As I read of Zondervan's premise that neutralizing "insensitive" parts of Scripture in its new TNIV may invite new people to read the Bible, it occurred to me that the gender-neutral issue is barely scratching the surface of offensive biblical issues ("Trust me," Feb. 23). We should also be concerned about animal-rights activists and vegetarians, and weed out portions describing animal and grain sacrifices. Then you have all the times God instructed the Israelites to destroy the surrounding pagan nations, which very sadly included women and children. Those parts definitely need to go. And all that judgment against sinful practices is out, because so many people find that offensive. I wonder what Zondervan's version will look like by the time it is sensitive to all readers? - Lisa Meek, Bothell, Wash.
I am glad for the stand WORLD takes on the Bible translation issue. Our culture is no longer tolerant of Christians and now more than ever we must stand strong. We are under pressure from every side to compromise, but culture should not dictate our standard for Bible translation. Throughout history Christians have found cultures that have been opposed to the Bible, but they did not change the Bible to fit the culture, they used the Bible to confront the culture. - Jonathan Wedge, Grand Rapids, Mich.
They have forgotten
I was disappointed to read that IBS and Zondervan have tried again to publish a gender-neutral version of the NIV, particularly after agreeing not to do so five years ago. Their capitulation to the feminists' animus toward male pronouns was not nearly as bad as the other motive for changing the Word, to increase Bible reading by removing "insensitive" language. Those people have forgotten whose Word they are passing judgment on. It is time to take a stand when a Christian organization breaks its word in order to change God's Word, and that in an effort to be more acceptable to a sinful world. - Hugh Henry, Dahlonega, Ga.
Yes, let's keep political agendas out of Bible translation. Who is WORLD to predict that gender-neutral language will not become vernacular? If IBS, CBT, and Zondervan made a commitment to keep gender-neutral language out of future Bible translations, it was under extreme pressure from those with a political agenda. Kudos to them for introducing the TNIV in the face of such controversy. - Paul Schulz, Columbus, Ohio
Susan Olasky's articles on the TNIV Bible were outstanding. There were no personal attacks, but she exposed the hypocrisy of another supposedly Christian business venture that, due to poor ethics, does more harm than good to the cause of Christ. - Lenny Demers, North Wales, Pa.
Truth on the gallows
Having read avidly all that has appeared in WORLD about the TNIV, researching all I can find online and having written to both Zondervan (response received) and IBS (no response), the image of Mr. Clinton wagging his finger before the American people and saying, "I did not ..." comes to mind. Then, as in the current spin regarding the TNIV, truth was on the gallows. How sad that two once-great institutions have gone the way of postmodern political correctness. - Richard H. Hess, Manchester, N.J.
I, too, am very concerned about what appears to be feminist intent and double talk in re-approaching previously abandoned efforts at gender dilution. However, I cannot remove from this discussion the millions of people with no Bible translation. Should we spend energy and resources in a word fight over the next newest or redirect many of those human resources to languages and people with no Bible at all? - John Sherwood
UFM International, Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
New and worse
To us the Bible is sacred, but to IBS and Zondervan it is apparently a book to be revised periodically to reflect changes in our culture, like a car repair manual must be updated to reflect model design changes. We will likely see a series of new and increasingly worse versions released every year or two as they seek to pander to the loudest voices in our culture. - Allen Brooks, Sheridan, Wyo.
My wife and I have enjoyed WORLD for a number of months now, but we are sorely disappointed by the strong position you have taken regarding the TNIV. We look forward to getting a copy of the TNIV, and think you would do better sticking to the news. We will not be renewing our subscription. - Nat Krupp, Salem, Ore.
Your coverage of the TNIV was thorough and timely. It seems to me that the TNIV is the natural outgrowth of the translation theory of "dynamic equivalence." I was glad to see Mr. Veith touch on this, but he didn't go far enough ("Does it mean what it says?" Feb. 23). I know that there are solid Bible scholars behind this theory, but why are we surprised when a translation theory that "seeks to replicate not words but meanings" becomes a tool for liberal translators' bias? I submit that the NIV was the first stop on the slippery slope to the TNIV's gender neutrality. What will be the next destination? - Steve Shive, White Hall, Md.
There is massive potential for error in the "dynamic equivalence" translations. As the February 2002, statement from the eight signatories of the Colorado Springs Guidelines points out, intertextual allusions, echoes, and lexical connections so permeate the rich complexity of the biblical canon as to make the joyful discovery of the Scripture's interconnectedness a lifetime endeavor. There seems to be an unwitting hubris in assuming that we so fully comprehend the thought of God's Word that we may render it "thought for thought." And while no word-for-word translation may be 100 percent accurate, should we not strive to adhere to the original language manuscripts as closely as possible lest we unwittingly obscure some pattern that the Spirit of God deliberately embedded in the text for our delight and edification? - Jim Woychuk, Hannibal, Mo.
Mr. Veith's article about dynamic vs. formal equivalency was excellent. I hope that the TNIV will be a blessing in disguise, challenging Christians dedicated to God's Word to stand up for accuracy in translation and oppose all "Trojan horse" translations. - Peter Gallucci, Rockwell, N.C.
Mr. Belz is right in stating that positions taken by Focus on the Family and the NRB are fair game ("A healthy debate," Feb. 23). Since when do Christian organizations speak for Christendom? Healthy debates move us to better think our positions or, better yet, maybe even to change incorrect thinking. There is a view within the church that if a believer criticizes another believer, that person is not acting in love. Perhaps we need to be reminded that as "iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." - Jim Conarroe, Racine, Wis.
The Smithsonian is free to refuse Catherine B. Reynolds's $38 million grant, but I am saddened by their reasoning, that they reject the "Great Man" approach to history in favor of the study of impersonal forces ("Group thinkers," Feb. 23). I would suggest that history is shaped both by outstanding individuals and cultural, social, and economic developments in the lives of ordinary people. The Bible tracks the history of the Israelites as a people and a culture, and is also a wonderful study of individual men and women, revealing the victories and failures of His people individually and collectively. And as we need to study history in its larger cultural context, we are also in a time when we desperately need genuine heroes. As Teddy Roosevelt said, "Every great nation owes to the men whose lives have formed part of its greatness not merely the material effects of what they did, not merely the laws they placed upon the statute books or the victories they won over armed foes, but also the immense but indefinable moral influence produced by their deeds and words themselves upon the national character." - Bob Morgan, Honeoye, N.Y.
I commend Krieg Barrie for his contributions to WORLD. His artwork is always very eye-catching, creative, and very applicable to the piece it's illustrating. - Michael Daugherty, Burlington, Wis.
WORLD stated, referring to Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self-Reliance: "If consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, the mind of Bruce Cockburn must be vast indeed" ("The music," Feb. 23). Although Emerson was no champion of absolute truth, he actually said: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." There are right and wrong consistencies. - Carl C. Cassel, Coopersburg, Pa.