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Thursday, June 23, 2005

The ESV, the TNIV and gender

Adrian Warnock is a courageous blogger. He has just posted an invitation for bloggers to discuss this topic on his blog. It is probably the hottest of the burning issues in English Bible translation today. It is also one which I have seen very difficult to discuss with those with whom one disagrees without the discussion degrading into name-calling, questioning of orthodoxy, questioning of one's commitment to biblical teaching, etc. But maybe we can prove the common wisdom wrong in this case, and honor Adrian's spirit of trying to bring together different points of view to discuss in a way that honors our Example.

For anyone interested, I will copy my first comment to Adrian on this topic to the comment section of this blog post.

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At Thu Jun 23, 05:10:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Here is how I commented to Adrian on his blog:

Adrian, there has been so much blood spilled over this issue that I don't know if it is even possible to discuss it openly as you would like. It is, ultimately, an ideological and theological, issue, which has ramifications for language use and Bible translation, as Vern Poythress and Wayne Grudem have so strongly stated, as well as other scholars who have responded in writing to Vern and Wayne.

For myself, I think one of the first things that needs to happen is spiritual, so that discussion is even possible. There is far too much mistrust right now for very much dialog to occur between people who take differing viewpoints with regard to gender language in the ESV and the TNIV.

As you may know, there is a blog which is devoted to this very issue, but for the TNIV only. It is the Stealth Bible: TNIV blog hosted by World Magazine, url:

There is no analogous blog or discussion list for the ESV, to the best of my knowledge. I sincerely wish we could have an ESV blog or list where we could ask questions of ESV translators. You noticed that my question was not answered in the interviews, and my question is at the heart of my greatest concern about the ESV. I assume that it was an accidental oversight, but that question still needs to be addressed somewhere since it keeps coming up in scholarly reviews of the ESV.

One of my hopes for my own Better Bibles Blog has been that it might be possible to have some dialogue on these gender-language issues which currently divide so deeply. I have hope, because I belong to a God of hope. But I think there is a lot of spiritual work that needs to be done first before much real dialog can take place. Otherwise, as soon as someone from either side speaks honestly, someone from the other side will immediately accuse them of being heretical, a woman hater, or a feminist, etc. etc. I've tried to be part of objective discussion about problems in the TNIV, and now about problems in the ESV, and it becomes very, very difficult when we get near the issues which go to the very core of our beings and how we believe the universe, and church, and marriage, and family should function.

If anybody can help facilitate genuine dialogue on this issue, I think you would be a good candidate to do so. You are not afraid to state what you believe. And yet I have never heard you putting anyone down who believes differently.

My hope, my wish, my prayer, dear brother, is that it might work here on your blog. I confess that my faith that it will is small. But even a very small amount of faith might be something that God can use to surprise me and others.

May it be!

Thank you for your courage!

1 Cor. 15.58


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