Why I’m Switching to the ESV and Why I’m Not Changing the Declaration of Independence

March 2, 2011 — 34 Comments

I’ve used the New International Version of the Bible since college.  Before that I was a New American Standard user, but when I was a freshman at Florida Christian College we all received copies of the NIV (1984 ed).

I still have and use that Bible.  It’s full of almost 25 years worth of notes, comments, and insights.  I love my NIV and I’ve used the NIV for all of my sermons, until recently.

It all started to go bad for me at our first Christmas Eve services this year.

We use BibleGateway.com to get scriptures to put on our ProPresenter slides.  I sent my scripture requests to our worship team and they pulled the scriptures off of BibleGateway.com.  I had no idea that the NIV had released a new edition until I started reading the scriptures of my message off of the screen on the back wall of our worship center.

I expected to read:

Luke 2:1

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to his own town to register. (NIV, 1984 ed.)

But instead I read:

Luke 2:1

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. (NIV, 2010 ed.)

Where did the word “his” go?

I continued to read and expected to read:

Luke 2:13,14

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (NIV, 1984 ed.)

But instead I read:

Luke 2:13,14

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (NIV, 2010 ed.)

What happened to the word “men?”

“Peace on earth TO THOSE on whom his favor rests?”

What an unexpected Christmas surprise!

They changed my Bible and no one told me.

So, for the past two months I’ve been conflicted.  I love my NIV 1984 ed., but–the more I look into it–the more I dislike the NIV 2010 ed.

And it’s not because I hate women (the NIV 2010 is gender-inclusive), but because I love God’s word.

I want a Bible that is a translation of the original language, not an interpretation of the original language.

The editors of the NIV 2010 ed. went out of their way to make this new translation gender inclusive.  They added to scripture.

Let me give you an example (there are thousands).

In the NIV 1984 ed. translation of the first letter from Paul to the Elders of the church in Corinth (the Elders would share the letter with the rest of the congregation) we read, When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God” (I Corinthians 2:1 NIV, 1984 ed.).

But, in the NIV 2010 ed. translation of that same verse we read,And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God” (I Corinthians 2:1 NIV, 2010 ed.).

Here’s what Paul wrote (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in Greek:

Καγὼ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀδελφοί, ἦλθον οὐ καθ’ ὑπεροχὴν λόγου σοφίας καταγγέλλων ὑμῖν τὸ μυστήριον τοῦ θεοῦ.

The Apostle Paul was inspired by the Holy Spirit to use the Greek word for brothers, “adelphoi”–all by itself.  If you look at the original language you’ll notice that there is no Greek word used in the original text that can be translated “sisters.”  The editors of the NIV 2010 ed. took it upon themselves to add to Scripture.

In 2002, the NIV released a gender-inclusive version of the Bible (called the TNIV) that bombed.  In an interview on Christianity Today’s website the President of Zondervan wrote,  “Whatever its strengths were, the TNIV divided the evangelical Christian community,” said Zondervan president Moe Girkins. “So as we launch this new NIV, we will discontinue putting out new products with the TNIV.”

The gender-inclusive TNIV was rejected, so they told critics they would get it “right” this time.

In a November 2010 article in The Nashville Tennessean Doug Moo, a Wheaton College Bible scholar and head of the translation committee, said the group tried to create an accurate English Bible without angering readers. He thinks even critics will respect their work. Translators talked to them ahead of time and gathered suggestions for changes.  “We really tried to get it right this time,” he said to the The Nashville Tennessean. “We tried to be careful about not bowing to any cultural or ecclesiastical agenda.”  Today, the Committee on Bible Translation, which translated the NIV, admits Today’s New International Version, the revision released in 2002, was a mistake. They substituted “brothers and sisters” where the New Testament writers used “brothers.”  Read more: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/29588-niv-bible-changes-gender-inclusive-language#ixzz1FRcAtilP

But, as you can read from the sample Scripture from I Corinthians, they didn’t do what they said they did.  Throughout the New Testament they substituted “brothers and sisters” where the New Testament writers used “brothers.”

Was their motive understandable in light of today’s political correctness? Of course, they were trying to be inclusive, but they were–in my humble opinion–misguided.  They wanted women to feel included.  I want women to feel included–I love women–but I also believe that women are smart enough to know what–and what does not–apply to them in any given Scripture.

In I Corinthians 2:1, Paul wrote “brothers” because that’s what he was inspired to write and that’s to whom he was writing. The letters that Paul wrote to churches would have been received by…regardless of whether we agree with elders being male, or not…the male elders of the church and then shared with the congregation, so when Paul–throughout 1st Corinthians–says “brothers” he did so because that was to whom he was writing.

Don’t agree with me, then why did Paul close his first letter to the Corinthians by writing this?

