Zondervan has created quite a stir by publishing the new Bible, Today’s New International Version, and we’ve had the opportunity to host several informative Chat events allowing each side to present their case. But we’ve decided to go one better. We had a great first ever round table discussion in Chat on the topic with guests Rev. Tim Bayly and Dr. Wayne Grudem, who oppose the TNIV.  They were joined by Dr. Mark Strauss and Dr. Ron Youngblood, who support the TNIV.

Enjoy the Transcript!


Fritzpw_Admin says, Thank you all for coming tonight for our first ever Round Table Chat. I’d like to take a moment first to introduce our volunteers. Helping me on stage we have Entrtnmnt_Editor, RT_Editor, and SpikeHost. Wondering around the Auditorium we have DaisyHost, PsalmyHost, and StormyHost.
Fritzpw_Admin says, And now for our event… Zondervan and the International Bible Society have found themselves in a swirl of controversy surrounding their new Bible, the Today’s New International Version. Opponents claim that it is full of mistranslated verses while proponents claim that changes have been made to improve the accuracy of the Biblical texts and make them more relevant to today’s society. In looking over the previous Chats we’ve had on the subject I came across an observation… It seems as though the two sides, while sincere in their stands, have different definitions for what they mean when they say accurate.
Fritzpw_Admin says, So with that I’ll start the event by asking each side to answer this question:
Fritzpw_Admin says, Do you consider the New American Standard Bible to be one of the most accurate translations? Why or why not?
Dr_Grudem says, yes, it faithfully renders as much meaning as it can but loses some readability.
Dr_Strauss says, The goal of Bible translation is to accurately reproduce the meaning of the text of Scripture. Since the NASB is more focused on form than meaning, it is not the most accurate translation.
Dr_Grudem says, it’s not a question of form vs. Meaning but rendering as much meaning as possible. This is what Mark himself says in his book. The NASB does not hesitate to render even the male-oriented details of meaning. But the TNIV does!
Dr_Strauss says, I agree that the goal is to reproduce as much meaning as possible. But the idea that formal equivalence is the best way to reproduce as much meaning as possible is a fallacy. Ask almost any international Bible translator and they will agree.
Whazup asks, What was the initial reason for revising the NIV?
Dr_Youngblood says, The initial reason for revising the NIV was that it is the purpose of translation to represent as accurately as possible the meaning of the source language into the target language, and to do so in the actual target language as it now exists, not as it existed 25 years ago.
Dr_Grudem says, well then why change Hebrews 2:6, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” to TNIV Hebrews 2:6 “What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” The phrase “son of man” is lost and any chance to connect with Jesus in the Gospels. This is a loss of male nuance, male detail. It is what the TNIV regularly does but is not necessary. “Son” and “man” are simple English words and fairly represent the meaning.
Tim_Bayly says, Emily Nussbaum of the New York Times Sunday magazine says that the revision of the NIV, and the production of the TNIV, gives us a “more gender-neutral society. She’s right, and this is really the goal.
Dr_Strauss says, This is definitely wrong. Look at Psalm 8 in its original context and you will see that “son of man” means human being. Most New Testament scholars recognize that Hebrews 2:6 is not yet about Jesus, but is about the ultimate goal of humanity. Only when we get to verse 9 does the text begin to talk about Jesus, who fulfills the destiny of humanity. I think the TNIV gets it exactly right here.
Dr_Grudem says, “human being” is part of the meaning. You have it partly right. But you left out the male-oriented details of the phrase “son of man.” It looks to me like the TNIV has something against male-oriented words. And the possibility of connecting it to Jesus is lost! A big loss considering that Jesus called himself “son of man” 89 times in Gospels. What do you have against the phrase “son of man”?
Dr_Youngblood says, The phrase “son of man” is not used in Hebrews 2:6 as a messianic title of Jesus, as Dr. Strauss has already reminded us. Competent New Testament scholars agree that it is the humanity of Jesus that is in view here.
