Great Stuff Found on the Web — Cyberbrethren on “Why the New NIV is Bad News for Lutherans”

Thanks to Paul McCain over on Cyberbrethren for this informative post about the new NIV:


You may have heard, or if you haven’t heard, you should know, that Zondervan has released a new version of the New International Version. For lack of any other name, it is referred to in most circles as NIV 2011. Simply put, this translation is not appropriate for use by confessional Lutherans because it imposes a theological and cultural agenda that is alien to that of God’s Word. It does so through the use of “gender neutrality” in how it translates God’s Word. I frankly am glad that this new translation affords us the chance to move away from a translation that has been insufficient since it was first released, and now, in light of the fact that Zondervan corporation, the publisher of the NIV, is owned by Ruppert Murdoch’s media empire, the sooner we can stop putting money into one of the world’s largest purveyors of pornography, the better. I’m surprised some conf

We here at CPH reviewed carefully the text of the NIV 2011 and are particularly disturbed by the subtle, but highly significant, ways it changes the wording of key texts referring to men and women and their proper relationship and roles in the Church. These changes open wide the door that laypeople will be misled into thinking that women clergy are appropriate.

In the past couple years, I’ve published a number of blog articles on this issue, and I thought it time to bring them back and gather them in one place to make it more convenient for you to read them. Here they are, you can either link to them, or you can read the full article in this blog post by following the “read more” button:

Major Evangelical Organization Says It Can Not Endorse NIV 2011

NIV 2011: Proceed With Caution

Updating the New International Version: Translator’s Notes [revealing the agenda driving this translation]

Why We Must Avoid Gender Neutrality Like the Plague

God Inspired Metaphors: Another Key Problem with NIV 2011


Is the NIV Really Easier to Understand than the ESV?

Why Has The LCMS Adopted the ESV as Its Translation of Choice?

I’ve posted the articles mentioned above, in the extended entry of this post. Click read more to…read more!

Major Evangelical Organization Says It Can Not Endorse NIV 2011

More bad news for the 2011 NIV…and more reason for those using the NIV to move away from it. My recommendation remains that the English Standard Version be the translation of choice for Lutherans. After extensive research and study by the top Biblical scholars, seminary professors, and members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Commission on Worship, a number of years ago, the ESV was recommended for us in all Missouri Synod worship materials and the recommendation was overwhelmingly adopted by the Missouri Synod several conventions ago. Here’s the news story, from Baptist Press:

Major group says it cannot endorse NIV 2011 Bible

Posted on Nov 22, 2010 | by Michael Foust

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A major evangelical organization which supports a complementarian position on manhood and womanhood says the newest translation of the NIV Bible is a significant improvement over its predecessor, the TNIV, although the group says it still cannot endorse it because it contains many of the same problems.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) released a statement Nov. 19 stating that the NIV 2011 has many of the same flaws that prevented the TNIV from gaining in popularity among the evangelical community. CBMW, though, did applaud the translators for the “openness and honesty” of the translation process.

The older translation of the NIV — now called the NIV 1984 version — is being phased out and eventually won’t be published, its publisher, Zondervan, has said. The NIV 2011 will be in print next year and currently is available only online. ( hosts it and many other translations.)

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is an organization that believes men and women are equal but have different and complementary roles in the home and in the church. The CBMW withheld an endorsement of the TNIV in 2002 due to gender-neutral language, some of which the group said changed the theological direction and meaning of the text. The NIV 2011, as it is being called, maintains some of the TNIV language and some of the NIV 1984 language, and in some passages splits the difference.

“[T]hough we are genuinely thankful for the many positive changes in the new NIV (2011), and though we are deeply appreciative of the very different process by which our friends at the CBT [Committee on Bible Translation] and Zondervan pursued and unveiled this new version, we still cannot commend the new NIV (2011) for most of the same reasons we could not commend the TNIV,” the statement read. “Our initial analysis shows that the new NIV (2011) retains many of the problems that were present in the TNIV, on which it is based, especially with regard to the over 3,600 gender-related problems we previously identified. In spite of the many good changes made, our initial analysis reveals that a large percentage of our initial concerns still remain.”