I Corinthians 16:13,14

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14 Do everything in love. (NIV, 1984 ed.)

Paul wrote “be men of courage” because his letter would have been received by–and first read by–the male leaders of the church.

Interestingly, the NIV 2010 ed. REMOVES the word “men” altogether, translating these verses:

I Corinthians 16:13,14

13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.  (NIV, 2010 ed.)

Should we really be adding words–and removing words–from Scripture to make sure that everyone feels included?  Why did the editors of the NIV 2010 ed. take it upon themselves to put words in–and remove them from–God’s mouth?

Bottom line: Paul wrote “brothers” because he was inspired to do so.

What gives the NIV 2010 editors the right to add to Scriptures a word that was not in the original text?  Do they think Paul’s a chauvinist, so they’re doing him a favor by covering for his chauvinism and insensitivity towards women?  Do they think that they have to fix Paul’s writing because the Holy Spirit–who inspired his words–wasn’t smart enough to know that 2,000 years after writing this letter women might feel excluded because they believe Holy Spirit didn’t refer to them in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth?

I think women are smarter than the editors of the NIV 2010 edition give them credit for.

How would you feel if I told you that I fixed the Declaration of Independence because it alienated women and didn’t REALLY declare their independence too?

Here’s my fix:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal, that men and women are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men and Women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of Men and Women to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect the Safety and Happiness of the men and women who need independence.

Isn’t that better?

Do you American women readers of my blog feel more independent now than you did 45 seconds ago?

Of course not!

You can’t change the Declaration of Independence!  You don’t need to change the Declaration of Independence.  It is what it is…and I think it’s been pretty effective the way it was originally written:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

So, I’ve had enough.  Today I went out and purchased my first copy of the English Standard Version.  Terry Davis, the Family Minister at Journey, has been on the ESV bandwagon for a while and has been trying to convince me to check it out.  I did and from all of my research I’m convinced that it’s a really good translation that is faithful to the original language.  From what I can tell, the editors of the ESV haven’t put words in God’s mouth.

I’ll be preaching from it this next Sunday.

I can’t wait to tell you how the men…and women…respond to my message.

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34 responses to Why I’m Switching to the ESV and Why I’m Not Changing the Declaration of Independence

  1. 

    What I was taught in Greek Class was that Greek was like Spanish, whenever you are addressing a plurality of men and women, you still address them all as men in the language. For instance, you quoted from 1 Corinthians 2:1. The problem is, we really don’t know whether Paul was talking to just men, or men and women, because if he was talking to both he would have still used the exact same words because that’s how the Greek Language worked. So in the end, whether you translate it as just men, or men and women, you are still interpreting it.

    Since English is not always like that (you could point to the Declaration of Independence as an example of the opposite, though in it’s original content it may well have discluded women since they did, after all, have less rights than men did for over a hundred years of our history) I think we are left with the question, what parts are meant to be gender inclusive, and what are not? The truth is, every translation is an interpretation, and there is just no escaping that. Whether that is unfortunate or not, I’m not sure. Though I do know none of us would get too far if we read a literal word for word translation of the Old Testament in our Churches, hahahah.

  2. 

    Ok,
    Let me just say this, hatin’ on the NIV for changing to ‘gender inclusion’ is weak brother. I say this in jest and with a grin, because you know me, and you might see where I’m already going with this…

    This is the smallest, least little bit of something to get mad at the NIV about. You want to talk about interpretive translating? Did I ever tell you of my project to scratch the phrase “sinful nature” out of my NIV and replace it with “Flesh”? Ugh it would make me so angry to read that bit of interpretive pseudo-translation, and all the crufty baggage that comes with it. People would look at me funny and I would say, “so you’re saying ‘the word became the sinful nature, and dwelt among us’ is an acceptable translation” and they would say “That’s not how it’s translated there!” and I would be all “Don’t interpret it in other places too, jerks!”
    Good post, btw.
    I like the ESV, I got no complaints so far. I only keep the NIV for backwards compatibility with the preacher.

    PS,
    I’m sooo glad this can be a discussion because people who speak my language are constantly looking at ways to better translate scripture. So many people haven’t even heard the word in their native tongue.

  3. 

    I noticed the same thing one day as I was seeking a verse – for a funeral, I think – and did the same Biblegateway search. Once I discovered the “2010” label … I searched for “my NIV” … I had to scroll to the last one on the list for NIV 1984. It is sad that in our “politically correct” culture, we have decided to alter God’s word to fit our standard … but it should not surpise us … Paul warns us that a day will come when “men will desire to have their ears ‘tickled’.” Good words Aaron … I’ve been using NLT for the last several weeks, but I’ll have to check out ESV.

  4. 

