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Have You Tested NIV Positive?

The SBC recently approved a resolution to turn its back on the 2011 NIV Bible translation. Zondervan publishing recently released a new version of the NIV which will replace the popular 1984 & 2005 versions of the NIV Bible known as the TNIV (Today’s New International Version). The new 2001 NIV includes more gender-neutral language and is drawing criticism from some conservatives who argue that these changes can alter the theological message.

As previous versions mentioned ‘he’ and ‘him’, 2011 versions aim to avoid using these pronouns as the default reference to an unspecified individual. For example the former TNIV in Matt. 4:19 reads Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” The 2011 NIV – ‘men’ has been changed to ‘people’.

The last two attempts at revising the NIV were met with a great deal of controversy due to their use of a gender-neutral philosophy of translation. The gender-neutral approach of the TNIV in 2002 and 2005 became such a lightning-rod that the version never caught on with American evangelicals and has now been discontinued.

Now before the new translation even hit stores, it drew opposition from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. They provide a number of precise research to support there opposition to the translation which can viewed in these links. (1) To see the data supporting CBMW’s review of the NIV 2011, please click here. (2) You can download the entire evaluation in a PDF, please click here. (3) To download: Denny Burk, et al., “The Translation of Gender Terminology in the NIV 2011” JBMW 16.1 (2011): 17-33, please click here. After reading their findings you see how the 2011 is just the 2005 TNIV in sheep’s clothing as 75% of the alteration done by the 2005 TNIV remains in the 2011 NIV. Here are some  examples of the changes:

2005: ‘And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”‘
2011: ‘”Come follow me,” Jesus said. “And I will send you out to fish for people.”‘

2005: ‘For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.’
2011: ‘For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being.’

2005: ‘If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.’
2011: ‘If any brother or sister sins against you, rebuke the offender; and if they repent, forgive them.’

2005: ‘If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues…’
2011: ‘If anyone of you adds anything to them, God will add to you the plagues…’

The CBMW decided it would not endorse the new version because the changes alter “the theological direction and meaning of the text,” according to a statement. The CBMW had previously showed concern with the 2005 NIV 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.”

These same concerns led the led the messengers of the SBC meeting in Phoenix, AZ, June 14-15, 2011 to (1) encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; (2) the SBC respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores (3) and be it finally that the SBC cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community. You can watch the video of the SBC convention session where the resolution was made at Denny Burk’s page .

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