the UK but had to backtrack here in the US because of the outcry. It’s heartbreaking that we, as a culture, have devolved to the point it’s publication has created barely a ripple.

    If Zondervan Publishing has continued pushing this hard to publish a volume so dishonoring to God and His word, why do we continue to support them in any of their enterprises?

  51. Karen-Alleluia says:

    I think this is more opinionated than expository. If you’re going to tackle the NIV, back it up with verses that strike you so we can understand what you’re talking about. Right now, it’s too general for me to actually be persuaded by your argument.

    I honestly think there is nothing wrong with the NIV. Whether a woman or a man, the NIV is much easier to understand than the ESV. I have an ESV as my main Bible, but I like to turn to the NIV for further understanding, then my ESV Study Bible if I still don’t understand it. My sister does it, my dad does it, my youth leader does it.. it’s just something you do to grasp the entirety of God’s Word, if possible.

    Being confused about a passage in the Bible doesn’t mean we’re stupid. It is normal for a Christian man or woman to stumble while reading through Romans or Revelations. Making text easier to understand did not stem from pity of incapable women. Rather it was made so that EVERYONE could understand what God is trying to reveal a little more.

    Scripture is revealed to us the way it is. Women get offended and men get offended from reading Scripture many times because as inherent sinners, we do not always like the things God lays before us. But it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to embrace these holy things we do not like and see the Bible as it is.

    I’m only trying to show you a different way of looking at things. Pray hard and meditate on the pieces you share, miss. God blessed you.

  52. Catherine says:

    Let me just ask you a question. I am asking this with much respect. It is not out of judgment but as a challenge to examine our own hearts. How educated are you on Bible translation?

    First, unless you can read and understand Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, you are putting your trust into educated translators every time you read, speak or hear the word, to understand in your own language what the original scriptures say, no matter what translation you read.

    Second, I know I am not a Bible scholar, but I am capable enough to seek and understand information that is readily available (www.niv-cbt.org for example) that educates me on this updated translation. The fact is that about 95% of the text is the same as the NIV (1984) that most people who are readers of the NIV trust. There are not significant changes and not all of the changes that were made were to “gender.”

    Before I give you examples, there is another question I have to ask. What do you mean by gender-inclusive? This term is thrown around but I honestly am not sure many people who say it/claim it even know what they mean by that. Nowhere in the 2011 NIV is the gender of God changed, nor is gender changed in places where it is absolutely speaking about men or women. This is even the case for other translations that many feel is the “correct” substitute for the “gender-inclusive” NIV.

    For example, Romans 3:28 in the updated NIV says “For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” In the ESV it reads “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” This is one place where the change in text was to “gender.” Before the update it read “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.” After learning more about the reason why the text was even updated to begin with here is what I now know about the NIV: The NIV strives to be accurate to the original text while providing clarity to the reader in their natural language. The Committee of Bible Translation makes the decision on any and all changes that take place. These scholars represent some pretty outstanding and recognized universities/seminaries including Wheaton College, Bethel Seminary, Oxford University, Fuller Theological Seminary and many more. As our language changes and we understand history and the language of the original text better, changes made to the NIV encompass these things and make it “in the language of the people.”

    If you need more convincing, ask a high school kid what they think of when they hear these words: stoned, gay, slave, alien. It is probably not the same thing that the words used to mean. Language changes and while you may understand that “mankind” does not only mean “men” in our language (whether used in a spiritual or secular context) some people who desperately need Christ don’t understand that. If you want someone to blame for this, you can point to society.

    God has the power to save and HE is in control of his word. In my opinion, if we are educated enough to even discuss matters of “gender-neutral” language (that is if we even know what we mean by that) then let’s use our knowledge to have a deepen relationship with God and let God use those he has chosen to translate his word into a language that the lost can understand. How amazing it will it be to see a man or woman (or should I say man so I am not being gender-inclusive) in heaven who said they are there because they read a Bible and what they heard God say was “YOU are justified by YOUR faith in me.”

    • Catherine says:

      I just want clairfy my first question. By “educated” I am talking about a Biblical scholar type of education not a general education. I know people I would consider brilliant but don’t have extensive education on Bible translation, as in they havent gone to seminary or investes years into studying this. By no means am I saying that chages are made for people who arent smart enough to figure it out on their own. But read through all of the posts to this article. Words do matter (as many of you have said) and we have to consider how words have an impact on eternity.

  53. Rick says:

    I really enjoyed the article. Your points are passionate, Scriptural and right on target. My only concern is this: I am a youth pastor in a conservative fellowship of churches, in a conservative part of the United States. Inside the cultural sway towards tolerance and relativity, there is a counter push inside the church towards ultra-conservatism. This counter push, trying to keep the right place of the Word can, and I have seen, lead to a lack of sensitivity to females. I have seen pastors say things like, “It says he for a reason” and then believe that the she doesn’t have the same place as the man. I personally believe eldership is reserved for male leadership, but to hear others say somehow females are less because Scripture doesn’t refer to them first hand, is just wrong.

