In our June issue, managing editor Mark Galli promised ct readers that this issue would include "a vigorous exchange about the translation issues raised by the TNIV." The context was CTI's decision not to publish an ad that raised issues about how Today's New International Version New Testament handles gender. CTI doesn't believe that publishing negative message ads with long lists of signatories is a good way to handle intra-evangelical disagreements. But we do favor frank and irenic exchanges between parties. To that end, we asked Vern Poythress and Mark Strauss: Is the TNIV faithful in its treatment of gender?

Poythress is professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia) and author of God-Centered Biblical Interpretation. Strauss is associate professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary (San Diego) and author of Distorting Scripture? The Challenge of Bible Translation and Gender Accuracy. More detailed discussions of these issues by these writers and others appear at http://biblepacesetter.org/bibletranslation/, www.no-TNIV.com, and www.TNIV.info.

Is this new translation faithful in its treatment of gender?

Vern S. Poythress argues No.

Mark Strauss says Yes.


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A ready-to-download Bible Study on this article is available at ChristianBibleStudies.com. These unique Bible studies use articles from current issues of Christianity Today to prompt thought-provoking discussions in adult Sunday school classes or small groups.

Our TNIV Debate package also includes:

Is the TNIV faithful in its treatment of gender? NoPolitical correctness puts pressure on translators to change details of meaning.
Is the TNIV faithful in its treatment of gender? YesThe TNIV does not eliminate gender distinctions but rather clarifies them.
A Response to Vern PoythressThe TNIV preserves the original meaning.
A Response to Mark StraussThe TNIV undermines plenary inspiration.

For coverage of the TNIV debate, see these articles from Christianity Today:

Getting the TNIV Debate StraightOur policy against negative ads doesn't mean we're cutting off discussion. (June 7, 2002)
TNIV Critics Blast Scripture 'Distortions'But evangelical backers of new translation say gender changes are 'accurate.' (March 19, 2002)
Why the TNIV Draws IreNo translation is perfect, and each must be read with a careful exegetical eye. A Christianity Today editorial. (March 19, 2002)
Which Version Should We Use?What we said when the NIV was first published. A Christianity Today editorial. (March 19, 2002)
Christian History Corner: Translation WarsSharp as debate over the TNIV may be, the version's translators are getting off easy compared to John Wycliffe and William Tyndale. (March 1, 2002)
Weblog: The TNIV Battle ContinuesDobson and others launch "Kept the Faith" to accuse TNIV creators of violating their word and God's (Feb. 11, 2002)
Comparing the Three NIVsHow does the TNIV treat verses that were earlier criticized as theologically incorrect? (Jan. 31, 2002)
Weblog: Southern Baptist Leaders So Upset About TNIV That Denomination May Abandon NIV (Jan. 29, 2002)
Revised NIV Makes Its DebutTranslators alter 7 percent of the text to update style and gender issues. (Jan. 28, 2002)

The TNIV Web site offers the full New Testament text (in Adobe Acrobat format), a questions and answers section, endorsements, and other promotional material. Zondervan is also providing free copies of the translation.

Criticisms of the TNIV are available at KeptTheFaith.org and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Michael W. Holmes, professor of biblical studies and early Christianity at Bethel College writes on the TNIV in the current issue of Books & Culture, a Christianity Today sister publication.

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Christianity Today coverage of gender-inclusive Bible translation includes:

The Battle for the Inclusive BibleConflicts over "gender-neutral" versions are not really about translation issues. (Nov. 15, 1999)
Do Inclusive-Language Bibles Distort Scripture?He Said, They Said (October 27, 1997)
The Great Translation DebateThe divide over gender-inclusive Bibles hides what unites us. (Oct. 27, 1997)
Hands Off My NIV!Bible society cancels plans for 'gender-accurate' Bible after public outcry. (June 16, 1997)
Bible Translators Deny Gender AgendaFocus on the Family yanks children's Bible; NIV translator loses seminary job. (July 14, 19997)

Previous Christianity Today articles on Bible translation include:

A Translation Fit For a KingIn the beginning, the King James Version was an attempt to thwart liberty. In the end, it promoted liberty. (Oct. 22, 2001)
The Reluctant RomansAt Douai in Flanders, Catholic scholars translated the Bible into English as an alternative to the Bible of "the heretics." (Oct. 22, 2001)
We Really Do Need Another Bible TranslationAs good as many modern versions are, they often do not allow us to hear what the Holy Spirit actually said. (Oct. 19, 2001)
Old Wisdom for New TimesThe International Bible Society is doing "spiritual archaeology" and retro-publishing to reach seekers. (April 23, 2001)
And the Word Came with PicturesVisual Bible International (VBI), is producing a movie version of the Bible book for book, word for word. (March 1, 2001)
New Bible translations help to preserve world's disappearing languagesThe total number of languages in which the Bible is available in part or in its entirety now stands at 2,233. (Feb. 28, 2000)
What Bible Version Did Jesus Read?What does the knowledge that Jesus used different versions of Scripture mean for us today? (April 26, 1999)
On the Shoulders of King JamesBarclay M. Newman has kept before him a question posed by the translators of the 1611 King James Version: "What can be more [important] than to deliver God's book unto God's people in a tongue which they understand?" (Oct. 27, 1997)
Confessions of a Bible TranslatorAs a stylist on a new translation of the Bible, Daniel worries over the effectiveness of the language into which the text is translated. (Oct. 27, 1997)

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