    I am in 100% complete agreement with you on this one Arron. I have an ESV – like it – although my age seems to keep taking me back to the NASB – I just appreciate it’s scholarship and translation.
    It is funny how people will spend so little time worrying about what translation they purchase – ‘its all God’s words right?’
    The issue is not just that there are liberties being taken by translators – it is that so many people in the church don’t seem to notice them – or what is worse – they don’t CARE !!!

  5. 

    The newer NIV destroys any clear understanding of Romans 8 by translating “sons” as “children. I am a NASB diehard, but do at least respect the ESV. The Scriptures are not our own possession to interpret as we, or translators, please. It is the Word of God. That is how God chose to communicate with His creation. If it is corrupted, then we do not know God. This is serious business.

  6. 

    The English Standard Version on Biblegateway.com of Luke 2:13-14 reads, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

    No “men” there either.

    • 

      Bummer! Didn’t notice that one. Maybe I need to track down my old copy of the NAS. 🙂

      • 

        Good idea…I really like the NASB. Of course, I like blueletterbible.org. In the KJV on that website that have clickable Strong’s numbers…that’s cool too!

  7. 

    As a woman, and someone who has read the Bible through from cover to cover many times and in a number of different translations, I agree with you that women are smart enough to know when the inspired men of God were reviewing to just men or to all of “mankind” or “humankind”. The Bible clearly indicates that we should not ‘add to’ or ‘take away’ from the His word, and although interpretation may often be difficult, there is certainly no benefit in adding words that are definitely not there to ensure that all humans feel included. John 3:16 is clear enough that Jesus died for ‘whosoever’ – that important thing is that ‘whosoever’ accepts Him and follows His teachings.

  8. 

    Arron- 1; I don’t really agree with your position about inclusiveness in the NIV, but my counter-question is:

    What’s your opinion of the more overtly calvinistic renderings of Paul in the ESV as compared to the ’84 NIV?

  9. 

    Aaron,

    Doctor Jack Cottrell of CBS, had a note which shows the pattern of the NIV interpreters compromising strict interpretation for acceptance… that would mean truth is less important than profit. Take a look Here:

    http://thenailz.com/eis-eis-baby

    • 

      ‘For’ is, of course, a legitimate translation.

      Many times ‘eis’ is translated as ‘because of’ or ‘at’…For example, Matthew 12:41, ‘eis’ is translated at ‘at’ in both KJV and NASB, but as ‘for’ in NIV. Yet both ‘at’ and ‘for’ are appropriate…

      “The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now something greater than Jonah is here.”-NIV

      “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

      Because of context, both ‘at’ and ‘for’ are appropriate because it places the preaching of Jonah chronologically before the repentance, yes?

      There are multiple many other examples of this of course, and applying that to Acts 2:38 would mean that ‘for’ is not a really good English translation because grammatically the English word ‘for’ here makes it seem like the ‘forgiveness of sins’ comes after the baptism. However, if the translators would have used ‘because of’ then it would fit in line with the many multiple other times ‘eis’ is used in that chronological order, and the baptism would come after the forgiveness of sins.

      So what are we left with? Well, I say let Scripture interpret Scripture. If baptism is a requirement for forgiveness of sins we should find it in all refereces to forgiveness of sins. But just one chapter away in Acts 3 the same speaker (Peter, in his sermon in Solomon’s portico) links forgiveness of sins with repentance in Acts 3:19. If baptism were a requirement for forgiveness of sins, I would expect Peter to be consistent on this topic.

      Therefore, personally, I’d probably translate ‘eis’ in Acts 2:38 as because of. There are of course many other Scriptural reasons to not force baptism to be some sort of requirement for forgiveness of sins…I may be wrong, but did Paul ever mention baptism in his Gospel presentations? There are also people in the Bible who are declared forgiven even though there is no mention of baptism.

      Anyway…I guess that was a sidenote on baptism, but it helped in the discussion of ‘eis.’

      • 

        Edit: Both NIV and NASB translate ‘eis’ as ‘at’ in Mt 12:41…but it could be translated as ‘because of.’

      • 

        Mike, you write ” If baptism is a requirement for forgiveness of sins we should find it in all refereces to forgiveness of sins.” May I kindly ask why? You do not find faith/belief in every reference to salvation, nor do you find repentance in every reference, either.

        The passage you note, Acts 3:19, ends with the speakers being taken into custody. Are you really supposing that their captors waited until they were done speaking, rather than interrupting them? Of course not. Is it not possible that Peter simply had not gotten to that point of the sermon yet? I realize that is speculation, so let me leave that behind and ask this: Peter told those listening to repent and “be converted” (KJV) or “turn to God” (NIV). What does that second part mean, and does it happen before or after your sins are forgiven?

