Gender Accurate Bible

There’s a new bible in town, “Today’s New International Version”, or TNIV, brought to us by the same people who brought us the NIV. I use the original NIV Study Bible because I like the additional information it offers to put things in context.

Some are upset that some of the language has been changed to a more gender-neutral wording, changing some of the masculine words. The one that first jumped out at me is this one:

Where the original read: “When God created Man, he made him in the likeness of God”; the new version says: “When God created human beings, he made them in the likeness of God.”

Not one to accept what I read in the news at face value, I went looking for more information. I was not going to accept that the publishers of the NIV would succumb to a PC feminist version of the bible. So off to do research. Here’s Genesis 1:27 NIV and TNIV:

NIV: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

TNIV: So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

I’m ok with that; it very obvious from the context that inclusive gender-neutral language was meant. A similar phrase also appears in Genesis 5:1-3.

NIV: When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man.”

TNIV: When God created human beings, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “human beings.”

I’m still ok with this translation; it’s obvious that God is talking about creating men and women, and when the NIV was written 30 years ago, the English word “man” was often used to refer to man and women. We don’t do that today, largely because of the feminist movement.

Let’s go see the passage where God took a rib from Adam and see how it’s changed. Genesis 2:18-24:

NIV: The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

TNIV: The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

No changes at all; man is still man, woman is still woman, God is still God.

After that, lunch was over, so I stopped researching. 😛 One of the authors, Mark Strauss, goes to great lengths to show that appropriate gender-neutral language does not mean the bible has been compromised by a feminist agenda. So some of the sites critical of the TNIV update, I suspect, are doing a knee-jerk reaction to the news without looking to see what the TNIV authors have done.

More here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

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10 thoughts on “Gender Accurate Bible

  1. First, I’d like to point out that the NIV in itself is a translation of a translation of a translation, etc… So when you start allowing anyone and their brother to make “translations” the sacred scripture becomes “man’s” scripture. Then to top it off you have a “translations” from a bunch of femi-nazis trying to break down the nature of man and woman.

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  2. Except the TNIV is a translation largely by the same people that did the highly respected NIV bible that I use. I looked at a couple of examples and read the TNIV’s assertation that they are not bending to a feminist interpretation of the bible, and that they are staying as accurate to the original Hebrew and Greek as possible.

    In other words, *if* they were doing what they’re being accused of, I’d be giving them some righteous indignation, too, but I don’t believe that’s what the TNIV people are doing.

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  3. But….why are they doing it? Was/is there a need for this? I don’t actually see the point, other than to assuage the gender neutral police – though, perhaps, I am just too cynical.

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  4. They say it’s because the English language has changed in the 30 years since the NIV was issued. If you’ll remember, the Bible wasn’t written in English, so it either must be studied in the original Greek and Hebrew, or translated accurately. Interestingly enough, the King James version is gender-inclusive.

    Here is their FAQ on why the revision.

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  5. Michael on the Gender Accurate Bible

    Michael of Chasing the Wind blogged on the Gender Accurate Bible last May. Michael compares some important NIV and TNIV verses and concludes that the TNIV is accurate. His comments are still very much worth reading today. Wayne Leman wayneleman

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  6. The NIV is my preferred version. I’m glad they’ve taken the time to re-write. Having the Word in your own language helps a person comprehend what’s being read. I do not read or speak Hebrew or Greek. I am dependant upon those who have made it their life’s work to do the translating. I can only hope that they take the Word as seriously as I do. Only God sees the heart.

    Being watchful, vigilant to make sure you are not being taught “another gospel” is wise. So is understanding the translation process and related issues. We must be careful to take responsibility for what we are hearing and saying. It’s way too easy to take another’s opinion as our own instead of studying to show ourselves approved, rightly dividing the Word of truth. Remember, Holy Spirit is our Teacher, He will lead and guide us into the truth!

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  7. Thanks for your comments. There’s no way for me to review both sets and compare, but based on the intent of the authors and their sources, I’m content they’ve developed a good translation. Of course, should you find an example that shows otherwise, I’d appreciate you letting me know.

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  8. […] Two year ago I wrote about the Gender Accurate Bible, and generally dismissed criticisms of the TNIV. It doesn’t say anything about a female god or any of that. It just tries to be more gender-neutral; when it says “brothers” but obviously means both men and women, the TNIV translates it as “brothers and sisters.” That sort of thing. […]

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