The Inclusive NIV Situation Reflections A Year Later -- By: David M. Scholer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 11:4 (Fall 1997)
Article: The Inclusive NIV Situation Reflections A Year Later
Author: David M. Scholer


The Inclusive NIV Situation Reflections A Year Later

David M. Scholer

David M. Scholer, Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean of the Center for Advanced Theological Studies, School of Theology, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, is a long time and active member of CBE. He has taught, lectured and published on women in the New Testament for over a quarter century.

A year ago in this journal I wrote: “We should be thankful for the NIV Inclusive Language Edition.... This translation is... a blessing for and a gift to the Church and its ministry.... We should also pray and lend our support for the appearance and ready availability of this edition of the NIV in the U.S. as soon as possible.”1

I am still thankful—more thankful than I knew—both for the work of the NIV Committee on Translation and for the publication of the NIV Inclusive Language Edition (NIVI) by Hodder & Stoughton in the U.K. The NIVI remains a gift to the Church.

I was so pleased to receive a letter in January 1997, in direct response to my Priscilla Papers article, from Lars B. Dunberg, President of the International Bible Society [IBS], which holds the copyright for the NIV and the NIVI. Lars Dunberg said in his letter: “Zondervan and IBS will publish an inclusive version of the NIV in the American market.” He went on to say that it was still being debated when to publish this version, but that it would be by the year 2000.2 This was indeed good news.

The good news did not last. The tragic story of disappointing events that led to the May 27, 1997 news release from the International Bible Society, which reversed Lars Dunberg’s promise and cancelled the planned U.S. publication of the work of the Committee on Bible Translation, is relatively well-known. The IBS, the release stated, “...announced today that it will forego all plans to develop a revised edition of the NIV... IBS has abandoned all plans for gender-related changes in future editions of the New International Version (NIV).” Although not all the events can be detailed here, it should be noted that the magazine World, beginning with its March 29, 1997 issue, which called the NIVI “the Stealth Bible,” led a critique of this translation, calling it “gender neutral.” Eventually, there was a meeting of various persons and groups at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This included leaders from World magazine, Focus on the Family, and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, among others. This group, made up of persons who, with virtual unanimity, oppose the equal partnership of men and women in all activi...

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