NIV, TNIV, and Five Points for One of My Faithful Readers
A few days ago I offered five points to the first person to note in the comments why this juxtaposition was counter to my expectations:
NIV 1Co 7:26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for you to remain as you are.
TNIV 1Co 7:26 Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.
One Mr. Brian Collins of Taylors, SC, got it right:
Because the NIV translated ἀνθρώπῳ in a gender-neutral way and the TNIV translated it as “man.” Of course, the TNIV’s translation is obviously correct since the next verse says, Δέδεσαι γυναικί; Μὴ ζήτει λύσιν. Λέλυσαι ἀπὸ γυναικός; Μὴ ζήτει γυναῖκα.
On the other hand, in 1 Cor. 7:29 the NIV translates Τοῦτο δέ φημι, ἀδελφοί, ὁ καιρὸς συνεσταλμένος ἐστίν• τὸ λοιπόν, ἵνα καὶ οἱ ἔχοντες γυναῖκας ὡς μὴ ἔχοντες ὦσιν as, “What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none,” and the TNIV translates it as, “What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who are married should live as if they were not.”
Did you catch that? One of the tools in the TNIV’s translation toolbox is turning third-person singulars (which must carry gender: he, him, she, her) into second persons (which don’t carry gender: you, your). But here it’s the NIV doing that while the TNIV specifies masculinity.
To be a good judge of the quality of a translation you need to be an observant exegete—like Mr. Brian Collins. And you can’t just call the TNIV “gender-neutral” and leave it at that. The issues are more complex.
This Brian appears to be a regular reader of my blog. Thanks for the enlightenment, faithful reader! Five points for you!
BTW: One commenter, one Duncan Johnson, one next door neighbor of one Brian Collins, asked if the TNIV is on BibleWorks. Answer? I put it there for myself, and you can, too. E-mail me for more details.