        As to what it means, “epistrepho” means to “turn (or return) to the worship and obedience of God” So there is ultimately a factor of obedience that must be a part of a conversion. Read the rest of Acts. Wherever there is a “conversion” story, you find people getting baptized. Why? It is an act of obedience to the message preached to them. If it is not necessary, then why preach it?

        As to the chronology of the passage, let’s use your translation of “eis” in Acts 3:19 (I’ll use the NIV). “Repent then, and turn to God, [because of] your sins being wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” So the turning to God occurs ‘after’ your sins are forgiven? Rather, I think it makes more logical sense to say that repentance and turning to God are the conditions given FOR the forgiveness of sins.

        The other thing you do not address is the word “kai” (and). In 2:38 and in 3:19 both there is a slight problem with your theory. The word “and” connects two things in an equal way. So if, in 2:38, “eis” refers chronologically to forgiveness of sins happening BEFORE baptism, it must also happen before repentance. The same is true of 3:19. If the forgiveness happens before the “turning to God”, then it also has to happen before the repentance.

        Thank you for your reading, my friend, and I welcome any replys.

      • 

        Adam:
        Thanks for the reply.

        ‘Eis’ is indeed one of those words that can mean multiple things in the English. I guess I tend to look at Scripture and say “if it says baptism is required here (or at least seems to say that), but does not say it there, then both cannot be simultaneously true.” And since Scripture is infallible and I am not, then it’s likely that I’m mis-interpreting what is actually said. So if we allow the rest of Scripture to be our guide, then I think it paints a pretty clear picture that baptism is not required.

        Of course you have Paul who even said he was sent to preach the Gospel and not to baptize. If baptism were a part of the Gospel, then he would have spoken it.

        In regards to the question, “May I kindly ask why?” about why I expect to see baptism preached whenever the Gospel is presented…I thought that was self-evident, but I suppose not. If baptism is a REQUIREMENT for salvation, then it should be stressed by the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God that breathed the words to the writers’ minds…Is that an assumption on my part? Yup. 1 Corinthians 15: 1-4, 1 Corinthians 1:17, Luke 7:37-50, Matthew 9:2, Luke 18:13-14, Luke 23:39-43…None of these mention baptism for them. Acts 10:44-48 mentions Cornelius being saved before baptism.

        In regards to Acts 2:38 there is also the possibility of there being a parenthetical embedded within the verse. Note that both “repent,” and “your” are plural, but “be baptized” is singular, thereby setting it apart. If written this way, it would read, “Repent (and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins.” This would then link forgiveness of sins (salvation) with repentence as the Bible does consistently elsewhere.

        With all that said, I’m a firm believer that every single saved Christian needs to be baptized. And by baptized I mean immersed. But there are a lot of other things that saved individuals are required to do that we do not. We are depraved, fallible creatures and we live our Christian lives inconsistently with what Scripture and our Master (the Lord Jesus) requires.

        Thanks a bunch for the discussion!!

        Mike

      • 

        Mike:

        I really appreciate the actual discussion going on here, rather than the usual results of these kinds of forums (anger, insults, death threats, etc). Even though I’m quite sure Aaron never meant for this post to digress to this discussion, but I’ll keep it going until he kicks me off. (haha)

        In response to your post, I’m going to start at the bottom. If it is true that “every single saved Christian needs to be baptized”, then what are the consequences of not being so? If it is a need, then it is a need. I agree that there are many other aspects to our salvation, but I cannot get beyond the many statements in scripture that speak of baptism in the direct context of salvation.

        That being said, I ask, how many times must the scriptures (as a whole) state something in order for that thing to be true? For examples: Acts 2:40,41; 8:11&12; 8:30-38; 10:47&48; 16:29-34; 19:1-6 (how did the Corinthians recieve the regenerating presence of the Holy Spirit?) 22:16 (what removed Saul’s sins?); Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:26,27; Ephesians 5:25-27; Colossians 2:11-13, Titus 3:5, I Peter 3:21. In my mind, if the Almighty God says something once, He IS stressing it, but repeating it as many times as He does, is certainly placing emphasis on it.

        As for your citations: The passages from Matthew and Luke are all from before the new covenant was established. But even if they were not, I have no problem saying that Christ Jesus can declare anyone clean that He desires to. But if He, through the inspired writers sets certain conditions to recieve salvation, it is our duty to meet those conditions (more on that later). In I Corinthians 15, the point of the passage is not to establish the plan of salvation, he’s already stated that he is writing to “saints” (1:2), they have no need of salvation, they just need further teaching (and re-teaching) to correct some errors in the church. In chapter 15, he is correcting the doctrinal error that Jesus did not bodily raise from the dead. So he teaches that the good news that is preached is based on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. and then he proceeds to prove that it happened. My answer to chapter 1:7 is really just speculation on my part, so I’ll refrain from including that one.

