Elders Resolution Regarding the Updated New International Version (2011) for GBC, Richmond

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1 1 Elders Resolution Regarding the Updated New International Version (2011) for GBC, Richmond Issue: The NIV has been an approved translation for use in the various ministries at Grace Bible Church. However, have the changes made to the NIV compromised its faithfulness to the original texts (i.e., the Scriptures) to such a degree that it should not be used for the ministries at GBC any longer? Background: Zondervan recently updated their widely-used NIV Bible translation, originally done in The NIV translation committee opted to change the NIV84 to move towards a more genderneutral translation with their latest update, the NIV2011. Zondervan will no longer be publishing the NIV84, as the NIV2011 will entirely replace the older version. In the near future, one will not be able to purchase an NIV with the original 1984 text. The Elders Resolution: The Elders have considered and accepted the proposal to remove the NIV from the list of accepted Bible translations to be used in the teaching ministries at Grace Bible Church. Two faults above all others recommend the removal of the NIV from our list of accepted Bibles for use in ministry at GBC. First, the new NIV s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is linguistically, grammatically, and theologically unjustifiable as it actually contradicts Paul s actual meaning (for further discussion see pages 4-6 of this document). Second, the consistent use of gender-neutral pronouns ( they/them/their ) for a singular antecedent actually heightens the potential for misunderstanding, misapplication, and misinterpretation of Scripture texts (for more detail see pages 10, and 13-15). The NIV is still a faithful and quality translation and should not be disregarded entirely. That is, members, believers, and all English-reading Christians would surely benefit from reading the Word of God through the NIV translation. However, the changes to the NIV necessitate that the Elders remove the NIV from the endorsed translations used for teaching at Grace Bible Church in order to correctly handle the word of truth most faithfully. The NIV published prior to 2011 was an acceptable translation for use in the various teaching ministries at Grace Bible Church. Since the old version of the NIV is no longer available, we will transition ourselves away from the NIV altogether. As we transition we commend the use of the old NIV but we are also asking all our various teachers to investigate and, within a year, to adopt one of the approved Bible translations when teaching publically for GBC. Page 1 of 15

2 2 In May of 2012 Rick Zaman researched the changes to the NIV2011 from the NIV84. The outline below represents the results of Rick s research and investigation which ultimately led to the suggestion and resolution to remove the NIV2011 from our accepted Bible translations for teaching at GBC. The first section of the following report provides an outline that summarizes the NIV translators reasons of updating the NIV. The second section outlines the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood s (CBMW) evaluation on the NIV2011. Rick also provides his analysis to CBMW s assessment and his critique is indicated by brackets and red font. In the third section Rick analyzes the NIV2011 s translation of John 3 to give particular attention to the new NIV s use of gender-neutral pronoun they ( them / their ) for a singular antecedent. Outline: I. Justification for the New Translation from the NIV Committee II. Concerns from Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with Rick s Response III. Brief Analysis of John 3 in the NIV2011 I. Justification for the New Translation from the NIV Committee 1 a. First, it s important to stress that about 95% of the text of the updated NIV is exactly the same as the 1984 text it replaces. b. Reasons for Changes i. Changes in English usage (i.e., alien, overweening) ii. Progress in Scholarship (Luke 2:7, kataluma refers to a guestroom, not inn; Mark 15:27 refers to rebels not robbers ) iii. Concern for Clarity (1 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 4:13) c. Inclusive Language i. Nowhere in the updated NIV is there even the remotest hint of any inclusive language for God. The revisions solely surround inclusive language for mankind. ii. The gender-neutral pronoun they ( them / their ) is by far the most common way that English-language speakers and writers today refer back to singular antecedents such as whoever, anyone, somebody, a person, no one, and the like. iii. English speakers around the world are using a variety of terms to refer to men and women together and for the human race collectively. iv. Forefather has all but disappeared from the English language as a generic term, being replaced by ancestor. v. Inclusive Language Guidelines 1. Using plurals instead of singulars to deal with generic forms was avoided. 2. Using second person forms instead of third person forms to deal with generics was avoided. 1 The outline and excerpts are taken from the following document prepared by the NIV translation committee: Page 2 of 15

