by David and Tim Bayly on April 30, 2004 - 10:35am
Commenting on my entry, "JPUSA: She's the boss...," a reader wrote, "(I) would be interested to hear your comments on the TNIV and this disturbing gender-neutral trend." To which I respond:
The TNIV is an emendation of the actual Hebrew and Greek text of God's Word, and therefore rebellion against the Holy Spirit Who is the author of that Word. (Similarly, the NRSV, the NIVI, the NLT, etc.) The men marketing these versions have changed thousands of Scripture's words to the end that the patriarchal nature of the Greek and Hebrew text the Holy Spirit inspired will be obscured or removed.
For instance, the Hebrew word 'adam' is used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the whole human race, and by this usage we are reminded ...that Eve's husband, Adam, was our federal head, and that through him all who have ever lived are "conceived in sin," as David put it, and subject to death and hell. As the New England Primer reads, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all."
Changed to reflect the Hebrew of the Old Testament, the Primer's statement would read, "In Adam's fall, adam sinned all." Changed to fit the mold of these gender-neutered Bible products, it would read, "In Adam's and Eve's fall, people sinned all."
Multiply such changes thousands of times across the Old and New Testaments and the radical agenda becomes clear: 'man' becomes 'person,' 'men' becomes 'people,' 'brothers' becomes 'siblings,' and so on.
Those who make these changes deny the changes are ideologically motivated, claiming that they're simply implementing the latest linguistic scholarship used by translators across the world, and that those who oppose these changes are ignorant...
And speaking of Jesus' words in Luke 14:35 quoted below, while looking them up I happened to notice the Greek word 'kopria' which means "dung" or "manure" has been altered by the New Living Translation to "fertilizer." What soft man came up with this travesty?
Here is the same verse, first from the translation I use for study and preaching, the New American Standard Bible, Updated (1995) Edition, and second from the New Living Translation:
New American Standard Bible, Updated (1995) Edition:
It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
New Living Translation:
Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for fertilizer. It is thrown away. Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!
This is just one among many reasons why Christians must be discerning in their choice of Bible translations, and obviously I recommend what I use--the New American Standard Bible, Updated (1995) Edition. Although at times the English is not quite English, its very stodginess is its best quality. You know you're getting it straight.
And what better place to show it than the translation of the Greek word for "manure?"
PS: Yes, the ESV gets it right and is a good translation, but for reasons I will not go into here, my own Bible remains the NASB95.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 28, 2004 - 8:21pm
Several years ago David and I took part in a battle opposing a number of members of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in their efforts to remove the sex-markings of thousands of texts of Scripture in the New International Version. At the time, the NIV was the Bible translation standard of the Bible-believing, English-speaking world, so it was the efforts to modernize this particular translation that were our focus.
Our opponents' plan was to put out an updated NIV called the NIVI in which Hebrew and Greek words such as adam, adelphoi, and aner would be denuded of their male grammatical component and thereby rendered innocuous to Westerners raised in a feminized society in which it had become gauche to make references to mixed-sex groups using any word with a male marking. 'Man' became 'humankind', 'brothers' became 'Christian friends' (NLT) or 'siblings' (NIVI), 'man' became 'person', and so on--thousands of times across the pages of Scripture.
As you'll see from the above reference to the NLT, the NIV was not the only Bible in wide use across the evangelical world being similarly updated. In an effort to update the Living Bible which was growing long-in-the-teeth, Tyndale House Publishers had hired a long list of ETS academics to produce the New Living Translation which, benefiting from millions of dollars in advertising and purchased product placement in national bookstore chains, was steadily gaining market share.
Partly because of the naturally lower expectations of accuracy the NLT inherited from its predecessor, the Living Bible; partly because the academics who had done the NLT's translation work likely expected it to be more a devotional than a study Bible; and partly because the NLT's publisher responded to expressions of concern over some of the more egregious mistranslations evident in the NLT's text with thoughtful consideration and, eventually, a number of changes to the text of the NLT's subsequent printings; the public battle was focused almost exclusively on the updated NIVI, its publisher Zondervan, and Zondervan's subsidiary (in a manner of speaking), the International Bible Society and her subordinate Bible Translation Committee.
The battle was joined with the publication March 29, 1997 of Susan Olasky's cover article, "The Stealth Bible: the Feminist Seduction of the Evangelical Church," in World magazine. For almost everyone this was the first hint of Zondervan's plans and the response was a good measure of the profound theological divisions present within the vast entrepreneurial business park named "evangelicalism."
Predictably, one side decried Olasky's divisive spirit and focused their attack on World magazine...
by David and Tim Bayly on August 30, 2004 - 9:46am
In response to my post, No, Virginia, the Bible is not politically correct..., Joel Martin comments:
I'm completely unsurprised by this. The Neutered International Version has always been a vehicle for an Evangelical, zeitgeistian agenda. It's an attempt to eliminate the glaring theological problems of Evangelical Protestantism by erasing them from Scripture. The rationale is obvious: if Evangelicalism doesn't match the Bible, make the Bible match Evangelicalism. So why are we surprised to find it once again retranslated to further an unBiblical agenda?
This line (from your post, No, Virginia...) struck me: "At the time, the NIV was the Bible translation standard of the Bible-believing, English-speaking world, so it was the efforts to modernize this particular translation that were our focus."
Making the NIV the standard for the "Bible-believing, English-speaking world" is right up there with making the New World (JW) "translation" the standard. The NWT eliminates the Trinity and other un-JW-like doctrines by retranslating, and hoping the reader won't ever check the Greek. The NIV does the same with concepts from Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and other Traditional churches, to make it appear that the popular Evangelical Protestantism is really the Christianity of the Bible. It's written in order to make Catholicism, et. al. irrelevant. This way, those Christians can be dismissed as not "Bible-believing." After all, if it's in the NIV, it's in the Bible. Which is why the first line was a trigger for me. There are more Bible-believers who use the NAB (the standard English Catholic translation) than the NIV. But the NIV mentality makes it easier to draw a boundary between us and the "real" Bible-believers, because we don't believe in the "real" NIV Bible.
Okay, being a Papist, I'm more sensitive about the NIV than most. But the NIV's popularity has the effect of stifling inquiry into what the Bible means. It prevents the reader from asking troublesome questions about teachings like Sola Scriptura, the primacy of Peter, sacramental theology, and the like. Most Protestants don't agree with me on these questions; so be it. But we should all be afraid of a Bible translation surreptitiously reworded to interpret itself according to an agenda. Once that became acceptable, it was a short step to gender-inclusiveness and other false interpretations. Here we go down the slippery slope.
First, I largely concur with your estimation of the merits of the NIV itself--and not simply the NIVI and its progeny. Until I got involved in this battle I was not aware of the NIV's inaccuracies. As time went on, though, I found that I could no longer use the NIV because my eyes were opened to the exact thing you mention: namely, that the sex-neutering of the NIVI is only the logical extension of a translation philosophy (dynamic equivalence) that had already gone far down the road of corrupting any number of texts in the NIV itself.
As to whether the NIV is specifically anti-Roman Catholic, I have no doubt there are places where it is, although I question your mention of the Protestant/Roman Catholic division over sola scriptura and the primacy of Peter as examples of such.
