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Monday, January 28, 2002

Fox is running this AP piece on a "Today's New International Version" of the Bible due out this spring, with more gender-neutral language. The 1978 NIV is now the standard Bible in most evangelical churches, with the New American Standard having some fans as well. The NAS leans more towards a word-for-word translation, while the NIV leans more for an idea-for-idea translation. I'm going to hold my fire on the Today's NIV until I see what they are changing. For instance, the Romans 8:15-16 comes out of the NAS, while the NIV had a "spirit of sonship" rather than a "spirit of adoption." This both gender-neuters the phrase and stresses that we are adopted children of God. I don't read Greek, but this seems to be a better translation for the point I was looking to make last night. If the original Greek or Hebrew used a gender-neutral word, translating it that way makes sense. If there are words that are gender specific that get changed in this Today's NIV, then they have stepped over a line and will have some problems on their hands. One thing to keep in mind is that tradition plays a big role in how people see new Bible versions. If you grew up reading King James, the other translations will sound funny and "unbiblical." I cut my spiritual teeth on the "old" NIV, so I will look very carefully at that this new translation does. Another issue to ponder is Harper Collins, who now owns Zondervan. Could Harper Collins execs be putting a feminist spin on the Bible to gain favor with the liberals? I'd have to see the actual text first before making that claim, but it wouldn't be the first time that a secular business screwed up after buying a Christian media outlet. Time Warner has had problems managing Word records after buying it.

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