Examples of Improvement in Accuracy of the TNIV over the NIV
When following the Colorado Springs Guidelines
Mark L. Strauss
Bethel Seminary San Diego

Opponents of the recently released Today's New International Version (TNIV) are attacking the new translation by producing lists of passages which they claim distort the Word of God.  What these opponents fail to point out, however, is that all of these passages are exegetically debatable, and conservative evangelical scholars would disagree among themselves whether the TNIV or the NIV more accurately represents the meaning of the original text.

Furthermore, opponents of the TNIV fail to inform readers that every translation constantly involves difficult decisions concerning the meaning of the text.  No translation always gets it right and every translation sometimes gets it wrong.  I could point to dozens of examples of "inaccuracies" and "distortions of meaning" in the KJV, NKJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, and any other version, ancient or modern.  Unfortunately, this is the nature of translation, where difficult interpretive decisions must be made on a case by case, verse by verse, basis.

In addition to the misrepresentation of the nature of translation, opponents have not admitted that in many cases, the TNIV improves the accuracy of the NIV.  This paper is an attempt, on a very small scale, to demonstrate this.  I will do this  - metaphorically speaking - with one hand tied behind my back, by using guidelines advocated by the opponents of the TNIV: the Colorado Springs Guidelines established at Focus on the Family Headquarters on May 27, 1997.  As I have written elsewhere, I personally believe that these guidelines are seriously flawed both linguistically and hermeneutically.   They exclude much inclusive language which (I believe) is legitimate and acceptable.  Here I want to show that even using these flawed guidelines, the TNIV can be shown to greatly improve the accuracy of the NIV in hundreds of cases.

The Colorado Springs Guidelines have been defended in detail in a recent book by Vern Poythress and Wayne Grudem,  and so I will refer to this book for clarifications related to the guidelines.

I will first quote specific guidelines, and will then show how the TNIV improves the accuracy of the NIV with reference to this guideline.  I must stress that this is a very small sampling of these texts.  Many more examples could be cited.

Colorado Springs Guideline A.1
Guideline A.1 recognizes that substantival participles such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive ways, such as "the one who believes" rather than "he who believes." This guideline is an admission that in many cases, traditional translations have introduced the word "man" where no word for man appears in the Greek, and where a generic and inclusive reference is intended.  The replacement of the word "man" with "one" is considered an improvement in accuracy (especially for those who follow a more "literal" approach to translation).   For contexts where there is no Greek word specifying "men," Poythress and Grudem state that, "Older versions used 'men,' but 'people' is surely better, since 'men' is often today understood to refer only to male human beings."   Notice how the TNIV improves upon the accuracy of the NIV in this case:

Galatians 3:12
NIV  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things  (substantival participle; no word for "man" in Greek) will live by them."
TNIV  The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, "The one who does these things will live by them."

Romans 14:2b
NIV …but another man, whose faith is weak (substantival participle), eats only vegetables.
TNIV …but another person, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Romans 14:3
NIV The man who eats everything (substantival participle) must not look down on him who does not (substantival participle), and the man who does not eat everything (substantival participle) must not condemn the man who does (substantival participle), for God has accepted him.
TNIV The one who eats everything must not look down on the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not condemn the one who does, for God has accepted that person.

1 Corinthians 3:8
NIV The man who plants (substantival participle) and the man who waters (substantival participle) have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
TNIV The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.

Romans 4:4
NIV Now when a man works (substantival participle), his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.
TNIV  Now to anyone who works, their wages are not credited to them as a gift, but as an obligation.

Romans 4:5
NIV However, to the man who does not work (substantival participle) but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
TNIV However, to anyone who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.

In none of these cases does a word parallel to "man" appear in the Greek.  The TNIV represents a significant improvement in translation.



Colorado Springs Guideline A.5
This guideline says In many cases, anthropoi refers to people in general, and can be translated "people" rather than "men." The NIV often used the translation "men," even when anthropoi  referred to both men and women.  The TNIV more accurately and precisely translates "people."

Matthew 12:36
NIV But I tell you that men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women) will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
TNIV But I tell you that people will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Luke 6:22
NIV Blessed are you when men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women) hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
TNIV Blessed are you when people  hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.

Luke 11:44
NIV "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women) walk over without knowing it."
TNIV "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it."

John 3:19

NIV This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women) loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
TNIV This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Hebrews 6:16
NIV Men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women) swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.
TNIV People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.

Revelation 9:6
NIV During those days men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women)will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.
TNIV During those days people will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

Revelation 16:21
NIV From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men (anthropoi, referring to both men and women).
TNIV From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon people.



