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Monday, November 7, 2011

The New NIV (2011)

Have you heard about the new NIV Bible?  The last update was in 1984.  The Bible I most typically read from is the NIV, 1984 version.  Zondervan has released a different NIV version this year.  One that is causing much controversy.

The problem is that it is gender-neutral.  I am no Bible scholar, but I do understand that the original languages (including NIV's 1984 version) were not gender-neutral.  God inspired men to write in a male and female specific way.  Not neutral.

The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood responded to the NIV 2011 translation.  You might be interested in reading it here.  An article was written saying why it's bad for women, too.  Not quite the same research, but you might be interested.  Read that here.

So...if I am purchasing a new Bible, it will NOT be the new NIV 2011 version.  How can I know?  Check the copyright page.  If it says the NIV translation is from 1984-great.  If it says 2011, it will remain on the shelf.

Sorry, Zondervan.  I think this is a poor choice and will not support it.  I will buy a different version once the 1984 version is not available, if needed.

What about you?  Do you support the gender-neutral translation or not?  Any other thoughts?

Please Note: Comments below are closed.  I feel that comments left by Tylergc are not just a person's personal opinions, but instead, prepared as a professional defense for this 2011 NIV version.  This person cannot be contacted.  I will leave the comments up, but the discussion is over. Live, Learn, Love is not a forum for this.


Dorie said...

I do not support gender neutral translation. In fact, it makes for a sour taste to the NIV translation itself - not so fair I realize. In the past I have loved the NIV for its ease of reading and understanding. It is the version we purchase for our children somewhere around 3rd or 4th, we'll need to reconsider, or hunt for the older translation.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Interesting - I had heard there was a gender neutral version coming out, but I didn't realize it was NIV. That's disappointing.

Bluerose said...

I heard about this a couple of months ago. Zondervan has been slowly losing my respect along, but this was the last straw for me, unfortunately. At one point, I almost cleared my shelf of all things Zondervan. I know that's a bit harsh, so I didn't. I know they do have SOME good things! ;) I always check new purchases for the Zondervan label, though, and avoid them.
(No offense to all who love Zondervan. It's just my quirkiness, I guess!) ;)

Ticia said...

I love this article about it, it gave me some good ideas:

And I am TOTALLY with you on this, the new NIV is a horrible idea. My church quit preaching from it as a result and went to a different Bible. To make it even more annoying they're planning on stopping printing the old NIV.

Debbie said...

I have not seen the new NIV Bible but I have heard the rumblings. According to a reliable source at our church they shipped all the 1984 versions of the NIV out of the USA... even gathering up copies not yet sold at local Christian Book Stores. I don't know if that is true because I have not shopped for an NIV... but the source is very trustworthy. I do not like gender neutral Bibles so I will be avoiding the new NIV.

I am beginning to like the NKJV very much. If it need to buy a new Bible it may be the NKJV. I have a copy of it but it is a paperback version that we were given as Mother's Day gifts at our church one year. I am using the NKJV for Ladies Bible Study and my personal devotions and I am liking it very much.

tylergc said...

Do people even realize what a gender neutral translation is before condemning it? All the NIV 2011 has done is seek to be to use inclusive language when the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic is intended to be inclusive. They remain exclusive when the original intends to be exclusive.

The translation committee is made up of some of the best evangelical biblical scholars in the world. At least hear them discuss their own methodology and translation philosophy before condemning their work.

Anyone who keeps up New Testament scholarship will recognize (and likely admire) the scholars on this team such as: Douglas Moo, Richard France, Craig Blomberg, Gordon Fee, Mark Strauss, and Bill Mounce.

Listen to them explain the translation below:

Annette W. said...

Actually I have read from the 2011 version. So, yes I feel comfortable stating that I amuncomfortable with gender neutral.

tylergc said...


May I inquire as to a specific verse where you felt that gender neutral language was uncalled for?

I might also add that my complaint was about people not understanding the translational philosophy, not that they have not read a gender neutral translation.

I need only to reference the following thread that shows this confusion:

In it people--upset over the NIV 2011's gender neutral language--were considering switching to the NLT...completely unaware that the NLT handles gender in the same way but to an even greater and uncontrolled degree.

This shows a lack of understanding of translation philosophy and simply going off of what people hear. People know the NLT is a well received translation and have never heard it being criticized for being gender neutral despite the fact that it is to an even greater degree than the NIV 2011. It is just that the fact that the NIV is the number one selling translation, so it takes the heat...and the NLT escapes without any comment.

The NIV is not doing anything out of the ordinary. Let us look at the major translations made in the last twenty years.