Chatmaster shouts, Take the time to educate yourself about the TNIV controversy. Click on the picture of the scrolls at the bottom of your screen for a list of more helpful links or goto http://chat.crosswalk.com/events
Chatmaster shouts, Are you looking to delve deeper into the Word of God? Check out our online Bible Study Tools at http://bible.crosswalk.com where you’ll find over 20 different versions and translations of the Bible including the NEW Holman Christian Standard Bible. http://bible.crosswalk.com
Dr_Strauss says, Wayne, you speak of male-oriented details, but there is not evidence in the text that these are present. Jesus represents all of humanity, not just the males. The connection to Jesus is in no way lost, as it appears in verse 9.
Dr_Grudem says, well _part_ of the meaning is the humanity of Jesus. But the rest of the meaning is that Jesus fulfills Psalm 8. You lose the connection with Jesus. You lose an important part of the meaning, and Mark Strauss says we should translate as much of the meaning as possible. But the connection of Jesus to the “humanity” you say “it’s not evident in the text.” Why not give English readers the chance to decide that for themselves. By rendering son of man literally you lose the male oriented part of the meaning. Why? Looks like a bias against male oriented language to me.
Dr_Youngblood says, Psalm 8 is not praising the creation of males, but of human beings having dominion over creation. The term “son of man” doesn’t have a messianic meaning until you get to Daniel. Is the “son of man” used in Ezekiel messianic? I don’t think so!!
Dr_Grudem says, it may well have messianic connotations in Psalm 8. Why rule out that possibility for readers? You lose an important part of the meaning. What do you have against the messianic prophecies being male oriented?
Dr_Youngblood says, How in the world can you say that there are messianic connotations in Psalm 8? That’s not at all what the Psalm is about.
Dr_Strauss says, Wayne, your statement is again the fallacy of formal equivalence. Ambiguity, when the meaning of the text is clear, results in misunderstanding.
Dr_Grudem says, Well the author of Hebrews saw it fulfilled in Christ in vs. 9, “but we see Jesus.” If he sees it fulfilled in Jesus then so do I.
Dr_Youngblood says, I also believe it was fulfilled in Jesus, but as a human being, not in a messianic title.
Dr_Strauss says, Nobody is suggesting it wasn’t fulfilled in Jesus. But it was humanity’s destiny, not males’ destiny, which was fulfilled in Jesus.
Dr_Grudem says, Well if it was fulfilled in Jesus it is Messianic. And it’s male. And the TNIV loses this part of the meaning! Still no answer from you guys: what do you have against male-oriented meaning?
Dr_Strauss says, If the so-called male-oriented meaning is not there, it should not be translated as such.
Dr_Grudem says, I agree but it is there.
Dr_Youngblood says, You are simply making statements out of context without any proof. The three most important aspects of real estate are location, location, location, and the three most important aspects of translation are context, context, context. Let’s stick to the context in our answers.
jimsnapp asks, To Dr. Strauss: how do you reconcile the claim that no gender-references to Christ have been changed with the fact that the words “the Son of God” are no longer in the text of Mark 1:1 in the TNIV?
Dr_Strauss says, The reference to “Son of God” in Mark 1:1 is a textual matter, all sides agree on this. Mark 1:1 has nothing to do with this debate. Both Wayne Grudem and Tim Bayly would agree with us here.
Dr_Grudem says, We agree that this one is a question of the best texts and not a gender-related question.
guest2605 asks, Why do you think such uproar is caused by the TNIV but not by the New Living Translation ?
Tim_Bayly says, Because the New Living Translation is not held as sacrosanct by the evangelical community in the way that the NIV is.
Dr_Grudem says, Tim and I and others wrote and spoke about other gender-neutral Bibles earlier but CNN, NBC, Assoc Press, etc, did not pick it up. It’s because the NIV is the dominant translation that everybody is interested.
Dr_Strauss says, The opposition to the TNIV is mostly political, based on the history of the introduction of the NIVI in Great Britain. Those who oppose the TNIV are upset because the NIV is such a popular and widely used version.
