Update: Comments are now closed.
I’ve prepared a one-page document showing the changes between the 1984 and 2011 versions of the NIV. I chose 1 Timothy 2 since it is one of the most difficult passages for handling gender in the New Testament.
In my first look at the changes I have to say that I’m very pleased with the updates. I think ANER and ANTHROPOS are handled correctly in all but one instance. Let me discuss that one in detail.
|NIV 1984 1 Timothy 2:5||NIV 2011 1 Timothy 2:5|
|For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,||For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,|
“Men” and “man” in this passage are translations of the Greek word ANTHROPOS. The theological point of this verse is that Jesus is mediator between God and humanity because he himself was human. As you can see the NIV2011 has updated this with mankind for the first occurrence and retained man for the second.
I personally think this is an improvement over the 1984 edition and certainly within the bounds of acceptability in terms of accuracy. Someone might try to argue that this translation is misleading since it suggests that Jesus was our mediator because he was male. Only testing could show this for sure, but it seems clear to me that Jesus’ humanity is in focus here.
Here are how some other translations handled this verse:
NLT: For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.
CEV: There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us.
NRSV: For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human,
It’s worth mentioning that this translation problem is unique to English and related Indo-European languages. In every African language that I have knowledge of the term for “male” can never stand in for either a man or woman. Instead there is a general word, munthu for example in Nyungwe, that means simply person.
Please let us know about other changes you have noticed in the NIV 2011. Since this is quite a controversial translation I ask you to keep the guidelines of this blog in mind as you are commenting. Any comments not following the guidelines will be deleted immediately.
Another change I noticed on the Bible Gateway site is that the text link for the TNIV has disappeared. It seems you can still access an audio version of the TNIV.
If you want to see the NIV 1984 and the TNIV, they are still available at YouVersion: http://www.youversion.com/