On the other hand, I know the NIV is biased concerning the Sacraments, and not in an anti-Roman Catholic direction, either. I'm a presbyterian holding to infant baptism and some time back there was an interesting article...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 11, 2004 - 8:11am
[Note to the reader: This past Lord's Day I preached on the Greek word, 'adelphoi', accurately translated "brothers" in English for many centuries. Recently, though, there's been an atttack upon this word and many English translations are replacing it with various circumlocutions including "brothers and sisters" and "Christian friends." Sadly, even the English Standard Version has a footnote at this point, Galatians 3:15, indicating 'adelphoi' may be translated either "brothers" or "brothers and sisters."
As I argue below, to indicate that the Greek word 'adelphoi' is here used inclusively is not the same as removing its male meaning component and replacing that component with the more politically correct "brothers and sisters."
Please keep in mind that these are notes, only, and that the sermon itself was more thoroughly illustrated and developed. Yet I'm hopeful these notes will be helpful to the People of God as they decide whether or not to allow God's Word to speak for Himself.]
From the Pulpit of Church of the Good Shepherd
September 12, 2004 AM
Our sermon text this week is Galatians 3:15-18; let us hear the Word of God, which is eternally true:
Galatians 3:15-18 Brethren, I speak in terms of human relations: even though it is only a man's covenant, yet when it has been ratified, no one sets it aside or adds conditions to it. 16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, "And to seeds," as referring to many, but rather to one, "And to your seed," that is, Christ. 17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise. 18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.
Paul argues that the covenant cannot be cancelled--that's the first truth he is hammering home. But it's interesting to note that, as he makes that case, he inserts a personal word reminding his listeners that he is addressing them specifically as brothers. We see that the first word of our text is 'adelphoi', the Greek word 'brothers'.
And by using this word, the Apostle Paul reminds the Galatians that what is at stake, what is under debate, is the nature of the family relationship at the heart of the Church.
by David and Tim Bayly on September 23, 2004 - 6:09pm
(Note from Tim Bayly: Here's a piece written by Dr. Andrew Dionne, a former member of our congregation who now serves as assistant pastor to my brother, David, at Christ the Word in Toledo, Ohio. Andrew has followed the battle over gender-neutral Bible translations for years and edits a web site that is a ministry of Church of the Good Shepherd called keptthefaith.org. You'll find the site a rich source of information on this matter. Check it out and make a contribution.)
It has long been my hunch that the International Bible Society and her Committee on Bible Translation (the organizations responsible for the translation of the popular New International Version) had plans to produce a neutered version of Scripture from the very beginning of the NIV. This enterprise was revealed when the IBS and CBT (along with their bed-fellow Zondervan) published the New International Version Inclusive Language Edition in early 1997. Evangelical leaders were encouraged shortly thereafter when IBS repented and, in a May 27, 1997 press release, promised to "forego all plans to develop a revised edition of the NIV."
by David and Tim Bayly on September 24, 2004 - 11:41am
(Note from Tim Bayly: Again, this piece is by Dr. Andrew Dionne, Assistant Pastor at my brother, David's, congregation, Christ the Word (PCA) in Toledo, Ohio.)
It's common for stockbrokers and political moderates to hope for a split between the party that controls the office of the President and the party that holds a majority in at least one of the houses of Congress. Either gridlock ensues, which limits the government's micromanagement and makes fiscal conservatives happy, or the parties work together to form middle-of-the-road compromise solutions, which make moderates glow with satisfaction. Jonathan Rauch, in his article "Divided We Stand" published in Atlantic Monthly (October 2004), explains the hoped-for results:
Divided control...draws policy toward the center; and by giving both parties a stake in governing, it can lower the political temperature so that even daring changes (tax reform, welfare reform) seem moderate. In other words, divided control makes the country more governable.
What is desired in politics, though, stands in stark contrast to the single-minded unity that is to characterize those who lead the Body of Christ. Paul writes to the factious Corinthians, "Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree, and there be no divisions among you, but you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Cor. 1:10). In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, "Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace..." (2 Cor. 13:11). The Philippians receive Paul's exhortation to be unified: "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel..." (Phil. 1:27).
Having witnessed the work of several elder boards I have come to realize that the blessed boards are those whose decisions are largely unanimous--though passionate arguments are had along the way. This unity is not enforced
In our local paper, The Herald-Times, a young woman named Arlyn Keith is a Community Columnist. From her picture Ms. Keith seems to be in her mid-twenties and her piece appearing on yesterday's op-ed page is titled, "Rock'n'roll rejects the Bible."
Keith is responding to what she considers the non-news that Jan Wenner's Rolling Stone magazine has refused to run an ad for Today's New International Version, the new Bible put together under the patronage of Rupert Murdoch's News Corps' subsidiary, Zondervan Publishing Company.
Keith yawns as she wonders why Zondervan ever thought readers of Rolling Stone would be their market segment? Acknowledging that this chic Bible has compromised the original text, the better to reach her generation, Keith writes:
I knew that Christian leaders were concerned about the disinterest my generation and those younger than us seem to have with religion, but I just did not ever expect the mountain to come to Mohammed and plead for attention. This latest edition of the Bible aptly named Today's New International Version even features, according to USA Today, a method of translation which is meant to appeal to the 18-34 age group wherein gender terminology in reference to humans is neutral. The "truth" has been made user-friendly and packaged in a politically-correct manner. I am not an avid church-goer myself and am still struggling with my views, but it does seem that some values have been compromised in the process.
Out of the mouths of babes...
After years of hard work trying to convince my family members (owners of Tyndale House Publishers and its own gender-neutered Bible, The New Living Translation), Zondervan's executives (who are presently issuing this latest gender-neutered version called Today's New International Version), and the corporate leaders of the International Bible Society (holder of the copyright on all versions of The New International Version including Today's New International Version) of the false doctrine that is the heart of this work, I despair over their intransigence. And yes, one does begin to wonder what the application of "the love of money (being) the root of all evil" is to this Bible-selling business; or, for that matter, to Wycliffe Bible Translators, mega-churches, missions agencies, seminaries, and my own church's building program?
How lightly we consider our own motives in the light of Scripture's warning, "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives" (Proverbs 16:2 NASB95).
No matter how often we explain to them that the secular feminists are correct in their judgment that the Bible is "hopelessly patriarchal," hope springs eternal and these false prophets try once again to clean up God's Word so a modicum of its offense is removed and evangelism moves apace into the twenty-first century.
Over the past couple of years, Christ the Word's Rev. Dr. Andrew Dionne has created a web site called KepttheFaith exposing the assault upon God and His Word these men are carrying out. Church of the Good Shepherd has funded the site and my brother, David, and I have fought this battle arm-in-arm. Go to the site and read and pray. Secularists and seekers such as Keith can treat this matter lightly, easily seeing the charade. But Tyndale House, Zondervan, the International Bible Society, and all the reverend doctors paid to do the bowdlerizing take this matter very seriously seeing their reputations are on the line.
They're right. Were one of them a member of Church of the Good Shepherd, the elders would declare him to be in violation of his membership vow to honor and obey the inerrant Word of God, and call him to repent.