Dr_Grudem says, well Mark you can say political if you want but in my heart I am opposed to the TNIV because it distorts the meaning of Scripture by leaving out important male-oriented details in about 800 verses. You can see the list of over 800 verses at http://www.cbmw.org/tniv
Tim_Bayly says, But make no mistake about it: the NLT has equally serious sex-marking additions and deletions to the text of Scripture–and it, also, changes the word “Jews” to “Jewish leaders,” or simply “they” in the Gospel of John.
Dr_Youngblood says, Wayne, you keep assuming that grammatical gender and biological gender are the same thing. That’s simply not true. For example, “spirit” in the Old Testament is a feminine word, and in the New Testament it is neuter. Why not insist on the feminine component or neuter component if you’re going to insist on the male component?
Dr_Strauss says, Those so-called 800 verses are ludicrous. You are suggesting that every time you disagree with a decision the TNIV makes, it is a mistranslation. I would suggest that much better linguists and Bible translations consider the TNIV to be right in the vast majority of these cases.
Dr_Grudem says, I have to respond to both one at a time. Ron, you know that in the Colorado Springs Guideline we had several that translated masculine gender nouns as gender-neutral. It is a question of male-oriented meaning again and again. Readers can judge for themselves if they are “ludicrous.” There are 5 words omitted again and again: father, brother, son, man, and he/him/his. I mean readers can judge. And they can do it for themselves by looking at http://www.cbmw.org because I can’t type the whole list here.
Dr_Youngblood says, The Colorado Springs Guidelines were flawed from the beginning, as I indicated to you, Wayne, more than once. It became increasingly clear to translators in general that they were unworkable. Furthermore, they are just guidelines, not the laws of the Medes and Persians. Don’t equate the Guidelines with Scripture.
Chatmaster shouts, Want more information on the proponents take on the TNIV? Check out the official TNIV website at http://www.tniv.info
Chatmaster shouts, TNIV opponents have gone to great lengths to pinpoint some of the many verses they claim to have been mistranslated. Check out the critique at http://keptthefaith.org
Chatmaster shouts, Are you looking to delve deeper into the Word of God? Check out our online Bible Study Tools at http://bible.crosswalk.com where you’ll find over 20 different versions and translations of the Bible including the NEW Holman Christian Standard Bible. http://bible.crosswalk.com
speaking asks, Dr. Youngblood you stated that the Colorado Springs Guidelines were flawed from the beginning, yet weren’t you one of the signers of the agreement? Also haven’t some of the other new translations that have come out shown that the Guidelines can be followed?
Dr_Youngblood says, It’s true that I signed the Guidelines originally, but I soon realized that they were flawed. But I signed them only after they were greatly modified.
Tim_Bayly says, This is a key question because Ron was a signatory of those guidelines, but today is both the chairman of the board of IBS, and a member of the Committee on Bible Translation. So were he to want to keep his, and the board of IBS‘s word on this, he could.
Dr_Youngblood says, The management of IBS and the composition of the Board of Directors 5 years later are not at all what they were at the time. It’s not a matter of keeping one’s word; it’s a matter of legitimately changing one’s mind. I made a mistake, and I’m perfectly willing to admit it.
Dr_Grudem says, since the 1997 Colorado Springs Guidelines at least 5 translations have been published in whole or at least NT that follow CSG: English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Version, NET Bible, International Christian Standard Bible, and the New International reader’s.
Dr_Strauss says, Certainly the guidelines can be followed. But that does not mean they are not flawed and misguided hermeneutically and linguistically. It is wrong to say that the HCSV or the NET, or the ISV are following the guidelines. Just because translation use gender accurate language in many cases does not mean they are “following” the guidelines. If so, then you could say that the TNIV follows “in part” the guidelines.
Dr_Youngblood says, I would agree.
Dr_Grudem says, well the crucial questions are man, brother, father, son, and he/him/ his, and the TNIV does not follow CSG there.
