A Brief Summary of Concerns About the TNIV -- By: Wayne Grudem

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 07:2 (Fall 2002)
Article: A Brief Summary of Concerns About the TNIV
Author: Wayne Grudem


A Brief Summary of Concerns About the TNIV

Wayne Grudem

I agree with removing male-oriented words when there is no male-oriented meaning in the original Greek or Hebrew text. But when there is a male meaning, we dare not under-translate and conceal that meaning just because that emphasis is unpopular today.

The heart of the controversy is this: In hundreds of verses the TNIV translates only the general idea of a passage and omits male-oriented details. Such changes may sound more acceptable to modern culture, but details of meaning in the underlying Greek text are lost. Here are some examples:

A. Changes affecting singular “father” (Greek pater) and singular “son” (Greek huios):

NIV Hebrews 12:7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

TNIV ... what children are not disciplined by their parents?

The TNIV mistranslates the Greek terms huios (“son”) and pater (“father”), which in their singular forms do not mean “child” or “parent,” and surely not “children” or “parents.” It also obscures the parallel with God as Father in this passage.

Is it true that children are disciplined by their parents? Yes. Is that what this verse says? No. The author is using a specific male example, yet the TNIV has changed it to a generalization.

In defending this rendering for Hebrews 12:7, the TNIV web site incorrectly claims that pater in the singular means “parent.” Though the TNIV does not yet call God our “Parent,” this claim opens a wide door for calling God “Parent” in Hebrews 12:9 and elsewhere in future editions. In fact, in line with “political correctness” in language, the new BDAG Lexicon has already added “Parent” as a definition of pater when used of God the Father (with no new evidence to support this new definition, p. 787). If we accept the TNIV in 2002, we should get ready for “Our Parent in heaven...” in 2010.

B. Changes affecting singular “brother” (Greek adelphos):

NIV Luke 17:3 If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.

TNIV If any brother or sister sins against you, rebuke the offender; and if they repent, forgive them.

The TNIV inserts “or sister,” which Jesus did not say. Jesus is using a single male individual (“your brother”) a...

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