Chesterton nailed it almost a century ago:
It is remarked, "We need a restatement of religion"; and though it has been said thirty-thousand times, it is quite true.
It is also true that those who say it often mean the very opposite of what they say. As I have remarked elsewhere, they very often intend not to restate anything, but to state something else, introducing as many of the old words as possible.
(G. K. Chesterton, The Thing, p. 190, "Some of Our Errors".)
by David and Tim Bayly on February 1, 2005 - 10:05am
Today the full text of Today's New International Version (TNIV) was released to the public. As Zondervan and the International Bible Society take this book to market, remember this new product represents an intentional breaking of their word by both Zondervan and the International Bible Society. Christians ought to keep their word, especially in matters related to His Word.
Remember, also, that this Bible is intentionally inaccurate, unfaithfully rendering thousands of passages in such a way as to obscure or remove the meaning the Holy Spirit inspired. The two clearest manifestations of this unfaithfulness appear in texts where the essential patriarchy of God's created order and the persecution of Jesus Christ by "the Jews" are, both, explicitly communicated by the original Hebrew and Greek text.
The motives of Zondervan and IBS are clear: they wish to protect God from charges of sexism and anti-Semitism. (Here's material related to the sex markings and here's material related to the persecution of Jesus by "the Jews.")
The cost is also clear: those paid to do this work are shrinking from declaring the whole counsel of God and therefore have blood on their hands:
(The Apostle Paul said) "And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God" (Acts 20:25-27).
by David and Tim Bayly on February 2, 2005 - 5:25am
Michael Marlowe called our attention to one of the thousands of attacks upon God's Truth Zondervan and the International Bible Society unleashed yesterday in the text of their latest product, Today's New International Version. Marlowe writes:
In the edition of the complete TNIV Bible (2005) a new "egalitarian" interpretation of 1 Tim 2:11-12 appears for the first time in a Bible version. The text reads, "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man," but in the margin we are told that the verses may be rendered "A wife should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach a man in a domineering way," or "exercise authority over her husband," etc.
The reason for including these odd interpretations in the margin is, of course, to cast doubt upon the passage's prohibition of women teaching men in the church. The idea is that perhaps the instruction has only to do with wives (!) or that a woman may be permitted to teach men if she does not do it in "a domineering way."
by David and Tim Bayly on February 2, 2005 - 5:47am
Our good readers will notice on the left side of this page a list called "Archive by Subject." By clicking on any one of the subjects listed there, the reader may load one page with all the entries on that subject ever posted on this blog. For instance, here are all the postings dealing with the current trend among evangelical Bible sellers of changing the text of Scripture to scratch itching ears.
And if your appetite for this sacrilege is insatiable, here's our congregation's web site, KepttheFaith, which is devoted to the defense of God's Words against such attacks.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 4, 2005 - 6:07am
If you're intentionally changing the text of the Word of God and breaking your promise not to do so, covering your tracks is small potatoes.
Back on May 27, 1997, a meeting was held in the board room at Focus on the Family's headquarters in Colorado Springs. At the invitation of James Dobson, two opposing groups sat down at a table to hammer out our differences. It took most of the day, but when it was over we had agreed on a set of guidelines for the translation of sex-marked terms in Scripture such as 'man,' 'woman,' 'brother,' 'sister,' 'he,' 'she,' and so on.
The first version of these guidelines was largely completed that day and, before leaving Focus on the Family, those in attendance had agreed to sign them. Shortly later, the Guidelines were released over the signatures of the following men present that day:
* Ken Barker, Secretary, Committee on Bible Translation; Exec. Com. of Committee on Bible Translation
* Timothy Bayly, Senior Pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd, Bloomington, IN; Exec. Dir., CBMW
* Joel Belz, Publisher, God's World Publications
* James Dobson, President, Focus on the Family
* Lars Dunberg, President, International Bible Society
* Wayne Grudem, President, CBMW; Professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
* Charles Jarvis, Executive Vice President, Focus on the Family
* John Piper, Senior Pastor, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN; Member, CBMW;
* Vern S. Poythress, Professor, Westminster Theological Seminary
* Bruce E. Ryskamp, President and CEO, Zondervan Publishing House
* R. C. Sproul, Chairman, Ligonier Ministries
* Ron Youngblood, Member, Committee on Bible Translation; Professor, Bethel Theological Seminary West
Over the course of the next several months, some small changes were made to the Colorado Spring Guidelines, and by the time this second version was circulated, a couple of the original signatories declined to support the amended version.
The original Colorado Springs meeting would never have happened had World magazine not broken a cover story detailing Zondervan's plans to release a neutered update to their market-leading evangelical Bible standard, the New International Version. World broke the story on March 29, 1997 in a piece written by Susan Olasky titled, "The Stealth Bible." And as the title indicates, Zondervan has been sneaky from the very beginning--sneakiness has been the modus operandi of those producing and selling this Bible.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 8, 2005 - 5:14am
Vern Poythress has, from the beginning of this battle, been the workhorse of the scholarly opposition to the gender-neutered Bible translations. The following is an essay he sent us, yesterday, evaluating the just-released Today's New International Version (TNIV). -Tim Bayly.
TNIV's Altered Meanings: An Evaluation of the TNIV...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 9, 2005 - 8:41am
When I first saw the galleys of the New Living Translation at my in-laws home in Weaton, back in the mid 90s, I was sickened to see that adelphoi (which over the centuries has always been translated "brothers") was changed to "Christian friends" throughout the New Testament Epistles. This was my introduction to Evangelicals neutering the text of Scripture and it came long before I had any association with "World," Focus on the Family, or CBMW in opposing the NIVI--the TNIV's predecessor.
This false translation of 'adelphoi' in the NLT caused serious exchanges with my father-in-law, Ken Taylor, and my brother-in-law, Mark Taylor---respectively Chairman of the Board and CEO of the NLT's copyright holder and publishing company, Tyndale House Publshers. In our discussions, I explained that my opposition to their action went beyond the matter of the loss of the sex marking of adelphoi. Of even greater concern to me was the loss of the family context and identity at the heart of the Church...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 12, 2005 - 6:36am
Note: At times I'm asked for book recommendations. Here's the first in a list I hope to add to, as time permits. First, the Book of Books and specific recommendations for which version of Scripture you should use, and what small number of Bible study helps and reference works you should have at home, with links to click where you can buy them at a good price.
Book Number One: The Bible, "New American Standard Bible Updated (1995) Edition"
The Bible is the only book without error:
But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (2Peter 1:20,21)
No other book is so worthy of our delight and constant meditation:
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. (2Timothy 3:16,17)
In Scripture we come to know the character, the perfections, of the Only True God--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; here we have revealed to us the origin and nature of man, unique among all creation in his bearing the image of God, but sinful from the moment of conception by virtue of the federal headship of Adam; here, joyfully, we meet Jesus; here we read of His love for lost and sinful man; here we are brought to His Cross and promised eternal life if we believe on Him; here we find everything we need to know to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus.