CBMW began its statement by saying the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) — which translated the NIV 2011 — “made some significant improvements in various areas” over the TNIV.

“For instance, in many passages ‘man’ and ‘mankind’ replace a gender-neutral equivalent, resulting in greater accuracy in translating the Hebrew or Greek text,” the CBMW statement read. “This is also true in many cases for the words, ‘he,’ ‘him,’ ‘his,’ ‘brother,’ ‘father,’ and ‘son.’ In numerous passages that now contain these words, the CBT revised many of the most egregious passages that concerned us previously.”

In some passages, the NIV 2011 uses the phrase “that person” instead of a specific pronoun. CBMW said such a rendering can make for an awkward sentence, such as in Revelation 3:20: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” The “they” in the passage actually is a “singular they.” The NIV 1984 read: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” The TNIV translated the latter part of the passage as “I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.”

In a statement, the Committee on Bible Translation said a “singular they” rendering is the “most common way that English-language speakers and writers today refer back to singular antecedents.”

The CBMW said the translators’ “desire to avoid the use of a generic ‘him’ has led to the use of a more distant-sounding ‘that person.’” The rendering, the statement said, “has a very cold, impersonal feel” and will leave pastors and teachers “with the task of explaining the difference between a singular and plural ‘they.’”

But more significant problems remain, CBMW said. A significant portion of the group’s statement focused on the NIV 2011’s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.” It is identical to the TNIV translation. The NIV 1984 translated it as “have authority.”

The question is whether “assume authority” has a different meaning than “have authority.”

It is one of the most-debated passages between those in the complementarian camp and those who hold to an egalitarian position (which asserts that male and female roles in the home and church are interchangeable). Christians for Biblical Equality, an egalitarian group, has articles on its website arguing the NIV 1984’s “have authority” rendering is not the best translation.

CBMW said the NIV 2011 is “out on a limb” against other major translations, including the often-criticized NRSV, which also uses “have authority.”

“The new NIV (2011)’s translation … designedly lends itself to a common current egalitarian misinterpretation of this passage (i.e., that Paul is only addressing the case of women illegitimately ‘assuming’ authority, rather than prohibiting women from having/exercising authority as teacher/shepherds of the church),” the CBMW statement read.

The NIV 2011’s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 has been a major source of scholarly debate at, which is hosting a “Perspectives in Translation” forum regarding the new NIV. Denny Burk, dean of Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., has written articles criticizing the verse’s translation, while Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation, and Craig Blomberg, a committee member, have defended it.

“I can tell you authoritatively that we did NOT choose this rendering to tip the scales one way or the other,” Blomberg wrote. “Whether you are a complementarian or an egalitarian, you have some view of what Paul thinks women should not do here, in terms of exercising authority. When they violate that, whatever it is, they inappropriately assume authority. That’s all we were saying.”

Moo wrote, “[T]he translators believed that ‘assume authority’ could be taken in either direction. We often use this phrase in a neutral way (e.g., ‘When will the new President assume authority’?). … [I]t is our intent to provide a translation that is faithful to the text, bowing to no particular theological agenda.”

Burk said “one cannot underestimate” the importance of 1 Timothy 2:12 “in the intra-evangelical debate over gender roles and women in ministry.”

“Complementarians argue that Paul prohibits women from doing two things — teaching Christian doctrine to and exercising authority over the gathered church,” Burk wrote. “Egalitarians argue that Paul prohibits women from doing one thing — a certain kind of teaching. They argue that there is no gender-based authority structure indicated in this text but that Paul means to prohibit women from ‘teaching with authority,’ from ‘teaching in a domineering way’ or from ‘teaching false doctrine.’ In their view, Paul doesn’t prohibit all teaching by women over men, but only a certain kind of teaching.”

Even before the NIV 2011 was released, some egalitarians were arguing for a translation of “assume authority,” Burk said.
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press. Read the CBMW statement at Read the discussion on 1 Timothy 2:12 at Read the translators’ initial statement on the NIV 2011 at


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