3 3 II. 3. Singular they, them and their forms were widely used to communicate the generic significance of pronouns and their equivalents when a singular form had already been used for the antecedent. 4. People and humans (and human beings ) were widely used for Greek and Hebrew masculine forms referring to both men and women. A variety of words humanity, human race, man, mankind were used to refer to human beings collectively. 5. Ancestors was regularly preferred to forefathers unless a specific, limited reference to the patriarchs or to another all-male group is intended. 6. Brothers and sisters was frequently used to translate adelphoi in the New Testament, especially in the vocative, when it was clear that both genders were in view. d. Other Improvements i. Saints often becomes God s people, the Lord s people, the Lord s holy people and the like. ii. Certain uses of Christ are now Messiah. iii. More uses of spirit and related forms, especially in Paul s letters, are now capitalized. iv. Some occurrences of Jews, especially in John have become Jewish leaders or something similar. v. Most occurrences of sinful nature have become flesh. vi. Translations that leave open important scholarly options have often been chosen (cf. Romans 1:17). vii. There aren t nearly as man O s but a number of additional for s. Concerns/Response from Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 2 [Rick Zaman s Response in brackets and red font] a. Many Welcome Improvements in the 2011 NIV i. The Process very forthright ii. Many Noteworthy Improvements 1. Sarx with flesh instead sinful nature (cf. Rom 8:4) 2. Righteousness from God has become righteousness of God (cf. Rom. 1:17) 3. Observing the law becomes works of the law (See Rom 3:20, 28) iii. Some Improvements in Gender Language b. Statistical Summary: 75% of Inaccurate Gender Language Translations from the TNIV Are Retained in the 2011 NIV 2 The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood s analysis of the new NIV can be found at the following link: Page 3 of 15

4 4 c. Examples of Specific Changes from the 1984 NIV to 2011 NIV i. The 2011 NIV adopts feminist-leaning translations in several key verses dealing with women s role in the church Timothy 2:12: a. NIV84: I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. b. NIV11 3 : I do not permit a woman to teach or to have assume authority over a man; she must be silent quiet. c. [The CBMW s criticism of the new NIV translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is worth quoting at some length: Evangelical feminists will love this translation because in one stroke it removes the Bible s main barrier to women pastors and elders. As soon as a church adopts the 2011 NIV, the debate over women s roles in that church will be over, because women pastors and elders can just say, I m not assuming authority on my own initiative; it was given to me by the other pastors and elders [or could they say the Holy Spirit?]. There any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to assume authority. Whether [ assume authority ] is understood in a negative way or positive way, the focus of the verse is now on prohibiting a selfinitiated action, taking it on oneself to assume authority over men. And so feminists will now quickly say that they are not assuming authority on their own initiative they are just accepting it because others entrusted it to them. In any local church that uses this new NIV, no one will be able to answer their argument from this Bible. This verse alone in the 2011 NIV gives evangelical feminists the most important advance for their cause in the last thirty years. But the translation is simply incorrect, as many writers have demonstrated in extensive scholarly discussion elsewhere [see especially Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15, ed. Andreas Köstenberger, Thomas Schreiner, and H. Scott Baldwin (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1995)], and as all other modern English translations agree: Even the gender-neutral NRSV translates authenteo have authority here along with the NIV, NLT, RSV, Holman CSB, and NKJV, while the NASB, NET Bible, and ESV similarly translate it as exercise authority. Thus, the NIV is out on a limb here over against the other main modern English 3 Strikethroughs are used to more quickly represent the changes between the NIV84 and NIV11. One can find all the changes and a complete comparison between the NIV84, TNIV, and the NIV11 at the following website: Page 4 of 15

