More Thoughts on the Updated NIV of 2011

Editor’s note: Last month, Ben W posted an article that was supportive of the NIV 2011. The piece below, which was written by Chris Kelly and first appeared on his own blog, presents a different view.

As most of you know, the NIV Bible has been used by millions of readers since it first appeared in 1984 and is one of the best-loved translations for many reasons. But this year those who hold the copyright to the NIV have introduced an updated version on, and their plan is to replace the 1984 version with this new version. This new translation is not only needless and dishonest, but harmful in the following respects:

It is an attempt to win the approval of people. It is a capitulation to the whims of men and women of this godless age rather than a resolve to be faithful to the word of God. It will lead to the loss of a great and beloved translation, which is being replaced with a lesser, though newer one.

One does not need a crystal ball to see into the motives of the folks at Biblica, the newly named International Bible Society. For already, they have produced two similar translations under different names, first 1n 1996 the New International Readers Version, then in 2001 the Today’s NIV. The updated NIV-2011 resembles the TNIV far more than it resembles the original NIV of 1984. Why take something really old and conform it to something newer that one already has in print? Why give the new translation an old name?

This move cannot be honest. Even Professor Moo’s explanation defies common sense. He talks about “transparency”, which is a modern euphemism for “conformity”, in the way that chameleons are “transparent” by blending in with their surroundings. When I expected to hear “faithfulness to the original text”, what I hear is “conformity to the contemporary English usage”. (I am simply translating Dr. Moo’s words for clarity and ease of understanding to non-academics.)

Conformity to what? To a culture steeped in feminism and immorality; conformity to a language that demands political correctness over truth; conformity to a Christianity that is increasingly lukewarm and unwilling to challenge people of this age.

I don’t remember reading this goal in the 1984 version Translators’ Preface. They write instead of “continuity with the long tradition of translating the Scriptures into English” and of “accurate translation, clarity and literary quality”. The 1984 NIV was popular for all these reasons. The 2011 NIV is something else. 5% has been changed, by Moo’s estimate, “not just here and there, but in every verse“. It sounds as if what he means (if again I may “translate”) is, “The spirit of this translation is updated, and you will sense it in every verse”.

No clairvoyance is needed. The words of these translators tells it all. The 2011 Translators’ Notes read: “When the original Bible documents first emerged, they captured exactly what God wanted to say in the language and idiom of ordinary people. There was no friction between hearing God’s Word the way it was written and understanding it the way it was meant.”

Au contraire! The word of God has always rubbed some people the wrong way, because “the wisdom of God is foolishness to men”. It rubbed the educated the wrong way because the New Testament was written in common Greek. It rubbed every Gentile the wrong way because it was written by Jews. It rubs all sinners the wrong way because it demands holiness. This goal of “reducing friction” is exactly the goal of making the Bible more acceptable to our generation, to make it less abrasive.

Then there is a scholarly argument that the KJV was out of date (after 400 years) and likewise the NIV is now in need of an update, if we would maintain the lack of friction they imagined the KJV had in its day. But after only 30 years, they suggest there is a similarity. Has our language actually changed that much in 30 years? Of course it hasn’t. But our culture has changed dramatically; many, many things that didn’t cause friction then rub people the wrong way now.

The point here isn’t to argue whether some might need a newer translation, or one that doesn’t cause any friction to their modern mindset. The point is, they’ve already given us such a translation twice. So why not just make these little updates to one of the two other NIV-like versions? The 5% changes to the original NIV would only constitute around 0.5% in the TNIV. Really! Here is an example, that is quite common. Look at Phil 3:10 in the old and new NIV and the TNIV:

NIV (2011): I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

TNIV (2005): I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

NIV (1984): I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death

Why replace the NIV with the TNIV? or give the TNIV the name NIV and leave the older, more familiar NIV in the dust? I have suggested that money or pressure from feminists are at the root of this move. I ask Professor Moo, then, please tell us the full rationale.

I was told by members of my church that strong language wasn’t necessary in this matter, that I needed to be more “christian” in how I write. But sirs, the Bible is the word of God and you know this. I’m sure you value it as such, just as all true believers. It has always been a touchy matter to tamper with the words in this Holy Book. I will, then, be Biblical in my criticism. Romans 12:2 reads,

And do not be conformed to this world

Is this not your goal in these changes? It is HIS word, not yours or mine. It is not for us to make it less abrasive, but to translate it faithfully and preach it boldly. The very roughness of the original, which you consider outdated, was assuredly rough to those who heard it then. You know this is true. It was never a politically correct book. Do not do this to the Bible.

What is more, it is unbecoming of us to conform the Bible to the culture in ANY age, especially one that is increasingly immoral. Spurgeon wrote (on March 28th in his devotional Faith’s Check Book):

It is for the saints to lead the way among men by holy influence: they are not to be the tail, to be dragged hither and thither by others. We must not yield to the spirit of the age, but compel the age to do homage to Christ. If the Lord be with us, we shall not crave toleration for religion, but we shall seek to seat it on the throne of society.

Shall we adapt our Holy Bible to the whims of an unholy age? I trow not! Men, do not be the tail of society, be leaders. Do not follow feminists who take offense at the word He—for indeed this constitutes the bulk of the substantive changes you’ve made. Do not follow bean counters who’ve noticed the dismal sales of your TNIV. Do not foist upon Christians something totally changed in spirit from what we have loved and read. It will not be blessed by God. The Spirit in which it was surreptitiously replaced on BibleGateway back in January tells it all, it is a Spirit we do not know.

PS: My son just reminded me that I need to consider other people’s viewpoints (bias) on this, or I risk being ignored by all who don’t share my own. I admit that 40 years ago, when the Living Bible and the NIV first came out, I heard the same points I’m making now being argued about those translations. I brushed them off as being from old-fashioned people who resented anything new. At that time, I did not consider those people’s points of view at all. I’m older now, and I am a little better at recognizing my own as well as others’ biases. I want to be fair. Thus, I do not condemn the TNIV or NIrV or ESV or any translation at all. I’m not on a crusade to bring back the King James. But I insist that replacing the NIV with the TNIV is needless and hurtful to Christian tradition. And I suspect, but not insist, that this move is purely driven by business goals (translated, “greed”).


  1. Brian Karcher
    Brian Karcher

    Thank you for presenting this alternate viewpoint.   I don’t know about the motives of various people or organizations, but I’ve also been wondering “Why?”, why do we need yet another translation at this time?

  2. Every translation is challenged in specific places. For example, I often hear John Piper (who is no liberal or feminist) challenge specific verses in the NIV by appealing to the original Greek. The NIV translators have taken this criticism to heart and produced a minor revision. I see no harm in that.

