A Feminist Bible refers to any Bible translation that kowtows to aspects of feminist ideology, such as the acceptance of abortion. These translations distort the meaning of the Bible and presume to bring God's Word into line with the translators' secular political ideologies.
The NIV is an example of a Feminist Bible. The 1984 edition uses the word "womb" — a word often associated with the unborn child — only 57 times, compared with 70 times by the NASB and 82 times by the ESV, which is a modern translation widely respected for its accuracy. The problem of feminism worsened in the 2010 edition of the NIV, which went so far as to use gender-neutral pronouns where masculine pronouns would be more appropriate.
Table of examples
There are numerous examples of the NIV systematically purging references to the unborn child. The table below uses quotes from the 2011 edition.
|Ruth 1:11||"... are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?"||"... Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?"||"... Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?"||"... Do I still have sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?"|
|Matthew 1:18||... she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.||... she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.||... she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.||... she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.|
|Luke 1:15||"... shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."||"... and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother's womb."||"... He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born."||"... He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit."|
|Luke 1:42||And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.||And she cried out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!'||In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!"||and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."|
|Luke 2:5||To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.||in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.||He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.||He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.|
|Luke 11:27||... 'Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.'||... 'Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nurse.'||... 'Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.'||... 'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!'|
|Jeremiah 1:5||"Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee ...."||"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you ...."||“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; ...."||“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; ...."|
|Jeremiah 31:8||...and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: ...||... Among them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and she who is in labor with child, together ....||... Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; ....||... among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, ....|
|Romans 9:10-11||... but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil ...).||... when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad ...||... but Rebekah's children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad ....||... something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad ....|
|Psalm 78:6||"That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born ..."||"so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, ..."||"so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, ..."||"that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, ..."|
Other examples of feminist distortions in the NIV include the following:
|1 John 3:1||Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God ....||See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God ....||See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! ....||See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; ....|
|Luke 5:20||And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man [Ἄνθρωπε, vocative of ἄνθρωπος, which is the masculine form: man], thy sins are forgiven thee.||Seeing their faith, He said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."||When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”||When he saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.”|
Revisions to the NIV further promote feminist distortions. The translating committee for the new version of the NIV lacks any self-described "complementarians" who support the differences between men and women, for example.
Feminists also object to 1 Tim 2:12 ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."), but the original Greek is so clear that not much can be done to distort it. Only the most most liberal translations, as in injecting plural forms of "woman" and "man", and also twisting the second half to read "listen quietly."
Feminists are often critical of traditional marriage, and the NIV translation uses the potentially demeaning term to "pledged" rather than "engaged" to describe planned marriages in the Bible. (The term "pledged" connotes a thing or a slave rather than a dignified person.) The NIV says, for example, that Mary was "pledged to be married" rather than "engaged to be married."
There are about ten references to the NIV (1984) to "pledged" to be married rather than "engaged" to be married. The 2010 translation to the NIV then added yet another use of "pledged", 1 Corinthians 7:27: "Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife." The more respected NASB translation of that same passage is: "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife."
Grammatical errors creep into Feminist Bibles due to a reluctance to use the male pronoun, such that the plural, gender-neutral pronoun is used even when referring to only one person. For example, most English translations translate James 2:15-16: "If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them ...." The pronoun "them" is grammatically incorrect in this case but is intended to avoid using a gender-specific pronoun. The New Century Version translates that in a grammatically correct (but still awkward style) as "A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food. If you say to that person ...."
Examples of translations that have feminist tendencies are the NIV, the New King James Version, the Today's New International Version, the New American Bible and, to a lesser extent, the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
For example, in Mark 9:36 Jesus makes reference to a child and a pronoun is then appropriate for referring to the child. The New American Bible refers to the child as an "it" in order to appease feminism:
- Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them ...."
Today's New International Version makes an awkward double reference to "child" to avoid using the masculine pronoun.
Even the KJV sometimes slips into inappropriate gender-neutral language, as in Romans 8:17 when it translates a form of "τέκνον" as "children" rather than its proper meaning as "sons", which fits the usage in that passage with respect to glorification as Christ was.
In addition to the above, words that are disfavored by feminists and are targets for censorship or distortion by a Feminist Bible:
- ma'am, madam, and sir
- "women" in connection with "men", as in "men and women"
- masculine forms of titles or offices, as in "prophet" or "congressman", when the person is female
- masculine descriptions of types of persons, as in "layman" (Lv 22:12) or "salesman"
- "dear lady" (2 John 1:5 - the Holman Christian Standard Bible and New King James Version drop the "dear", and The Message drops "lady" too)
- the use of the exclusively feminine pronoun to refer to nations, boats, hurricanes, etc.
- the use of the exclusively masculine pronoun to refer to a person of unknown gender
- Mark 5:3 ("no one" preferred by feminists to "no man," despite the obviously male context of the verse)
- submit (used in various forms 23 times in the Bible, most often in reference to a wife's role and, unlike Islam, almost never in reference to submission to God)
- "common man" (which can be used effectively often, as in Luke 10:21)
- words that highlight female personalities related to the attraction of men, or unflattering about women, such as "temptress".
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- New NIV passage lookup here
- See the discussion about marriage below.
- An Evaluation of Gender Language in the 2011 Edition of the NIV Bible, A report from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
- "Moo declined to label any of the committee members as "complementarians' ...."New NIV translation due out in 2011
- See Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:27 and 2:5.
- Surprisingly, virtually all English translations from the KJV to today have this grammatical error. The quoted translation is from the New American Bible.
- Mark 9:36 (NAB) (emphasis added).
- The New Century Version, a feminist rendition, uses the gender neutral "little children"; the Holman Christian Standard Bible uses the gender neutral "infants".