CHICAGO — When the new New International Version of the Bible is unveiled in 2011, don't look for androgynous vocabulary that had rankled some evangelicals. In fact, as soon as the latest version is published, the gender-neutral Today's New International Version will vanish.
"If we want to maintain the NIV as a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to and respect the vocabulary they are using today," said Keith Danby, president of Biblica.
New Testament scholar and author Bart Ehrman doubts the revision has as much to do with the evolution of the English language as the orthodox trends in evangelical thought.
"They are changing the gender-neutral language, no doubt, because their 'base' is conservative evangelical Christians who are offended by anything that appears to have a feminist agenda behind it, not because the language has changed," Ehrman said. "If it has changed, of course, it has changed toward greater gender neutrality -- except in religiously and politically conservative circles."
Original (NIV) and gender-neutral (TNIV) passages:
NIV: What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
TNIV: What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
NIV: How can you say to your brother, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
TNIV: How can you say, "Let me take the speck out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
1 Corinthians 15:21
NIV: For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
TNIV: For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a human being.