    Rumors have been flying that the new NIV uses gender-inclusive language for God. It does not. The Godhead and persons of the Trinity are still rendered as male.

    The gender-inclusive language is only used for groups of people that include males and females, and for statements/promises about individuals that are meant to apply to all human beings. For example, Psalm 1:1-3 in the old NIV:

    1 Blessed is the man
         who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
    or stand in the way of sinners
         or sit in the seat of mockers.
    2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
         and on his law he meditates day and night.
    3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
         which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither.
         Whatever he does prospers.

    In the new NIV:

    1 Blessed is the one
         who does not walk in step with the wicked
    or stand in the way that sinners take
         or sit in the company of mockers,
    2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
         and who meditates on his law day and night.
    3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
         which yields its fruit in season
    and whose leaf does not wither—
         whatever they do prospers.

    I don’t see this as  capitulation to the whims of feminists, an attempt to be popular, or an attempt to make money. I think this is a good-faith effort on the part of the translation committee to clarify the meaning of the text in modern English which, whether we like it or not, has been evolving over the last quarter-century to become more gender inclusive, This kind of gender-inclusive language is now the standard in academic and professional publications, and I see nothing wrong with it, It does not undermine any biblical values that I know of.

    Chris writes, “One does not need a crystal ball to see into the motives of the folks at Biblica…” I agree. To see their motives, one would need (a) the omniscience of God, or (b) hard evidence that the translators’ true motives are different from the stated motives. In the absence of evidence, I think it is unfair to impugn their motives.

    • I can give specific examples of how the new NIV, and even the gender inclusive language, has clarified the meaning of certain texts which I had misunderstood in the past. One example is in Hebrews 2:5-8, where the new NIV says:

      5 It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:

           “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
           a son of man that you care for him?
      7 You made them a little lower than the angels;
           you crowned them with glory and honor
       8 and put everything under their feet.”

           In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.

      The old NIV said, “You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet… everything under him… subject to him.”   This passage in the old NIV  is potentially confusing because it connects Jesus with the whole human race. The author of Hebrews is talking about how God made people (male and female) to rule over the earth, and as heirs of the kingdom of God, we all (male and female) are being restored to our positions as rulers. In the old NIV, the repetition of “him” gave me the false impression that verses 5-8 are about the ruling position of Jesus when those verses are  really  about us. The new version clarifies this quite  well.

    • Chris Kelly

      This is also an example of where the NIV2011 has interpreted the text, providing a meaning perhaps more clear than even the Holy Spirit inspired in the author.   This is one kind of harm to the scriptures that makes interpretation such a divisive and passionate matter to Christians.

  3. Chris, i’m very delighted and happy to hear from you. i think the last time we met in person was almost 10 years ago. :) So, thank you very much for your article!  
    A couple of questions came to my mind when i was reading your piece. You state that the 2011 NIV tries to conform to a culture “steeped in feminism and immorality;” and that it seeks “conformity to a language that demands political correctness over truth; conformity to a Christianity that is increasingly lukewarm and unwilling to challenge people of this age”. I personally didn’t have the chance to actually read through the 2011 NIV and to compare it with other translations. But i think that these statements are very bold. Would you mind providing a couple of specific examples of how the 2011 NIV conforms to 1) feminism, 2) immorality, 3) political correctness and 4) lukewarmness?  
    In the end you mention that the TNIV is hurtful to the Christian tradition. Could you elaborate on that with specifics?  

    I, for one, appreciate the over-whelming wealth of translations out there because as a layman i am not able to read ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Thus, the first thing i would do in my bible study and sermon preparations is to read a given passage in different translations (2-3 German translations and 2-3 English translations). Wherever i find discrepancies between these renderings i would then try to consult the original manuscripts with the use of helpful bible software. I found this process to be very rewarding and very helpful. For this very reason i personally welcome the new NIV and intend to use it alongside with other bible translations that i commonly read and study.

  4. I do admit that I cringed at the 2011 NIV’s translation of Philippians 4:13
    NIV84 I can do EVERYTHING through him who gives me strength.
    NIV2011 I can do ALL THIS through him who gives me strength.
    ESV I can do ALL THINGS through him who strengthens me.
    The first translation says “I can do EVERYTHING” leading to this verse being used out of context as a promise of God’s strength for everything including studying for finals, learning a new language, learning to forgive a mean person, as well as learning to be content in all circumstances, whether in plenty or in want (see the Philippians verses before this verse).
    The second translation says “I can do THIS”, forcing the reader to limit this promise to say that Paul could be content in plenty or in want through Christ who gives him strength. I mean, I certainly sympathize with the translators’ concern of the uncritical practice of this promise out of context, but I’m not convinced that contention was the only thing Apostle Paul had meant. I think they should have kept it literally like ESV as “all things” and left it ambiguous. It definitely included contentment in plenty and in want, but it could have included more than that in my opinion, that is, contentment was only one example of the many ways God gives us strength to do everything we need to do in our Christian life.

  5. GerardoR

    Hi Chris,
    Great article. I could hear the fire brewing in your belly. You sound like you should be a pastor. =)

    However, in your article, it seemed like you were trying to defend the NIV. The NIV is good because it is cheap but it is cheap because it is popular. Meaning that one time, it was being released as simply a “good updated bible using modern language but sticking close to the meaning.”

    I question this. JohnY and I have talked about this and it seems that while the NIV might avoid all the liberal bias you claim the new NIV has, it has it’s own protestant bias. Let me give you some startling examples:

    Click here and compare the NIV translation against other well beloved protestant translations like KJV, NKJV :
    Notice anything weird? But perhaps “what a person does” is just a better translation than works. Let look at another example.

    Here are a few Greek words and their English equivalents:
    paradosis – tradition
    didaskalia – teaching
    didachi i – teaching doctrine

    In the following verses, tradition (paradosis) is viewed in a negative light. Notice how the NIV retains the original greek translation.  
    *Matthew 15:1-5  …why do your  disciples  break tradition…you nullify the word of God for the sake of your  tradition
    * Mark 7:1-13 …the pharasees..hold to the transitions of the elders…they observe many traditions
    *Galatians 1:14 ..I was advancing in Judaism ..and extremely zealous for my tradition
    Colossians 2:8 ..see that no one takes you captive through deceptive philosophy..which depends on human tradition

    But then something happens in. In the following verses, the bible presents the word paradosis in a positive light but notice how the NIV breaks from the original greek translation (paradosis) and instead translate the word as saying didaskalia(teaching).
    *2 Thessalonians 2:15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings [paradosis]
    *2 Thessalonians 3:6 …. keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching [paradosis] you received from us.
    *1 Corinthians 11:2 I praise you for remembering me in everything and holding to the tradition [paradosis]

    If you what you dislike is bias impinged on the bible, then why limit that to liberal bias? Why not turn away from protestant bias as well. My point is that while I understand your disdain for the Updated NIV, I don’t see why you should use the NIV as a baseline (good translation) from which to make your critique. I think the NRSV or NKJV would be much better comparisons.