Gender Inclusive:
2) NCV
3) NLT
4) NIV 2011
5) CEB

2) ESV

Look at that ratio! 5 to other words 70% of translations made in the last 20 years are gender inclusive compared to 30% that are not!

This is merely reflecting the fact that people today speak using gender inclusive language.

To use the example that NIV translators use:
"Every citizen was sent a ballot so that _____ could vote."
About 84% of people would say "they" (using the gender inclusive "distributive they"), 8% of people would say "he or she" (another form of gender inclusive language...but an awkward one), while only 8% of people would say "he"(traditional generic masculine).

Are you suggesting that we should not translate into the language people speak? Should we just say that the general public has to learn the "generic he"? How is that different from saying the general public should just learn to deal with the "thee(s)", thou(s)", and "ye(s)" of the KJV?

This is why 70% of translations made in the last 20 years have been gender-inclusive. They want to use modern English. This is not abandoning the belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures, it is merely good translating—translating into the language people actually speak.

Carrie said...

Amen to your position!

Anonymous said...

I Am in no way a Bible scholar my self. Having looked on the internet on this subject of the "New" NIV-2011 and my research is by no means over on this...One Verse from the Bible came to mind right off.. and that Verse is. REV 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (NASB)

Annette W. said...

Anonymous, I'm glad your research is not through. There is much for us to learn. Learning Greek and Hebrew might make it easier, too.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that learning Greek and Hebrew might help...however..if i am doing word study and it changes out from mother and father to "family" i there for am now searching for ref to "family" not mother and father..bottom line is that now most churches are now stuck with the fact that they have two choices..1) except the new "NIV" or 2) Jump ship as it was put and go with a diff translation altogether. Now Zondervon was forth coming about its intentions in this translation as it started it..but to cut out the 1984 version of the NIV to favor a "Language" diff is bad bad idea. "The updated NIV Bible is being promoted as the first update to the NIV in 25 years. In reality, the 2005 TNIV was the first attempt to update the 1984 NIV but fallout from the evangelical community over its overt "gender inclusive" language led to its demise in 2009."

tylergc said...

The TNIV was published as a separate translation. It was a revision of the NIV made by scholars working with the NIV text in one hand and the Greek or Hebrew in the other. The NIV 2011 is merely the latest result of this process. It is also the first time that this updated text has been released under the name NIV since 1984. In that sense, it is the first update to the NIV text since 1984.

As for Rev 22:19 the text refers specifically to Revelation, but more than that has nothing to do whatsoever with translating. Translators (by definition translate) that is they say what is the best way to state "adelphoi" for example in English? Traditional it has been translated brother.

But the question is not how has it traditionally been translated but what does the word mean, and then what English word (or phrase) best captures that meaning.

The word "adelphoi" is from "a" (connective participle) and "delphus" meaning womb. In other words, the idea here is something like "from the same womb"

But this is the etymologically fallacy. It can tell us a lot about a word--but not everything. The term came to be used of relatives (regardless) of whether they came from the same womb or not, as a general from of address, and even those to whom one shares a close bond (so for instance, it is sometimes translated believers or disciples in the NT--see Acts 1:15 in the KJV and NKJV two translations that are very literal and both non-inclusive which render adelphoi here as "disciples."

The point of all of this is that one word in Greek or Hebrew can have many legitimate translations into English depending on the context--and these definitions will themselves change as English continues to change (which it will since it is a "living" language instead of a dead language.

"Adelphoi" may usually be translated brothers but the idea is in modern English the translation must find a way to render the idea and at the same time retain the "generic-ness" of the term. In a time, when “brothers” is no longer heard as a generic, the solution is "brothers and sisters".

I for one am proud of the CBT (the body of scholars who translate and revise the NIV text). There charter has commanded them to keep the NIV up to date with modern English usage and current biblical scholarship. They have done this with the release of the NIV 2011.

Once again, I urge anyone who has only heard one side of the debate to listen to what the CBT has to say about their translational philosophy, methodology, and procedures:

You should also be aware of the fact that the CBT consist of world class evangelical scholars. Even those leading the charge against the NIV 2011 like Denny Burk and the CBMW will freely tell you that the CBT members are world class biblical scholars and committed evangelicals. They may dislike the product but can make no complaint about translators. So do not worry...I am not having you listen to skeptics, closet liberal scholars, or ignorant individuals--they are men and women trained in biblical scholarship, possessing the highest intellect, and whose hearts are committed to Christ.

So again, listen to them explain the process:
(Scan down to the lecture by Douglas Moo)

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