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Sunday, November 06, 2005 

A New Politically Correct Bible? (Where Do We Draw The Line?)

I was recently alerted to a new translation of the Bible that has come out. The TNIT, or Today’s New International Translation, has done some things that have alarmed many in the Christianity, and now Hebrew theologians community. The reason: Political Correctness.

It has now purveyed even into something as time-honored and sacred as the Bible. While at first, the subject seemed like something that people may have been getting a bit to stirred up about. However, after reading several different sources of both support and criticism, I have to agree that while the changes are subtle, they are effected to change the actual meaning of certain passages.

I do not belive that this was done with ill intent, but I do believe that anyone who studies the Bible, knows that it warns repeatedly of chaning the word of God to fit ourselves, our society, our own needs, or our desires. Different translations are one thing, but different meanings are wrong. I think the CBMW (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood) expressed it best in:

Spiritual dangers in cultural pressure

We do not know what was going on in the minds of the translators. But we do have the product. And the product regularly suppresses male meanings. It regularly gives up accuracy in meaning when it has to in order to avoid generic "he" and "man" (for the race) and other patterns of thought that the politically correct elite has pronounced unacceptable.
At such points, the product is in effect bowing down to the canons of political correctness rather than to God, who speaks authoritatively in his word. Our culture is also a culture of pragmatism. Whatever works justifies itself. So if a gender-neutral Bible works in getting some people to read the Bible, we no longer worry. I am saying that we should worry. Pragmaticism has become a false god if it tells us to trim meanings off of the word of God.

The larger conflict

Larger issues are at stake. Mainstream prestige culture finds certain patterns of thought politically incorrect. It is at war with the word of God. And so the integrity of the word of God is at stake. The TNIV fails at crucial points to maintain that integrity. The rejection of the TNIV is important for the spiritual health of the people of God. I repeat the warning that Dr. Wayne Grudem and I issued at the end of our book in 2000:

The issue is therefore tied in with the doctrine of Scripture and its authority. Do we follow the Bible alone, submitting to all its teachings and nuances? Or do we trim it in order to fit in more comfortably with modern thought patterns?

While I am no Biblical scholar, I do not feel this is “right”. I invite any of you that have an opinion on this to please comment. In closing, my final though, and worry, is that this simply opens the door from more things, in which we marginalized the Word to be nothing more than a figurative “rule book”.

Visit the TNIV website to view information by the publishers and translators on the new version.