ST. LOUIS (BP)–LifeWay stores will not carry the Today’s New International Version Bible, James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, told a group of pastors June 10.
Draper made his comments during a question-and-answer session at the conclusion of a LifeWay-sponsored breakfast dealing with Bible translation issues.
Answering a question, Draper said the decision has been made not to stock the TNIV, which was unveiled by the International Bible Society and Zondervan earlier this year.
“We will not be selling it in our bookstores,” he said.
Controversy has surrounded the TNIV — billed as a “gender-accurate” Bible — since its release. Some 100 evangelicals have voiced their opposition to the TNIV, saying its attempt at “gender accuracy” has led to mistranslation of some texts. The New Testament version of the TNIV has already been released, with the complete Bible scheduled for release in 2005.
Likewise, the HCSB New Testament is already available, with the complete version scheduled for release in 2004. It is published by Broadman & Holman, the trade publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources.
During the breakfast R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, stated that he is impressed with the HCSB and will recommend it to others. For use in serious study, he said he also recommends the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version.
Mohler said pastors should educate their congregation about the various translations. Shopping for a Bible, he said, can be an adventure.
“Feel some sympathy for the average man or woman on the street that walks into the bookstore and wants to buy a Bible,” he said.
Mohler recounted how he was visiting a bookstore recently when a customer asked him what type of Bible he would recommend. Some Bibles billed themselves as “accurate,” others “up to date” and still others “easy to read.”
During the conversation the bookstore manager, listening to the conversation, walked up and asked Mohler, “Could you write some of this down? I get asked this question all the time.” The manager was a new Christian and was reading three different translations. He did not know which one was best.
“Have some sympathy for the people who are trying to do this [choose a Bible],” Mohler said. “I want to encourage you to arm your people to know what they’re doing when they walk into a bookstore and are choosing a translation.
“What they have in their hands is what they will have in their minds and what they will hide in their hearts.”