    • Fire brewing in the belly? Ha, ha. Speak for yourself, Gerardo. Based on how you write, you should be the pastor. There’s purgatory fire brewing in your belly. :)

    • Chris Kelly

      Thanks Gerardo. If you’d suggested I sound like an evangelist, I would take it as a greater compliment, for that is what I aspire to be.

    • GerardoR

      Hi Chris,  
      Yes it is a compliment. A little passion is always good.

    • Chris Kelly

      “Our passions are not too strong, they are too weak. We are far too easily pleased.” [C.S. Lewis]

  6. Or, for that matter, what about Christian bias? Jewish scholars routinely criticize Christian scholars’ translations of many OT passages. The RSV included Jewish scholars’ viewpoints when deciding to put “young woman” rather than “virgin” into Isaiah 7:14. Bias is unavoidable. The best we can do, I think, is to try to see and acknowledge our biases, rather than trying to eliminate them.

    • GerardoR

      That is a good point. Although, we could simply learn greek and latin. =)

    • GerardoR

      I personally like the RSV more than any other translations. I think it is very telling that the RSV is enjoyed by a large majority of both orthodox protestant and Catholic Christians. Joe, can this website create polls? It would be interesting to see what translation everyone likes the best.

    • Chris Kelly

      I’m leading toward the RSV myself, or perhaps the NKJV.

  7. Chris Kelly

    Good points, GerardoR.   I don’t really have a beef with the new or any other translation.   My beef is with changing the NIV in really fundamental ways, most of which are already present in the Today’s NIV, and calling the new one by the old name, and of course, then ceasing to print the old one.   It is forcing people to upgrade their language, and buy and upgrade to NIV 2.0.
    This is the hard evidence, Joe, that the motivation is primarily monetary rather than an altruistic passion for language or translation.   Replacing it as the default NIV on BibleGateway back in January WITHOUT noting that it was a new version is further hard evidence that their motivations are suspect.
    Henoch, I really don’t believe the NIV2011 is conforming to feminism, immorality, political correctness or lukewarmness.   But our culture is.   Inasmuch as our English language is influenced by that cultural shift, and our churches are also, the Bible we read OUGHT to challenge our way of speaking and thinking, not conform to it.

    • Biblica is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose voting members receive no compensation or financial benefits. Proceeds from sales are plowed back into charitable projects such as distributing Bibles to inmates and supporting translations into other languages for which there is no viable market. Their federal tax form 990 is on their website so that you can see exactly where the money is going. Who, exactly, is making money from this?

  8. Chris Kelly
    This site, which was referenced in the comments to Ben’s article, also reinforces my argument that NIV2011 really is an update to the tNIV, not to the NIV.   The NIV2011 preserves about 60% of the verses in the NIV1984, but is 91% consistent with the tNIV.   So again, why should we believe Professor Moo’s statement that “95% of original NIV is preserved”? And if he isn’t being honest about this, why should I trust the motives of Biblica?   It seems like hard evidence to me.

    • Suppose 40% of the verses in the original NIV have been changed, and within those verses, the average change from the original NIV is 12.5%. Then the overall change from the original NIV is .4 x .125 = .05 or 5%, which would make it 95% consistent with the original NIV. It sounds very plausible.

    • Chris Kelly

      Using the same math, the changes from the tNIV are 0.09 x 0.125 = 0.01.   So, why replace the NIV with the tNIV?   I’ll concede the point that it isn’t motivated by personal greed. But it most certainly will benefit Zondervan and others who’ve given up trying to sell the tNIV.   It is stunningly shrewd business, however one feels about the changes.

    • OK, sounds good. And I will concede that the new NIV is essentially the TNIV rebranded. Whether it’s shrewd or not, I don’t know.  But I do understand  why people who are attached to the old NIV would be disappointed. When a new edition of a book comes out, the old one is discontinued. But the Bible is not just any book. Chris, thanks for the lively discussion.

    • Chris, i agree with Joe that it is impossible for us to fully know the motives of people behind their actions unless with have hard evidence. and i do not find the evidence presented to be convincing to me. But apart from that: does the quality of a product necessarily have to reflect the motives of a person? Or the other way round: sometimes people mean really, really well but what they do is totally misunderstood and they end up hurting people and creating lots of problems even though their motives were very good.  
      My first interest as a bible reader and bible student would be to find out whether the 2011 NIV presents a good and reliable and understandable translation. I think i would concede with Apostle Paul, who was commenting the activity of people who were preaching with bad motives: “The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while i am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

  9. david bychkov

    In my first years in UBF I pretty often had been confused with our UBF bible matherials (messages, daily bread etc.). It was hard to understand were this or that Bible interpretation could come from, while for me it was really different from what I’m reading in the Bible? And later I realized that those matherials are based on NIV, and it is different from our Russian translation (yes, it is just one reason of the issue). We have just one well recognized translation (RST, I guess 1876). Almost everyone uses just this transltaion. It is full with old words and for ear which is noy used to it – it is not easy to understand. Though it is very similiar to KJV by meaning, and not really to NIV. B/c of our BS matherials I was challenged to prefer NIV meanings when them conradicts to RST. However after some time of comparison I chose to trust my RST and KJV.   I would like to have good new russian Bible (something well recognized by Christians, though we have not, and I’m not sure if we will have it soon). But I love my old Bible and I really trust it.

    • Hello, David,
      Biblica (previously IBS) published a Russian text of the Bible in 2007. It’s full text, can be read at
      A module for BibleQuote may appear in future, although their copyrights are strict.

  10. Darren Gruett

    I stopped using the NIV a while back for many of the reasons already mentioned. Although the NIV2011 does make improvements in some areas, it also steps backward in others. Like its predecessor, the problem is that it tries to capture the thought of each passage instead of just translating the words. And as John mentioned in his post, that takes the ambiguity out of the text, which in turn places the interpretation of each verse into the hands of the translator instead of the reader.

    I think if there is an argument to be made, it should not be in favor of the NIV84 over the NIV2011, but in favor of literal, word for word translations over loose, thought for thought translations. In general, the literal translations are far more concordant and accurate than their dynamic counterparts.

