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   In Defense of Traditional Bible Texts

"The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever."
. . . Psalm 12:6-7 . . .

The Spiritually Intriguing TNIV

Mark Reno

Member of the DBS Advisory Council

Given at the DBS Meeting, July 2005

One evening earlier this year, I went online to check my email, glancing quickly at the news to see if there were any significant political, economic, or sporting blurbs to catch my eye. I had no idea that a small article in the religious section would ultimately pique my curiousity and provide me with material that I hope to share with you tonight. The Headline said "Rolling Stone Magazine rejects Bible Ad". Now, let me say that I know very little about the magazine save that it is widely considered the bible of the rock and roll culture for young adults. After looking into the article, I learned that Zondervan publishing was attempting to advertise their newest version of the Bible, The TNIV or Today's New International Version. The ad ultimately did run after Rolling Stone magazine took flack from critics for not allowing "spiritual material" to be placed. The ad, run in February did not mention the Name of God but did refer to the TNIV's slogan "Timeless truth: today's language."

In the article Zondervan's president of Bible publishing Paul Caminiti is quoted as saying,

"We believe that the Bible is relevant for rolling Stone readers, We've always believed that they were a cornerstone in our campaign to squarely market to spiritually intrigued 18-34 year old young people, many of whom live outside the embrace of the church."

The news release also stated that other media outlets that will carry the TNIV advertising campaign include Modern Bride, The Onion, and Mtv. com. Being a member of the catered to group of 18-34 year olds, I was skeptical at the choice of outlets for the advertising campaign. We will see that this should not be a shock as Zondervan is not prone to take the moral high road, starting at the ownership.

At Dr. Waite's recommendation, I chose this topic for my brief presentation to you this evening. He was gracious enough to refer me to his book- NI-Vile, a most helpful look into the TNIV, a seeming spin off from the NIV Inclusive Language edition, that was released in Great Britain.

Purpose and Plan of the TNIV

I have already mentioned one of the many reasons that the TNIV was brought about. It seems that there is a drive to appeal to "sprititually intrigued" young adults, those being 18-34 years old, that is. Being the S. School superintendent of my church, this immediately brought questions to my mind. Would this be a version that would supposedly apply to others outside my privileged age range, our would I be out of luck should I need it to teach my middle school class or help with a question some more mature adult would have? I was curious to know the logic behind appealing to my peers and went to look at Zondervan's website to see what information they might have. I went to the section on Bible Translations and was greeted with a line graph, displaying the modern versions of the Bible on various places on the line. The left side being labeled Word-for word, and the right side was labeled, Thought for thought. For sake of illustration, we will say that the extreme left (word for word) would be a number 1, while the extreme right (thought for thought) would be a 10. The Kjv, resided about a 2, with the interlinear being the most extreme left while the TNIV and it's parent translation the Niv being snuggly suited right at the 5 mark, making it a happy medium for those who wish for literal translation and/or dynamically equivalent translation.

Moving forward, the website had a helpful evaluation for the versions that the company sells. I went to compare three: the KJV, the Niv, and the TNIV. The reading levels for the three were given as 12.00, 7.8 and n/a, respectively. The readability for the King James was given as difficult to read.........traditionally loved and accepted by all Christians.... timeless treasure. The Niv's readability was mentioned as "highly accurate and smooth reading version in modern english...... Most read, most trusted." The TNIV's readablity was " A highly readable, accurate translation written in Modern english.... the classic translation in today's language,,,,,, combines uncompromising accuracy with the clarity of contemporary language."

Another motive for the Tniv is to make it more gender inclusive, as if the KJV is ignoring the fairer gender, or leaving them out of precious passages of Scripture. In the book NIVile, the Associated Press is quoted as saying "The International Bible Society said Monday that America's best selling modern Bible is about to get an update using gender Nuetral wording despite past criticism of that idea from conservatives." Even World magazine had an article by Susan Olasky in 1997, just after the threat of this version was made known to the public. It was labeled "The feminist seduction of the Evangelicals". This supposed helpfulness helps to skew the meaning of 1 Timothy 3:11. Where the passage is referring to the wives of deacons, the TNiv is quoted as saying only 11 In the same way, the women a are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. It appears that this allows for women deacons and makes me wonder where this trend will stop. By changing the qualifications for spiritual leadership, the translators go from trying to achieve gender inclusiveness to Biblical homicide.

Various Erroneous Changes in the TNIV

These changes start in Genesis 1:26 where the Bible says 26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." The TNIV changes it to "God created Human beings". This same chanage occurs in verse 27 and in chapter 5 verse 2, Adam is changed to human beings. Exodus 35:35 and Exodus 38:23 change workman to engravers. Numbers 31:28 changes men of war to soldiers. I guess the United States military practices are now affecting the judgement of supposed Bible translators. Psalms 1:1 changes from 1 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." to 1 "Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,"

Matthew 4:4 and 4:18 change men and man to Men and women. In John 3:1 the word man to describe Nicodemus is simply removed. Later in the passage, the places where it refers to man being born again, you will find that the passages are chaneged to "anyone" or "no-one." While this may not seem highly significant, keep in mind that those that released the NIV in 1978 stated that they had no intention of revising it. After several revisions and a completely different translation, I wonder just when they will be satisfied. 1 Corinthians 15:21 says "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." but the TNIV states 21 "For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being." This almost makes you wonder if there is going to be a time where the Lord's prayer starts off with "our parent". So it was with great skepticism that I read the following paragraph in the introduction to the TNIV, found in a version, easily downloaded.

