Henry Neufeld blogged a few days ago about how he has started carrying and publicly using the TNIV. As most of us know, the TNIV and its publisher, Zondervan, have been greatly vilified because they dared to try to change from traditional Bible phrasing to a gender-accurate style more in keeping with the way we speak English today. So in the eyes of many, Henry is carrying a “bad”, “evil”, even “Satanic” Bible now, and even using it where other people can see him!
The critics of the TNIV seemed to have almost kept it from debuting a few years ago, so heavily did they attack it! And they made arguments good enough to convince a great many Christians that “gender-neutral” was the worst thing anybody could ever ask for in a Bible translation.
Since that time, the supporters of the TNIV have pretty well debunked these attacks and shown that the TNIV is actually a better translation than the long-revered NIV, which it was originally intended to replace. Henry makes this statement in big, black letters on his blog:
This value of this version has been completely lost in the smoke of the controversies about it. There is no reason for this to be a controversial Bible!
I myself used to shun the TNIV because of all the terrible things I read about it, but in recent days I have begun studying the TNIV, and I have discovered an excellent translation, as good as virtually any available today and better than most.
But you know what I’ve found? People still refuse to even look at the TNIV. They still think it’s a bad Bible. They still think Zondervan is trying to change the Word of God. So what can we do about this situation?
We can tell people about the TNIV. We can carry and use the TNIV, and read from it to people, as Henry is doing. Those of us who teach Bible studies can teach from it and recommend it. We can learn to defend the TNIV and point out the lies that the anti-TNIV people are saying about it.
The hoopla has died down quite a bit now. The TNIV is being sold in the Christian bookstores, and people are actually buying it. The attacks aren’t completely gone yet; it may be many years yet before that happens, so don’t be surprised if somebody is offended by your use of the TNIV.
But do you suppose this could be a taste of what it must have been like almost 2000 years ago, to be caught with a copy of those terrible “Christian” writings? How offensive it must have been! How dangerous it was to be identified as one of “those” people.
At the end of his blog entry, Henry Neufeld writes this:
Here I just want to give my impression, which is simply that if a certain small number of theologians who have “persecuted [the TNIV] without a cause” (with apologies to Psalm 119:161), and that if they had not done so, the TNIV would have taken an honored place amongst those versions that have helped advanced scriptural knowledge.
I hope that this can happen even now.
Me too, Henry. Me too!