Colorado Springs Guideline A.5 (continued)
Guideline A5 continues, The singular anthropos should ordinarily be translated "man" when it refers to a male human being. Poythress and Grudem clarify that the flip side of this guideline is that anthropos is accurately and appropriately translated as "human being" and "person" when the term is meant to include men and women.  This kind of translation, they say,  "was never in dispute, and no one is objecting to it.  One standard translation of anthropos was 'human being' long before this dispute over inclusive language."    They admit that this is a more accurate rendering of anthropos since the usage of "man" and "men" has shifted in meaning.  They write, "In the last few years expressions like 'a man' or 'all men' are more often used when only males are in view.  These points are not in dispute."   What they fail to point out is that the versions which they defend (KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, RSV) almost always use the less accurate "man" instead of the more accurate "person" or "human being."  The TNIV dramatically improves the accuracy of the NIV in this regard:

Matthew 12:12
NIV How much more valuable is a man (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") than a sheep!
TNIV How much more valuable is a human being than a sheep!

Matthew 19:6
NIV Therefore what God has joined together, let man (anthropos, meaning "no person") not separate."
TNIV Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

Matthew 19:26

NIV Jesus looked at them and said,  "With man (anthropos, meaning "people" or "human beings" in general) this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
TNIV Jesus looked at them and said,  "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Mark 2:27
NIV Then he said to them,  "The Sabbath was made for man (anthropos, meaning "people" or "human beings" in general), not man for the Sabbath.
TNIV Then he said to them,  "The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.

John 1:9
NIV The true light that gives light to every man (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being")was coming into the world.
TNIV The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.

Acts 24:16
NIV So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man (anthropos, meaning "people" or "human beings")
TNIV So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and all people.

Romans 1:23
NIV and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man (anthropos, meaning "people" or "human beings") and birds and animals and reptiles.
TNIV and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal human beings and birds and animals and reptiles.  (Note: many gods were female!)

Romans 3:4
NIV Not at all! Let God be true, and every man (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") a liar
TNIV Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar.

Romans 3:28
NIV For we maintain that a man  (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
NIV For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

Romans 10:5
NIV "The man  (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") who does these things will live by them."
TNIV "The one who does these things will live by them."

Romans 14:20
NIV All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.
TNIV All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

1 Corinthians 2:14
NIV The man  (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God…
TNIV The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God…

Galatians 2:16
NIV know that a man  (anthropos, meaning "person" or "human being") is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.
TNIV know that a person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:27
NIV Just as man  (anthropos, meaning "people" or "human beings") is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
TNIV Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,



Colorado Springs Guideline A.6
This guideline states that Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated "anyone" rather than "any man." With reference to tis, Poythress and Grudem point out that "man" is less accurate than more inclusive translations.  They write,

…the phrase 'a man,' like the word 'men,' has shifted in meaning over time.  Whereas formerly it could be understood as including women, it tends today to be understood as designating male human beings exclusively.  Because of the potential misunderstanding, the NIV's 'anyone' is now preferable.  

This statement is in reference to John 15:6, where the RSV used "man," while the original NIV translated more accurately as "anyone."  Yet in many other cases, the NIV used "man" when it should have used "anyone" or another inclusive term.  The TNIV corrects this:

John 6:50
NIV But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man (tis, meaning "any person") may eat and not die.
TNIV But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which people may eat and not die.

1 Corinthians 8:3
NIV But the man who (tis, meaning "whoever") loves God is known by God.
TNIV But whoever loves God is known by God.

2 Thessalonians 3:10
NIV "If a man (tis, meaning "anyone") will not work, he shall not eat."
TNIV "Anyone who will not work shall not eat."



1 Corinthians 3:12
NIV If any man (tis, meaning "anyone") builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw…
TNIV If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw…



Colorado Springs Guideline A.7

This guideline states that In many cases, pronouns such as oudeis can be translated "no one" rather than "no man." In many cases, the TNIV corrects the NIV with reference to this and other pronouns.

James 3:8
NIV but no man (oudeis, meaning "no one") can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
TNIV but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Matthew 11:6
NIV Blessed is the man who (hos ean, relative pronoun and particle, meaning "whoever") does not fall away on account of me."
TNIV Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."

Romans 14:2
NIV One man's (hos, relative pronoun meaning "the one who's") faith allows him to eat everything….
TNIV One person's faith allows him to eat everything….

Luke 7:23
NIV Blessed is the man who (hos ean, relative pronoun and particle meaning, "whoever") does not fall away on account of me."
TNIV Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."

Romans 14:5
NIV One man (hos men, relative pronoun and particle meaning "one person") considers one day more sacred than another; another man (hos de, "another person") considers every day alike.
TNIV Some consider one day more sacred than another; others consider every day alike.



Colorado Springs Guideline A.8
This guideline states that When pas is used as a substantive, it can be translated with terms such as "all people" or "everyone."  Poythress and Grudem point to examples where the RSV translated the Greek pas ("all") as "all men" when in context both men and women are included.  A more accurate translation would be  "all" or "all people" because the use of "men" "has become potentially misleading."

Matthew 10:22 (cf. Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17)
NIV All men (pas, meaning "all people") will hate you because of me....
TNIV Everyone will hate you because of me….

John 1:7
NIV He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men (pas, meaning "all people") might believe.
TNIV He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.

John 2:24

NIV But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men (pas, meaning "all people").
TNIV But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people.

John 12:32

NIV But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men (pas, meaning "all people") to myself."
TNIV But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."