    However, even the same words can have different meanings based on their context. Consider the word “run” in English. I could say any of the following:

    I am going for a run this morning.
    I am going to run to the store.
    The car is running.
    The water is running.
    She is running through my mind.
    I am running late.
    A pedestrian was run over this morning.
    It is a long run from one wall to the other.

    You get the point. Although we know that it is the same word, we also know that the meanings are vastly different because of the context. And if we were to translate those phrases into another language we might not use the word “run” each time because it would not make sense. The same goes for the Bible. Just because it might be same root word in the source language does mean that it is always appropriate to use the same word in the receptor language. That is why it is perfectly acceptable to translate Isaiah 7:14 as “virgin” instead of “young woman,” because that is what it means based on the context.

    Like I said, I stopped using the NIV a while back, although it certainly served me well for many years. The main reason I prefer to use a literal translation of the Bible is precisely because I do not speak Hebrew or Greek, and this allows me to read it in English as close to the original as possible. My preferred translation then is the NASB.

  11. My primary comment would be to question the integrity and motives of Douglas Moo (financial, people-pleasing), who is a highly respected theologian, and whose classic work, the 1,000 page “The Epistle to the Romans,” among others, has been highly praised and already regarded as a classic.

    Though there are and will be ongoing controversies regarding translation policy (formal equivalence and functional equivalence), and perhaps some financial incentives by the publisher and the authors or translators (even Christians need to earn a living), I think that their over-riding intention is for the Bible to be understood by this generation, which is surely already “different” from the generation of the original NIV (1984).

    • Chris Kelly

      Really?   I’m from that generation, and I have no difficulty understanding the English from 1984.   Should our very Bible itself be “blown about by every wind of doctrine”?   But far be it from me to question a man who wrote a 1000-page book.     :)
      (I’ll be sure to read Lloyd-Jones’ 6000-page exposition first.)

    • Hey Chris, you and I are both boomers, who likely have no issues with not using gender inclusive language. For whatever reason, the generation after ours are quite sensitive about using “he” and “his” when it actually refers to both sexes. Are we really compromising with culture, or compromising the Christian faith, when we translate the Bible to accomodate this generation’s offense to gender insensitivity? The offense of Christinity should be the Cross, not anything else, such as gender or cultural insensitivity, don’t you think?

      ML Jones’ 14 volumes of Romans are his sermons preached over 13 years, while Moo’s Romans is a masterful scholarly commentary. I don’t think you can quite compare them.

      It’s fun to nit pick stuff with you, Chris, :)))

  12. Chris, i appreciate your answer. I am very sorry to say that it is still very unclear to me what you want to say in your passionate article. So please allow me to ask for further clarifications.
    You were saying in your article:“Shall we adapt our Holy Bible to the whims of an  unholy  age? I trow not! Men, do not be the tail of society, be leaders. Do not follow feminists who take offense at the word  He—for indeed this constitutes the bulk of the substantive changes you’ve made. Do not follow bean counters who’ve noticed the dismal sales of your TNIV. Do not foist upon Christians something totally changed in spirit from what we have loved and read.”
    How exactly would adapting the bible translation to a more contemporary use of English lead to“adapting our Holy Bible to the whims of an unholy age”? And  could you explain why the TNIV is hurtful to the Christian tradition with specific examples?

  13. Chris Kelly

    Henoch, there is a “spirit of the age”, and that spirit changes about every generation.   And Jesus challenged the spirit of his age, repudiating the legalism of the Jews and their desire for a worldly kingdom with the Kingdom of God.   It set them (and the Romans) on fire, and most cultures ever since have noticed this “contempt for present existence and confidence in immortality.” [Gibbon]   So Niebuhr writes, “This two-edged faith has baffled and angered glorifiers of modern civilization, … conservers of the old order, believers in continuing progress and desponding anticipators of the decline of culture”.   [Christ and Culture]

    What I fear is that most Western Christians today are among those classes, rather than those who held contempt for the present age, that we are “married” to the culture, especially the more educated and powerful of us.   Instead, our attitude toward this age should be “a baffling attitude, because it mates what seems like contempt for present existence with great concern for existing men” and is not “frightened by the prospect of doom on all men’s works, nor despairing, but confident”. [Niebuhr]
    I realize one example is not statistically significant, but I’ll offer it anyway:   The passage in Hebrews 2, cited by Joe as a welcome new translation, happens to provide too much interpretation, IMHO.   Whereas the previous translation (and most others) allow the “he” to point to Jesus as ruler, mankind as rulers, or Jesus as representative of man (son of man), the new version doesn’t afford the reader this latitude in interpretation.   It’s a loss to those who stand in awe of the Scriptures, and a gain to those who are “glorifiers” of humanity.
    I’m sorry my examples aren’t very specific.   Maybe the quotes from a respected theologian will deflect attention from my own deficiencies.

    • Thank you, Chris, for your answer. I agree with you that there is a spirit of the age. And i also agree with you that if so required, Christians are called to be counter-cultural and to resist the current flow. (As you know, not everything in a given culture is all-evil and all-bad). However, i still have major problems understanding what the release of the TNIV has anything to do with that. I do not understand the causal link.  
      You mentioned the example of Hebrews 2. I agree with you that this is a very difficult passage. And even amongst biblical scholars and theologians there is no clear consent as to whether the “son of man” refers to mankind or to Jesus Christ. Both interpretations are possible. Derek Kidner on commenting on Psalm 8, which is cited in Hebrews sees this as a reference to Christ. Craig Blomberg (one of the renowned experts who was interviewed by Lee Strobel in his book “the case for Christ”) clearly sees this as referring to humankind. Who is right and who is wrong? I don’t know.  But my point is that translating it the way the 2011 NIV did is a legitimate interpretation and not necessarily “a loss to those who stand in awe of the Scriptures”. The bible teaches that there is God-given glory and dignity in humanity and Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2 could be alluding to that.  
      Years ago, I had read articles of people who were condemning the 1984 NIV, calling it the New International perVersion and i guess you were referring to that at the end of your article. My concern is that this kind of offensive language and heated verbal attacks are doing injustice to the plain fact that both the 1984 NIV as well as the 2011 NIV are useful and reasonably well-made translations, at least as far as i can judge. Furthermore and more importantly, i believe that it is doing a great disservice to the church as such language is needlessly sowing distrust, disharmony and disunity in the body of Christ.  
      and i personally think that despite my relatively young age i have already witnessed too many of these unnecessary conflicts.

