From: McKay family (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Sep 01 1997 - 01:25:37 EDT
1st September, 1997
I have been reading a critique of the inclusive language editions of the
New International Version of the Bible. It is written by Wayne Grudem and
its URL is
One of Grudem's main points is that substituting the common plural for
singular masculine pronouns, etc obscures the meaning.
He cites James 1:12: MAKARIOS ANHR hOS hUPOMENEI PEIRASMON, hOTI DOKIMOS
GENOMENOS LHMPSETAI TON STEFANON THS ZWHS hON EPHNGEILATO TOIS AGAPWSIN
The NIV inclusive version translates this thus:
Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood
the test, they will receive the crown of life...
Grudem comments '[this] suggests groups of people who endure trial, and
reward waits until "they" all have stood the test.' He goes on to say that
ANHR definitely means "man" and not "person."
The translation of 1 Corinthians 14: 28 could also lead to
misinterpretation, he says.
EAN DE MH Hi DIERMHNEUTHS, SIGATW EN EKKLHSIAi, hEAUTWi DE LALEITW KAI TWi
NIV [inclusive] renders this as:
If there is no interpreter, the speakers should keep quiet in the church
and speak to themselves and God.
Grudem points out that this translation 'can easily be understood to
encourage groups of tongue-speakers to go off together and speak in tongues
"to themselves" '
The site is hosted by a group called The Council on Biblical Manhood and
Womanhood. They are a group of conservative evangelicals who oppose the
ordination of women and the feminisation of the church.
Whether or not you agree with their other tenets, they do seem to make a
valid point here. Most modern translations use the plural to create
inclusiveness. Sometimes this results in "bad grammar"
e.g. If a person ...then they should ...
When people read their Revised English Bible or NRSV or New Living
Translation, or almost any current version with the exception of the New
American Standard Bible, they would not be aware of how the original text
was in the singular and could develop a false impression of many texts.
One solution, to keep the language "politically correct" and the meaning
clear, would be to always footnote how the original is worded.
As a high school teacher, I know I would be counselled about my sexist
language if I used the masculine singular for males and females. They don't
seem to mind if you use the feminine singular, though. [Maybe it's about
time for the women to have a turn?]
One interesting verse cited is John 11: 25, where Jesus is speaking to
Martha, but uses the generic "he."
EIPEN AUTHi hO IHSOUS, EGW EIMI hH ANASTASIS KAI hH ZWH: hO PISTEUWN EIS
EME KAN APOQANHi ZHSETAI
The NIV [inclusive] renders this as " ... those who believe in me will live
even though they die..."
Grudem comments that "the forcefulness of the promise to the individual
person is lost."
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