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Gender neutral Bible updated for 21st century

The most widely used Bible for the last 30 years was used as the foundation for a new version of the New Testament to be unveiled in 2002. The N.I.V (New International Version) has been updated for the 21st century with many changes including the addition of male/female language. The new translation is called the T.N.IV. (Today’s New International Version)

Since the advent of the King James Version of the Bible in English, the ancient book has been translated from Arabic, Greek and Hebrew into thousands of languages worldwide. Presently there are around 70 English versions of the Bible. The current revision, though, makes changes to reflect a growing desire by more liberal Christians for a gender neutral Bible.

The NIV has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide since Zondervan of Grand Rapids, Mich published it in 1978. While some may look at this newly revised Bible with apathy, others feel this Bible will cause nothing but trouble.

“The NIV is a good translation as it is,” Scott Falk, head of the Bible department on campus, said. “I don’t think it will become a very big seller. It is like the new Coke back in the ?80s. Coke tried to make a beverage more like Pepsi and called it new Coke. It didn’t sell because people were perfectly happy with the old Coke. People are perfectly happy with the NIV.”

While the NIV will still be available without the changes, many feel the TNIV will cause much controversy and create an even greater gender-neutral society.

“I really don’t think this new version of the Bible is good,” Michelle Smith, ’04, said. “I think it draws away from God making man before women. There isn’t that much difference so I hear but most of the things that are being changed seem pointless.”

While the TNIV New Testament will become available in the spring of 2002, the Old Testament should also be available in 2005.

An example of the gender change language from the 1978 version to the 2002 version in Luke 17:3 is as follows: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” (NIV); “If any brother or sister sins against you, rebuke the offender; and if they repent, forgive them.” (TNIV)

“Time will tell but we think they should do well,” Lindsay De Costa,’02, an employee at Majesty Bible bookstore, said. “It all depends on the book’s exposure and which churches incorporate the TNIV in to their service. It also depends on how well publicized it is and peoples perception on whether it they like that translation or not.”

The TNIV Bible has been written and overviewed by many members of the Committee of Bible Translation, International Bible Society and Zondervan, who also is the exclusive publisher of the NIV.

For some, there is the worry that this new edition of the Bible may take away from the book of Genesis, where man was created first and woman second.

“We have to be careful not to let society lead us but let us lead society,” Mike Whitford, lead high school pastor of The Peoples Church, said. “We need to do it in such a way that love and faithfulness is seen through us. There is a possibility that this may take away from the tradition of honor and respect for men.”

However, many Christians do not object to modernizing the Bible.

“I really don’t think the TNIV Bible is going to hurt the way people interpret God’s word,” Josh Wright, ’05, said. “There are already many translations of the Bible and if you compare them the outcome is more or less the same. I really don’t think people should stress about this new translation.”

For more information on Today’s New International Version of the Bible, visit their web site at www.tniv.com or log on to The International Bible Society’s web site at www.gospelcom.net/ibs.

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