The New NIV and Women in the Church

The New American has a good article that deals with how the revised NIV (NIV 2011) has been received in scholarly circles. One group critical of the NIV 2011 is the Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). The article observes that the Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has made several criticism of the gender inclusive language adopted by the revised NIV.

Below is an excerpt from the article:

One “significant problematic” issue the CBMW found in the NIV update was the translation committee’s decision to render 1 Timothy 2:12 to read that the apostle Paul did not permit a woman to “assume authority” over a man, rather than “have authority,” which it said was more true to the original Greek. While the translation committee explained that it had sought to retain an openness in translating such traditionally controversial passages so that either “egalitarian” or “complementarian” interpretations could be embraced, the CBMW critics charged that the change served instead to intentionally introduce “a crucial ambiguity that is not found in the original NIV.”

The Revised NIV has come under much criticism, not only because of the use of “generic plurals (them/they) in place of singular pronouns (him/he),” but also for adopting readings that do not reflect the Hebrew text. As I wrote before, I had some problems with the NIV, but it was better than the TNIV. So far, I have been disappointed with the NIV 2011, in the same way I was disappointed with the TNIV.

Claude Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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4 Responses to The New NIV and Women in the Church

  1. Regan Stoops says:

    >Dr. Mariottini, as a long time NIV user, I was hoping the new translation would be a good one. And while I'm cool with the gender changes for the most part, I don't like hearing about the problems with Hebrew text as you mentioned. So just out of curiosity, what translation do you think is most accurate?


  2. >Regan,It is difficult to select the best translation, because all of them have their strong points and all of them have their weaknesses. For the average lay person, the NIV is a good translation. Most translations today use some kind of inclusive language. I have used the old NIV in church, but I still need to do a detailed study of the NIV 2011.As a study Bible, I prefer the New Revised Standard Bible because I think it is more accurate. I still prefer the old RSV because it avoids gender inclusive language. This is the only way to know what the Hebrew and Greek say, not what the Hebrew means in a PC world.Claude Mariottini


  3. >I am a student of God's Word, in all of the available translations. I am in my 20's. All of my friends, co-workers, and relatives use the so-called "singular they" and "singular them". I have used it all my life. I and my friends grew up using this language. That is how this generation speaks English.Also, no one in my generation (at least none of my friends, relatives, or co-workers) uses the word "men" as a generic to refer to all people including women. We just simply do not use the generic "men" any longer.So, it is a very good thing that modern translations such as the new NIV (and the TNIV before it) stop using the generic "men" in 1 Timothy 2:5 and Luke 2:14.


  4. >Noble-Minded One,Thank you for your comment. I can live with inclusive language. I use it in all of my writings, in my teaching, and in my preaching. What I cannot accept is when the NIV changes the Hebrew text for doctrinal purpose or in order to hide a problem with the text.I hope you will read my post today on the Messianic promise of the Old Testament. Have a blessed Christmas and a happy New Year.


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