There’s a controversy brewing over the “gender-neutral” TNIV Bible. What is your position?
You know how gospel means “good news”? Well, the gender-neutral language of newer Bible translations is “bad news”!!! The editors, bowing to pressure of modern philosophies and values, have cast aside what God said in His word in search of something more palatable to today’s politically correct mindset.
One of the problems comes from the desire to elevate women by diminishing the masculine characteristics of God and the importance of male leadership. We’re always going to get in trouble when we diminish God. He chose to identify Himself as masculine, even though we know spirit transcends gender, I believe because of the deep and ineffable necessity of relationship to Father—both our heavenly Father and our earthly fathers.
I am also bothered by the unspoken assumption that women are too self-centered and hyper-sensitive not to be able to figure out that when the Bible—the very words of God Himself—uses the word “man” or “mankind” to refer to all humans, we can’t figure that out without getting upset. Just about every language on the face of the planet uses the generic male pronoun to represent all people, but apparently our sensibilities are too finely-tuned to allow for readers of these newer translations to make the mental jump. . .!
This is a great example of the fulfillment of 2 Tim. 4:3: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires. . .”
So our position is, thumbs down to ear-tickling translations! <smile>
In His grip,
Update: August 2022
We were asked, “You gave gender-neutral Bibles a thumbs down, but what versions DO you recommend?” Here’s our answer:
After talking with some especially knowledgeable and wise people, here’s our list, in this order:
1. New English Translation (NET Bible – Available free at http://netbible.org) – Unbelievably rich resource with translators’ notes and study notes, plus access to Bible study tools such as the meanings of words in their original languages. Click on Menu –> Tour the App)
2. New Living Translation (NLT)
3. New International Version (NIV), 2011
4. New American Standard (NASB)
I would say that gender-neutral is bad, but what we need is “gender-accurate.” For example, the Greek word adelphoi is often translated “brothers,” but it actually means “brothers and sisters.” So why not use the more inclusive language in English when it’s there in the Greek?
Glad you asked!