Read this book as close to once a year as you can, never excluding the Old Testament. And as you read...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 14, 2005 - 7:47pm
One reader of this blog named Wayne takes my brother, David, and me to task for our denunciation of neutered paraphrases of Scripture. He writes:
You are correct, God's fatherhood makes sense within many systematic theologies. But the implications you draw for the translation of adelphoi largely come from Federal Theology, rather than simply the meaning of adelphoi at the time that the New Testament was written. There is an important difference here between gladly accepting the fatherhood of God and its spiritual implications for our lives and the hypothesis that masculine "nuances" ...of adelphoi, huioi, and other grammatically masculine terms are theologically significant.
To which I respond:
Come now, Wayne: you can't seriously be prepared to maintain that what the honest feminists refer to as the "hopeless patriarchalism of the Bible" is, in fact, just one among many theological constructs certain Christian subcultures read into the ancient sacred text. You can't honestly be implying that the thousands of Church officers opposing neutered paraphrases of Scripture are merely following their own personal "hypothesis that masculine nuances... of adelphoi, huioi, and other grammatically masculine terms are theologically significant."
The word used in the Hebrew Old Testament for the race descended from Adam is 'adam'--not 'eve,' not 'evadam,' and not 'adameve.' Is this a theologically insignificant masculine nuance?
No, it is the Spirit of God speaking through the Word of God teaching the People of God that God the Father has ordered His creation in such a way that man is the representative and leader of woman, 'ish' of 'ishshah.'
This is the reason those who love God's Word are demanding that the essential masculinity this name 'adam' communicates in Hebrew not be removed from English Bibles. For centuries, the English word 'man' was used to translate 'adam' when it referred to the race. It may not have been the best, but at least it carried into English some aspect of the male sexuality the Hebrew word denotes.
To sniff that 'adam' and the thousands of other words like it in Scripture only carry a "nuance" of masculinity is laughable.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 23, 2005 - 6:58am
The New York Times cited World, yesterday, in a piece appearing in the Arts & Leisure section titled, "A Lion King of Kings: Can the Narnia books be turned into a blockbuster without offending one person or another?" Here's the quote:
According to a report in the February 12 issue of the Christian newsweekly World, Mr. Aviv [president of Disney's Buena Vista Pictures marketing arm] assured the gathering (of Christian leaders) that "our goal is to make sure that we make and market the movie so that it has the same significance that the book has had."
The Times piece is about the controversy over whether or not Disney's movie version of Lewis's Narnia Chronicles will, in fact, allow our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrines of Scripture to have "the same significance" in the movie they have in the books. It's anything but a done deal.
Disney has this dilemma:
...the pros at Disney are wrestling with a special challenge: how to sell a screen hero who was conceived as a forthright symbol of Jesus Christ, a redeemer who is tortured and killed in place of a young human sinner and who returns in a glorious resurrection that transforms the snowy landscape of Narnia into a verdant paradise.
That spirituality sets Aslan apart from most of the Disney pantheon and presents the company with a significant dilemma: whether to acknowledge the Christian symbolism and risk alienating a large part of the potential audience, or to play it down and possibly offend the many Christians who count among the book's fan base. (The New York Times, February 20, 2005, p. AR 11.)
I'm just a humble midwesterner, but I wonder whether there might not be experts ready and willing--in fact, eager--to consult with Disney concerning their dilemma...
The following exchange between Seth and Craig, followed by my own response, is from World'sTNIV blog where much good material opposing neutered Bibles is being posted. This site is edited for World by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Dionnne, who also serves as an assistant pastor at my brother, David's, church and edits our own congregation's web site opposing neutered Bibles, KepttheFaith.
SETH WROTE: "I know that many people may not think that changing 'man' to 'people' or 'human beings' is that big of a deal, but I believe that it is. One of the most obvious (at least I think it's obvious) is that it removes the position of man as the head of the house and family. I believe that when God breathed the words of the Bible he knew exactly why he wanted 'man' to be specifically inserted into the text..."
AND CRAIG RESPONDED: "Have you read the TNIV? Let me quote a few passages: 'But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God...' (1Cor. 11:3); and 'A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet' (1Tim. 2:11,12).
There's not much more I can add to the words of the TNIV itself..."
TIM BAYLY COMMENTS: Seth is correct and Craig missed his point. Seth is not saying something so simplistic as...
For an example of how this blog might read translated into Ebonics by Zondervan/IBS's Commmittee on Bible Translation, check this out. But don't go unless you have a good sense of humor and could stand next to Snoop Dogg without cans over your ears.
By the way, I found this page by clicking on a "Referring URL" on our SiteMeter stat page. This popped up with "Tim Bayly" already in the search box.
One defender of the TNIV writes:"My teenage daughters are especially disturbed by this. The use of masculine pronouns to refer to practically everyone in the Bible grinds on them over time. My 16-year-old has told me that she grew up believing that the Bible was for boys. It bothers me that this trivial language issue is being made a stumbling block for young women who are made to feel like second-class Christians when they read the Bible. And it bothers me that it doesn't bother everybody." To which Michael Marlowe responds:"Now, you say, 'It bothers me that this trivial language issue is being made a stumbling block for young women who are made to feel like second-class Christians when they read the Bible.' But what do you mean by 'second-class Christians'? And have you faced the fact that the Bible does indeed use the kind of 'offensive' language that the feminists hate? It is not just a figment of translations that we are talking about here -- it is a feature of the original text. And who taught your daughters to be offended at language which a generation ago aroused no offense.... What else are your daughters being taught to be offended at? Eventualy, we have to recognize that this idea of making the Bible inoffensive is a rather dangerous idea. It will not end with pronouns. This is only the beginning of endless accommodations to those who are 'offended' by things in the Bible..."
And Tim Bayly responds:When the first efforts were made to stop the neutering of Scripture back in the late nineties, Leighton Ford went public with a statement to the effect that he supported the neutering of Scripture because he wanted his granddaughters to be able to read the Bible and know it included them. My own daughters were quite disgusted by how patronizing of women his statement was and one of them, Michal, actually took the time to write Ford and take him to task for his statement.
Women who want to get it do get it. Women who don't want to get it don't. And mothers and fathers (and grandfathers) have much to do with whether their daughters and granddaughters get it. Really, it's quite easy to teach daughters what God's purpose is in calling them "sons," "brothers," and "adam." And teaching them these things innoculates them against...
A reader asks: "If you, Mary Lee, and your children are opening Christmas presents, and you hand Heather a box which contains three copies of Out of My Mind: the Best of Joe Bayly, and you say to Heather, "Please share the presents in this box with your brothers," who would you be asking Heather to share the presents with?"
To which I answer: Concerning usage in my family, whether or not Heather, Heidi, Michal, Hannah, and our latest addition, Sarah, would understand themselves to be included when I spoke of "brothers" would depend upon the context, wouldn't it? Similarly in Scripture, they would know from the context. And where the context didn't make it clear, I want them left with the question God put into the text. How dare anyone rob them of the question the Holy Spirit desired them to ask! Ambiguity itself is inspired.
Yes, I make a habit of teaching the adopted sons of God living in my household (as well as the members of our church) the priceless treasure they have in that sonship, and I carry out this instruction by calling them "sons of God" and "brothers in Christ." Not always, but often enough for them to learn the Christian truths there embedded.
