The Apostasy of Zondervan Publishers
and the Bible Societies
by Mitch Cervinka

Some of the most disturbing attacks on the Christian faith have arisen from within the ranks of professing Evangelicalsthe production of gender-biased translations by two of the major Bible societies and publication of a gender-biased translation by a prominent Christian publisher.

In 1995 the American Bible Society (ABS) published the gender-biased Contemporary English Version (CEV).  In that same year, the International Bible Society (IBS) copyrighted an Inclusive Language Edition of the New International Version (NIVi), which was published in Great Britain by Hodder and Stoughton, who hold the British rights to the NIV.  (Note that the NIVi is a significant revision of the original NIV, first published in 1984, which had no gender bias).

More recently, on January 28, 2002, IBS together with Zondervan Publishers, announced the publication of the Today's New International Version (TNIV).  This new translation, while touted by IBS and Zondervan as being more gender accurate than the NIV, seriously distorts the scriptures for the English reader.  In some passages, it introduces ambiguity regarding the roles of men and women with respect to teaching or eldership in the church, when there is no such ambiguity in the Greek text.  In other passages, it reverts to the plural or the second person in order to avoid the masculine pronouns "he" or "him", when the Greek itself uses the masculine pronoun.  (World Magazine discusses some of the issues and history surrounding the TNIV in its February 23, 2002 edition at

In 2011, the American Bible Society published an updated version of the NIV, which, like the TNIV, involves major unjustified revisions in the gender of the Biblical text. Unfortunately, this time, the new distorted translation is called by the same name as the accurate 1984 version—namely, the NIV. Beware: If you purchase an NIV Bible today, do not assume it will be the 1984 translation. For more information, please consult

The Greek language has two words that are often translated "man".  One is the gender-neutral "anthropos", which is best translated in English as "person" or "human".  The other is the word "aner", which signifies an adult male or a husband.  A gender-accurate translation would seek to consistently translate anthropos in a gender-neutral way, and aner as a male human.  However, the TNIV obscures this distinction by frequently translating aner in a gender-neutral way.  This constitutes some of the most damning evidence against the claims that the TNIV is a gender-accurate translation.  (See for a discussion of the use of aner in the Greek manuscripts.)

Translations that seek to be "gender-neutral" trip all over themselves trying to avoid the generic use of the pronouns "he", "him" and "his".  Often, they change these to the plural "they", "them" or "their" in order to avoid any possible male connotations.  However, this often distorts the passage by suggesting a corporate application rather than an individual one.  Moreover, the generic usage of the male pronouns is common to nearly every language, including the original Hebrew and Greek of the Bible.  The most gender-accurate translation would seek to translate the generic-masculine expressions of the Greek and Hebrew by their equivalent English generic-masculine forms.  Attempts to avoid the generic-masculine usage are rooted in feminist ideologyseeking to modify the English language to promote unscriptural concepts of gender equality.  (See for an in-depth discussion of problems in avoiding the generic-masculine usage and for a discussion of the feminist agenda to purge masculine verbage from the English language.)

Hebrews 2:6, in particular, is seriously distorted by the TNIV...

NIV(1984) - What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
TNIV - What are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
This passage, in speaking of "the son of man", is evidently referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the verses that follow (e.g. verses 8-10) confirm this conclusion.  However, the TNIV totally obscures this identification, translating "son of man" as "human beings".  By using the plural, the TNIV eliminates any possibility that anyone would see the passage as referring to a particular person.  By avoiding the expression "son of man", the TNIV discards from the passage one of the common titles of our Lord Jesus. The irresponsible way that the passage is handled by the TNIV makes any specific identification with Christ seem totally unwarranted.  Suffice it to say that the original 1984 version of the NIV is a very literal translation of the Greek text, whereas the TNIV is, at best, an inaccurate, irresponsible paraphrase that seeks to inject an unscriptural egalitarianism into the scriptures wherever it can.

Numerous other examples can be found in Dr. Poythress' article TNIV’s Altered Meanings: An Evaluation of the TNIV,

From these examples, it is clear that the TNIV does not seek to maintain the clear distinctions in the Greek New Testament between "male" and "human being".  Had it done so, we could at least applaud their motives.  Instead, the TNIV appears to be introducing into the text the unbiblical idea that women were permitted to be teachers or elders.  This may please the feminist biases of our modern society, but it misrepresents the words spoken to us by our sovereign Lord.

It goes without saying that there are few errors more serious than misrepresenting God's holy Wordthe very foundation of the Christian faith.  See the list of 110 Christian leaders and scholars who have signed a joint statement declaring that the TNIV should not be commended to the church:

I urge you to pray for the repentance of those in leadership at the Bible Societies and at Zondervanthat they would come to reverence God's Word enough that they would never dare to distort or pervert its message.

Additional resources can be found here ...

Bible Researcher's page of Gender-Neutral Bible Resources
Frame-Poythress Articles on Bible Translation

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