    One last thought. We want our young women to have passion for the Word of God. I realize it is my job as a youth pastor to steer young women and young men to a closer walk with God and understanding the Word. But what about those who are going it alone? Is it horribly wrong for a young believer, perhaps female, to read the word and hear her possessive pronoun?

    With all that said, undoubtedly, all believers should take a hard stand against gender neutrality of Almighty God. He named Himself, let’s leave it at that.

    • Mary Kassian says:

      I have noticed the same disturbing trend among conservative churches. It’s very sad, and we need to correct against it as well.

    • abrutalkind says:

      How could he have named himself when we don’t know the Hebrew word for God. They were too afraid to write the “vowels” and so we have no idea what it actually was.

  54. Juan Martinez says:

    Hi Mary,

    I read news articles / blogs to the 18-25 year-olds I lead every week and this is one of the best blogs I’ve seen in the past year.
    I especially appreciated bullet 4 and Adam being our representative and throught faith in Christ, being equally represented in Jesus! That was such a good point!

    Great blog and God bless!

  55. Sue says:

    It needs to be pointed out that the ESV uses “he” many times when there is no pronoun at all in Greek. Why does it insert masculinity into the text so many times, when the Greek original does not have it.

    This kind of discussion makes Christians cringe. Who wants to be part of a religion where people make up arguments and attack each other with them.

  56. gethefax says:

    2 Timothy 3:16 and Revelations 22:18-19. Those verses are for all of us to read and remember.

  57. abrutalkind says:

    “If you mess with the words, you mess with the meaning.”
    -which is why we all read the Bible in the original dead languages of Koine Greek, Ancient Hebrew and Aramaic.

  58. Gabrielle Forest says:

    Very interesting, but isn’t this controversy all about the TNIV instead of the NIV ? Thanks for sharing.

    Have a look on The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
    http://www.cbmw.org/Journal/Vol-7-No-1/The-Gender-Neutral-NIV

  59. I am not a complimentarian, as this writer obviously is, so naturally I totally disagree with the assumptions she is making about gender inclusive language. Her reasons don’t make much sense to me at all and seem pretty far fetched but I am not going to try to counter point all her reasons here. However, in our society in 2011, there is a need for added clarity in translation by using “brothers and sisters” where “brothers” is used in an inclusive sense. The same holds for several male gender nouns that are used in an inclusivily. There is also a need for using inclusive pronouns where male pronouns have been used that are actually inclusive of everyone and not just males. We do not think on the level of 2000 years ago. We “could” rely only on straight linear translation, so purists could be reading as it was written in the Greek but for most readers, it would not make sense in many areas. Modern translation relies on a combination of translation and interpretation of the context to obtain our modern English Bible. In the process, alot of words that are not in the Hebrew or Greek manuscripts are added for clarity and no one seems to object, even when it changes the apparent context to an assumed theological position that wasn’t apparent in the original text. Translation and interpretation are subject to the baggage humans take into the process, the main reason for so many different versions that have variations in translation. In the case of simple inclusive translation, it’s not a politically correct issue for many of us who use the NRSVA and TNIV (the two I presently use along with the old NIV and a Greek-English interlinear), but more an issue of being able to read an inclusive statement from the New Testatement without having to process the single gender noun or pronoun into an inclusive meaning. It reads as it was meant to apply in the context and it reads in up to date language and grammatical construction. This is good for the reader, especially our youngest readers. No Bible translation will ever fill the needs of every reader. To exclude one just because of a more inclusive language or to label it as a bad translation that confuses gender or as a “politically correct version” because it uses gender inclussive language is just as wrong as excluding all other versions of the Bible just because it doesn’t say something like “Authorized Version”.

  60. Started out completely disagreeing with this post, but now I think (particularly) point 9 and point 10 are the crunch of the article and I quite agree with you now :-)

  61. Tom says:

    Hi,

    I’m a little late to comment on this but it’s still on the front page so I thought it was posting this.

    Don Carson has written a very good book on translations:
    http://www.amazon.com/Inclusive-Language-Debate-Plea-Realism/dp/080105835X

    (I think it is available for free download from the Gospel Coalition as well. There is also a very good overview/review of the new translation on there from Thelios which I would recommend everyone to read.)

    I think the general argument that the new NIV will lead to liberalism coming in to the evangelical church is a non-starter.
    What I would like to know from those who oppose the new translation is, where do you think theologians, like Don Carson, who accept the new translation have gone wrong? What is incorrect in his arguments? Or for that matter what is incorrect in what DeSilva argues in the comments of this article?
    Until I see some serious discussion on this from the anti-NIV crowd and I’m always going to find their case lacking. Say I’m giving in to political correctness as much as you like but at the moment only one side of this seems to be giving a clear case for their views and so I find them more persuasive.