        In Acts 2:38, he does indeed make “repent” plural and “be baptized” singular. But think of what he has just preached. The nation as a whole was guilty of the murder of the One that God had declared Lord and Christ. They asked, “what must we do?” and Peter replied they (the nation) needed to repent, and they (individuals) needed to be baptized.

        And finally, as for Cornelius, what makes you say that Cornelius was saved before his and his family’s baptisms? I’m assuming it is because the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues, but Peter himself interprets this, not as a sign that they are saved, but as a sign that they are to be accepted into the new covenant (11:1-18). There are examples of people who had the Spirit of the Lord come on them, and some were not even acting on God’s behalf. Example: I Samuel 19:19-24.

        Let me end this (lengthy) reply with a quick statement, not for you, Mike, because you seem intelligent enough to already know this, but for those who are reading who might not. I’m not saying at all that baptism, in and of itself, is what saves us, not at all. Baptism is just an obedient response to the conditions that God sets forth to recieve His salvation. Faith, repentance, and public confession are equally as necessary as baptism. What truly changes us from a state of being lost into a state of salvation is God’s (for lack of a better term) ‘decision’ to do so. But He chooses to do so based on the conditions He set down for us in His word.

        For example, if I own a candy shop, and I put up a sign on the window that says “free candy inside, just come in and ask for it!” There are two conditions to get my free gift. Come inside, and ask. If someone comes insode the door, looks around and leaves, or if they stand outside and yell for some candy, I am under no obligation to give them candy, they did not meet my requirements, and I, as the owner, get to decide what those requirements are. If I choose to give them some, that’s my decision, but the only way to be absolutely sure to get some candy is to meet both conditions. Likewise, the gift of God’s grace is absolutely free, but He has set some conditions on how to recieve that free gift.

        Again, I am glad we can have a friendly discussion, and, hopefully more people are reading this than just you and I, altough that would be fine, too.

        May God Bless you,

        Adam

      • 

        “I really appreciate the actual discussion going on here…but I’ll keep it going until he kicks me off. (haha)”
        Totally agreed!!! This is getting quite long! Lots to discuss!

        “If it is true that ‘every single saved Christian needs to be baptized’, then what are the consequences of not being so?”
        Good question. What are the consequences if we don’t proclaim the Gospel? What are the consequences if we happen to harbor unforgiveness? Sin is sin to be sure; and the unwillingness of one to humbly submit to water baptism could be looked upon in several ways…He may not have been taught/he is ignorant of it. It could be a pride issue-someone has gone along for so long without it that they don’t want to. It could be indifference (to piggyback on the previous reason. There are multiple reasons for sure. It could be that they only “claim” to be a believer and really are not. There are plenty of folks out there that are baptized and are not Christians, do you agree? And as such, we cannot look upon baptism, from your point of view or mine, as a hallmark of one’s salvation. We simply do not know, do we, unless we see this person over time, yes? And we see the fruit of the Spirit (notice it’s not the fruit of the water).

        “Acts 2:40,41”
        Note that they had received the word.

        “8:11&12”
        Note that they believed and then were baptized.

        “8:30-38”
        Note that the eunuch believed first.

        “10:47&48”
        Indeed…they had already received the Holy Spirit…been baptized by the Spirit, and therefore none could refuse them the water baptism. Remember, Acts 1:5 predicted what happened in Acts 2:2…the baptism of the Spirit. That’s salvation. And I don’t recall the apostles anywhere getting baptized. They were clean by the word spoken to them (John 15:3).

        “16:29-34”
        Clearly verse 31 links belief to salvation and then water baptism comes later.

        “19:1-6 (how did the Corinthians recieve the regenerating presence of the Holy Spirit?)
        There’s more to this…It kind of runs back to Acts 2:2-3. In verse 2 they were baptized into the Spirit and in verse 3 they were filled with the Spirit and had experiences. They are 2 different things.

        “22:16 (what removed Saul’s sins?)”
        Here you have the Greek participle epikalesamenos (calling). It is best to connect the phrase “wash away your sins” with “calling on His name.” If you connect it with “be baptized,” the participle (“calling”) would have no antecedent. Paul’s sins were washed away not by baptism, but by calling on His name.

        “Romans 6:1-4”
        Again, there’s no water here. This is theology 101 from Paul. This is the Acts 2:2 baptism into Jesus Christ…into the Body of Christ, the Church. There’s no reason that I can find to continually link the word baptism with water…It simply means immersed. Paul says we were immersed into Jesus. He is correct.

        “Galatians 3:26,27”
        Baptized into Christ, right…put on Christ…clothed in Christ. To do this means we are immersed in Christ. Again, this is not water baptism but Spirit baptism.

        “Ephesians 5:25-27”
        Not sure about this one…doesn’t sound like baptism to me; this is referring to Christ’s work.

