Kostenberger wrote a chapter called Translating John's Gospel: Challenges and Opportunities, evaluating "the quality and accuracy of nine major English translations of the Gospel of John."
He makes several comments about the inclusive language debate that are well worth reading. Here are some excerpts (see page 8 of the full article for the entire discussion of inclusive language):
To make this an issue of doctrinal fidelity and orthodoxy (inerrancy)—as Grudem and Poythress continue to insist on doing—is erroneous and fails to appreciate the complexities involved in Bible translation.and...
To some extent, the difference is over perceptions to which degree the English language has in fact shifted or is expected to shift. While I am no expert in this area, I believe that translation committees should consider all the available options—including generic “he”—and then choose the best overall translation that presents the least amount of difficulties. In my consulting work I have seen a fair share of instances where translation committees were so intent on avoiding generic “he” that they chose inferior options instead.
Just as Poythress and Grudem criticize Carson for appearing to exclude generic “he” as an option, they should be open to other possibilities—including those that entail changes from singular to plural, from third to second person singular, etc. They should not claim divine sanction for English generic “he,” as if it were somehow intrinsically superior to possible alternatives. I am also not so sure that the latent masculinity Poythress and Grudem claim underlies certain generics is as widespread as they allege.Incidentally, which translation was the winner in his study?
Hence, in our unscientific case study, the TNIV comes out on top with a superior “6” rating.What prompted this apparent change of heart? It seems to have begun in 1999, two years after the inclusive language controversy that led to the Colorado Springs Guidelines. In an article that year for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Kostenberger shared this story:
The other day, my six-year-old daughter Lauren and I read the gospel account in which Jesus promises to make his followers "fishers of men" (or so it read in the NIV that we were using). My daughter commented: "Daddy, I'm going to be a fisher of women," and then adding, with customary "generosity," "Tahlia [her younger sister], she can be a fisher of men." I was struck by the perceptive nature of my daughter's remark: unaware of the recent inclusive-language controversy, she had unwittingly yet intuitively picked up on the need for Bible translators in this day and age to be sensitive to how they render gender-related terms in Scripture.Even Bible scholars' children need translations like the TNIV.