This is a serious charge that should cause any Evangelical to have a double take towards the TNIV. However, just because one of your favorite Evangelical teachers may make this claim, don't take it for granted. Be a Berean. Don't let that teacher be your protestant pope!an•drog•y•nous \an-ˈdrä-jə-nəs\ adjective[Latin androgynus hermaphrodite, from Greek androgynos, from andr- + gynē woman — more at queen](1651)1 : having the characteristics or nature of both male and female2 a : neither specifically feminine nor masculine 〈the androgynous pronoun them〉b : suitable to or for either sex 〈androgynous clothing〉3 : having traditional male and female roles obscured or reversed 〈an androgynous marriage〉— an•drog•y•ny \-nē\ noun
Merriam-Webster, Inc. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed. Springfield, Mass., U.S.A.: Merriam-Webster, 1996, c1993.
Joe, give an example. Sure, again I will use Dr. Wayne Grudem. Why do I keep picking on him? Because he is one of the most respected names that has set himself up as an opponent to the TNIV. He is the type of person that I would be more likely to walk away saying Well, if Dr. Grudem says so, it must be so and never end up doing the research for myself. Dr. Grudem writes . . .
VERSE: Hebrews 2:17
NIV Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
TNIV Hebrews 2:17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
CHANGE IN MEANING: Did Jesus have to become like his sisters "in every way" in order to become a "high priest in service to God"? All the OT priests were men, and surely the high priest was only a man. This text does not quite proclaim an androgynous Jesus (who was both male and female), but it surely leaves open a wide door for misunderstanding, and almost invites misunderstanding. Meditate on that phrase “in every way” and see if you can trust the TNIV.
Let's drop the TNIV! Right? Hang on. Not so fast. First of all, let's apply the rule never read a Bible verse, and look at a whole paragraph.
Hebrews 2:14-18 (Today's New International Version)Today's New International Version (TNIV)
© Copyright 2001, 2005 by International Bible Society
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
A good test to see if there truly is a gender problem is to perform the paraphrase test. Every time we see the word man, or brothers or whatever gender word is in question, substitute the word male(s) and see if the text makes sense or if it appears the word means something more inclusive. You can do this with any verse in question.
The key in the Hebrews 2 passage is in verse 14 . . . Jesus is sharing our humanity. Notice also in verse 14 the word children. That's not a TNIV gender "neutral" choice either. Even the ESV has children in verse 14.
This passage is referring to the essential doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus was made 100% human. Dr. Grudem is reading way too much into this. The point of the writer of Hebrews wasn't that Jesus was made fully male, it was that Jesus was made fully human. The passage is a contrast to angels. Even Grudem himself acknowledges this outside of the context of speaking on the TNIV . . .
Jesus had to become a man, not an angel, because God was concerned with saving men, not with saving angels. But to do this he “had to” be made like us in every way, so that he might become “the propitiation” for us, the sacrifice that is an acceptable substitute for us. Though this idea will be discussed more fully in chapter 27, on the atonement, it is important here to realize that unless Christ was fully man, he could not have died to pay the penalty for man’s sins. He could not have been a substitute sacrifice for us.
For fun, perform the paraphrase test on Grudem's paragraph. Substitute male for man, and males for men, every time and see if you think that is what Grudem really wants to communicate. I'm serious. Stop and do that test right now on the above quote.
Secondly, does every always mean every? Of course it does, Joe! Not really. When the waitress (or waiter) asks is everything okay? do they (notice my use of the singular they) literally mean everything? No, of course not. They mean everything in regard to the restaurant: the meal, the restrooms, the environment, etc. They aren't inquiring how your job is going and how the kids are doing at school, etc.
Same thing here. Even if we limit it to just males, Jesus isn't like each of us males in every way if we take that in the most wooden literal way we can take it. I'm 5'8", about 200 lbs give-or-take, an ISTJ, married, father of biological children, not Jewish, not a carpenter . . . Jesus is not like me in every way. But he became fully human, just like me.
I'm sure even Grudem knows every doesn't always mean every in the most wooden literal way possible every time it's used.
I love your work, Dr. Grudem. Please reconsider your position on the TNIV.