Mr. Mansfield challenged me to cite a single incorrectly translated verse, especially one with theological implications, in the NGV or TNIV. Well, here's a little list from CBMW from the New Testament, and here's another one from the Old Testament. Here's an analysis of some of these verses. Has, as Mr. Mansfield claims, the thesis of Grudem (and a lot of others) been refuted? Is the concern really overblown?
No; as my links still work, and that demonstrates that Grudem, Ryken, Polythress, Thacker, Mohler, Piper, Strauss, and others certainly haven't been convinced by TNIV advocates. Rather, I'd argue that CBMW's thesis has largely been confirmed by the creators of the TNIV themselves, as the 2005 revision took pains to remove some of the more egregious errors in the 2002 TNIV. One doesn't fix what isn't broken, no?
But why does this matter? Well, per Mr. Mansfield's suggestion, let's take a look at one example, Psalm 8:4.
NIV: What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
TNIV (2005): What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
OK, first of all, the TNIV commits stylistic malpractice here, transforming a majestic meditation of David into something worthy of a science fiction cartoon or comic book. Strunk & White, stat!
Second of all, the TNIV changes "son of man"; this is a prophetically significant phrase. Do this a few thousand times, as the TNIV does, and you will tend to obscure some very important doctrines. When the TNIV changes "he" to "they" it obscures in many points the reality of personal accountability before God--say in Revelation 3:20 and elsewhere.
And yes, this does have other effects. Let's consider how the TNIV translators might update the Declaration of Independence, specifically the phrase "all men are created equal".
One might say "men and women," or "people", or perhaps "white male landowning slaveholders", depending on one's point of view, no? One could get a great argument for, or against, any one of these, right?
Which is the central objection I have to the TNIV, and to paraphrases in general; even if they get the "sense" of a passage right, they've made all of the decisions for the reader, and the reader is powerless to use the hints provided by the author to apply the text to other writings. I'd rather have someone read the "NGV" than no Bible at all, of course, but when there are so many translations that are more accurate at the same reading level, I really fail to see the need for the TNIV.
The Spirit glorifies the Son - by Dan Phillips *From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of...
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