Gender and Translation
By Gordon Fee & Mark Strauss
The meanings of words change over time, and translations must be periodically updated to keep up with these changes. One of the most significant changes in English over the last quarter century has been related to gender language. While it was once commonplace to refer to people as “men” and all fellow Christians as “brothers,” such usage has declined significantly in recent years. More inclusive terms like “people” and “brothers and sisters” are used more often today. Bible translators, seeking to stay current with contemporary English, have adapted to these changes. Over the past thirty years, almost every English Bible version either produced or revised has adopted this kind of “gender accurate” language (TNIV, NET, NLT, GW, CEV, NAB, NJB, NRSV, REB, NCV, GNT, NIrV). This is in line with the goal of translating words according to their meaning in context.