Now, they’re changing the Bible.
Copies of the New International Version Bible is displayed in a book store on Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. It has been criticized by some conservatives who don’t like its use of gender-neutral language. (AP/Mark Humphrey)
A group of biblical scholars, the Committee on Bible Translation, has changed the wording in the latest version of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, to make it more gender inclusive. For years the group has been making changes in Bible text mostly in order to avoid using five words with masculine meaning or nuance: father, brother, son, man, and he/him/his. Back in May 2002 over 100 Christian leaders claimed the TNIV version was not trustworthy.
For some reason Christian groups are offended by the latest distortions.
The AP reported:
In the old translation of the world’s most popular Bible, John the Evangelist declares: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar.” Make that “brother or sister” in a new translation that includes more gender-neutral language and is drawing criticism from some conservatives who argue the changes can alter the theological message.
The 2011 translation of the New International Version Bible, or NIV, does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains “He” and “the Father.” But it does aim to avoid using “he” or “him” as the default reference to an unspecified person.
The NIV Bible is used by many of the largest Protestant faiths. The translation comes from an independent group of biblical scholars that has been meeting yearly since 1965 to discuss advances in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage.
Before the new translation even hit stores, it drew opposition from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an organization that believes women should submit to their husbands in the home and only men can hold some leadership roles in the church.
The council decided it would not endorse the new version because the changes alter “the theological direction and meaning of the text,” according to a statement. Similar concerns led the Southern Baptist Convention to reject the NIV’s previous translation in 2005.
At issue is how to translate pronouns that apply to both genders in the ancient Greek and Hebrew texts but have traditionally been translated using masculine forms in English.
An example from the translator’s notes for Mark 4:25 to show how the NIV’s translation of these words has evolved over the past quarter-century.
The widely distributed 1984 version of the NIV quotes Jesus: “Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”
The more recent incarnation of the NIV from 2005, called Today’s New International Version, changed that to: “Those who have will be given more; as for those who do not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”
The CBMW had complained in 2005 that making the subject of a verse plural to convey that it could refer equally to a man or a woman “potentially obscured an important aspect of biblical thought — that of the personal relationship between an individual and God.”
Who knows… Maybe the next version will include a section on Jesus and social justice?