Gender-Inclusive Bible Translations

Every time, it seems, a new Bible translation reaches the public’s consciousness, a debate is ignited about said translation’s fidelity or lack thereof.

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) has been out for several months, time enough for people to analyze the changes from its predecessor–the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)–and to form opinions about whether these changes strengthen or weaken the translation. An article in The Atlantic, published (not coincidentally) the day before the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held their annual meeting, got the debate ball rolling. As teased by the provocative title, “Southern Baptists Embrace Gender-Inclusive Language in the Bible,” Jonathan Merritt (son of a former SBC president) and Garet Robinson allege that the CSB contains “hundreds of verses that fall within the ‘gender neutral’ category condemned in Southern Baptists’ own resolutions” and that these decisions illustrate “the kinds of quietly progressive changes that have been inserted into this conservative denomination’s Bible translation.” The implication is that the CSB translators are succumbing to cultural influence rather than sticking by their interpretive guns.

Denny Burk quickly responded by dismissing the accusation of gender-inclusiveness, saying, “It would be shocking if it were true. But it’s not true. In fact, it’s demonstrably false.” He pointed out that the CSB follows the Colorado Springs Guidelines for gender-related language. Trevin Wax, publisher of the CSB, followed with an interview with Ed Stetzer for Christianity Today in which he tried to allay concerns that the SBC was violating its previous resolutions. He insisted that the CSB, far from being “gender-inclusive,” was striving to be “gender-accurate.” So when the Biblical author was referring to a male or group of men, masculine language is conveyed; and when when it is clear that both men and women were being referred to, words are used to accurately reflect that.

Indeed, each example referenced in The Atlantic article appears in step with that philosophy–changing “men of Israel” to “people of Israel,” or “likeness of men” to “likeness of humanity,” or “brotherly love” to “love as brothers and sisters.” It certainly can be debated whether such changes are necessary, more accurate, or even helpful. But as Burk observed, the authors of The Atlantic article “reveal very little evidence of familiarity with the debate or with the issues in contention.” Even Slate seems to think the accusations are missing the point.

Of course, criticisms of new translations are obligatory at this point. The red meat here appears to be the “liberalism in the SBC” narrative. And the fact is, narratives have power and labels (read: gender-inclusive) often stick. The conversation won’t be going away, so for the sake of biblical integrity and the peace of Bible-readers everywhere, we ought to think carefully.

So consider this an encouragement to resist label-making until the discussion is understood and the facts are examined. Christianity Today and The Gospel Coalition have recent, helpful articles about the translation discussion. And Bill Mounce has a wonderfully informative weekly blog over at Zondervan Academic which brings much-needed light to the entire translation discussion (start here and here).

Full disclosure: Baker Publishing Group is partnered with Holman to publish some Bibles in the CSB and will be using the CSB in some forthcoming Bible reference tools.

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Book Giveaway

The Book Giveaway is back on this week! This week I’m offering The Word Enfleshed by Oliver D. Crisp. Here’s the catalog description and table of contents:

A Fresh Theological Account of the Person and Work of Christ

The literature on Christology is large and ever-expanding. The same is true for work on the atonement, which has blossomed in the last decade. Few studies attempt to connect the dots between these two theological topics, however. In this volume, respected theologian Oliver Crisp offers a fresh analytic-theological account of the person and work of Christ, focusing on the theme of union with God Incarnate. Along the way, he engages a range of contemporary and historic Christian thinkers and tackles a number of key issues in contemporary discussions. Wide-ranging and carefully argued, this unified account of the person and work of Christ will be of interest to scholars and students of Christian theology.

Contents
1. The Eternal Generation of the Son
2. Christ without Flesh
3. Incorporeality and Incarnation
4. The Christological Doctrine of the Image of God
5. Desiderata for Models of the Hypostatic Union
6. Compositional Christology
7. The Union Account of Atonement
8. The Spirit’s Role in Union with Christ
9. The Nature and Scope of Union with Christ
Index

Leave your name in the comments section no later than Friday, June 30th. I’ll draw the winner’s name that day. If I don’t hear back from the winner within seven days the book will go to another entry. Entries are restricted to U.S. residents.

Posted in Book Give Away, Theology | 12 Comments

And The Winner Is…

Congratulations to Dru on winning our last book giveaway. Dru won a copy of Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship by David I. Starling (which is a tremendous read, if I may say so).

Thanks to all who participated!

