Why choosing a Bible translation has become a mine field...

Les traductions ressemblent aux femmes – lorsqu'elles sont fidèles, elles ne sont pas belles, quand elles sont belles, elles ne sont pas fidèles. - French proverb

Since first seeing an early proof (pre-publication) of one of the new translations being done by renowned Evangelical Bible scholars like Don Carson and Gordon Fee back in the early nineties, it became clear to me that the English-speaking church's blessing of many translations was about to become a curse. All through these proofs, words inspired by the Holy Spirit had been changed or deleted. And the ordering principle was fear of offending groups with certified victim status in the Western world--principally women and Jews.

If the original Greek was 'men,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'those' took its place. If the Greek was 'brothers,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'Christian friends' (and later 'Christian siblings') took its place. If the Greek was 'Jews,' it was removed and 'they' or 'Jewish leaders' took its place. If the Hebrew was 'adam,' it was removed and the gender-neutered 'human being' took its place. It's all a project called the removal of "phallogocentricism in language."

Today, almost twenty years later, Evangelicals have been betrayed by their Bible scholars and are reading, preaching from, and memorizing Bibles that have, in countless places, betrayed the Greek and Hebrew inspired by the Holy Spirit. And now we read that...

John MacArthur is releasing his MacArthur Study Bible in the sex-neutered New International Version 2011. Phallogocentricism in language is dead and Scripture must be made to toe the line.

While claiming to hold that God's Word is without error, Bible scholars have taken money from publishers and Bible societies to change thousands of Greek and Hebrew words so those words don't offend postmodern sensitivities. Postmoderns don't want to appear anti-Semitic, so they demand their Bible translators and publishers obscure what God's Word says in the Gospel of John concerning the Jews' hatred of Jesus and pursuit of Him to the Cross. Pomos (postmoderns) don't want to appear misogynist, so they demand their Bible translators and publishers obscure what God's Word says across the entire text of Scripture concerning Adam being created first, and then Eve; and woman being forbidden to teach or exercise authority over man.

So the text of Zondervan's much-anticipated product line called New International Version 2011 was released to much fanfare, accompanied by endless explanations and justifications of their attack upon God's Word.

So what kinds of changes are they making?

Here's a list put together by our dear brother Pastor Andrew Dionne. Look it over and you'll get an idea how our language nannies are gagging God and making hordes of money off it. These examples are not all equally evil. Some changes are not contrary to the original Hebrew and Greek, but all the changes recorded below are indicative of the direction of unfaithfulness to the Word of God that is taking the Church by storm today. (TB)

* * *

James 3:1

NIV2011: Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

NIV1984: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.


1 Timothy 2:11-12

NIV2011: A woman[a] should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet.

FOOTNOTES:
[a] 1 Timothy 2:11 Or wife; also in verse 12
[b] 1 Timothy 2:12 Or over her husband

NIV1984: A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.


1 Cor. 6:9

NIV2011: Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a]

FOOTNOTE: [a] 1 Corinthians 6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.

NIV1984: Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders


Galatians 3:28

NIV2011: There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

NIV1984: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


Titus 1:6

NIV2011: An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 

FOOTNOTE: [b]Titus 1:6 Or children are trustworthy

NIV1984: An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.


1 Timothy 3:11

NIV2011: In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

FOOTNOTE: [c] 1 Timothy 3:11 Possibly deacons’ wives or women who are deacons.

NIV1984: In the same way, their wives[b] are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

FOOTNOTE: [b] 1 Timothy 3:11 Or way, deaconesses

 

1 Cor. 11:3

NIV2011: But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man,[a] and the head of Christ is God.

FOOTNOTES:[a] 1 Corinthians 11:3 Or of the wife is her husband

NIV1984: Now 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.

John 7:1

NIV2011: After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want[a] to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.

NIV1984: After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life.

 

Hebrews 12:7-9
NIV2011: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!

NIV1984: Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Genesis 1:26-27
NIV2011: Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 27 So God created mankind in his own image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them.

NIV1984: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth,[b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 27 So God created man in his own image,
   in the image of God he created him;
   male and female he created them.

Psalm 1
NIV2011: Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers.
 4 Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff
   that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

NIV1984: Blessed is the man
   who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
   or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
   Whatever he does prospers.
 4 Not so the wicked!
   They are like chaff
   that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
   nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
   but the way of the wicked will perish.

Revelation 22:18-19
NIV2011: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

NIV1984: I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Matthew 5:32
NIV2011: But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

NIV1984: But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

Comments

I was at the CBE meeting in 1997 just after the "Stealth Bible" controversy broke. I was in the packed lecture hall when Stan Gundry promised us the language changes would NEVER be applied to God. He lied.

Every "gender neutral" version I have checked - from that initial British revision NIV to others down to this latest NIV obliterates the christological references of Psalm 1.

I understand and agree with the concerns over gelding God's revelation to man. But even in my darkest days in the feminist deception I knew removing Christ from the Psalms was a dangerously dishonest act. That's an inadequately description, I know.

I like the 1 Tim 3:11 change (let the reader, rather than the translator, make the decision), but that's it.

Sorry, in terms of 1 Cor 6:9, I've completely missed something - what's the problem with the newer rendering? "Wrongdoer" has a wider reach than "wicked", for one thing, and the "men who have sex with men" seems to call a spade a spade as well.

But what does the French proverb mean? I'm too lazy to Google it.

I officially don't know what the french proverb says but unofficially I'm afraid that this is the idea:

Translations are like women; if they are faithful they are not beautiful. If they are beautiful they are not faithful.

