Features

TNIV grab for support fails

Bibles | A funny thing happened on the way from the Forum: IBS, Zondervan rapped for claiming "consensus," causing "confusion"

Issue: "Summer Books 2002," July 7, 2002

The International Bible Society (IBS) and Zondervan Publishing House have been trying to elicit support for their Today's New International Version, a gender-revised reworking of the popular New International Version. Last month IBS and Zondervan thought they had found a key ally in the Forum of Bible Agencies (FBA), a group of 18 organizations ranging from the American Bible Society and IBS to New Tribes Mission and Wycliffe Bible Translators.

In a joint IBS/Zondervan news release on June 11, Zondervan executive Scott Bolinder described FBA as a "definitive source on Bible translation" and voiced hope that its action "will help correct misinformation" about the TNIV. The news release claimed that an FBA "consensus" had declared that the TNIV falls within the Forum's "translation principles and procedures," and that FBA had "issued a statement supporting the TNIV's adherence to established translation standards."

Was there a consensus? Not exactly. One FBA member, Trans World Radio, said it was not involved in any discussion of the TNIV and did not promote or defend any particular Bible version. New Tribes, Lutheran Bible Agencies, and other groups also indicated that there was no "consensus."

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On June 24 the FBA publicly rebuked the IBS/Zondervan claim by stating, "Contrary to a June 11 news release issued by the International Bible Society (IBS) and Zondervan, the Forum of Bible Agencies (FBA) today announced it has neither approved nor disapproved Today's New International Version (TNIV) of the Bible."

The FBA statement hit hard: The FBA "has never endorsed the TNIV, as strongly implied in the release issued by Forum member IBS in conjunction with Zondervan. Other FBA members "are aggrieved by the [IBS/Zondervan announcement] because of the confusion it has generated among their constituents, as it is not the policy of the FBA to approve, endorse, or support members' translations."

FBA said that it would issue a more detailed statement early in July.

With the IBS/Zondervan strategy clearly backfiring, IBS press officer Larry Lincoln did not return a call from WORLD, but he told another reporter that "we never made any assertion that the Forum endorsed or supported anything."

But Mr. Lincoln himself is listed as the primary contact for an IBS/Zondervan press release that begins, "The Forum of Bible Agencies (FBA) has issued a statement supporting the TNIV's adherence to established translation standards." The press release, issued on June 11, was still on the TNIV.info website on June 27.

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