        “Colossians 2:11-13”
        Again, this is Spirit baptism as proven by verse 11…the Jews thought that what they did physically garnered them Heaven…this is not true. Baptism into the Spirit/Jesus/into the Church/the Body is what saves…we then symbolize this via water baptism. There is no water here.

        “Titus 3:5”
        This doesn’t mention baptism at all, but instead “washing” or the Greek loutron, and not even baptizo. Furthermore it clearly links salvation to “his mercy,” and clearly “not on the basis of deeds.” The act of baptism (immersion in water) is an act of man not an act of God. The baptism of the Spirit, as in Acts 2:2 and all these references to Paul, is the act of God with no condition of man whatsoever…like Paul’s conversion, it was not his idea at all, but the divine act of God himself.

        “I Peter 3:21″
        This is actually one of the more clear texts that DIS-JOINS baptism with water…”Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you–not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience–through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Peter explains this one for us. He says right there that baptism is NOT via washing, but via appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again, substitute the word ‘immersion’ for baptism and it makes sense; “…immersion now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God…” We are immersed into the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

        “But if He, through the inspired writers sets certain conditions to recieve salvation, it is our duty to meet those conditions (more on that later).”
        I see no conditions. We are in a condition of falleness/sinfulness. That is antithetical to the condition for which we can garner Heaven.

        “In I Corinthians 15, the point of the passage is not to establish the plan of salvation, he’s already stated that he is writing to “saints” (1:2), they have no need of salvation, they just need further teaching (and re-teaching) to correct some errors in the church.”
        True, but Paul here tells them what he already told them…”the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received…” He then goes on to say it again…

        “In chapter 15, he is correcting the doctrinal error that Jesus did not bodily raise from the dead. So he teaches that the good news that is preached is based on the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. and then he proceeds to prove that it happened.”
        Right. And that’s what we need. Paul doesn’t ever discuss water baptism in his presentations of the Gospel.

        “In Acts 2:38, he does indeed make “repent” plural and “be baptized” singular. But think of what he has just preached. The nation as a whole was guilty of the murder of the One that God had declared Lord and Christ. They asked, “what must we do?” and Peter replied they (the nation) needed to repent, and they (individuals) needed to be baptized.”
        Agreed. But in the light of the rest of Scripture that seems pretty clear to link salvation with belief/repentance, it seems better to either translate ‘eis’ as ‘because of’ or make note of the parenthetical as I explained above.

        “And finally, as for Cornelius, what makes you say that Cornelius was saved before his and his family’s baptisms? I’m assuming it is because the Holy Spirit came on them and they spoke in tongues, but Peter himself interprets this, not as a sign that they are saved, but as a sign that they are to be accepted into the new covenant (11:1-18).”
        Yes, as I stated above…This was the baptism of the Spirit, by God, which saves even the Gentiles, which is what the Jewish believers with Peter were amazed about. And then in 10:47 they performed the water baptism. In ch 11 Peter even recounts Jesus’s own words in verse 16, “John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” It is the Spirit baptism that saves, then, and the requisite deed, or work, is the outward, expressive water baptism…Just like all other works we do after regeneration…We can do no good works without God, yes?

        “There are examples of people who had the Spirit of the Lord come on them, and some were not even acting on God’s behalf. Example: I Samuel 19:19-24.”
        Not too sure what you’re getting at here, but you know, God used a donkey for his purposes too…

        “For example, if I own a candy shop, and I put up a sign on the window that says “free candy inside, just come in and ask for it!” There are two conditions to get my free gift. Come inside, and ask.”
        I would say, then, that it is not free…You must purchase the candy with “com[ing] inside,” and following that up with “ask[ing].”

        I guess that’s our basic difference…I don’t see Scripturally that God asks for conditions/requirements from us BEFORE we are saved. After is another issue. After salvation, we are the doulos of Jesus! He is our kurios! There is a Lordship there.

        “The passages from Matthew and Luke are all from before the new covenant was established.”
        But even Abraham was reckoned with righteousness because of his faith. Both OT and NT link righteousness (imputed of course because we are not righteous by an stretch) to belief/faith. I think that even more clear than the verses about baptism are the passages that discuss how salvation is apart from any works…Romans 3:22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 4:5, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9, and a whole host of other ones. And this is all post crucifixion. Hebrews 11 makes the case that it has always been by belief/faith. Paul makes it clear that it is still by belief/faith and that there are no conditions of man that lend ourselves to salvation. It is all God’s mercy and grace.