Posted in Book Give Away, Interpretation | 1 Comment

Book Giveaway

This week I’m offering Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship by David I. Starling. Here’s the catalog description and table of contents:

A Fresh Approach to the Art of Biblical Interpretation

This book offers a fresh approach to the art of biblical interpretation, focusing on the ways Scripture itself forms its readers as wise and faithful interpreters. David Starling shows that apprenticing ourselves to the interpretive practices of the biblical writers and engaging closely with texts from all parts of the Bible help us to develop the habits and practices required to be good readers of Scripture. After introducing the principles, Starling works through the canon, providing inductive case studies in interpretive method and drawing out implications for contemporary readers. Offering a fresh contribution to hermeneutical discussions, this book will be an ideal supplement to traditional hermeneutics textbooks for seminarians. It includes a foreword by Peter O’Brien.

Contents
Foreword by Peter T. O’Brien
Introduction
1. “Who Meditates on His Law”:
The Psalter and the Hermeneutics of Delight
2. “In Your Mouth and in Your Heart”:
Deuteronomy and the Hermeneutics of Law
3. “This Kindness”:
Ruth and the Hermeneutics of Virtue
4. “To Fulfill the Word of the LORD”:
1-2 Chronicles and the Hermeneutics of History
5. “More Than for Hidden Treasure”:
Proverbs, Job, and the Hermeneutics of Wisdom
6. “The Word of the LORD Came”:
Zechariah and the Hermeneutics of Prophecy
7. “Everything I Have Commanded You”:
Matthew and the Hermeneutics of Obedience
8. “Fulfilled in Your Hearing”:
Luke and the Hermeneutics of the Gospel
9. “That You May Believe”:
John and the Hermeneutics of Truth
10. “Beyond What Is Written”?
1 Corinthians and the Hermeneutics of Theology
11. “Taken Figuratively”:
Galatians and the Hermeneutics of Allegory
12. “Today, If You Hear His Voice”:
Hebrews and the Hermeneutics of Exhortation
13. “She Who Is in Babylon”:
1 Peter and the Hermeneutics of Empire
14. “Take It and Eat”:
Revelation and the Hermeneutics of Apocalyptic
Epilogue: Always Apprentices
Indexes

Leave your name in the comments section no later than Friday, June 16th. I’ll draw the winner’s name that day. If I don’t hear back from the winner within seven days the book will go to another entry. Entries are restricted to U.S. residents.

Posted in Book Give Away, Interpretation | 16 Comments

And The Winner Is…

Congratulations to Kevin Stuhlmann on winning our last book giveaway. Kevin won a copy of The Mission of the Church, edited by Craig Ott.

Thanks to all who participated!

Posted in Book Give Away | Leave a comment

Book Giveaway

This week I’m offering The Mission of the Church: Five Views in Conversation, edited by Craig Ott. Here’s the catalog description and table of contents:

Leading Voices from across Christian Traditions Discuss the Mission of the Church

What is the mission of the church? Every seminarian and church leader must wrestle with that question. No matter what designation a church uses to describe itself, it must also think critically about why it exists and what it should be doing. In this book, five leading voices representing a range of Christian traditions engage in an enlightening conversation as they present and compare their perspectives on the mission of the church. Each contributor offers his or her view and responds to the other four views. Contributors include Stephen B. Bevans, Darrell L. Guder, Ruth Padilla DeBorst, Edward Rommen, and Ed Stetzer. The book’s format is ideal for classroom use and will also benefit pastors and church leaders.

Contents

Introduction, Craig Ott
Perspective Chapters
1. A Prophetic Dialogue Approach, Stephen B. Bevans
2. A Multicultural and Translational Approach, Darrell L. Guder
3. An Integral Transformation Approach, Ruth Padilla DeBorst
4. A Sacramental Vision Approach, Edward Rommen
5. An Evangelical Kingdom Community Approach, Ed Stetzer
Response Chapters
6. Response by Stephen B. Bevans
7. Response by Darrell L. Guder
8. Response by Ruth Padilla DeBorst
9. Response by Edward Rommen
10. Response by Ed Stetzer
Index

Leave your name in the comments section no later than Friday, June 9th. I’ll draw the winner’s name that day. If I don’t hear back from the winner within seven days the book will go to another entry.

Posted in Book Give Away, Church | 6 Comments

And the Winner Is…

Congratulations to Kelley Kimble on winning our last book giveaway. Kelley won a copy of Hebrews by Mary Healy.

Thanks to all who participated!

I’ll be out of town for the next couple weeks, so our weekly book giveaways will resume on Monday, June 5, when I return. In the mean time, have a wonderful Memorial Day!

Posted in Book Give Away, Catholic, Commentaries | 1 Comment