But remember, it's not my usage under debate, but the usage of the Holy Spirit. The question being asked is whether the Holy Spirit is to be allowed to call the human race 'adam' in Hebrew; whether the Holy Spirit is to be allowed to call the people of God "sons" in Hebrew and "brothers" in Greek; and so on.
You answer that you will not allow the Holy Spirit this usage because it places obstructions in the path of seekers; I answer that I will allow the Holy Spirit this usage because this habit of speech teaches God's sons about the nature of the universe--namely that God our Father has been pleased to order it under father-rule. That in that one man, Adam, we all die. And consequently, that the Holy Spirit calls the race "adam," not "human beings" or "mortals."
It's really so simple.
On the work of translation, Friedrich Schleiermacher wrote, "Either the translator leaves the writer alone as much as possible and moves the reader toward the writer, or he leaves the reader alone as much as possible and moves the writer toward the reader." Is it really necessary for me to say the obvious: that when the book in question is the Word of God I believe in "leaving the Writer alone as much as possible and moving the reader toward the Writer."
How many of us have ever heard the word 'propitiation' used outside of a church context? No, it's as churchey as words come, isn't it?
Yet the logic of those arguing against the generic use of 'man' and 'brother' would demand that we move the Writer of Scripture as far towards the readers as possible, relegating 'propitiation' to the dustheap of history...
Note to the Reader: Commenting on the fact that the Hebrew word 'adam' is used throughout the Old Testment to refer to the human race, one poster of comments who served with Wycliffe Bible Translators for many years writes: "The removal of the male semantic meaning component of ...words like 'adam' is impossible, because there was never a male semantic meaning component in this word in the first place. This is made very clear in Genesis 1:27: from the very beginning 'adam' (humanity, not the individual) was male and female."
I've been waiting a long time for a supporter of neutered Bibles to make such a clear statement denying what I (and I trust the vast majority of Bible-believing Christians) see as self-evident: that the Holy Spirit inspired the human race to be called 'adam' partly in order to make it clear to us that the man-as-man, Adam, was our representative in the Fall.
The Apostle Paul prohibits the exercise of authority over men by women by saying "I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, for Adam was created first, then Eve." (1 Timothy 2:12a, NAS95) With this simple statement Paul explicitly affirms what is implicit throughout God's Word, that the order of creation establishes patriarchy as God's pattern for leadership in human relationships. Addressing the matter of propriety in prayer, the Apostle Paul again emphasizes this order: "For man does not originate from woman, but woman from man; for indeed man was not created for the woman's sake, but woman for the man's sake" (1 Corinthians 11:8,9, NAS95).
Imagine a new believer, thoroughly confused by the sexual anarchy of today's culture, discovering the truth inherent in passages such as 1Corinthians 11:3-16, 14:34-35, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1Timothy 2:9-15, and 1Peter 3:1-7. What a deep sense of relief to discover that the order of creation establishes timeless principles for the relationships between men and women. But while the facts of Eve's creation are instructive for establishing proper roles for men and women, Genesis goes on to reveal another important biographical note about Adam and Eve. Like the facts surrounding God's creation of Eve, the significance of this biographical detail is revealed more fully by the New Testament...
Reading the March 27, 2005 New York Times Book Review last night, I skimmed Jane Stern's review of Judith Moore's Fat Girl: A True Story and came across this:
Anyone who grew up fat (and please include your reviewer in this group) will find himself in the chapters that follow. (emphasis added)
So the author is a woman, she's writing about fat women, she's reviewed by another fat woman, and with this full cast of entirely female characters the author and the Book Review's editor are entirely comfortable using 'himself.'
By issuing an updated version of their best-selling Bible, the New International Version, News Corp, HarperCollins, Zondervan, the International Bible Society, and the Committee on Bible Translation have all taken the best step they could to protect their market share--or to put it in a way more easily understood, their cash cow. They argue the language of the New International Version is archaic, and they must update it so moderns will not be left scratching their heads. But each single day millions of usages in newspapers, television broadcasts, radio programs, magazines, books, E-mails, and blogs give the lie to their justification.
The grammatical use of the male representative for a mixed-sex group is alive and well despite the work of feminist ideologues in the academy and the marketing departments of Zondervan and Tyndale House Publishers doing their best to kill it. Why alive and well?
Because God Himself chose to use male representatives for a mixed-sex group--Adam for Adam's race and Christ our Lord for His Bride, the Church.
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1Corinthians 15:21,22; emphasis added)
In debates over the proper translation of Scripture, the avoidance of discussions of motive is impossible, even were it desirable. Consider:
For years, men have written, called, and visited my father-in-law, Ken Taylor, telling him how blessed they've been by his paraphrase, the Living Bible. Usually they've commended not just the Bible but also Dad's motives in producing it. How many times the story has been told of Dad's desire to read to his children during evening family devotions a Bible they could understand.
Other times the commendation focuses on Dad's populism--the perfect icon being the sculpture of the workman eating lunch with one hand, holding his Living Bible with the other, that sits in Tyndale House Publishers' foyer--and the desire Dad had to see "every plowboy" able to feed on God's Word. Those opposing the Living Bible were elitists, King James only fanatics, naysayers, academic snobs, Luddites, and so on. They needed to get a life.
Update the Bibles under discussion and little has changed.
Publishers and translators of Today's New International Version (TNIV), New International Version Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI), and New Living Translation (NLT) make much of their own motives, almost without exception claiming one motive pre-eminent over all--their sincere desire to see unbelievers come to know the Lord through their modernized Bibles.
The opponents of these Bibles also speak quite freely of their own motives, particularly their desire to see the Church protected from the false doctrines the TNIV/NIVI/NLT promote.
TNIV/NIVI/NLT proponents and opponents both frequently discuss their opponents' motives...
If the original Hebrew and Greek contains a male semantic meaning component, who's in a position to say "Here it matters" or "Here it doesn't?" It is not the job of a translator to decide the relative importance of semantic meaning components, aiming at carrying through into the receptor language only those he deems "significant" while in the interest of simplicity and clarity leaving the rest behind. (Footnote 1)
Yet that is precisely what has happened with the NLT and the TNIV. The translators of these versions have decided not to carry into English the male semantic meaning component of thousands of occurrences of words such as 'adam' and 'ish.'
NASB: "...and He blessed them and named them 'Man' (Hebrew, adam)..."
TNIV: "And when they were created, he called them 'human beings.'"
NASB: "He was despised and forsaken of men (Hebrew ishim),..."
TNIV: "He was despised and rejected by others,..."
But look more carefully at this battle and the plot thickens.
The translators of the TNIV might object to the above line of reasoning, saying "You accuse us of leaving behind the male semantic meaning components but we accuse you of leaving behind the inclusive semantic meaning components." This sounds good until one realizes that, for centuries, both the male and the inclusive meaning components of 'man' were clear in English usage. So what's going on?