"From the beginning the translators have been united in their commitment to the authority and infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form. For them, the Bible contains the divine answer to the deepest needs of humanity, sheds unique light on our path in a dark world and sets forth the way to our eternal well-being. Out of this deep conviction, the Committee has held to certain goals for the NIV and for the present revision: that it would be an accurate translation and one that would have clarity and literary quality and so prove suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing and liturgical use. The Committee has also sought to preserve a measure of continuity with the long tradition of translating the Scriptures into English."

By this time I had had enough of the purpose for making this enlightening translation and started to look into the background of those producing the Tniv. I again referenced Zondervan themselves and Dr. Waite's book.

The introduction to the TNIV references the Committee for Bible translation as the self- governing body of people designated to produce this work. Upon further examination I found that the members came from multiple countries such as The United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. I have no problem with this international flavor as it would prevent a patriotic bias that might prevent accurate translation. However, I do have a serious issue with the denominational spectrum used to produce something deemed by some to be God's word. The following denominations had representation on the Committee. Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Evangelical Covenant, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Wesleyan. The reason quoted was to prevent sectarian bias. I would think that this would promote confusion as I cannot see how these denominations could possibly agree on the fundamental beliefs of the Scriptures.

2Co 6:17 "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." I can't agree that the CBT followed this verse. Furthermore, look at the owners of the copyright, and the publisher. Zondervan publishing. Rupert Murdoch, owner of Harper Collins, controls Zondervan by way of ownership. I will try to state this delicately but accurately. Rupert Murdoch has published other material that would hardly be considered religious at all, including pornographic magazines and 2 books, titled Making Out and The Book of Lesbian Sex and Sexuality. My mind frankly wonders if the latter title may have something to do with the demasculinization of the TNIV. Could the feminist agenda that would push for abominable materials such as the previous titles be actively involved in not only condoning but promoting immorality in the translation we now have in our bookstores? The answer if not abundantly clear to you yet should become clearer momentarily. 1Co 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind." This verse is changed to 9 "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals." Gone is the reference to those who are effeminate. And now those who abuse themselves with mankind are narrowed down to "practicing homosexuals". I suppose that would be relevant to man's definition of "practicing," instead of the objective statement. Romans Chapter 1 has some very strong things to say about those that are Homosexual, those who are an abomination to God, like Sodom and Gamorrah. 26 "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. "

To make this accurate to today's modern permissive mindset, the TNIV states 26 "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust

for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done."

Dr. Waite could tell us how one of the NIV's translators Virginia Mollenkott was an open lesbian, and how this created issues for Bob Jones University. In the magazine Witness, she states clearly that her Lesbianism has always been a part of her, while the translation staff tries to contend that her immorality wasn't known and wouldn't have affected her judgement anyway. I must say that Romans 1:28 says that she has been given over to a reprobate mind. As concerned Christians, we should be concerned. It is apparent that there is a definite influence towards the outright feminist movement in the TNIV, that stemmed from the parent translation the NIV.

Lastly, but definitely not least is treatment of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. 1Timothy 3:16 is a dear and precious passage to believers everywhere. For in it we find that Jesus came to earth and took on him the body of a man, let me read it for you. 16 "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." The TNIV plainly says of the truth. 16 "Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory."

I was horrified to see that Jesus was not taking on the body of a man. Also every person appears in a body, but is not manifest in the flesh. The TNIV website states that "without exception, the TNIV retains gender accurate, masculine terminology for references to God."

Looking at one last passage, lets review Philipians 2:5-8 The King James Version plainly says 5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

The TNIV states: 5 "In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: 6 Who, being in very nature d God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature e of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross." "Jesus being equal with God" is being referred to as "did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; " There is a difference between stating that Jesus was equal to God, and stating that equality with God wasn't somthing to be used to his advantage. Also, instead of Jesus being in fashion as a man, we now have him as a "human being."


Friends, I fear that the proverbial camel has more than his nose in the tent. If we do not cry out strongly against the de-masculinization of God Almighty and stand strong for separation, we might find ourselves further inundated with continual moral issues, including the immorality known as Sodomy. Also, by using the guise of modern language, we are setting precedents for continual revision and allowing for modern tendencies and human trends to affect what people consider God's word. One last verse for you to consider. I state this as a spiritually intrigued 23 year old. Jer 6:16 "Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein."

Will you be one who will continue to ask for the "old paths"?

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