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Christ no longer sinful or condemning, but men are still the problem

I've got some serious concerns about the new NIV's policy on the Psalms (here and here).  But I'm very glad for some corrections they've made in Romans 8.

The Old NIV rendered verse 3:

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man.

The New NIV says:

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh.

"Sinful nature" as a translation of "flesh" was one of the worst things about the old NIV.  I'm very glad they've corrected that.  Not least because they've stopped calling Jesus sinful in Romans 8:3.  Which is good.

Also in verse 34 they make another change - what do you think about this?

Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

That opening question is expecting a negative answer.  The old NIV does not have "No one".  It goes on directly to speak about Christ Jesus who died.  I suppose that has the advantage of communicating that the one person who could condemn you has infact condemned you at the cross in His own flesh.  But the new NIV supplies the expected negative response so that no-one could get the impression that Jesus is the one who continues to condemn.


I spotted another interesting update when preparing for yesterday morning on Acts 2.  The new NIV policy of gender neutrality is not comprehensively followed!

Fellow Israelites [old NIV said "Men of Israel"], listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.  This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross."  (Acts 2:22-23)

Everything's gender neutral except responsibility for deicide!

0 thoughts on “Christ no longer sinful or condemning, but men are still the problem

  1. Sarah

    I own a TNIV, totally politically correct on the gender neutrality. You'd hate it.
    Sometimes I look up the original form it was written in (to see if it was brothers, sons...), but as a female sometimes the use of the term 'children' and 'brothers and sister' make it feel just a bit more applicable and relevant to me.

  2. Glen

    Hey Sarah - I wouldn't "hate" it at all. "Brothers" definitely has that inclusive feel to it in Greek which the translation "Brothers and sisters" faithfully captures. I just thought it was amusing that the new NIV so comprehensively makes things gender-neutral *except* when it's the "sinful men" who crucify Jesus. :)

  3. Chris Stafferton

    Hi Glen,
    Thanks for this article. Quite helpful. I am curious about your insight "The new NIV policy of gender neutrality is not comprehensively followed!". If it were followed, would it imply that the Sanhedrin also contained women? :)

  4. Glen

    Hey Chris,
    Good to hear from you. The phrase "by the hands of the lawless" emphasizes the Gentile-ness of the Christ-killers. "Men" is an overtranslation I feel - it's not there in the original. So it's not a Sanhedrin reference but rather a reference to the non-Jews (those without the law) who - in concert with the Jews - proved to be in opposition to Christ. It's quite a *universal* statement - that Jew and Gentile have united against the Lord's Anointed - so I think it needs a more universal translation. Perhaps a more literal "by the hands of the lawless" would be best.


  5. codepoke

    I've been thinking about translation, Glen. Recall the theory of significant figures? 1 ton + .0291 pounds = 1 ton, not 1.00001455 tons.

    It occurs to me there's no similar concept in translation. Every single translation presents its changes as absolute (there can only be one text, after all), but there's no way to guage the significance of a change. Are the translators in a furball over something obvious, miniscule, obscure, or entirely derived from theological preconceptions? Who knows, and who can know?

    I believe the people (not 'guys' ;-) ) on the TNIV and ESV committees both know their stuff, and they certain arrive at different places. What I don't know is the significance of their results. Are they adding a feather to an approximate ton? Or are they adding a brick to a load?

    The multiplication of translations is creating 2 significant problems (as in measurable.) People no longer trust any of the translations like they used to trust the KJV - as God's pure word. And Christians often can't talk about ideas without finding themselves stuck in conversations about the verses. (I picture Mr. Incredible being trapped by thousands of tarballs on the bridge.)

    If the powers assigned to each wording a measure of precision, it would at least let us begin to talk again. Instead we hear arguments of right versus wrong, as if the solution were binary. 1.00001145 is right and .9999990175 is wrong! The deity of Christ is impugned! We cannot recommend this translation!

    It seems our precision is inaccurate, and certainly not helpful.

  6. Glen

    Hi Code, very interesting points as usual. Perhaps in addition to the weighting of trnalsations according to precision we need to do an internal weighting according to importance! My Acts 2 quibble was a trivial little point. I think "flesh" versus "sinful nature" is more important (Romans 8) and "Son" versus "son" more important again (Psalm 2). One of the things I was interested in when the NIV revision first came out was which translation decisions people found important. The blogging buzz seemed to be all about gender issues, which don't strike me as being of first imoportance.

    Thanks Chris :)

  7. codepoke

    Thanks for entertaining my off-subject observations, Glen.

    I'm an old-school fundamentalist trying to learn to swim in a post-modernist pool and it's hurting my head. It makes odd observations come out.

    Lord bless.

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