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The Downfall of the TNIV

Many of the TNIV supporters are upset about the general rejection of the TNIV. These supporters cannot understand why there is a continued backlash against the TNIV. While it appears that there has been an effort by TNIV attackers to prevent the TNIV from successfully replacing the NIV, I believe there are other reasons why the TNIV has lacked support. The TNIV did it to itself.

Before the completed TNIV was released, the New Testament of the TNIV was released to the general public for purchase. I have in my hands a TNIV New Testament published in 2001 by the International Bible Society. Being a sucker for new translations and willing to try new translations, I immediately purchased the TNIV NT, just like I purchased a HCSB NT when it was released before the translation was completed. There were a number of translations in the TNIV NT that I found simply unacceptable, which caused me to quickly reject the TNIV.

In the 2001 TNIV NT, 1 Timothy 3:11 reads, “In the same way, women who are deacons are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” When the TNIV already had swirling controversy about the “gender inclusive language” and then releases a New Testament that has a reading advocating women deacons, I think one can see another reason why there was rejection among conservative preachers, teachers, and churches. The phrase “who are deacons” is not in the Greek, but was supplied by the translators. Some may argue that this is the proper interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:11, but this reading is not what the text says.

When the TNIV was finally released as a completed Bible, 1 Timothy 3:11 was changed to read as it reads now: “In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” This is correct. The phrase is vague and must be left up to the student to determine what Paul meant when spoke about the women or wives needing to be worthy of respect.

The point is that I assume I was not the only one who wrote off the TNIV when I saw these kinds of translation choices made in the TNIV NT. It is now seven years later and only last month did I purchase the TNIV Reference Bible to give it another try. Perhaps I will find other favorable changes and like the TNIV more this time around. But the TNIV brought some of the rejection and fury upon themselves with the 2001 New Testament release.