  14. James Lee

    I always wondered whether the actual words in the Bible had strength in itself. The sounds of the words, the structure of the paragraphs, are they significant in itself? When I ask myself that, I think about what the Bible is.
    The Bible is “the Word of God”. I think changing something we regard as the “Word of God” is a pretty big deal. GOD, who is the creator of the universe – the existence that we have very limited knowledge of.
    When I heard about the TNIV, I was a bit surprised. Hmm why are they making another version? Was there something wrong with NIV? Are Christians demanding an “updated” Bible? Here’s an article I looked up:

    Keith Danby is the president and CEO of Biblica, once known as the International Bible Society. Here’s what he said:
    ” Danby said they erred in presenting past updates, failed to convince people revisions were needed and “underestimated” readers’ loyalty to the 1984 NIV”
    So basically, he underestimated people’s loyalty to the 1984 NIV. When I read that I’m thinking: Scripture isn’t a business? This is like “ohh, we underestimated people’s loyalty to the iPad. What are we going to do about iPad2?? hmmm” See how messed up that is?
    The fact is, Keith Danby is a financial executive. Whether he’s conscious of this or not, he’s making moves that is going to PROFIT. That’s one thing I don’t like about Western Culture and its extreme capitalism. EVERYTHING’S about $. Like some of the pastors that drive Ferraris and stuff that get all hype being a TV pastor. Do you hold anything in your heart sacred?
    Zondervan is owned by the biggest media conglomerate in the world, HarperCollins/NewsCorp. The same company that publishes books, movies, and other forms of entertainment you wouldn’t want your kids to see. The guy who owns it is a very very wealthy man, and a JEW. I think there’s some funny business going on when the company that has the publishing right to “THE WORD OF GOD”, the Scripture meant for Christians, is owned by a very successful Jewish man.
    I think we need to realize that there are people out there that will do anything to get money. And those people in power need to be more responsible and treat the Scriptures for what they are: SACRED SCRIPTURE. If there’s anything in the world that should NOT be capitalized for profit it should be this. I don’t think there really needs to be an updated version. I’m sure a lot of people put tremendous amounts of effort into TNIV, but seriously, no Christian I’ve talked to asked for an “updated” version.

    • James Lee

      i meant to say NIV2011 instead of TNIV

    • James, in my comment above i was wondering whether trying to judge the invisible and unseen motives of people is the right thing to do when we do not have hard facts and are rather left with mere speculations. But let us suppose the worst, that is, that the only motivation to release yet another new bible translation is pure greed: what does this have to say about the quality of the translation? I personally think it would be much more helpful to discuss whether the new translation is faithful to the original manuscripts and whether it does a good job in conveying this message in contemporary, understandable English.  
      And as mentioned before:  I think i agree with Apostle Paul, who was commenting the activity of people who were preaching with bad motives: “The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while i am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”

    • Why is it ironic that the owner of Zondervan’s parent company is Jewish? My Savior is Jewish.

    • GerardoR

      Yeah, I also dont quite understand why the owner being Jewish has to do with it. I mean, those in the Jewish community might say that is a scandel that he is profiting by promoting the Christian religion but from a Christian perspective, he just comes off as guy from a Jewish background who does not care that he is publishing a non-jewish (from his perspective) holy text.

      Henoch, I also wonder why should we make it our priority to make bibles that are understandable in contemporary English. I mean, our language is getting water down more and more. If people in the 1800s were capable of reading and understanding the KJV with their limited education, I dont see why people today cant do the same.

      With the way these bible translations are going, pretty soon we will have the text speak bible “4 Gd so luved da wrld dat he gv hs only Son.”

    • James Lee

      I should explain myself more. I have nothing against genuine Jews. I’m all about having unity within all religions (Muslims, Christians, and Jews) that believe in God.

      However, in my opinion, it IS ironic that Rupert Murdoch is Jewish because he himself does not believe in the Gospel. I personally find it very weird, and I’m usually reluctant to buy ANY product that the owner does not believe in.

      He’s not Christian, de doesn’t CARE about the Bible and he won’t go THE EXTRA MILE, to ensure the translation is 100% flawless. He’s a corporate mogul that literally does not believe in his product (very sad I’m referring to the Bible).

      If Zondervan was its own asset, and not owned by a huge corporate company (NewsCorp), headed by a group of Christian youth who are really passionate about spreading the Gospel to our age group, then I’d be okay with it, and I’d see what their ideas are, and how they plan to do this.

      I’m in a Commerce program right now at school. I’m learning a lot about how corporate decisions are made and the general “corporate culture”. I’m not saying there’s anything bad with maximizing profits or that Rupert Murdoch’s intentions and motives are “bad”; it’s just how corporations run. Their existence is to make as much money as they can.

      It’s the fact that Scripture is being associated to it, and in my opinion, that’s unacceptable.

    • 100% flawless translation of the bible? Can such a thing ever exist? I doubt it.

  15. Ruthie S.

    Am I allowed to come out and say that I find the tone of this discussion, not to mention some of what is being said, offensive?
    James, I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you don’t actually believe that you can judge someones motives as being bad simply because of their Jewish identity or that citizens of western cultures can be generalized as money grubbers. And Gerardo, I’m sure you don’t actually think that only speakers of the standard English dialect should be able to understand and study the bible for themselves or that this generation is less educated and mentally capable than previous ones. Some of this is just seems offhand at best.
    I am finding it hard to see the purpose in this discussion.

    • GerardoR

      Hi Ruthie,
      No I am not saying that only the speakers of the standard  English  dialect should be able to understand and study the bible for themselves. I am arguing against the notion that we have to develop bible translations that fit the modern english at the cost of providing a poor translation of the actual text. I know that is not exactly what Henoch was arguing and my comment on the texting bible was just suppose to be silly and dumb. It was more of a joke than an attempted insult. Though I am sorry if I failed to see the harsh undertones of the joke. I am sorry if I offended you or Henoch. I take it back.

    • James Lee

      Ruthie, I’m not saying all Jewish people have bad motives at all, nor am I saying people of Western cultures are all money grubbers. What I’m saying is that it’s not appropriate for the translation of Scripture be managed in a company owned by Rupert Murdoch who isn’t even a Christian, but a Jew. The point I’m getting at is that, he doesn’t actually believe in the Bible, to him it’s probably just another profit-increasing decision. Which is actually his job. Like I said, corporations exist to make money. It’s just that, in “corporate N. America” we kind of over-do it and try to capitalize everything in sight, which I find is a problem.

    • Dear Gerardo,  
      i can only speak for myself: no offense taken, and your comment is funny. :)
      I did not say that bible translations have to fit modern english at the cost of providing a poor translation of the actual text. I think that both have to be taken into account.