        So when I not only combine together the evidence that it is not of our works, but by the work of God that we are saved, and only read out of the text what the text says about baptism, it seems clear to me that it is the work of God that saves us because we cannot do anything to do it ourselves. It seems our sinful condition precludes us from salvation and that this therefore requires the work of God. It seems that the Acts 2:2 baptism into the Spirit unifies us as a body/church/into Christ and that this is what Paul teaches when he discusses baptism…a baptism of the spirit. And yet at the same time, water baptism is a humble act of obedience to our Lord, our Master. He cannot be our Lord if we are not already saved.

      • 

        I’m not kicking anybody off. I love peaceful, dignified, and civil discussion of important points. I just didn’t realize it was going on, so….I have a lot to read. 🙂
        I love that my post generated this discussion. From what I have read, you are some good thinkers. Carry on!

  10. 

    Wow. It really is too bad that the NIV doing this, and making it gramatically incorrect, too! I wouldn’t have lost quite as much respect for them if they’d changed “went to his own town” to “went to his or her own town” but “their own town”? Come on.

  11. 

    To anyone who wants to comment on how I can be outraged about incorrect grammar while misspelling and omitting words in my own comment, let me assure you I would have checked for grammar and spelling if it were a published book. Too bad the NIV folks didn’t.

  12. 
    Charles Wright March 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Thanks for the article, I will certainly stay away from the new NIV, I certainly would not want to be the translators on Judgement day. I also need to remember that Christ said in Mathew 5:18 that “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

    I read from the NIV 1984 version, but so many things were memorized at Camp Bradley long before they had the NIV in the King James, so it seems that quotes can come better from the King James for me, because of Church Camp so long ago.

    We know that God’s word will be available to us, and of course there are people that try to corrupt God’s word, we all have to be on the watch and thanks for pointing this out.

  13. 

    Arron (and anyone else),
    If you have the time and are so inclined, I’d appreciate your checking out and commenting on the World English Bible
    http://www.ebible.org/web/

  14. 

    Arron I hope you know I love you, but I disagree. I have posted a response on my (seldom-used) blog. If you want to read it, it can be found here: http://www.shawngrant.com/

    I did not include this in my post, as it seemed superfluous, but I thought I would include it here:

    Regarding the Declaration of Independence. One of the lamentable truths of the Founding Fathers is that penned such beautiful words, without understanding their full implication. When they wrote “All men” they did not mean women, and they did not mean black men, or Native American men. It is one of the sad truths of history that stares out at us. That Thomas Jefferson could pen these words while literally selling off the children born to him with his slave mistress seems almost unbelievable. I’m not saying we change the Deceleration of Independence, but I am suggesting that we learn from it, both it’s majestic declaration of rights and the glaring oversights that loom just outside the margins.

    • 

      Shawn–
      I really appreciate your response to this post. It was well-written and thought-provoking. I like how you think and write. I also appreciate the spirit with which you expressed your disagreement with my position on both the gender issue and the inspiration of scripture.

      I hope I convey my beliefs with as much tact as you do and that you receive them as I received yours.

      I’m still studying this issue but, at this point, I agree with Randy Stinson on the “verbal plenary inspiration of scripture” as he defines it in this article on the subject: http://m.apnews.com/ap/db_99287/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=MslU2CKH

      Randy Stinson, president of the CBMW and dean of the School of Church Ministries at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the changes are especially important to evangelicals.

      “Evangelicals believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture. We believe every word is inspired by God, not just the broad thought,” he said.

      So if the original text reads “brothers” – even if that word in the original language is known to mean “brothers and sisters” (such as the Hebrew “achim” or Spanish word “hermanos”) – many evangelicals believe the English translation should read “brothers.”

      Stinson said a notes section would be the best place to point out that the original word could be read to include men and women.

      ———–
      I also agree with this definition of “verbal plenary inspiration”:
      “God the Holy Spirit so supernaturally directed the human writers of Scripture that, without waiving their intelligence, their individuality, their personal feelings, their literary style, or any other human factor of expression, His Complete and Coherent Message to mankind was recorded with perfect accuracy in the original languages of Scripture: the very words bearing the Authority of Divine Authorship.”

      On your blog you responded to this post. In one section you wrote:
      Now what about a Bible that uses gender inclusive language? What about a Bible that translates brothers and sisters, where the Greek only gives us brothers, or changes mankind to people? Is this adding to the Bible, or being unfaithful to the Biblical text. I don’t think so. Arron mentions that Paul was inspired to write “brothers” and so he did, and that’s what we should translate and that is what we should read. I’m not sure inspiration works that way. In fact I think that that line of thinking is akin to inspiration as verbal dictation, a belief that most of us would be uncomfortable with. Biblical writers wrote through their personality and through the grammatical conventions of their own day.

      I’m sure that I’m not sure how inspiration works, but I do know that I believe that every word–not just the general thoughts–of scripture was inspired.

