Editorial -- By: Peter R. Schemm, Jr.

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 10:2 (Fall 2005)
Article: Editorial
Author: Peter R. Schemm, Jr.


Peter R. Schemm, Jr.

Editor, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Dean, Southeastern College at Wake Forest
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina

We offer this issue of JBMW in order to assist the reader in a charitable yet discerning critique of Today’s New International Version (TNIV). It does not appear that evangelicals will soon come to an agreement on the use of gendered language in Bible translations. Yet, as this debate continues, we hope to make substantive contributions that honor God’s Word, as well as those with whom we disagree. We are aware that other translations also deserve interaction. However, since the TNIV is a revision of the widely read NIV, we believe it demands a concentrated response.

Two mistakes ought to be avoided in this debate. First, it is not our intent to judge the motives of those on the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT). We do not pretend to know the hearts of the translators. They have stated clearly that they want to produce an accurate and faithful translation of the Scriptures.1 In and of itself, this is a commendable goal. But asking hard questions about motives is still fair play.

Second, it is naïve to think that anyone comes to the task of translating the Bible with a completely unbiased and objective posture. Even for the most skillful translators, pre-understanding and presuppositions exist. Though the members of the CBT have clearly stated some of their presuppositions, it is appropriate to evaluate whether those presuppositions do, in fact, yield an “improved representation of the Word of God.”2 Thoughtful readers will still ask,

to what degree should “many diverse and complex cultural forces”3 influence the use of the English language in translating God’s Word?

We begin with Russell Moore’s concern that individualism among evangelicals —as evidenced, in part, by the proliferation of Bibles marketed toward specific groups—overshadows the fact that the Bible belongs to the cummunity, the church. Moore argues that only in a context where evangelicals look more to parachurch ministries and publishing houses than the church could the production of the TNIV emerge. The next article, by John Mark Reynolds, responds directly to statements made by Zondervan that explain their reasons for publishing the TNIV. These statements, Reynolds shows, are based on fallacious reasoning or faulty assumptions ...

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