      I am not a translation expert, so here is just my amateurish opinion: I think that in general one can distinguish two basic approaches when it comes to bible translations.
      There are translations, which are very faithful to the manuscripts and try to be as literal as possible. Certainly, these translations are very valuable but also have a couple of downsides. First of all, they are not easy and pleasant to read on a daily basis. Plus, certain things in the original Greek manuscripts are not supposed to be translated literally, for instance, in the case of filler words. These wouldn’t make any sense in today’s English because English doesn’t use these. Thus a more literal rendition is not necessarily reflecting are more accurate translation because the languages just operate differently.  

      A translation, which tries to convey in today’s english what the original authors wanted to express cannot be as literal as possible. Instead it has to accommodate to today’s use of English. For instance, how would you translate a Hebrew wordplay? Without alienating its content you would have to look for something appropriate in today’s English. If you don’t that the reader will never be able to see the wordplay.  

      My point here is: no matter which these two approaches is favored by today’s bible reader, there are caveats to bear in mind. No translation is perfect. And so i think that the best thing to do is to read different bible versions… Or to spend sweat and tears and lots of time in learning Hebrew and Greek. :)

      As for the KJV: it certainly is a beautiful translation, which has shaped English Christian tradition for a very long time. However, this translation is from the early 17th century and very old. Since then, archeologists have discovered many more manuscripts and even more importantly, earlier manuscripts. The KJV is based on the best manuscripts available at that time, which contains a number of flaws. Whereas i would say that the KJV is important historically and for Church tradition i would argue that there are many, many more bibles in English, which provide better translations.

  16. Gerardo, I understand. And thank you for the clarification. I  appreciate it. I’m also  looking forward to more of your articles  about  psychology, really interesting stuff so far.

  17. James, you said, “The guy who owns it is a very very wealthy man, and a JEW. I think there’s some funny business going on when the company that has the publishing right to “THE WORD OF GOD”, the Scripture meant for Christians, is owned by a very successful Jewish man.”

    A few points to consider: Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, All of the original apostles were Jewish, Paul said that he could wish himself to be cut off for the sake of his brethren, those of his own race (unbelieving Jewish people whom he wanted to be saved!), there has always been a remnant of Jewish believers as Paul says in Romans 11:1-5, then Paul says in vs 15, “For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” Paul goes on to even make the amazing  and wonderful and difficult-to-understand  promise that “All Israel will be saved…”

    Indeed, I am a Jewish believer in Jesus the Messiah myself. The Lord knows my own sins, including the sin of greed sometimes, but my sinful tendencies are not because I am Jewish! They are because I have a sinful nature as a human being! Greed is not a Jewish problem, it is a human problem. To call Jewish people  greedy, just because they are Jewish is anti-semitic and wrong.

    Also, you say, “scripture is meant for Christians.” Of course, scripture is also meant for Jewish people, no? What language was 2/3s of the Bible written in?

    Who does the devil hate? God and God’s people, thats who. And that is the reason the the Jews have been persecuted since their beginnings. Be very careful that the spirit of hatred and prejudice against the Jewish race does not infect you!

    • James Lee

      Yeah, when I read that quote again, I actually felt bad. I should have chosen my words more carefully. I didn’t mean to offend anybody by pointing out that he’s a Jew.
      Yes, Jews that believe in Christ do exist, however the majority do not. He could be an Atheist, it doesn’t matter. The idea I’m trying to express is that he’s not a Christian that genuinely wants to “update” the Bible to reach out to today’s generation. To my knowledge he doesn’t actually believe in the Bible (which includes the Gospel message) nor does he want to share the gospel. We can only assume then, that his main motive in creating a new version of the Bible is to generate more income for his corporation (NewsCorp) which is understandable because corporations usually exist purely to make $.
      Anybody that knows me in real life knows I’m open-minded and have nothing but respect towards all religious beliefs. Plus, I know Jews are not all greedy, I wasn’t even thinking of that. That’s like saying all Asians are greedy, that’s another stereotype that exists. Basically, I was just trying to make a point, but I see how some could take offense to what I said. My writing wasn’t really thought out before-hand, it was more of a “freestyle”. Anyways, the points I wanted to make were more clear when I summed it up earlier responding to the others.
      In addition, I never said “Scripture is meant for Christians”. You are implying that I believe Scripture is meant only for Christians, that’s not what I said nor is that what I believe. When I said, “the Scripture meant for Christians” I was referring to the Bible which includes the Gospel message. And no, most Jews do not believe in the Gospel message (Jesus’ death and resurrection). That’s why I think it’s wrong for a Jew (Rupert Murdoch) to be the owner of Zondervan, and “update” something as sacred as the Bible.

  18. GerardoR

    James, I dont think most of us thought you meant something offensive in your statement about jews. I was personally just confused what him being jewish had anything to do with it. But your last comment clarified it for me. It is indeed suspect that a jewish man (who we would think would not have any motivation to publish christian text) should go into buisness with a Christian company. And I agree with your point that it makes it seem very suspect as it suggest that this guy is not motivated towards spreading the gospel as much as widening his pockets. However, just the sheer fact that he is a buisness mogul is enough to tell me that.  

    I think your broader point definately highlights our need to be alert of who is selling the bibles we purchase and what is their goal? Is it for the greater glorification of God? Or is it to make a buck of faithful people who want to know God through the bible?
    I know your comment will definately make me look into the matter further the next time I purchase a bible. Thank you!  

  19. James, appreciate your comments. You wrote:  
    “He’s not Christian, de doesn’t CARE about the Bible and he won’t go THE EXTRA MILE, to ensure the translation is 100% flawless. He’s a corporate mogul that literally does not believe in his product (very sad I’m referring to the Bible).”
    As mentioned before i do not share your concern that a corrupt leadership must necessarily lead to a corrupt product. Could you mention any specifics in how the 2011NIV is not a good translation in the sense of being faithful to the manuscripts and understandable in today’s English?

    • James Lee

      Hi Henoch, I haven’t looked too much into the comparisons yet, just the ones above pretty much.  

      What do you think of Matthew 7:17 and Matthew 7:18?

      17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
      18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

      (In reference to your opinion that corrupt leadership does not necessarily lead to a corrupt product)

      Also, take a look at what Zondervan, which is supposed to be a Christian publisher, is selling:

      It’s a fantasy book with dragons and stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong, when I was a kid, I used to read a lot of fantasy books for fun. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading fantasy novels. It’s the fact that a Christian publisher is selling them. I don’t know about anyone else, but to me, there’s something weird about a Christian publisher selling Science fiction and fantasy novels.

