Gender-inclusive Bibles, God's word or not?

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Some recent bible translations use gender-inclusive language.

One example is the 2011 version of the NIV (New International Version) Bible, which has thousands of changes to the male-gendered language, to include both genders.

Some people like the idea, and say it helps appeal to a bigger audience. They say it keeps up with modern times, and women's rights.

But others, don't like it. Wayne Schwiesow, the Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Cape Girardeau County says he has no interest in this gender-inclusive translation.

"God said what he said, and I'm willing to believe that he meant what he said, and knew what he was talking about, we don't need to be changing it with the inclusive language," said Schwiesow. "As I understand it, the purpose of the inclusive language is to try to make the bible more friendly to our particular culture today and our society, as though there is some idea that the bible and god are discriminating against women, and we have to fix that with inclusive language."

James Green, Associate Pastor at Cape Bible Chapel says he believes it's important to look at the surrounding text to see what each reference means.

"Any bible that we have in America is going to be a translation and so you are kind of at the liberty of what it says," said Green. "But going back to what was intended, you have to look at the context, you have to look at the surrounding stuff and so I don't know how big of a debate it really is when it says man, did it mean mankind, and when it says brother, did it mean brother and sister. I think we just get hung up on that in trying to understand and interpret it correctly, and what ends up happening and not that it's bad or that it's invaluable, but we get the discussion away from well what did god really intend and we make it well what can we make out of that."

Schwiesow says since American bibles are translated from other languages, no translation is perfect. He says he thinks it's important to translate closest to the original form, not what's most popular.

"All I can guess, and that's all it would be is just a guess, that some people are trying to change the message in the bible in such a way that it will resonate more with the culture in which we live," said Schwiesow. "Personally, if I were to take your words and change them to try to make people happier with me, I would expect you to be a little upset that I was changing your words around and I think the same thing's true with God's word."

"This is what we know and we understand persons and humans we kind of try to put God in a box and so when it talks about in the bible Genesis 1, male and female, were created in God's image, and so we think ok I get that, but really we don't get that, we're not quite bright enough to get that it's got to mean more people were created to be above animals and above trees cause they were created with characteristics that god has free will, and intellect and emotion and so that's more of what created male and female means," said Green.

If you want to check out a copy of the gender-inclusive translation, LifeWay Christian Resources in Cape Girardeau carries them.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.