Churches Rejecting the NIV2011

According to the Christian Post, some major churches are rejecting the NIV2011. Their concern is over accuracy, and particularly “literal accuracy.”

The article cites Pastor Gregg Matte of Houston’s First Baptist Church, and Andrew Werley, pastor of Houston’s Jersey Village Baptist Church.

“I believe the TNIV or the NIV 2011 revision has drifted from what I would consider a true literal translation,” said Werley.

It appears that the most important issue for these readers is the gender language used in these translations. What interests me most is the use of “true literal translation.” The NIV itself was not a literal translation, even insofar as such translation is possible

Of course, truly literal translation is not a possibility because words do not have a one-to-one correspondence between two different languages. Thus it was common in Greek to refer to a group of men and women as adelphoi. A generation ago, the primary way of referring to such a group in American English would have been “brothers.” But today, it is common to refer to such a group as “brothers and sisters.”

So today, “brothers and sisters” is just as literal as “brothers” was a generation ago. What’s more, “brothers” is less literal, always providing one cares about how the word will be understood by the modern audience.

Unfortunately, most debates about Bible versions do not hinge on one’s understanding of language, but rather on theological points. There are those who prefer that the Bible be more male oriented than it is. For these people, the accuracy of the reference is secondary, whether they admit it or not.


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