5 5 translations The verb authenteo here means exercise authority or have authority, not assume authority. The mistaken NIV translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 we find to be particularly unfortunate, because it might well constitute the single reason why churches decide no longer to use the NIV Bible, since apparently it will now be available only in this new 2011 edition and the 1984 NIV will be discontinued (pp. 6-7). d. [Irrespective of the NIV translators intentions, the new translation of 1 Timothy 2:12 with assume authority is linguistically, grammatically, and theologically unjustifiable. By their new wording the NIV translators have allowed for an interpretation that directly contradicts Paul s actual meaning. The translation of this verse bears particular weight as the elders consider the NIV s continued acceptable usage for the teaching ministries at Grace Bible Church because 1 Timothy 2:12 comments on the church s policy and authority for its leaders. That is, if 1 Timothy 2:12 only somehow applied to individual Christians and not to one s relationship and role in the church, then perhaps church leaders could overlook the error as simply an unfortunate and eccentric translation. But, this is not the case. First Timothy 2:12 establishes most clearly the authority structure between the sexes in the church. The translation assume authority wrongfully and unjustifiably weakens the Christordained role of men s authority in the church.] 2. Romans 16:7 a. NIV84: Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. b. NIV11: Greet Andronicus and Junias Junia, my relatives fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. c. [In contrast to 1 Timothy 2:12, the new NIV s translation of Romans 16:7 can be substantiated lexically and grammatically. Two issues impact the meaning and significance of this verse. First, does the name Iounian refer to a male or a female? NIV84 took the name to refer to a male and translated/transliterated it as Junias. However, the NIV2011 changed the name to the feminine form Junia. This change is substantiated by the current lexical studies. If Iounian ever refers to a male, Romans 16:7 would be the only known place in Greek literature (see BDAG, p.480). This is, at least in part, why three recent translations have also translated the name in its feminine form (ESV, NET, and HCSB [interestingly, the HCSB2003 Page 5 of 15

6 6 ii. version translates the entire verse similarly to the NIV2011]). Second, should the phrase translated They are outstanding among the apostles (hoitines eisin episemoi en tois apostolois) actually be translated something like the ESV s They are well known to the apostles? Both options are grammatically permissible with the NIV s translation being, perhaps, more common with the NT s usage in similar grammatical constructions. In each of their respective commentaries on Romans, Douglas Moo (chair of the NIV translation) and Thomas Schreiner (who has written numerous articles against evangelical feminist interpretations) both interpret Romans 16:7 essentially as it is translated by the NIV2011. However, each of them understands apostle in this passage to refer not to a technical term of similar status to the Twelve, but to more generic term similar to our term missionary. In summary then, the new NIV translation of Romans 16:7 is entirely warranted and they make the reader aware of the other common interpretation in a footnote.] 3. 1 Corinthians 14:33-34 a. NIV84: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. [Paragraph Break] As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. b. NIV11: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace as in all the congregations of the saints Lord s people. [Paragraph Break] Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. c. [Some commentators understand the paragraph break to be where the new NIV has placed it. However, the majority of commentators structure the text as the NIV84 and this division of text accords nicely with the use of the word churches in both verses 33 and 34 and with the word hos ( as ) beginning a new phrase in the middle of verse 33 (cf. 1 Cor 4:18). Though they opt for a minority interpretation, the new NIV puts the more common translation in a footnote. Nevertheless, the CBMW warn, But what people read in a translation are the words in the Bible text itself, far more than the footnotes (p. 9).] Making Phoebe a deacon in Romans 16:1 will be of concern to churches where male deacons have a governing role over the church (cf. Rom 16:1). 1. NIV84: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchrea. Page 6 of 15