Those who hate the fatherhood of God and man have mounted an attack upon the inclusive semantic meaning component of English words like 'man.' Angrily they demanded, at first, that it be removed. Now years later, they act as if it simply doesn't exist...
by David and Tim Bayly on April 30, 2005 - 10:48am
About twelve years ago, my wife and I were privileged to have Phil and Helen Jensen as guests in our home while Phil preached in the church I served. Since then, we have kept somewhat current with the vital ministry that surrounds St. Matthias within the Anglican communion in Sydney, Australia. For evangelistic materials that demonstrate boldness along with a deep understanding of our culture, but also many other fine publications with evangelical and reformed commitments, I'd direct our good readers to the Sydney Anglicans. Their ministries, institutions, and publications are well worth our attention and I've wished their publications, at least, would be more directly imported into the States.
It's not accidental that, appointed Dean of St. Andrews Cathedral by his brother Peter (Archbishop of Sydney), Phil Jensen has about as many enemies as Doug Wilson. Since making his acquaintance, I've often described Phil as "a fire-breathing iconoclast." Phil's wife, Helen, is an epistolary whirlwind devoted to the church and to her husband--a perfect helpmate.
Here, here, and here are a few other samples of Jensen's prophetic gift. (In the last link, note the similarity with Wilson concerning Scripture's teaching on slavery.) For a fine summary of the vision driving the Brothers Jensen as they lead Sydney Anglicanism, see Peter Jensen's Archbishop's Address given to Sydney Synod 2003.
Like Wilson, not everything Phil Jensen writes and argues is in line with my understanding of Scripture, but how I love his boldness for the Lord and His Word. There's good reason Dick Lucas brought him to London to oppose the movement to ordain women there. As Dick told me, he needed the blood and guts approach of his beloved Aussies.
It's natural, I suppose, for Aussies to have a soft spot in their heart for Canadians, so Don Carson has always been one of the Sydney Anglicans' luminaries. So it came as a pitcher of cold water thrown in their faces to have Carson take aim at them for their expression of concern over the new Bible versions that have been neutered (my word), and their endorsement of those versions' main competitor, the English Standard Version.
Not long after the "Stealth Bible" issue of World went into print, as the conflict over neutered Bible versions grew in intensity across the evangelical world, Don Carson contacted the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and asked that his name be removed from the list of those who endorsed the organization. Having neither met nor corresponded with Dr. Carson, I was uncomfortable hearing of his resignation secondhand and not having a chance to discuss his concerns with him directly. (A couple months earlier in addition to my pastorate here in Bloomington I had agreed to serve as CBMW's first Executive Director.)
I called Dr. Carson, introduced myself, and said I'd heard he wanted to remove his endorsement of CBMW. Would he please reconsider his decision?
by David and Tim Bayly on August 19, 2005 - 7:09am
Over on World's news blog Marvin Olasky posts a complaint by Maurice Robinson, Senior Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, concerning the text he ordered from Zondervan Publishing House for his fall classes.
The text is an introduction to the New Testament that, in the past, quoted Scripture using the New International Version. But when his books arrived, Robinson found Zondervan had changed the internal quotations of Scripture to Today's New International Version without noting that change anywhere in its literature or publicity.
Robinson is angry that Zondervan snuck this change over on him and his students. He opposes the attack upon God's Word in the TNIV in which Zondervan and its translators have made every effort to remove what they see as the sexism of the text of God's Word. He thinks integrity would demand that Zondervan note its change and give professors the information necessary to make an informed choice whether or not to continue to use the text.
All this to say that an extended discussion of the TNIV followed, and the main defender of Zondervan's actions and their TNIV was one, "David B." In the course of his defense, "David B." wrote that because of constant language change, Bible translators "...sometimes need to change (their) translation to fit the language, provided it doesn't **drastically** alter the meaning of the text" (my emphasis).
So the standard for Bible translators today is that altering meaning is OK as long as the altering isn't drastic?
As amazing as I found that statement, I was more amazed no one took him to task for it. Thank God those translating the text of the Bible in centuries past didn't work by this pitiful standard.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 19, 2005 - 9:10am
Although I can't find a link to it on World's main news blog, a worthy work exposing sex-neutered Bible translations is carried on under World's auspices by Rev. Andrew Dionne. Stealth Bible: TNIV is sponsored by World and it contains a wealth of material that is essential reading for those who honor the Word of God. Check out this piece by Vern Poythress, for instance.
Publicize this resource within your school, family, and congregation. These bowdlerized texts (Today's New International Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, etc.) are poison to biblical faith and faithful shepherds will work to expose them.
by David and Tim Bayly on August 26, 2005 - 9:14am
Calling for the critical review of our foreign policy toward Israel is dangerous. Pat Buchanan learned this a few years back when he famously referrred to the pro-Israel, come hell or high water, world as "Israel's Amen Corner." New-con godfather, William F. Buckley, sternly disciplined Buchanan's temerity by having his house organ, the National Review, coyly ask whether Buchanan might not be just a wee bit antisemitic?
A few years after the Amen Corner dustup, I came across the following in the Sunday New York Times:
Merriam-Webster found itself on the defensive recently over a 40-year-old definition of 'anti-Semitism' in its Third New International Dictionary, the monumental unabridged edition originally published in 1961 and reprinted in 2002. In addition to the conventional sense of the word as "hostility toward Jews as a racial or religious minority group," the dictionary included a second sense as "opposition to Zionism: sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel."
(Nunberg, Geoffrey. "What the Good Book Says: Anti-Semitism, Loosely Defined" New York Times, Sunday, 11 April 2004, Week in Review, p. 7.
Anyone who thinks we can still trust dictionaries and lexicons should also read Andrew Dionne's current post excerpting a recentJETS piece by Vern Poythress in which he critiques the latest edition of Bauer, the standard Greek lexicon in Biblical studies.
With standard reference works bowing the knee to Baal, it's time for serious questions about the future. Will Greek scholars who honor the Word of God be able to continue to rely on Bauer? I think not.
Just as the work of founding new colleges and seminaries must continue (Harvard to Yale to Princeton to Oberlin to Wheaton to New St. Andrews), we'll have to create new dictionaries and lexicons, also. Who will do the work?
I would have thought Buckley could start on the Merriam-Webster, but I was wrong. With Greek, though, it's clear: Vern should get to work.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 7, 2005 - 3:01pm
Interesting to note that the English Standard Version Bible (ESV), whose Translation Committee Chairman J.I. Packer once had a negative thing or two to say in Knowing God about pictures of Jesus (look inside at chapter four), now has a children's picture version of the ESV out. I'm sure it continues in the noble tradition of Truth. Unchanged.
Here, dear reader, we thus may be certain stands the unchanged truth of Jesus' image.
Crossway will no doubt assure us pecuniary motives played no role in this version's release--and that they obtained the approval of their "translators." But in the end, either a number of men who once had principles in this area capitulated or a number of objections were ignored by the publisher.
Until the Christian world has a literal translation of the Bible unchained to the commercial motivations of a profit-driven publishing house, God's Word remains chattel in man's hands.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 21, 2005 - 7:42am
The common denominator of almost all modern English Bible translations is that each version represents some publisher's or agency's cash cow. And the only difference in marketing between versions is the degree of crassness. Until God's Word is free from marketing hype, God's Word is man's word. Until God's Word is free from licensing fees, God's Word is held hostage to corporate ledgers.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 21, 2005 - 3:38pm
Here's an old story that makes more sense to me than all the King James Only fanatics and Tridentine Mass advocates put together:
One day, as I was crossing a meadow, I met with an old man, a Roman Catholic, and entering into conversation with him on his religion, I said to him, "Why do your priests say their prayers in Latin?"