      In my opinion, I think Zondervan’s main motive in selling these books is to gain more profit, not spreading the Gospel. Do they really want to enrich the youth with the Word of God by selling those types of books?  

      I think my main issue in this whole topic is the commercialization of God’s word. I think if we really tried, the Christian community can find a better way of discerning meanings out of original manuscripts. Especially with today’s technology and knowledge.

    • GerardoR

      The whole fantasy thing has been something that Christians across the lines have often debated. I am on the fence on things like Harry Potter and yet I would strongly endorse many of C.S. Lewis fantasy novels or better yet, The Lord of the Rings which is profoundly Christian.
      I think the fact there exist such powerful Christian books that have used fantasy suggests there is a bit of nuance in the debate.  

      I think it might make for an interesting thread if we discussed fantasy novels and Christianity.

  20. It appears that we have gone from (a) questioning the motives of Mr Murdoch because he is Jewish to (b) questioning his motives because he is not a self-identified Christian, is wealthy, owns many businesses, and leaves the work of translation to scholars. I find much of this conversation to be strange and discouraging, and I want to move on to better topics.

  21. Hey, just so you guys know: PETA has just written to the Committee on Bible Translation to suggest that its next translation also remove speciesist language by referring to animals as “he or she” instead of “it.” In the letter, PETA points out that many modern writers are using “he,” “she,” and “who” in place of the inaccurate “it” and “which” to refer to an animal.

    Here is the actual letter send by the PETA vice president to Doug Moo:

    Dear Professor Moo,
    I am writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to commend you for the use of more gender-inclusive language in the current translation of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.
    May we respectfully request that when the committee next convenes, you further extend this reflection of Christ’s message of love to all by referring to non-human animals as “he” or “she” instead of “it” and as “who” instead of “which”? Doing so will go a long way toward helping readers identify animals as living beings valued by God rather than inanimate objects.
    As you know, animals were created by God and deserve mercy and compassion; by their very existence, they honor and glorify God. Jesus recognized the unique nature of animals and their inherent value as individual creations of God when he used the love of a mother hen for her chicks to describe his own love for his people.
    Christians are increasingly honoring this teaching by rejecting the systematic exploitation of animals as a stain on God’s creation and instead treating animals with respect—both through their eating and buying choices as well as the words that they choose to speak. The Rev. Andrew Linzey gave voice to what we all understand to be true when he wrote that “[a]nimals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight.”
    The public now recognizes that animals are feeling, intelligent individuals, capable of joy and suffering. Thus, more and more, writers are using “he,” “she,” and “who” to refer to animals instead of the outdated and inaccurate “it” and “which”—terms that are best reserved for inanimate objects, rather than God’s beloved creatures. Won’t you consider making this transition as well?
    I would greatly appreciate hearing your decision on this matter. Thank you for your consideration.

    Bruce Friedrich
    Vice President

  22. Chris Kelly you make some REALLY good points.
    1. the motives of this group i have to say are in question.  ZONDERVAN makes the money–that’s who.  It’s sad, really, that bibles have to be sold at all.  but that’s a point for another day.
    It is SO EASY to read in the following narrative “we tried the gender inclusive language in the TNIV and that didnt work, so let’s go slower and SUBTLER and put it in NIV2011”
    Why the same name?  why silently replace?  There are not good answers for this.  It does feel sneaky.
    I note that the entire feminist / homosexual activist agenda is about changing culture very slowly.
    2. our language HAS been transformed by anti-godly forces for the explicit goal of advancing non-biblical ideologies.  Stewardess -> flight attendant.  mail main -> mail carrier.  chairman -> chairperson.   etc.  These are VALUE-LADEN changes, made deliberately by people in a position to influence culture (media, entertainment) toward their own ideology, not merely the natural evolution of language.  What if the homosexual agenda continues to progress.  is the NIV2021 going to change to include sexual-orientation-inclusive language, like “partner” rather than husband and wife?
    The same argument they’re making now could be made then.
    So… I dont have a beef with translating words that are truly gender neutral in the original language with gender inclusive words today.  But the games they play with “there must have been women in the crowd so they must have meant both men and women” go too far.  It sounds like they’re really trying as hard as they can to justify as many gender inclusive words as possible.  But that’s a motivation, and as chris said the ONLY motivation should be being faithful to the original.

    • Johnvk, 

      You emphasize some good points about Zondervan. Your comment above stood out to me: “…so let’s go slower and SUBTLER…” Unfortunately, this is the pattern of any organization desperately promoting their own agenda.

      This method of “going slow” is just like the infamous science experiment with two frogs. (I don’t advocate actually doing this experiment…)  If you place a frog in a bowl of boiling hot water, it would instantly jump out. If you place a frog in a bowl of water at room temperature and then turn up the heat 1 degree each day, the frog will boil to death after a couple hundred days. The frog won’t jump out because its body adjusts to the new temperature. If you could talk to the frog, I would imagine it would even say “I want to stay in the water!” even when presented with evidence that the temperature is getting dangerously hot.

    • Chris Kelly

      There is another subtle change that is, to me, just as sad as the disconnect with the original languages:  We’ve disconnected our Bible with 400 years of Biblical commentary.  Read any any sermon, commentary or book from before the 20th century, and you will find the Bible references all seem strange (unless you still read the KJV or NKJV).  We throw out words that “feel old” to this generation, “dumbing it down” to the simplest terms, which challenge the mind less than, say, a reader of the Greek or Hebrew would have to muster to read it, or any reader 100 years ago. 
      I suppose there are plenty of academically justifiable reasons for doing this.  But the reasons are, in a way, anti-intellectual, that is, they increase the distance between professionals and laymen, a goal (if it is their goal) which I do not regard as honest.

  23. you’re right, chris.  thanks for crystallizing this for me.  I had that exact thot running around in my head while reading thru some of the 2011 changes.  Their explanation would say something like “who uses the word ‘fromble’ any more” and i was thinking, well, not many people, but you’d expect a college student to know the word.  But the thot hadnt fully formulated until i read your post here.
    Another thing i think is:  we DO have The Message bible.  It is a paraphrase by design.  And i think that is a great compromise.  But since we already have that, why do we need to be so “accessible” with a “translation.”
    You can almost hear the echos of the “progressive” ideology:  only uneducated people would believe in the bible.  I obviously think that’s patently false.  Shouldnt this NIV bible be appropriate for people with their PhD’s as well?

