Part three of four parts; click here to read part two.

Grant R. Osborne: NO
Whether or not to use inclusive language in Bible translation is not a gender issue but a matter of translation theory. Those of us who believe in the use of inclusive language are not trying to force a feminist agenda on evangelicalism. Many who use inclusive language, in fact, are affiliated with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). We must be careful about attributing motives to actions.

The true question is whether formal equivalence or functional equivalence, as Bible translation theories, produces the best translation for our day. Formal equivalence (sometimes called "literal translation") believes that the original wording, grammar, and syntax should be retained so long as the resulting translation is understandable (KJV, NASB, and RSV are examples). Functional equivalence (also called "dynamic translation") believes that the text should have the same impact on the modern reader that the original had on the ancient reader. According to this approach, it is not the original terms but the meaning of the whole that is important, asking the question, "How would Isaiah or Paul say this today to get his meaning across?" (the Good News Bible and NLT are examples; NIV and NRSV are sometimes literal, sometimes dynamic). The first is a "word-for-word" translation and the second a "thought- for-thought" translation.

For instance, Matthew 5:3 in the New American Standard Bible reads, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," but the New Living Translation reads, "God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the kingdom of heaven is given to them." Functional equivalence tries to communicate the meaning ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.