The poor man replied with considerable warmth, "Why, to be sure, the devil don't understand the Latin tongue."
Well, I thought, here is a mystery explained in a few words. Here is an importance attached to the Latin tongue that I never before knew. Here the devil is beat outright. Who would not study the Latin tongue?
by David and Tim Bayly on January 23, 2006 - 9:22am
At other places on this blog, comments continue to be posted in appreciation of Dad Taylor's work paraphrasing the Living Bible. The content of those comments caused me today to post this comment myself as a caution to all those saying that the Living Bible is "Holy Scripture."
Dad Taylor was loved by all his family. He himself loved us deeply and generously, and he prayed for us and many others with absolute faithfulness. We miss him.
He was not perfect, though, and like any family the areas of disagreement in our home did not cause us to love each other less. We love because God first loved us, and joined us under Dad's patriarchate which was so godly in so many ways.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 2, 2006 - 6:57pm
It took me a month to find it, but Pastor Andrew Dionne has written an excellent post titled " 6,461,054,577 New Translations Needed" documenting Zondervan's latest marketing ploys with the New International Version and Today's New International Version.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 24, 2006 - 7:51pm
A United Methodist professor at Asbury Theological Seminary named Ben Witherington keeps a blog, and this past Monday he posted a piece titled, "The Problem with the ESV." Witherington is a run-of-the-mill feminist trying hard to hold on to an evangelical commitment to the authority of Scripture while at the same time pushing the very thing explicitly forbidden by God--namely, women exercising authority over men. As men falling into this error go, Witherington strikes me as being in the "That's not what Paul really meant" camp. None of the honesty of the late Paul King Jewett who was man enough to say, essentially, "Yeah, Paul said it and Paul was wrong."
Speaking personally, I always admired Jewett for his courage. If my son's going to disobey me, I'd rather he did it like a man: "Yes, Dad, I know you told me to come straight home from youth group but I stopped and had a frappuccino with Emily. I disobeyed you and I'm sorry." Woe betide him if he tries to lie his way out of it: "But Dad, I know how important Emily's and my sexual purity is to you and we figured Starbucks was a good public place for us to sit and talk. You do want us to avoid being alone, don't you? I mean, when it comes to weighing which you care more about--me coming straight home or sexual purity--don't you think I made the right choice?"
But back to Rev. Dr. Witherington. Breathlessly, he reported the following New Information this past Monday...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 25, 2006 - 12:15pm
Across the years many have written about the connection of the English Standard Version to the gender-neutral Bible controversy as well as to those of us principally involved in that controversy, and it's my conviction that any one or two persons must not be the only voices leaving a written history either of that controversy or of the connection of that controversy to the new Bible translations that have since been issued. Here then is the history of the origin of the ESV written by a participant, and therefore an eyewitness.
The origin of the proposal taken to Crossway to create a new Bible from the RSV
During late Spring 1997, Wayne Grudem and I personally and frequently discussed the necessity of a new Bible translation being created in direct response to the gender-neutral work of the International Bible Society, Zondervan, and their Committee on Bible Translation. Our discussions were both by phone and in person--we worked together for the three years I was executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1996-2000)...
We carried our discussion into a broader forum, namely the larger group of leaders who were brought together and began phone and E-mail dialog in preparation for our meeting called and hosted by James Dobson in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997 at Focus on the Family's headquarters. During that preparatory dialog, this new translation was the subject of discussion within our group both by phone and E-mail.
Indicative of our discussions was one E-mail written by Wayne in which he responded to an E-mail asking, "Do you really think another version is possible? It is an enormously expensive and consuming ambition." Wayne responded that the new translation was a "possibility" using one of three possible foundations. It could be a "redo of the old RSV," it could be a "redo... of the NRSV," or it could be a completely "new translation."
Then the evening prior to the May 27th meeting at Focus on the Family, Wayne and I met with the other anti-gender-neutral participants at our hotel and planned our strategy.
by David and Tim Bayly on February 25, 2006 - 12:48pm
I suspect Wayne Grudem's claim that the ESV's origin had nothing to do with the TNIV (in his response to Ben Witherington's blog attack on the ESV) amounts to a careful parsing of the truth--casuistry rather than flat falsehood. Literally taken, Wayne's claim is accurate. Of course, it conceals more than it reveals....
A couple years ago, I officiated at a wedding ceremony held in a Presbyterian Church (USA) church in Quincy, Massachusetts. The groom and bride both were, at the time, a part of our congregation. The bride's father, David Mehegan, was book editor of the The Boston Globe. During the festivities, I was able to spend some time talking with Mr. Mehegan and I asked him to send me a few of his pieces, including his review of the translation of the Torah done by Everett Fox.
In his review, Mr. Mehegan quoted Arthur Samuelson, editorial director at Schocken Books, saying, "Most (Bible) translations serve a political agenda: They are meant to end a discussion."
From a series of essays in the New York Times Book Review examining Fox's new Torah, Mehegan quoted Robert Alter, a scholar of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley: "I am deeply convinced that every good translation must express a simultaneous love affair with the language of the original and the language into which the translation is made."
Jack Miles, a former Jesuit and director of the Humanities Center at the Claremont Graduate School, in Claremont, California, and the author of 1994's best-selling God: A Biography, ...says, "The more Bible translation becomes like the translation of, say, Dante, with a new effort every so often, the less likely it is that any translation's cadence will become, as language, a common possession. The stories will remain a cultural common holding: Adam and Eve, Noah, the Crucifixion. But the language will not be."
-from "One Man's Bible," by David Mehegan, The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine, March 10, 1996.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow did an excellent translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy. Apparently, the only significant criticism he received concerned his failure to provide readers with an introduction to the work. Longfellow commented on the work of the translator:
The only merit my book has is that it is exactly what Dante says, and not what the translator imagines he might have said if he had been an Englishman. In other words, while making it rhythmic, I have endeavoured to make it also as literal as a prose translation... The business of a translator is to report what the author says, not to explain what he means; that is the work of the commentator. What an author says, and how he says it, that is the problem of the translator.
Bible translators today too often confuse the duties of Bible translators and pastors and teachers.
Taylor had a soccer game, today, out at Monroe County's Karst Farm Park. After his game was over, we were walking back to the car and passed a game between two girls teams. The girls were twelve or thirteen years old and one girl was taking the ball upfield but was quickly being overtaken by a defender coming up from behind.
Despite these young girls having moms and dads who work at the university and are as liberal as can be, you know what the team yelled at the girl dribbling upfield?
Yup. "Man on!"
But we're happy to report the ref stopped the game immediately and handed out copies of the New Living Translation and Today's New International Version. When every player had one, the ref told them to make sure they read their Bibles every day before bed so they'd get in the habit of speaking to each other without using sexist constructions. It's nice seeing the Bible making a niche for itself in teaching proper usage with our young people. You sure couldn't use the New American Standard Version that way! If they all read the NASB, in twenty years they'd still be yelling "Man on!" I mean, how bad is THAT?