7 7 iii. 2. NIV11: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant deacon of the church in Cenchrea Cenchreae. 3. [Both translations are faithful representations to a certain interpretation of dia,konoj (diakonos) in this verse. Furthermore, there is good reason to consider diakonos here to refer to an officer of the church as the word is tied with the word church (though this does not have to be the interpretation). Either way, the example of elders and deacons in the pastorals and Acts 6 does not commend a governing authority to deacons, male or female. An errant paradigm of church authority (i.e., ruling deacons) should not be used to discount the faithfulness to this translation. Both the New Living Translation (NLT) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translate diakonos deacon. The NIV s move is not unprecedented in Bible translation.] The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes father to parent or something else 1. Proverbs 15:5 a. NIV84: A fool spurns his father s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. b. NIV11: A fool spurns his father a parent s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence. c. [The CBMW document alleges that the new NIV translators were unwilling to translate the word with the clear, simple English equivalent father, apparently because in today s culture it is unpopular to use an example of an individual father to teach a general truth that applies to all parents (p.10). I doubt this is how the NIV translators see themselves and there is a more empathetic perspective to understand this. The NIV translators, I presume, desire to communicate the meaning most clearly to the reader. Hence, they perhaps considered the old translation to limit the actual intention of the verse s meaning. What was the intention of the Proverb s writer? Does not Proverbs 15:5 apply to mothers as well? Does the generic father properly communicate to modern English readers the more broad application of the text s principle? Addressing this question, the NIV translator would say No. That is, the intent of the verse would be wrongly limited by most modern English readers. Both the NLT and NRSV translate it parent as well. The NIV s move is not unprecedented in Bible translation.] 2. 1 Samuel 18:2 a. NIV84: From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father s house. b. NIV11: From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his father s house family. Page 7 of 15

8 8 c. [The CBMW document contends that The new expressions remove any suggestion of father s leadership role in the family. These new NIV verses are not translated accurately. But they are consistent with the new NIV s practice of removing male-oriented details of meaning from the text of the Bible (p. 10). Again, I think the change was not motivated by an attempt to remove maleoriented details in principle. Rather, the goal would be to have the modern reader understand the sense of the text. A modern reader unfamiliar with the Bible may read or misread to his father s house to assume that the father had a separate house from the mother or that the parents were separated. Was it the writer s intention to communicate something special about the father s authority? Or was the writer speaking of David s home in an idiomatic way with father s house? The NIV translators obviously think the latter and so they chose to translate the sense of the reference with his family. The NLT translation does something similar to the new NIV, so again the NIV s move is not unprecedented in Bible translation.] 3. [Side Comment on Sons of Israel a. The Hebrew Bible uses the phrase beni-israel (literally, sons of Israel ) to refer to the people or nation of Israel. This phrase occurs 529 times. The non-gender-neutral ESV does not typically translate this phrase most literally as sons of Israel. Rather, the ESV normally reads people of Israel unless the referent is all males (in a few references to circumcision) or, most often, the referent is the twelve sons of Jacob. b. Why does the ESV 4 not translate sons of Israel most literally like the NASB more regularly does? Is this because the translators of the ESV wish to remove male-oriented details of meaning from the text of the Bible? Or did the ESV translator figure the translation sons of Israel to miscommunicate about the intention of the writer to a modern English reader? I assume the latter was the ESV translators motive. ] iv. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes forefather to ancestor (cf. Josh 19:47). 1. NIV84: They settled in Leshem and named it Dan after their forefather. 2. NIV11: They settled in Leshem and named it Dan after their forefather ancestor. 3. [The CBMW documents asks Why does the new NIV seek to eliminate male meaning that is present in the Hebrew or Greek text? The obvious and 4 I mention the ESV because Wayne Grudem co-founded the CBMW and served as an editor for the ESV. Also, John Piper endorses the ESV and serves (or has served) on the council for CBMW. Page 8 of 15