Of course it is not true, as a glance at certain of our wives would show and that may be why it has not been translated by our author into the vulgar tongue.

I bet our American-African Correspondent could tell you what it really means, though, and translate the next post for you.

"Translations are like persons - when they are faithful, they are not beautiful, when they are beautiful, they are not faithful." - French proverb

Actually it's "Translations are like women..."

(I was just trying not to be phallogocentric.)

Back to the subject; GAAAAA!!!! I have enough trouble when I'm leading a Bible study and need to explain a concept like "our modern words 'servant' and 'bondservant' really do not connote the emotional impact of the word 'doulos' in the original."

And now Zondervan is wanting to load leaders down with the responsibility of telling people why this actually means.....GAAAAA.

Of course, none of this is helped by the fact that both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson are owned by a thrice married pornographer.

How many words *must* be changed between subsequent copyrights? This, too, is a slippery slope.

So true, Kamilla, but I wonder how many people are aware that Rupert Murdoch pretty much owns the Christian publishing world, with maybe one or two exceptions.

I've been using the ESV, but want to get the NASB, and even that is apparently now published by Zondervan. Ugh!

(As an aside, the ESV tries to "make nice" with egalitarianism in some places, esp. the footnotes for things like "Adelphoi", where the footnotes constantly "remind" us that the word (translated "brothers" in the text), "could" mean brothers and sisters, depending on the context. Just seeing that over and over again has become like nails on a chalkboard. Hence one reason for wanting to switch to the NASB.

Blessings,
Nancy

How about an article on the difference between the Alexandrian texts and the Byzantine texts? All the modern versions are from the textually corrupted Alexandrian family.

It seems to me that the AV is still the best bet for a faithful translation.

#13 Yes, but this provides a whole new set of issues, like having to translate 400-year old English into modern English. What is badly needed is a modern-English translation of the Byzantine text; it's only a century overdue.

Most of the older English is still perfectly understandable, but yes, there are bits that need changing. Notwithstanding these issues, the AV is still the most reliable translation, and Zondervan does not own it.

I know it's of no consequence for 99 percent of readers here, but the NKJV (while still containing a very few egalitarian flummeries) is a ~readable~ translation that maintains the stylistic resonance with the English Prayer Book (excepting the aggressively pro-egalitarian 1979 American Prayer Book, which is stylistically resonant with the NRSV).

When worshippers routinely hear and speak the Prayer Book liturgies, they are constantly reminded of the Prayer Book's massive number of allusions, paraphrases, and quotations of Holy Writ (estimated by most to be 85 percent of the Prayer Book text). Worshipers do not hear all these unless the Prayer Book liturgies are alluding to, paraphrasing, or quoting an English translation that makes this dependence on Holy Writ transparent to the worshiper.

The original English Prayer Books (1549 and afterwards) were alluding to, paraphrasing, and quoting Tyndale's work, and later the KJV (which is mostly replicates Tyndale's original translation!). Colonial versions of the English Prayer Book made amendments agreeable to the changed political relationship to Mother England, but retained both the KJV and all the allusions, paraphrases, and quotations from it in their Prayer Books.

Only in the mid-20th Century (when feminism began its triumphant conquest of the Christian West), did the KJV fall out of use in favor of feminist-friendly translations. The 1928 American Prayer Book underwent a wholesale rewrite in the same ideological and stylistic direction.

None of this, of course, matters to Broadly Evangelical American Protestantism. BEAPers revel in the multiplicity of their English versions and their participation in niche markets for Bibles. Meanwhile, Bible study leaders and pastors find themselves entangled in almost every verse of Scripture with a thicket of differing renditions staring up from the laps of their students and congregegants. Is it any wonder that so many pastors resort to bits of Scripture projected onto the wall, so that everyone can come back to the same English words from which he is attempting to preach? Looking at their Bibles in their laps cannot get everyone to that destination any longer.

The King James Version's age is actually one of its advantages. We don't have the same political issues as back then, and so aren't misled by any biases it might have. The KJV is perhaps unreliable when it comes to the role of bishops, the hot issue of the day, but nobody back then was trying to insert feminism, homosexuality, or any other kind of political correctness into the Bible.

As Nancy Wilson notes, the ESV is a pitiful attempt. I say "pitiful" literally. A group of scholars tried to revive the Revised Standard Version. Unfortunately, thought the RSV was the liberal translation of its day, now it is seen as being fundamentalist. The scholars couldn't say "Just use the RSV," because in their youth they had complained about its getting rid of the word "propitiation". So they put "propitiation" back in for the ESV, but in other ways showed they thought the RSV was not feminist enough. One should be filled with pity to see eminent scholars brought so low by cowardice.

I agree with Nancy's #12 comment. Especially since the footnote 'brothers and sisters' is sometimes even put in places where it is not valid. Some people may know which verses I am referring to.

I commend this excellent article by Michael Marlowe on the translation of 'adelphoi' ('brothers'):

http://www.bible-researcher.com/adelphos.html

He engages with Mark Strauss and Howard Marshall and makes some very enlightening points indeed. It is well worth 30 mins to read through carefully, he is a rare breed.

I "ho-hummed" through most of the examples, seeing as they were exactly what I expected from this translation. It was the Matthew 5:32 change that really made my eyes pop, though. I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I was.

Seriously, the translation that prides itself on leveling the proverbial playing field where sex is concerned doesn't see the irony of taking away the moral agency of women in divorce/remarriage? Is it just me or is this simply ludicrous. I could, of course, be completely missing the point here, but it sure seems to read that way.

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