Those who are pleasantly removed from the university and college environment may be informed and amused by what passes as high moral sensitivity on today's campuses. Here are a few excerpts from the moral imperatives enforced by Mary Jo Weaver of the Religious Studies Department of Indiana University. I should add that some of the suggestions she makes are wise.
One of her suggestions I found particularly interesting is the proposal that "old wives tale" be replaced by "superstitious belief." Sadly, this is precisely what the English Standard Version did with 1Timothy 4:7, removing the absolutely clear original Greek text that explicitly connects the false tales with old women. The ESV removes the offense, mistranslating it:
Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. (1Timothy 4:7; English Standard Version)
It's quite interesting to see how Ms. Weaver deals with the biblical texts and the question of how we speak of God, found in her last couple of paragraphs. Then in Ms. Weaver's final paragraph, we see displayed the true diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance of today's academics when enforcing their own petty moral code...
"I find myself suspecting very strongly that this was the most important thing that I have done for the Kingdom and that the product of our labors is perhaps the biggest milestone in Bible translation in the past fifty years or more."
J. I. Packer on his involvement with the English Standard Version Bible
Do you suppose Dr. Bruce Metzger realizes how much he did fifty years ago to afford J. I. Packer his life's signal accomplishment?
by David and Tim Bayly on August 21, 2007 - 12:30pm
(by Tim) Sadly, reformed pastors identify less with those who live in rural communities and make their living as sheep farmers (what used to be called "shepherds") than with those who live in books and make their living as academics. So this story from today's New York Times is particularly instructive.
There's a big stink over a psychology prof at Northwestern University named J. Michael Bailey who's gored the ox of transexuals around the country. But before we get to Prof. Bailey and the transexuals, a few comments about the lesson Christians should learn from this battle.
For decades, freedom of religion and freedom of speech have been under a sustained attack and the content of the books we read, the sermons we listen to, and the Bibles we carry to church Sunday morning all bear witness to the attrition of these freedoms.
Speaking only of our Bibles, did you know that millions of Bibles used by evangelicals have had words deleted in order to avoid expressing incorrect opinions deemed to have the potential of being hurtful to women and Jews? Evangelical Bible scholars, linguists, translators, graphic designers, publishers, bookstore owners, and pastors all joined together to produce and sell Bibles that would not be vulnerable to charges of sexism or antisemitism. Many hundreds of times, the original Hebrew and Greek words were changed or deleted so the Bible would be less offensive to moderns...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 4, 2007 - 11:32am
(Tim) The second group of men have now matriculated in our pastors college and, as part of the heart religion emphasis during the first of three years' study, I'm leading a seminar on Luther's commentary on Galatians. I have an old copy of the commentary published in 1953 by London's James Clarke & Co. which I've used preaching through Galatians the past couple of years. But I went ahead and bought a second copy of the commentary since the most widely available and cheapest printing today is a paperback edition sold by Wheaton's Crossway Publishers. It's one volume in their Crossway Classic Commentaries series and we had assigned it as the edition of Luther's commentary the men were to read for the seminar. It made sense for me to be on the same page with the men. Literally.
Still, I wasn't entirely happy with the situation. Concerning evangelical publishers and their theological trustworthiness, I have a naturally suspicious mind. "Surely no need to worry about Crossway, though," I thought. "They publish many good authors and, although Alister McGrath is one of the series' editors, Jim Packer is the other and he wouldn't allow them to bowdlerize Luther." In his essay, "Sola Fide: The Reformed Doctrine of Justification," Packer cites the same edition of Luther on Galatians I use, translated by Philip S. Watson and published by James Clarke & Co. He's drunk at the same well so he'll not allow anyone to ruin Luther.
And yet I had a nagging thought at the back of my mind that we'd made a mistake by going with Crossway's edition...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 26, 2007 - 6:23am
(Tim) Under a prior post, two dear friends began a discussion concerning dynamic equivalence, maybe the prevailing method of Bible translation today. Both men have good reason to support this method--Chris Taylor because he's the grandson of one of the pioneers of this technique, Ken Taylor, who wrote the Living Bible; and Michael McMillan who works supporting the publishing arm of Wycliffe Bible Translator's Summer Institute of Linguistics, the largest Bible translation organization in the world.
So I encourage you to click on through to the comments where you'll find Chris and Michael posting their thoughts on this critical matter. (It may take a few hours for them to get their comments posted, so stop back in a little while.) And by the way, if their discussion interests you and you'd like to learn more, Leland Ryken's, The Word of God in English: Criteria for Excellence in Bible Translation, is a good place to start.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 27, 2007 - 4:55pm
(Tim: originally posted October 27, 2007, with an ADDENDUM added March 17, 2011.) While moving into our new church offices, I found a new piece of correspondence documenting the origin of the ESV in the Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy. Why bang this drum again? Because the denial of any connection with controversy at the heart of the ESV's marketing campaign is so typical of the inability of evangelicals to understand that faith is battle, and men who hide the battle for fear it will scandalize the sheep actually harm the sheep. Imagine reformers of past centuries trying to hide the conflict from those they were defending: Think of Calvin holding cloistered meetings with Cardinal Sadolet that the men of Geneva knew nothing about; or Luther publicly denying that his use of the word 'alone' in translating Romans 3:28 was in any way connected with the battle against Rome for justification by faith alone; or the Apostle Paul announcing in his epistle to the Galatians that Peter's particular failure of table fellowship had no significant bearing on his issuing this present letter--that this letter had been in the works for years prior to that public confrontation...
[NOTE FROM TIM: David posted this article on Baylyblog back in 2007.]
(David) An old lion of the US Congress used to tell young congressmen, “A lie is an offense against Almighty God and an everlasting help in time of trouble.”
Tim has written on the history of the English Standard Version below. Let me state as circumspectly as Christian brotherhood allows the message he’s so carefully (and thus verbosely) delivered: when it comes to money, influence and standing, Christian leaders are as prone to temptation as the leaders of Apple, CBS and the US Congress. Greed and desire for status have led to economy of truth becoming the consistent practice of many Evangelical leaders.
In fact, in an Evangelical community which often views charges of dishonesty against its leaders as negatively as dishonesty itself, leaders are sometimes quicker to to lie than in the secular world because the Christian press, unlike the secular press, is often muzzled in revealing them.
by David and Tim Bayly on October 30, 2007 - 6:57am
(David) Placing authority over a translation of the Word of God in the hands of a commercial entity is no greater warrant for confidence than placing that translation in the hands of the descendants of Ellen White or the Watchtower Society. Pecuniary influences are just as real and baleful as sectarian influences.
I mean, really, if you're going to give a commercial entity control over your translation of God's Word, why not just sell it to Rupert Murdoch?
Translations of the Word of God should not be controlled by those with vested interests in their profits. Nor are arms-length translation committees which, though theoretically non-profit owe their existence and income to the profitability of a given version of Scripture, free from the temptations associated with venality and pride--considerations which pass all-too-easily through non-profit membranes.