Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bias against the TNIV continues?

Here is an interesting post by Ray McCalla,

So I got my paper catalog from Christian Book Distributors today. My wife and I have purchased many books and resources from CBD over the years, especially during seminary (who could imagine getting an entire TDNT set for $99?). But I am thinking about kicking the CBD habit, because of their ugly bias. Let me explain.

On the front page of today’s paper catalog was a colorful box featuring the King James Kids’ Study Bible. First of all, the mere idea of a KJV kids’ Bible is absurd. No offense to the KJV-only crowd out there, but the KJV belongs in a college English literature classroom and not in the hands of little kids in church. Try explaining the meaning of 1 Samuel 25:22, 34 to a 7 year old (go ahead; click on the link and read those verses; I dare you!). Pandering to the KJV-only sects is spineless on CBD’s part.

On the other extreme, CBD often promotes the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. In their annual Bibles catalog, an entire page is devoted to The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV), the HarperCollins Study Bible (NRSV), the Wesley Study Bible (NRSV), and the New Interpreter’s Study Bible (NRSV)–none of which would qualify as remotely conservative or evangelical. The Oxford is basically a secular, non-religious resource.

But in all this, where is the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) of the Bible? You remember: the evangelical update of the all-time best-selling New International Version (NIV)? The translation that largely improved its predecessor? The one that was boycotted by a group of reactionary windbags who spoke without reading a word of it? Nope, the TNIV is not in the newest paper catalog. Not in the Bibles catalog. Not in any of their paper catalogs that I’ve ever seen.

So why, pray tell, would CBD promote the very conservative KJV Kids’ Study Bible and at the same the very liberal New Oxford Annotated NRSV Study Bible but completely shun the mainstream, evangelical TNIV translation altogether?

Unless someone out there has a better explanation, I’m left to believe that it’s just ugly bias against the TNIV and capitulation to those who called for its boycott. Maybe it’s time for a different boycott.


CD-Host said...

Wow. That's amazing they are willing to list the NISB but not the TNIV. I don't know what is wrong with Zondervan. They seem like they want to lose to the NLT.

CD-Host said...

Just as a follow up I thought you were kidding about the Kids KJV study bible. My daughter is finding the CEV based learning bible much too dry and she's an excellent reader (about to turn 10).

Bryon said...

I've said this before that the TNIV needs additional publishers. Zondervan is it's only major along with two tiny minor publishers.

Losing to the NLT is hilarious. In the oppositions campain to squash the NIV/TNIV a newer and even more dynamic translation is taking over. :->

Suzanne McCarthy said...

The bias against the TNIV has nothing whatsoever to do with dynamic vs literal translation philosophy and not much to do with gender language. It has to do with the translation of a handful of key verses, Gen. 3:16, 1 Tim. 2:12, and 1 Cor. 11:10. It really is that simple.

Look at this post. Grudem responds,

"To take one example: in 1 Timothy 2:12 the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation that gives the egalitarian side everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man” (italics added). If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women's roles in the 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.” Therefore any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to “assume authority.” Then in the footnotes to 1 Timothy 2:12 [Open in Libronix (if available)] the TNIV also introduces so many alternative translations that the verse will just seem confusing and impossible to understand. So it is no surprise that egalitarian churches are eager to adopt the TNIV."

Bryon said...

Thank you. I'll explore this more. Grudem seems to be going in a different direction than some critics. Piper, Ryken and others focus on a formal vs. functional aspect.

Also, it's funny that 1 Timothy 2:12 rendered in the way they fear, is how the King James Version practically renders it and the Protestant/Reformed Geneva Bible also. Too funny.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I am sure that Grudem would *claim* that the dynamic vs literal dimension is the most important. However, when it gets down to the details, the ESV runs towards the dynamic in 1 Cor. 11:10 and Romans 16:7.

I am of the opinion that Grudem is not familiar with the KJV. He was quite clear once that the RSV was his main Bible when he was younger.

One theologian said that he had never owned a Bible that said "children of God" in it. Of course, this was in the KJV.

CD-Host said...

I find it fascinating, the law of unintended consequences. The battle against dynamic translations was won in the 1970s with the balanced approach of the NIV being seen as "as far as you can safely go". By tieing the formal issue to the "girls have cooties" issue, they have broken that consensus.

By crushing the TNIV, the NLT filled the niche and Tyndale has ended up building a very very strong complete package for churches. They have good stuff for youth groups, small intense lay led bible studies (Cornerstone), an effective range of study bibles with very different feels, and all sorts of self help books written with the NLT as the backdrop. The translation itself works very well for devotional reading.... While I'm pretty much neutral on the TNIV/HCSB/NLT with a preference for the NET as my favorite evangelical but if I were in charge of an evangelical church I think the NLT is at this point a no brainer pick due to the supporting materials. So the Life Application Bible (NLT) continues to gain ground and there is nothing remotely like this from Crossway. We may soon see an evangelical world where the ESV study bible is the bible evangelicals should read and the NTL Life Application is the bible evangelicals actually do read.

In the meanwhile at this time this campaign was going on the Adventists were moving off the KJV. Essentially they are having the same kind of youth retention problems and have decided to start making the church more youth friendly. The official bible is still the KJV Study Bible which is a KJ with expositions by Ellen White on various passage interwoven throughout the text. It is very scholarly though assuming familiarity with the bible and with Mrs. White's 5 volume Conflict of the Ages. So the most popular bible that's actually read is the Clear Word which is essentially a paraphrase, with Ellen White doctrines and teachings injected directly into the bible text itself. Many of the people who have supported the Clear Word felt the NIV was to bland and the TNIV too controversial and if they had to go with a controversial bible.... So another unintended consequence is perhaps 10 million people (in the US alone) are getting a bible that is actually one of the least accurate bibles in modern times so as to avoid the "inaccuracies" of the TNIV.

CD-Host said...

Bryon --

In the REB / NRSV review article I have some statistics on the RSV in terms of gender. It was a very sexist bible in its treatment of huloi.

tcrob said...

It's a shame. I still find the TNIV the best translation available, at least to me.

I'm tired of the likes of Grudem on these matters.