9 9 gracious answer is simply this: the NIV translators find that ancestor communicates the meaning behind the text more readily than forefather. ] v. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes mighty men to mighty warriors (cf. 2 Sam 23:8). 1. NIV84: These are the names of David s mighty men 2. NIV11: These are the names of David s mighty men warriors 3. [The word translated mighty men (gibborim) is not related directly to the other Hebrews words for man or male. Now a gibbor type strength would be found in men and probably not in women (hence HALOT s gloss of manly ). But the emphasis of the word is strength not maleness. This is why 1 Samuel 14:52 adds ish (man) to mighty man and why the LXX translated 2 Samuel 23:8 simply tw/n dunatw/n (ton dunaton, mighty ones ). Furthermore, the HCSB, NET, NLT, and NRSV all translate the word mighty warriors or something similar.] vi. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes son to child 1. Proverbs 13:24 2. Psalm 8:4 vii. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes man to a gender-neutral form 1. 1 Kings 9:5 a. NIV84: I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, You shall never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. b. NIV11: I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, You shall never fail to have a man successor on the throne of Israel. c. [I am more sympathetic here to the CBMW s objections here (pp ). The word (ish) the new NIV translates successor is the generic word for man. Ish can at times include females when this Hebrew word is used in an axiomatic or generic way (that is, in a way that may apply to both male and females individually). However, could the kingly line be passed on and filled in by a woman? Either way, the NIV s move here is not unprecedented in English Bible translation as the NET, NLT, and NRSV use a non-male specific word of successor or descendant. ] 2. Pro 27:17 a. NIV84: As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. b. NIV11: As iron sharpens iron, so one man person sharpens another. c. [Again, the issue becomes whether this verse would be misunderstood and narrowly applied (i.e., the generic principle lost) if one translates it with man. ] viii. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes brother to brother or sister or to other nonfamily words. Page 9 of 15

10 10 1. Luke 17:3 a. NIV84: So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. b. NIV11: So watch yourselves. If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. c. [The CBMW make the point that Jesus could have easily articulated his story precisely as the NIV11 translates it by using both the words brother and sister (cf. James 2:15). And then they pose this key question that gets to the root of one s philosophy of Bible translation: Of course, we agree that these verses apply to sisters as well as brothers. But the question is whether we should mix application into the translation (p. 13).] 2. Deuteronomy 22:1 a. NIV84: If you see your brother s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him. b. NIV11: If you see your fellow Israelite s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to its owner. c. [The updated NIV corrects a possible misunderstanding and so then application to the text. The modern English use of brother typically refers to a male that shares parents or one parent. The Hebrew word ah is much broader than this as it can also refer to a person from the same tribe, or country, or even a foreigner.] ix. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes he and him to they and them (cf. John 14:23) 1. NIV84: If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 2. NIV11: Jesus replied, If anyone Anyone who loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him them, and we will come to him them and make our home with him them. 3. [I agree whole heartily with the CBMW assessment when they say, This is the largest category of changes in the new NIV, and it makes a significant difference in meaning. This is because changing singulars to plurals removes the emphasis on an individual, personal relationship with God and on specific individual responsibility for one s choices and actions. Now, I presume, the NIV translators would respond that they are utilizing typical English practice. But, unfortunately this practice hides the meaning and intention of personal pronouns that were previously apparent to English readers. Has English usage changed so drastically that the former translation was unintelligible or easily misunderstood? It is my estimation that the changes from singulars to plurals actually heighten the potential for misunderstanding, misapplication, and misinterpretation.] Page 10 of 15

11 11 x. The 2011 NIV loses many more masculine singular pronouns than the Translators Notes suggest 1. Pro 28:19 a. NIV84: He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. b. NIV11: He Those who works his work their land will have abundant food, but the one those who chases chase fantasies will have his their fill of poverty. 2. John 6:40 a. NIV84: For my Father s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. b. NIV11: For my Father s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him them up at the last day. 3. John 15:6 a. NIV84: If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. b. NIV11: If anyone does you do not remain in me, he is you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 4. Pro 5:21 xi. Which pronouns can you really trust in the 2011 NIV? xii. Awkward and confusing sentences with singular them 1. Romans 4:8 a. NIV84: Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. b. NIV11: Blessed is the man one whose sin the Lord will never count against him them. c. [The new NIV translation here is unfortunate. First, the Greek is singular in both cases. Second, it makes for an awkward sentence that adds potential misunderstanding.] 2. See page 19: What is a bit puzzling is that the 2011 NIV at times does use he/him/his in a generic sense, thereby admitting that its use is still acceptable in English today. Consider these sentences, where the TNIV had their or them but the 2011 NIV switched back to his and him that were in the 1984 NIV: a. Matthew 10:24: The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. Page 11 of 15