  24. Darren Gruett

    For me, leaving the NIV was part of a natural progression in my walk with God. When I was a child I used a children’s Bible. Then when I was older, I used the TEV. In high school I started using the NIV; and now I use the NASB. I imagine that one day I will be reading Scripture in Hebrew and Greek.

    • I like the way you put that Darren. There’s something about the NIV that’s I’ve noticed in the last couple of years, I’m not quite sure how to put it though but it makes me think that maybe I could benefit from looking at a different translation of the Bible.

  25. Mary Kassian gives 10 reasons why she does not like the new NIV:
    One of the 10 reasons: “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.”
    Kassian’s conclusion: “So ladies, please don’t jump on the gender-inclusive Bible bandwagon. Be hip. Be courageous. Be politically incorrect. Insist on a Bible that accurately 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.”

    • I disagree with the Kassian piece. She trivializes the issues and her tone is condescending. Like it or not, gender inclusive language is the standard in the professional and academic worlds. I find nothing wrong with it. Is this a battle worth fighting? To preserve male-centered language in the church? This kind of commentary makes Christians look foolish, petty and out of touch with what is truly important.

  26. Hi Joe, I realize that Kassian writes like the Reformed/Calvinist that she is, which does annoy some of the non-Reformed tradition, since she writes quite strongly and perhaps opinionatedly.
    Personally, I prefer the ’84 NIV, probably because of familiarity. Also, others at West Loop don’t seemed to be touched if I read from the ESV, which I attempted to do for a time.
    Though I will not pick between translations, whether gender neutral or not, I think Kassian does have a point, in that God, who is distinctly trinitarian and yet perfectly united, did create distinctives between the sexes, which does contribute significantly to our experience of the Trinity, I believe.
    Also, to make Galatians 3:28 gender neutral, it looses the power and meaning and awe when translated gender specific, since in Paul’s day, women/daughters did not have the rights as men/sons in society. But in Christ, women/daughters have the same glorious inheritance as men/sons. That precious meaning is lost with gender neutral translations.

    • Sorry, the reference I meant to quote is not Gal 3:28, but Galatians 3:26, by changing “sons of God” (’84 NIV) to “children of God” (2011 NIV).

    • Hi Ben. I had no idea that Kassain was a reformed Calvinist, and even if I did, it wouldn’t have mattered to me at all. I wasn’t reacting to her tribal affiliation but to what she actually wrote. She accused the translation committee of having a “blatant politically-correct translating agenda” (her exact words) and said that the new translation was doctrinally flawed. The committee has thoroughly explained why they did what they did. They explained that were merely striving for fidelity, not pushing a doctrinal, social or political agenda. I reacted to Kassain’s words for the same reason that I reacted against Chris’s orginal article above. Sincere Christians may have honest differences in opinion about how to best translate any given text into contemporary English. We ought to be able an intelligent, respectful, charitable dialogue about this without impugning one another’s character. We ought to be willing to listen to one another and take people at their word, not ascribe motives to them that they do not ascribe to themselves. I thought Kassain’s piece crossed the line.

      Like you, I worship a trinitarian God who made human beings — both male and female — in his image. Like you, I believe that males and females are of equal worth and were made differently for the purpose of being united to each other, as the persons of the Trinity are distinct yet united. And I don’t believe that gender-inclusive language undermines that one bit. Using a gender-inclusive term to refer to a group that obviously includes both males and females is just being accurate. It’s just a matter of saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. I believe it supports unity-in-diversity. I fail to see how it would imply sameness.

      Kassain wrote that the gender inclusive language is “really, really bad” for women. To me, that seems like a huge overstatement. How is it so bad for women? What is it going to do to them that is so terrible? To what dangerous outcomes will it lead? I just don’t get it.

    • Darren Gruett

      I just read through Kassian’s article. In her ninth point, “It encourages further changes to Scripture,” she says that gender-inclusive language for men and women (er, I mean, people) will lead to gender-inclusive language for God. But actually that is already happening, as evidenced by the new Common English Bible which renders the name “Son of Man” as “the Human One.”

    • Wow! “The Human One” huh?!? Completely misses the meaning of that phrase. I wonder if it says the human one in Ezekiel too?

    • Darren Gruett

      I just checked, and it is rendered that way in Ezekiel also.

  27. If we read the full context of the sons passage, the NIV ’11 gets it right at the beginning of ch. 4:
    4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.[b] 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
    I’m only guessing that they translated 3:26 with “children” because Paul emphasized unity in inheritance in the rest of chapter three:
    26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
    The choice to translate 3:26 as children is accurate and follows Paul’s theological point.  The choice of “son” in 4:4-5 is accurate since Paul is specifically talking about the rights of sons.

  28. Chris Kelly

    When a person’s motives are in contradiction with his actions, it is foolish to take him at his word.  Are we suggesting the only way to be charitable is to be uncritical, suspending thought and intellect in order to agree? And are we actually to believe that the English of Tyndale and King James and Carey and Whitfield and Henry and Spurgeon and Moody and Chambers and Billy Graham, 400 years of it, plus even the English you and I have been reading for the last 40 years is now obsolete and in need of such a sweeping transformation, else lost souls today will never grasp it?  You know it isn’t so.
    What I tried to point out was that calling this year’s version a slight revision to the NIV of the 80s is patently false, a lie.  It is only a slight revision to the TNIV.  The fact that they are substituting a slight revision of the TNIV for the NIV is deceptive, damnably so!  I suggested that it was merely to sell more Bibles, just as software makers add new features and change the look-and-feel of a program to sell upgrades.  If this is not the motive for such deception, what is?  I shudder to think of the other motives they might have.
    But let’s consider the motive they ascribed to themselves.  It is “transparency”, which I and others have suggested is merely conformity to modern usage. If conformity is the ideal of these translators, then I feel very justified in my distrust of them.  Changing the meanings of words in ancient texts, even to make them conform to modern usage, just isn’t done by honest translators.  Interpretation MUST be left to the Holy Spirit and the reader, not filled in by experts.

  29. Chris Kelly

    I also did not question the motives of a fellow Christian, but of a committee, a business, a network.  We have all been given ample reason to distrust the motives of the institutions of this generation, not of people, communities or the human spirit, but of institutions.  When a group of educated Christians try to pull off a stunt like the NIV folks have done with this “revision”, I have to conclude that there may be NO institutions left that are worthy of our trust. 
    It is well that we remind ourselves, “IN GOD WE TRUST”, and as wise man added, “All others pay cash”, that is, all others defend themselves in the forum of public debate, not cower behind a demand for “intelligent, respectful, charitable dialogue”. Answer the hard questions, or remain under suspicion.