NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/The Blaze) — There's a new translation of the world's most popular Bible: the New International Version, or NIV. It has been criticized by some conservatives who don't like its use of gender-neutral language, arguing altering the text may affect its theological message.
The new version does not change the pronouns referring to God, who remains "He" and "the Father." But it does aim to avoid using "he" or "him" as the default reference to an unspecified person.
In one example of the altered text, Mark 1:17 in the NIV Bible reads: "'Come, follow me,' Jesus said, 'and I will send you out to fish for people.'" The NIV Bible uses "people" instead of the traditional term "men."
In the old translation, John the Evangelist declares: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar." The new politically correct translation makes it "brother or sister."
In other cases, the text supplements "whoever" for "he."
The NIV Bible is used by many of the largest Protestant faiths. The NIV Bible's translation comes from an independent group of biblical scholars that has been meeting yearly since 1965 to discuss advances in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage.
The NIV's 2011 translation does not change pronouns referring to God, who remains "He" and "the Father." But it does aim to avoid using "he" or "him" as the default reference to an unspecified person.
The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has tracked the NIV's changes over the years and has declined endorsement for this year's edition:
NIV(1984) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
TNIV(2005) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.
NIV(2011) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
"Our prayer is that evangelicals will continue to be very discerning with regard to the Bibles that they purchase and will utilize those translations that are the most accurate," the CBMW says. (Click here to see the group's extensive review of the 2011 NIV)
Gender identifiers are not the only words changed in the new translation. In another example, as noted by KTBC in Austin, a passage about Jesus' mother Mary now refers to her as "a young woman" instead of "virgin."
The Southern Baptist Convention has yet to comment on the 2011 NIV Bible, but it's expected to reject the new translation as it did the 2005 version. The nation's largest Protestant denomination still sells the 1984 translation in its bookstores. If it chooses to condemn the new version, the announcement will likely come at its national convention in June.
In the meantime, the publisher says the NIV 2011 will replace both the 1984 and 2005 versions.