The Historical Research of Dr. Sandra Glahn: When “He” Also Means “She” (Gender in Bible Translation)
A note from Wendy Wilson, MissioNexus, Mission Advisor for Development of Women:
Word studies have always been fascinating to me as a way to mine more gems from the biblical text. As a woman reading an English translation, it occurred to me early on that each time I read the masculine “man” or “men” I had to decide whether it was speaking to me as a human woman or only to males. But I was used to it because most all of my education to that point had been written that way in English. Enter the word study in my personal study time. When I began to look in my concordance at the very pronouns that seemed confusing to me, I found many places where the pronouns were actually “people” not “males,” making God’s Word seem to speak more clearly to me! And as Evangelicals, biblical accuracy is important to us . . .
In 2005 The New International Version came out with a concerted attempt to be more accurate with how pronouns were translated. If we mean “males” we use “men”. If we mean “females” we use “women.” If we mean both, we use “people” or “brothers and sisters” or “humankind.” I began to compare the NASB (which I grew up spiritually with and loved deeply) with this updated NIV, in passages such as 2 Timothy 2:2, Psalm 8:3-8, Proverbs 18, James 1 and more. (I encourage you to read them side by side for impact.) I began to see why women had strangely seemed so much less present to me in the Scripture. Just this one correction to translate our English pronouns accurately began to communicate quite a different emphasis over time. And a more accurate one . . .which we all care about!
The link to the blog article is below . . .but here is an excerpt from “When “He” Also Means “She” (Gender in Bible Translation):
“Recently, a godly friend sent me a link to an article to which she attached the curiosity-invoking disclaimer, “I don’t agree whatevs.” Intrigued, I followed the URL and read an article in which a professor at a Christian college outlined what he considered the causes of Bible-believing Christians “embracing . . . the eventual legalization of marriage between people of the same sex.” He gave as one of his reasons the acceptance of “language that its proponents call ‘gender-inclusive’ or ‘gender-accurate,’ but which is really ‘gender-neutral.’”
I disagreed with much of his argument. But for now, I will consider only whether such language is, indeed, gender-neutral, as he says.”