PsalmyHost asks, I wonder if Dr Strauss and Dr Grudem could tell us “whose faith” was being described in the original text of Hebrews chapter 11, verse 11. Was it Sarah’s faith that brought about the conception? Or was Abraham’s faith spoken of IN THAT PARTICULAR VERSE??? (also, how is it worded in the NEW version in question?)
Biblebot says, Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
Dr_Grudem says, I think it’s Sarah’s faith and that is the way we translated it in the English Standard Version. “Sarah” and “herself” are in nominative and thus the subject in Greek. The TNIV agrees with me here so there is no dispute.
Dr_Strauss says, The original NIV was the one in error here.
jimsnapp asks, Dr. Grudem, I Cor. 15:27 quotes that same Psalms-passage and applies it directly to Christ. How do you account for that??
Biblebot says, 1 Cor. 15:27 For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
Dr_Grudem says, I am the one who agrees that Psalm 8 talks about Christ, using masculine language.
Dr_Strauss says, This is a different author and a different context. To argue that the two have the same referents is unnecessary.
Tim_Bayly says, For an example of the deletion of gender-markings, look at Hebrews 12:7 where we read that the old NIV read, “For what son is not disciplined by his father?” The new TNIV reads, “For what children are not discipline by their parents?” Here we have a typical example where the translators of the TNIV removed the meaning of the Greek text, removing the gender-markings. Interestingly, though, in a similar passage dealing with a father’s discipline, Ephesians 6:4, we have the TNIV keeping the gender-markings: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children.” But of course, this is a text that reflects negatively on fathers, so women aren’t included.
Dr_Youngblood says, The overall context of Hebrews 12:7 is found earlier in chapter 11, where it is clear that the plural word ordinarily translated “fathers’ means “parents” (in Hebrews 11:23). If it can mean parents there, it can mean parents in the next chapter.
Dr_Grudem says, Ron, we agree that the plural can sometimes mean “parents” but in Heb 12:7 Greek pater is singular. It means “father,” singular in Greek not ‘parent’ and surely not ‘parents.’ This is another example: the TNIV gets the “general sense” right (the verse deals with parental discipline) but removes the male-specific meaning again, as 800 times in the NT alone. Here the connection with God as father is lost… A big loss of meaning. What do you have against male-oriented meaning? Why not say that a son is disciplined by his father? That is what the Greek text says.
Dr_Youngblood says, Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news” Paul quotes it in Romans 10:15 as “those who bring good news.” Is Paul’s quotation wrong? I thought the Holy Spirit inspired him.
Dr_Grudem says, NT quotes frequently change OT quotes for application purposes. They aren’t purporting to be exact translations.
Dr_Strauss says, We have nothing against male-oriented meaning. I celebrate male-oriented meaning…when it is present. But you are confusing grammatical and biological gender. You are assuming it is present, when it is not.
Dr_Youngblood says, I’m sorry, Wayne. They are citations from Scripture, and they are so “marked” — to use one of your favorite words.
Tim_Bayly says, But such inconsistencies are in the scores–just look at the hundreds of examples on our web site– http://keptthefaith.org. And similar inconsistencies are evident in the TNIV’s translation of Ioudaioi–it’s all over the field.
Dr_Youngblood says, We don’t count occurrences; we weigh them
guest2695 asks, what is your thought of 1 peter 5:8-9 ?
Biblebot says, 1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Dr_Grudem says, I think “him” and “brotherhood” are fine here. The TNIV again leaves out the male nuance here, it puts “fellow believers” and loses the male nuance of adelphoteti. Why omit male nuances of meaning??
Dr_Strauss says, This is an example where “brotherhood” means both brothers and sisters. The TNIV’s “fellow believers” is very accurate here.
Tim_Bayly says, I don’t think so–brothers carries the federal headship of Adam in the New Testament, and to speak of groups of men and women using a male-marked term–like “brothers”–communicates God’s Truth. And that truth has been allowed to speak, until our own time.
Dr_Grudem says, It also loses the family imagery with “fellow believers”.
Dr_Strauss says, There are male nuances here? Do not our brothers and sisters suffer around the world?
Dr_Grudem says, The question is the meaning of the words Peter used. There was a familial nuance.