12 12 b. Matthew 12:35: A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 3. Confusion created a. Matthew 18:15: If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. b. Revelation 3:20: 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. xiii. The 2011 NIV incorrectly changes women to weaklings 1. Nahum 3:13 2. [I think this can be a fine and more clarifying change. Is the point that they are women for the female-ness sake, or are they women on account of an inherent or general weakness in comparison to the strength of men? If it is the latter, and I think it is, this can be more clearly evident from the translation weaklings than women. ] d. The real controversy is whether to water down or omit details of meaning that modern culture finds offensive. [I am not persuaded that the new NIV translators were accommodating to modern culture on account of what is offensive. Rather, the NIV translators desire the Bible to be most easily and properly understood by the typical (perhaps, uninitiated) English reader. This is a fine intention, but this does not mean I commend their execution.] e. Conclusion: We regret, therefore, that we cannot recommend the 2011 NIV as sufficiently reliable English translation. And unless Zondervan changes its mind and keeps the current edition of the 1984 NIV in print, the 2011 NIV will soon be the only edition of the NIV that is available. Therefore, unless Zondervan changes its mind, we cannot recommend the NIV itself. Page 12 of 15

13 13 III. Example: Brief Analysis of John 3 NIV :1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him. Rick Zaman s Brief Comments 3:3 In reply Jesus declared replied, Very truly I Notice the shift from the singular no one to the tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom plural they are. The Greek maintains the singular of God unless he is they are born again. in both places and more evidently connects the relationship of an individual s failure to be see the kingdom to that individual s, and only that individual s, failure to be born again. 3:4 How can a man someone be born when he is they are old? Nicodemus asked. Surely he theycannot enter a second time into his their mother s womb to be born! 3:5 Jesus answered, Very truly I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he isthey are born of water and the Spirit. 3:11 Very truly I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 3:15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life in him. 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. If the switch from man (anthropos) to someone in this instance can be acceptable since the reference is clearly generic. However, the Greek does not switch from the singular to the plural as the new NIV does throughout this verse. This shift adds confusion to an otherwise clear look at the original grammar. Again, notice the shift from the singular to the plural. The Greek again is singular throughout. 5 For the following Scripture texts, the greyed-crossed-out text indicates changes removed from the NIV84 while the green highlight indicates that which was added in for the NIV2011. Page 13 of 15

14 14 NIV :18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has they have not believed in the name of God s one and only Son. Rick Zaman s Brief Comments Who is the they here? It is somewhat unclear. It would be a frightening thing to consider that some single person stands condemned because some they, (whoever they are) has not believed. Unintentionally, the new NIV has clouded the clarity of personal accountability here. 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the The use of men (anthropoi) is similar to verse four; world, but men people loved darkness instead see the explanation there. of light because their deeds were evil. 3:20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his their deeds will be exposed. 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he hasthey have done has been done through in the sight of God. 3:23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be and being baptized. 3:26 They came to John and said to him, Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan the one you testified about well look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him. 3:27 To this John replied, A man person can receive only what is given him them from heaven. 3:28 You yourselves can testify that I said, I am not the Christ Messiah but am sent ahead of him. 3:30 He must become greater; I must become less. 3:31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 3:33 The man who Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. Whose deeds will be exposed? Again by staying in the singular, the Greek indicates a direct connection between hating the light, not coming, and the exposure of his deeds. Again, here is a more confusing than necessary shift from the singular to the plural. For the switch from man to person see verse four. But with the switch from the singular ( person ) to the plural ( them ) the direct connection from the two parts of the verse is needlessly masked. The move from man to whoever is most appropriate as the word man does not occur in Page 14 of 15

15 15 NIV :36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God s wrath remains on him them. Rick Zaman s Brief Comments the Greek here. The personal accountability of one s denial of Christ is masked by moving from the singular him to the plural them. Which is more likely to be misunderstood by the modern reader? Is one more likely to assume that when it reads him that wrath only comes upon males who reject the Son? Or is one more likely to miss the individual, personal, and direct connection between rejecting Christ and undergoing God s wrath? Or perhaps the issue needs to be which misreading can we tolerate more. Page 15 of 15

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