Statement By Participants In The Conference On Gender-Related Language In Scripture -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 02:3 (Jun 1997)
Article: Statement By Participants In The Conference On Gender-Related Language In Scripture
Author: Anonymous

Statement By Participants In The Conference On Gender-Related Language In Scripture

Focus On The Family’s Headquarters • Colorado Springs, Colorado • May 27, 1997

Over the past two months evangelical leaders have engaged in a serious debate concerning the use of gender-inclusive language in English Bible translation. Dr. James Dobson called a meeting of concerned individuals to discuss together and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in these matters. Those who participated in this meeting give glory to God for His grace evident among us as we worked together this day, and with hope we offer the following statement with the prayer that it will be of use to the Church for the glory of God.

All participants agree that our overarching concern in Bible translating is to preserve the sanctity of the truth of sacred Scripture by rendering the most accurate translation possible. In the interests of such accuracy, we all agree that modern language is fluid and undergoes changes in nuance that require periodic updates and revisions. We agree that Bible translations should not be influenced by illegitimate intrusions of secular culture or by political or ideological agendas. Specifically, we agree that it is inappropriate to use gender-neutral language when it diminishes accuracy in the translation of the Bible, and we therefore agree to the attached guidelines for translation of gender-related language in Scripture.

We agree there are limited times when the use of genderneutral language enhances the accuracy of translations, but that the trend in usage of gender-inclusive language can easily become—and because of overuse, in too many cases, already has become—an instrument of distortion of the Biblical text. We agree that many of the translation decisions made by those who produced Hodder and Stoughton’s New International Version Inclusive Language Edition in the United Kingdom were not the wisest choices. Further, the statement in the Preface saying “it is often appropriate to mute the patriarchalism of the culture of the biblical writers through gender-inclusive language” (Preface to the NIVI, vii) was regrettable and sadly misleading.

We agree that it was also regrettable that the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV), released also as The Kid’s Devotional Bible, was released with a Preface which did not explicitly notify parents that gender-related changes were made in this version. We commend Zondervan for offering to refund the purchase price of any NIrV’s to anyone who makes a request. We agree that families that wish to be reimbursed for the cost of The Kid’s Devotional Bible (NIrV) should also be granted a refund.

Focus on the Family was distressed to learn that its own Adventures in Odyssey Bible, the Int...

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