Dr_Strauss says, Family doesn’t include men and women?
Fritzpw_Admin says, Drs. Grudem, Strauss, and Youngblood and Rev. Bayly, thank you for joining us for this event tonight. Is there anything you would like to say in closing?
Dr_Youngblood says, Thanks for the opportunity of participating. My final thought would be to go with a verse from the KJV. It uses a singular plural and gives all of us some good advice.
Biblebot says, Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Dr_Grudem says, The KJV does in Phil 2:3 exactly what the TNIV does not consistently do. The Greek heauton is plural and the KJV puts a plural. Thank you for this interesting time. Main point: the TNIV omits male-oriented meaning unnecessarily hundreds of times. Details of meaning are lost. See http://www.cbmw.org for more examples, and responses to TNIV explanations of many verses. The male meaning that is there in the original is lost again and again. It is the reliability of Scripture in English that is the issue. Thanks for this interesting time.
Dr_Strauss says, This whole discussion will be profitable if the Christian public learns more about the nature of Bible translation. Our goal is always to reproduce the meaning of the text. If the meaning of the text was meant to be inclusive, then it should be translated in that way. Even the opponents of the TNIV recognize that in hundreds of cases the TNIV improves the accuracy of the NIV by translating anthropos as “person” and adelphoi as “brothers and sisters.” In other words, everyone agrees that inclusive language is a good thing. The key is to do careful exegesis and to determine whether or not these so-called “male nuances” Wayne is talking about are actually present. I think readers will agree in the vast majority of cases they are not. Please visit the http://www.tniv.info website to see some good literature on Bible translation in general and the accuracy of the TNIV in particular. Let me just encourage everyone to use a variety of versions. The many excellent versions are done by hundreds of Bible scholars and you will profit greatly from their expertise. The use of many of them – including the TNIV – will only enhance your Bible study.
Tim_Bayly says, Cannot God speak to women with a male-marked word if He wishes? He is God and His Words–gender markings included!–are precious. When we don’t like God referring to mixed-sex groups as ‘Adam’ or ‘brothers,’ poor us. http://keptthefaith.org
Fritzpw_Admin says, Thank you all again for coming to our Chat event. Moms, don’t miss our Chat with Lisa Whelchel next Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET during our MOMs chat in the Kitchen. Check out all our upcoming events at http://chat.crosswalk.com/events
Fritzpw_Admin waves at everyone.
Fritzpw_Admin says, Want more information on the proponents take on the TNIV? Check out the official TNIV website at http://www.tniv.info
Fritzpw_Admin says, TNIV opponents have gone to great lengths to pinpoint some of the many verses they claim to have been mistranslated. Check out the critique at http://keptthefaith.org/


Who are the Participants?

— Rev. Tim Bayly —
Rev. Tim Bayly is pastor of Church of the Good Shepherd in Bloomington, Indiana. A member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood he’s published pieces on the gender-neutral Bible controversy in several periodicals, including “World,” and is the publisher of Keptthefaith.org, a web site containing critiques of gender-neutral Bible products such as “Today’s New International Version” and the “New Living Translation.”

— Dr. Wayne Grudem — 
Dr. Grudem is a Research Professor at Phoenix Seminary.  He co-wrote the definitive book on the TNIV subject published by Broadman Holman titled, “The Gender Neutral Bible Controversy:  Muting the Masculinity of God’s Words.”  Dr. Grudem was also a participant in the 1997 Colorado Springs Guidelines.

— Dr. Mark Strauss —
Dr. Strauss is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary San Diego.  He has authored, “Distorting Scripture? The challenge of Bible Translation & Gender Accuracy,” as well as other various articles on gender issues in Bible translation.

— Dr. Ron Youngblood —
Dr. Youngblood is the Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary San Diego.  He is the International Bible Society Board Chairman and a member of the Committee on Bible Translation, having worked on several different Bible translations for over thirty years. He has also written or edited fifteen books, including commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, 1 and 2 Samuel, and Isaiah.

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