The "Inclusive" Bible
The Oxford University Press has recently published The New Testament and Psalms: An Inclusive Version. The aim of this publication is, reportedly, to make the Bible unoffensive to women, racial minorities, and even left-handed people. In an effort to achieve these ends God is no longer "Father" but "Father-Mother." The "Son of Man" is rendered "the human one." God's "Right Hand" is recast as God's "mighty hand." The word "night" is used to describe evil rather than "darkness" lest folk with dark skin should be offended. Children are called upon to "heed" their parents but not "obey" them. These are a few of the reported innovations of the "inclusive" Bible.
What must be said concerning such a publication? How should it be viewed?
First, this effort grievously violates the truth of verbal inspiration. Scripture affirms that every word comprising its original manuscripts was breathed-out by God (2 Tim. 3:16). This is the Bible's integrity and authority. It is in every part God's Word. Each word and phrase of the original languages came about as the human authors were carried along by the Holy Spirit, writing not the word of men but of God. Every legitimate translation of the original into modern language must labor to render the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words in the most accurate and succinct manner. Verbal inspiration demands a word-for-word translation as much as possible. The focus is upon translation not interpretation; otherwise the product is the word of men not the word of God. The "inclusive" Bible arbitrarily and capriciously dismisses the original words expirated by the Holy Spirit and replaces them with words of their own choosing. Such tampering alters the very character of Scripture.
Second, the "inclusive" Bible is an affront if not an assault upon the wisdom, righteousness, and goodness of God. The inescapable premise is that God was not wise enough, nor good enough, nor upright enough to forsee how best to address the twentieth or twenty-first century person without brutalizing sensitivities. Thus, we have to help God and make Him politically correct. What audacity! What impiety! There are sound teleological and theological reasons why God reveals Himself as "Father" and why the eternal Logos became a male and not a female. The protest against eternal wisdom is sheer rebellion against the Godhood of God. Frightening punishments are threatened against those who would seek to alter God's Word (Rev. 22:18,19). God takes such tampering seriously - so should we.
Third, the "inclusive" Bible addresses the wrong party. If human beings are offended or have problems with God's Word, they are the party at fault not God. The challenge must be for people to humble themselves submissively before the Sovereign of the Universe. The descendants of fallen Adam have always had difficulty with the Bible - difficulty arising out of their moral depravity, spiritual blindness, and hardness of heart. That is simply indicative of the grave human need for the saving intervention of Jesus Christ. Sinful people have a desperate need for the gracious conquering power of Christ, subduing and transforming their hearts and making them right with God. The "inclusive" Bible takes the rebels side against God; thus, it offends God and helps perpetuate man's estrangement from God.
The conclusion must be that this effort is against God and against man's best interest. Those who love God and who love human souls must protest with vehemence!