Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





AMERICAN MORNING WITH PAULA ZAHN

The Big Question: Should the Bible Be Politically Correct?

Aired January 29, 2002 - 08:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN FINANCIAL ANCHOR: The big question this hour, should the Bible be politically correct?

The Holy Bible is getting a rewrite in an attempt, we are told, to make the good book more -- quote -- "gender accurate" -- unquote. The International Bible Society says its "New International Version" is easier to read and more interesting for young people.

Joining us now to talk about this, Wayne Grudem, who doesn't the rewrite is a good idea, he is with the Phoenix cemetery out in -- Seminary out in Scottsdale, Arizona. He joins us from Phoenix. I didn't mean to say cemetery, obviously you are very much alive. And in Denver, Colorado, Scott Monger (ph), vice president of translation at the International Bible Society.

Let's begin with you, Mr. Munger, and get an idea from you why you're doing this.

You know, you could make the argument, this is a document that has stood the test of time and is not a bad piece of literature, why are you rewriting it, what are you trying to accomplish here?

SCOTT MUNGER, VICE PRESIDENT OF TRANSLATION, INTERNATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY: Well, of course, the original language of the Bible, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, those manuscripts, that text is never updated in the sense of any change. But certainly for every new generation, most Bible scholars believe that every new generation needs a new translation. Language changes, and translations of the Bible must change with it.

CAFFERTY: All right, Mr. Grudem, let me read you something here, one of the changes that is being made in the Bible.

This is from Romans 3:28, it said -- the old version said, "for we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law."

The revised version, they have put in the world "person" in place of "man," so that it now reads, "for we maintain that a person is justified by faith," et cetera, et cetera.

What's wrong with that?

WAYNE GRUDEM, PHOENIX SEMINARY: There's nothing wrong with that, Jack. That's not a verse that I would have any objection to because the Greek word behind that word "person" is the word "anthropos" (ph), which can mean "person." But it's interesting that the International Bible Society, in their publicity, has only given us noncontroversial verses. They have not put out a press release telling the verses where there is a male-specific meaning in the original Greek text and where they've obscured or obliterated that meaning.

CAFFERTY: Do you have an example?

GRUDEM: Sure. James 1:12 says, "blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, and when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life."

Now, they didn't like the word "man," so they changed it to, "blessed are those who persevere under trial when they have stood the test." So it's changed from singular -- Greek singular -- to English plural, and the word on there, the Greek word that does mean a male human being, is translated as "those," rather than "man." Why? Why obscure the fact that James here talked about an individual man, as an example of those who are righteous?

CAFFERTY: All right. Let's get the answer from Mr. Munger. What about that?

MUNGER: Well, I appreciate Wayne. We've known each other for a long time. I appreciate where he's coming from, but I must take issue. The fact of the matter is that many fine Greek lexicons list a meaning of the Greek word "anair" (ph) to be "person," and person in a generic context.

GRUDEM: I disagree with that.

MUNGER: Well, that's fine, and you're welcome to disagree, but I can cite -- I can cite Bible dictionaries that quote that. So, you know, I guess you'll have to take up your issue with them. We are not changing the meaning of "anair" (ph), we are simply using the precise meaning in this context, and the meaning here is not a male person, it is someone. And if you'll note, even in the Greek or in the "N.I.V.", it says, "blessed are those when they have stood the test," and that's both in the Greek and in the former "N.I.V." So clearly the idea here is people, not a male human being.

CAFFERTY: Let me read one other example here, Mr. Munger, from Luke 17:3. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, I repent, forgive him." The text has been rewritten to add the word "sister," so that it now reads -- "if any brother or sister sins against you." And on the surface at least, that looks like nothing more than some sort of an effort to be politically correct. Am I wrong in that assessment?

MUNGER: Well, I'm not going to say you're wrong, but I would disagree with the assessment. You know, I lived and worked in the Soviet Union. I became very sensitized to attempts from either the right or the left to try to dictate what should or shouldn't be said. And I can say with wholehearted support that the "Today's International Version" does not in anyway cater to a political, social, or religious agenda of any kind.

GRUDEM: Excuse me, Scott, I don't think that you have facts or data to support the idea that the Greek word, which means "brother," can be translated brother or sister. There's a way to say brother or sister, and you know that as well as I, in Greek, but Jesus didn't say that. He said "brother," and he's using a male -- a specific single male individual as an example of a general truth. So what we have here, is the International Bible Society has put out a Bible that is not trustworthy in the gender language. It translates a word that means man 216 times in the New Testament, and the major Greek lexicons do agree that this is a male human being that is referred to all 216 times in the New Testament. No counterexample.

CAFFERTY: Gentlemen, we're not going to resolve this -- I'm sorry but I --

GRUDEM: So why take those -- why take those male-specific words and obliterate the male meaning? It means we have a Bible that's not trustworthy. And moreover Jack, I am concerned about the International Bible Society reneging on a promise that it made to the Christian public...

CAFFERTY: I've got to step in here and stop this just because we've got to move the program forward. I thank you both for appearing this morning with me. Wayne Grudem, who is a research professor of Bible theology at Phoenix Seminary in Scottsdale, and Scott Munger, who is the vice president of translation for the International Bible Society. Thank you gentlemen, very much.

GRUDEM: Thank you.

MUNGER: Thank you.

CAFFERTY: I appreciate your time here this morning.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top