      You wrote that “most of us would be uncomfortable” with inspiration to the very word. You may be but I’m not, and–as you can read–apparently, I’m not as much in the minority as you would suggest.

      Regardless, I’m not concerned with counting heads to justify my views on the inspiration of scripture.

      Like you, I don’t mind standing alone, as long as I know that I’m standing on scripture alone.

      I believe that every word of scripture as recorded in the original manuscripts was inspired by God because of scriptures like the following:

      2 Timothy 3:16 (New International Version, ©2011)–
      16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

      Note that Paul wrote “all” Scripture. How does that not suggest that every word was inspired?

      2 Peter 1:19-21 (New International Version, 2011)–
      19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

      Note: From the context, Peter seems to be talking about the “prophetic message” he’s writing in this letter. He clearly says that “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation” and that “prophecy never had its origin in the human will” and that they “spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

      You seem to suggest that gender-neutral translations are our best option because Peter, Paul, and the other authors of Scripture wrote “through their personality.” I don’t see how this Scripture allows for that.

      One more thought. A friend of mine wrote to me and pointed out a problem with messianic prophecy and the gender-neutral NIV. I’m interested in your take on it. He wrote:

      Now, there may not appear be much at stake by saying “men and women” in translating the term. But, first you have to ask why not stick to the original? You quoted Moo to claimed they were bowing to “cultural or ecclesiatica agenda.” But that is exactly what they are doing.

      Now here’s an example where they make that same choice and much is at stake — Heb.2:6,7

      “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
      a son of man that you care for him?
      7 You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
      you crowned them with glory and honor
      8 and put everything under their feet.”

      They did the same with “Adam/Anthropos” and translated it “mankind” along with the pronoun “them” v. 7 instead of “him.” But this is a messianic psalm, it is not merely talking about “mankind.” It is talking about Jesus as the Son of God.

      So, as I teach language students, stick as close as possible to the original. This is why I wouldn’t buy the new NIV.

      I’d love to hear how you interpret these scriptures in light of your (apparent) rejection of verbal plenary inspiration.

      Blessings friend.

  15. 

    I switched to the ESV as my primary Bible a little over a year ago. This is from the preface of the ESV: “In the area of gender language, the goal of the ESV is to render literally what is in the original. For example, ‘anyone’ replaces ‘any man’ where there is no word corresponding to ‘man’ in the original languages, and ‘people’ rather than ‘men’ is regularly used where the original languages refer to both men and women. But the words ‘man’ and ‘men’ are retained where a male meaning component is part of the original Greek or Hebrew…” It continues on from there; but the idea seems to be to be as accurate as possible in translating from the original languages. In some cases, it may be a little different than the way we are accustomed to reading it, but accuracy seems to be the primary objective of the ESV translation philosophy.

  16. 

    Aaron,
    I have used the PTPC (prior to political correctness) NIV for years because it reads like a newspaper. People off the street coming to church cannot relate to “Shakespeare type language” of the KJV or even the NAS. However, one must always be on the lookout for the Calvinistic bias in the NIV such as “sinful nature” used to translate σαρξ instead of “flesh.” As you well know, any translation has to be measured by the original languages.

  17. 

    Actually, yes, I do like the DoI written the second way. Why? Because it recognizes that the original writing was oppressive. It may not change laws, but language is powerful. It means something, it’s life changing.

    Personally, I’m a NRSV girl. But that’s because I’m a Milliganite and an Emmanuel Student. The New Oxford Annotated was the One True Version at Milligan, and I think it’s pretty fantastic.

    One of the best things about the new NIV (which, I hate NIV. I did even when I was a good little southern baptist girl) is that Lifeway is now forced to carry the NRSV. Can’t have one heathen bible without the rest of the heathen bibles!

    Translating, Arron, is not only a science of greek paradigms but an art of letters. Anyone who translate theology from German and French to English can tell you how horribly difficult it is. Have you ever tried to read the English translations of Xavier Tilliette? It’s wretched.

    All that to say, blessed be the NIV translators for realizing literal words doesn’t mean good theology.

  18. 

    How wild! I was just reading through this same issue so I googled about switching from NIV, and found your post. I was amazed to hear about TD at the end te I scrolled up to find it was your blog. Well written and very insightful. Thank you.

  19. 

    Man, I am late to the game! I just found this doing some research. I would have had a few things to say! Excellent posting and responses.

  20. 

    Ah! This article has helped me to figure out the strategy that the Calvinists have in mind with the ESV. Get everyone using it, then stop selling the old version and only sell the updated version that changes all the verses to have a Calvinist bias.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. The Bible and Why Gender Inclusive Language is Important « Shawn Grant - March 11, 2011

    […] in response to a recent blog post by Arron Chambers.  It will probably make more sense if you read his post first.  Please know that I respect Arron immensely, and I write this response with all due […]

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