The Responsibility for Clear Translation - follow up
Dear Peter,He then closed the posting to further comments, so that I was not able to reply to his accusation of sin. So I will reply here instead.
You're right to call to mind the warnings of Scripture concerning God's judgment, but wrong in your choice of the one most pertinent to what's here under discussion. When men want to clean the text of Scripture up so that it can't be charged with sexism or anti-Semitism and delete or change words such as 'man' or 'Jew" in the Greek original that have a direct parallel in English, they are choosing the approval of man over the approval of God.
This is precisely what "Today's New International Version" and the "New Living Translation" do in a number of places, and no matter how men such as yourself justify this change, it is sin.
The proper place to look for warnings of Scripture pertinent to these deletions and changes is neither Ezekiel 33 nor Luke 17, but Revelation 22:18,19: "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book."
The problem with the words 'man' and 'Jew' is not that they are unable to be understood by the modern man, but that he understands them quite well and finds the Holy Spirit's use of them offensive. They seem sexist and anti-Semitic to him and so he finds men who style themselves translators to do his bidding and remove the offense of God's Word.
The Holy Spirit warned that the time would come when men would not put up with sound doctrine, but would surround themselves with teachers who would say what their itching ears wanted to hear. Today His words continue to be fulfilled, and the men hired to do the scratching continue to deny that this is what they are doing.
Sincerely in Christ,
First, I resent being accused of sin and not allowed the opportunity to reply to this accusation. I wrote to Tim Bayly off list asking for the right to reply, but he refused it to me. I also asked him:
Is it OK for women to produce translations like TNIV? After all, you have stated only that it is a sin for men to do so.But he did not answer this question.
Now Bayly has confused the issue by this comment. There was no mention of gender-related language, nor of alternatives to "Jew", in the original posting, nor in my comments on it. My comments related to the use of words and phrases in translations which are not understood by target audiences, because they are archaic or religious jargon. This clearly does not apply to "Jew", nor to "man" or to other commonly criticised renderings of gender language. Bayly has in fact completely failed to answer my point that using language which is not well understood in translations is a stumbling block preventing many from finding salvation.
With these words there is an entirely different issue: the words are well understood, but (at least according to some) in a sense which is different from that intended by the biblical authors. And the motivation of most translators who choose alternative renderings, including the NLT and TNIV translation teams, is exegetical and communicative accuracy, not "to clean the text of Scripture up so that it can't be charged with sexism or anti-Semitism". Tim is welcome to question their exegetical and translational choices, but he is out of order to attribute to them motives which they have denied.
Bayly refers to "the Holy Spirit's use of" terms like "Jew" and "man", presumably in fact meaning his use of Greek words like Ἰουδαῖος Ioudaios and ἄνθρωπος anthrōpos, and their Hebrew near equivalents. I think he should look carefully at exegetical opinions, e.g. from well-known scholars like Don Carson, before assuming that the Holy Spirit's use of these terms is necessarily everywhere compatible with translations like "Jew" and "man". I wonder if attributing one's own opinions to the Holy Spirit might be the unforgivable sin against that Holy Spirit. (If Bayly wishes to understand this as an accusation and respond to it here or elsewhere, he is welcome.)
I am surprised that Bayly claims that I am seeking the approval of man. I would have expected him to claim that I am seeking the approval of woman! But in fact I am seeking the approval of God, by presenting his word as clearly as possible to those who are perishing without it. That is the responsibility which I have as a Bible translator, and I am not going to allow anyone like Bayly to divert me from it.