A Response To Mark Strauss’ Evaluation Of The Colorado Springs Translation Guidelines -- By: Wayne Grudem

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 41:2 (Jun 1998)
Article: A Response To Mark Strauss’ Evaluation Of The Colorado Springs Translation Guidelines
Author: Wayne Grudem


A Response To Mark Strauss’ Evaluation
Of The Colorado Springs Translation Guidelines

Wayne Grudem*

* Wayne Grudem is professor of Biblical and theological studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015.

I am grateful for an opportunity to respond to Mark Strauss’ detailed analysis of the “Colorado Springs Guidelines for Translation of Gender-Related Language in Scripture” and my defense of those guidelines.1 His thoughtful article has caused me to reexamine the guidelines carefully and to reconsider the reasons for them.

It should be noted at the outset that the title of Strauss’ article signals more than his disagreement with the guidelines themselves. It also signals his disagreement with standard lexicons (such as BDB and BAGD) and with all the noninclusive-language translations of the Bible into English in this and previous centuries (such as the NIV, RSV, NASB and NKJV). This is because the guidelines simply summarize the recognized and established range of meanings for several male-oriented terms (such as the Hebrew and Greek terms commonly translated “man,” “father,” “son,” “brother,” and “he, him, his”) and say that the new English translations for those terms found in inclusive-language or gender-neutral Bibles are not legitimate.

In fact, several of the guidelines actually allow for more flexibility in the use of inclusive language than what is found in the most common standard English translations up to this time, including the more recent update of

the NASB (1995).2 In these areas the guidelines approve of using inclusive language when the original Hebrew or Greek text was not specifically male in its meaning and when the other kinds of inaccuracies prevented by the other guidelines were not introduced.

The disagreement, therefore, is not between those who want some changes in the direction of more inclusive language and those who want no changes at all. Nor is the disagreement between those who recognize changes in the English language and those who do not. The disagreement is rather between (1) those who want the systematic adoption of thousands of changes that conceal significant elements of meaning in the original Hebrew and Greek text that are thought to be masculine or patriarchal and (2) those who object to this procedure and say we should not go so far as to use inclusive language just to conceal masculine elements of meaning in the original text, warning that “it is inappropriate to use gender-neutral language when it diminishes accuracy in...

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