John 13:35

NIV By this all men (pas, meaning "all people")will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
TNIV By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Acts 17:25
NIV And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men (pas, meaning "all people") life and breath and everything else.
TNIV And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.

Acts 17:31
NIV  He has given proof of this to all men (pas, meaning "all people") by raising him from the dead."
TNIV  He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead."

Acts 21:28
NIV This is the man who teaches all men  (pas, meaning "all people") everywhere against our people and our law and this place.
TNIV This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place.

Romans 5:12
NIV Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men (pas, meaning "all people"), because all sinned -
TNIV Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned -

Romans 11:32
NIV For God has bound all men  (pas, meaning "all people") over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
TNIV For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.


1 Corinthians 9:22
NIV I have become all things to all men (pas, meaning "all people") so that by all possible means I might save some.
TNIV I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

1Timothy 2:6
NIV …who gave himself as a ransom for all men (pas, meaning "all people").
TNIV …who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

Hebrews 12:14
NIV Make every effort to live in peace with all men (pas, meaning "all people")…
TNIV Make every effort to live in peace with everyone

Hebrews 12:23

NIV You have come to God, the judge of all men (pas, meaning "all people"), to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
TNIV You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,

1 Peter 1:24
NIV For,  "All men  (pas, meaning "all people") are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
TNIV For,  "All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

We may add to this large body of evidence those passages which use the phrase pantes anthropoi ("all people").  In the following cases, the NIV mistranslates as "all men," while the TNIV correctly translates, "all people": Luke 6:26; Acts 22:15; Rom. 5:12, Rom. 5:18; 1 Cor. 15:19; 1 Thess. 2:15; 1Tim. 2:4; 1Tim. 4:10; Titus 2:11; Titus 3:2.



Colorado Springs  Guideline B1

This guideline confirms that the plural adelphoi can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women. Poythress and Grudem, like other interpreters, recognize that in many contexts the Greek term adelphoi does not mean "brothers," but rather "siblings," or "brothers and sisters."  In fact, we have examples from the ancient world where a man and a woman are called adelphoi.   Since in English we would never say, "my brothers Bob and Kathy," the most accurate translation in such cases is "brothers and sisters."  The TNIV renders the NIV's "brothers" with the more accurate and precise translation "brothers and sisters."
The term adelphoi occurs 145 times in the New Testament, 77 times in the Pauline Epistles alone.  The vast majority of these latter carry the sense "brothers and sisters."  The following list is merely a sampling of these many cases.

Romans 1:13

NIV I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you…
TNIV I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you…

Romans 7:4
NIV So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,
TNIV So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,

Romans 11:25

NIV I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited….
TNIV I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not think you are superior:…

Romans 15:30
NIV I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit,
TNIV I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit,

1 Corinthians 1:10
NIV I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another ….
TNIV I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another ….

1 Corinthians 3:1
NIV Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ.
TNIV Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:33
NIV So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat….
TNIV So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat….

1 Corinthians 14:6
NIV Now, brothers, if I come to you and speak in tongues,
TNIV Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues,

1 Corinthians 15:1
NIV Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…
TNIV Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you…

1 Corinthians 15:50
NIV I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God….
TNIV I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God….

2 Corinthians 8:1
NIV And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
TNIV And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.

Galatians 1:11
NIV I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.
TNIV I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

Galatians  4:12
NIV I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you.
TNIV I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you.

Galatians  5:13
NIV You, my brothers, were called to be free.
TNIV You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.

Philippians 1:12
NIV Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
TNIV Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.

Philippians 3:1
NIV Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!
TNIV Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!

Philippians 4:8
NIV Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….
TNIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…

1 Thessalonians 1:4
NIV For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,
TNIV For we know, brothers and sisters, loved by God, that he has chosen you,

1 Thessalonians 2:1
NIV You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure.
TNIV You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results.

1 Thessalonians 3:7
NIV Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.
TNIV Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith.

1 Thessalonians 4:13
NIV Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
TNIV Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.

2 Thessalonians 2:1
NIV Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers
TNIV Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters

2 Thessalonians 2:15
NIV So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
TNIV So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.


2 Thessalonians 3:13
NIV And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.
TNIV And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.


Conclusion
It should be clear that I am writing this paper - to a certain extent - with my tongue in my cheek, since I consider the Colorado Springs Guidelines to be seriously flawed both linguistically and hermeneutically.  My point is to show that, even using the flawed guidelines established in Colorado Springs, everyone should agree that the TNIV has significantly improved the NIV with reference to many aspects of gender language.
Unfortunately, opponents of the TNIV are unwilling to admit these significant improvements, and are instead painting this issue in absolute terms of right versus wrong, even good versus evil. Traditional versions like the NIV, KJV, NKJV, NASB, RSV are "good" and "accurate," while the TNIV is a "bad" translation which distorts the Word of God.  In fact, this is terribly simplistic and naïve.  These other versions have as many (and I would suggest many more) inaccuracies and ambiguities as the TNIV. Until we rise above such simplistic categories and engage in a serious discussion about the nature of Bible translation and how to accurately communicate God's Word, this issue will continue to create more heat than light, and will only cause disunity and strife in the body of Christ.