Are Gender-Neutral Bibles Popular?

Written by Father Bill 2 Comments

Newser reports that “God is still the Father in the latest version of the world’s most popular Bible, but conservative Christians aren’t happy with gender-neutral language elsewhere in the 2011 New International Version Bible.”

In a similar report , ABP tells us that “American Bible readers overwhelmingly oppose gender-neutral translations of the Bible, according to a new study by LifeWay Research.” Summarizing the results of the study, ABP’s report says:

 Eighty-two percent of participants in a study released Oct. 1 said verses in biblical Hebrew and Greek that use masculine words like “man” to describe people in general ought to be translated literally instead of with gender-inclusive terms like “humankind” or “person.”

Just 12 percent preferred a gender-inclusive translation, and 6 percent were unsure.

Opposition rose to 89 percent when making gender-inclusive references to God. Two thirds (68 percent) said they strongly oppose translating references in Greek and Hebrew to God as “father” with gender-inclusive terms such as “parent.”

So, if the conservative Christian market for Bibles dislikes gender-neutral translations, why does this same market purchase more gender-neutral translations than not?

It would appear that the reason is ignorance, according to Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. McConnel says, “ Bible readers can share their preferences for different translation principles but may not be aware of which characteristics are present in specific translations — even the ones that they own.”


  1. Donna Young   |  Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I just faced this issue this week. We need to reorder outreach Bibles for the pregnancy centers here. I went to ABS on-line and found we would not be able to order the 1984 NIV. So we are going to NKJV. Now we must educate the staff and Bible study leaders.

  2. Keith Wilson   |  Wednesday, 12 October 2011 at 11:57 pm

    The Bible, it’s content, it’s origin, reasons for translation differences in general, etc., are largely absent from the consciousness of the general Western Christian populace. The practise of reading the Bible in churches and in private, memorizing its contents, discussing its meaning and application, is severely lacking. Popular and culturally acceptable traditions of Christianity hold more sway than biblical content and its best traditions.

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