As an evangelical Christian, I believe that the Bible is directly inspired by God, literally a God-breathed intercommunication from the Almighty to man. While many men wrote the Bible over a period of thousands of years, these men were divinely energized to precisely inscribe the words God specifically intended. I am unashamedly an inerrantist.
That is why I am so concerned by the recent announcement that the International Bible Society will “update” America’s best-selling modern Bible by utilizing “gender-neutral” wording in order to make the Bible more readable for present generations.
The revision will be called “Today’s New International Version.” Zondervan of Grand Rapids, Mich., owned by HarperCollins, and the IBS have spent a reported $2 million to develop the new translation. The New Testament version of the TNIV will go on sale in April.
The original “New International Version,” which has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide since 1978, will remain on the market. The NIV is a worthy translation, which I sometimes use in my studies. My good friends, Drs. Ed Hindson and Ed Dobson, served as general editors of the “Knowing Jesus Study Bible” which utilizes the NIV translation.
However, in my opinion, this new translation is an attempt to alter the Word of God to accommodate the present age, which is concerned with “inclusiveness” and “tolerance.” Worst of all, on May 27, 1997, the International Bible Society announced that it would “forego all plans to develop a revised edition of the NIV. …” They reneged on their commitment (read the 1997 IBS press release).
The problem with this new Bible is not the translation, but with the trendy notion that people today cannot relate to the Bible unless we balance the language. This new publication is nothing more than acquiescence to feminists who are more concerned with the so-called language of “equality” than they are with the message of the Gospel of Christ. God certainly does not need the help of fallen man to help Him explain his own Word.
I agree with Janet Folger, national director for the Center for Reclaiming America, who said, “Women today don’t need a politically-correct crutch” to understand the Bible. Appearing on Fox News, she chided that if we’re going to change the word of God to make people feel better, “why not also change those pesky Ten Commandments?”
My concern is that if we allow these seemingly minor changes to the Bible, the Ten Commandments may indeed soon be targeted. We could ultimately see Bible publishers consent to expanded pressure by actually “gender neutralizing” God Himself.
Randy Stinson, executive director of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, says there are several reasons why this gender manipulation is dangerous. He has declared this new version contains “absolute mistranslations.”
First, he says, there are many biblical passages where the singular generic “he” is replaced with the plural “they” or “them.” For example, in the TNIV version of Revelation 3:20, we read, “I will come and eat with them, and they with me.” The removal of “him” and “he” completely drains this passage (and others like it) of the individual nature of the relationship between a person and Christ, charges Mr. Stinson.
Another example is found in John 11:25. Jesus, in the TNIV says, “Anyone who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Again the plural “they” is substituted for the generic “he.” Mr. Stinson complains that not only does this convolute the personal nature of the relationship between a person and Christ, but it betrays the fact that Jesus himself used the generic “he” even though he was speaking to a woman (Martha).
In addition, he says, there are instances where unnecessary mistranslation occurs that loses male meaning in male-specific words. For example, the TNIV in Acts 20:30 says, “From your own number some will arise.” Mr. Stinson says this is “problematic” because the Greek word aner is translated as “some,” when this is a specific word that can only mean men. Not only is this a mistranslation, he says, but it communicates the idea that the passage may also refer to women who would “arise.”
“Since this passage refers to the elders,” says Mr. Stinson, “that would not be the case. Even if one affirms that there actually could have been women elders, it is still not appropriate to change the translation to reflect this belief.”
Furthermore, Acts 20:30 changes “men” to “some” so that Ephesian elders are no longer called “men.” Again, the Greek word aner, which is a strongly male-marked term, is simply ignored.
There are several other problematic examples.
The altering of God-inspired biblical meanings – important meanings! – for whatever reasons, especially the sole intent of satisfying politically-correct critics, is simply unforgivable.
While IBS and Zondervan no doubt feel their decision to publish this new translation is a correct one, I feel this capitulation to political correctness and to accommodate many “feminist-minded” persons is nothing more than gradualism toward the slippery slope which will ultimately lead to theological disaster. If you agree with me, please politely express your beliefs to the International Bible Society and to Zondervan:
IBS International Headquarters:
1820 Jet Stream Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80921
Phone: 719-488-9200 (7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST)
E-mail: Go to TNIV online and send an e-mail directly from the feedback page.
5300 Patterson SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49530
E-mail: Media Relations