After having a discussion on Bible versions and the TNIV, it soon became obvious that the fundamental issues at hand has nothing whatsoever to do with the TNIV or gender-neutrality/ inclusive language. Rather, it seems that there are many more fundamental problems with those who attempt such a defence, which are as follows:
1) Their practice of Dynamic Equivalence Methodology practically denies the doctrine of Verbal Inspiration of Scripture.
The whole idea of translating the "sense" of the verse and passage causes one to interpret them and tailor them to the audience or culture. While there is always an element of interpretation in translation, such interpretation should be minimized in order to preserve as much as possible the exact words in the original. This is not to translate it as some sort of wooden literalism, but the governing principle should be: Minimize interpretation unless absolutely necessary, NOT Use as much interpretation as you think necessary!
2) Committing the error of lexicography.
For example, the attempt to defend the translation of anthropos (ανθρωπος) to 'people' in Mk. 2:27 is based on the possible meaning of anthropos to mean both men and women in the lexicon (whether BDAG or Liddell-Scots). However, this ignores the fact that the phrase huios tou anthropou (υίος του ανθρωπου) in the consecutive verse Mk. 2:28 is translated as 'Son of Man'. The traditional rendering of anthropos as 'man' in Mk. 2:27 can thus flow with Mk. 2:28 with the rendering of 'Son of Man' in Mk. 2:28 , whereas such an analogy cannot be seen in inclusive versions like the TNIV which translates anthropos in Mk. 2:27 as 'people' yet retain the traditional translation of anthropou in Mk 2:28 as 'man'. Somehow the defence always comes down to a defence based upon lexicography independent of the entire context of the passage the verse is found, thinking that somehow since a broader semantic range of the word anthropos is included in Mk. 2:27, therefore the TNIV in Mk. 2:27 is "more literal" and has higher fidelity to the original.
3) The move towards a Protestant magisterium, and Neo-Gnostic tendencies
The suggested move towards the usage of many different versions sounds innocent enough, until one probes deeper beneath the surface. While it is indeed correct that not one version can give the total sense of the Scriptures, and thus it may (not must) indeed by helpful to utilize various translations, over-emphasis on the plurality of translations in a manner that shows total disregard whether any single translation is truly a legitimate translation would cause confusion to the flock. And who is to say which translation is better than the other, since there are no real guidelines in place? The only option is to study the Greek/ Hebrew/ Aramaic, which is good. However, if one insists on this as to truly know the sense of the verse and passage of Scripture, without which it cannot truly be known, then it must be asked if such a position smacks of Neo-Gnosticism reminiscent of the position of the Roman church seen at the time of the Reformation. Will there come a time when only those who are educated in the original languages will constitute an unofficial Magisterium on what the true senses of the texts are?
4) The refusal to set strict guidelines for translations and the primacy of the Essentially Literal style of translation, and instead depend on multiple translations, is a decadent and sinful luxury of the English-speaking Church
Let's face the fact: the English-speaking world has many many Bible versions to choose from. In effect, we are spoilt rotten with choices! We have the KJV, NKJV, NASB, RSV, NRSV, HCSB, ESV, NLT, NIV, NIVI, TNIV, GNB, TEV, CEV, Ph, Msg, LB , and possibly others I miss out. We have tons of Bible commentaries in English and a similarly large number of study Bibles. Yet in many other languages, having more than 3 translations would probably be a luxury, not to mention commentaries and study Bibles! In fact, there are still people groups without even a Bible in their native language. In such scenarios, surly the priority would be to have a good Bible which preserves as much as possible the text of Scripture so that they can use that one version (which may be the only one they have) for all purposes starting from evangelism to basic discipleship to even theological training? The "check out many versions" excuse so that poor versions are acceptable is surely a sign of the decadent indulgence of the English-speaking world especially in America.
5) The laziness in wanting a commentary-Bible version hybrid
The argument over having a Bible version that fits with the culture is legitimate to a certain extent only, in that the language must not be alien to the culture (ie 'thees' and 'thous' are not exactly commonly used words). However, when one goes further than that and desires a Bible version that expands upon a particular point or word that is perfectly understandable, then one has confounded the purpose of a commentary or study Bible with the text of Scripture. The entire gender-neutral/ inclusive language debate boils down to the fact that certain phrases which are perfectly understandable using modern English are stated to be not clear enough because it for example did not mention the opposite sex. Such clarifications should however be placed in a commentary if the problem is really that serious, because the problem is not with the language but with the worldview of such people. It is an attitude of laziness indeed in wanting to have a commentary in the text of Scripture itself (not just in the Bible as in study Bibles), as opposed to separate from it.
So, in application, the exact same reasoning of lexicography would result in certain translation decisions being unassailable. As long as the variant rendering you are proposing is a legitimate alternative based upon the variants of a lexicon, there is no legitimate reason whatsoever to reject it. With that, let us look at a good example of this principle at work.
It may be remembered by some that when the RSV came out, there was a huge uproar over the change in Is. 7:14 (a Messianic prophetic verse) of the word "virgin" with "young woman". Yet, the word there almah according to the lexicon is legitimately translated "young woman". Worse still is the fact that the word "young woman" is indeed the preferred meaning in other areas where the term is used in Scripture, and there is another term betulah which could be used if "virgin" is indeed to be made more explicit.
The question, and my challenge to all TNIV supporters who utilize such defence of lexicography, is for them to attempt to prove that the term almah in Is. 7:14 should be rendered "virgin" instead of "young woman" according to their own principles of translations. I doubt they can though.
So with that, I conclude this response to the Dynamic Equivalence methodology which seems so prevalent among the supporters of the TNIV. I am eagerly awaiting their attempted defence of the traditional rendering of Is. 7:14, but I am not holding my breath for their success.