I am happy how it handles gender-inclusive language in using singular (“The one who. . . ,” “the person who. . . ,” “‟whoever. . . ,” and the like) instead of the awkward plurals (“they, their, etc.”). The Committee’s translators’ notes says:
While the Greek word anēr (‟man” or ‟person”) was frequently translated with masculine forms in English, it is clear in several contexts that the word refers to men and women equally (an option endorsed by major dictionaries of the Greek NT).
Being contextual is not for the sake of trying to be gender-inclusive. We need to look at facts when the writer or the speaker being quoted is intentionally speaking to both men and women. This is the way most of us speak in real life anyway, isn’t it? In our everyday speech, how many of us direct our speech only to men? Maybe some times but for the most part, I think I speak to both men and women when I preach and teach.
Let’s take a look at Matthew 18:15-17 to see a difference between the NIV 1984 and NIV 2011.
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
Was Jesus speaking only to men or to both men and women? Is gender-inclusiveness only for the sake of being gender-inclusive? Or is gender-inclusive because Jesus, the speaker being quoted, was directing his teaching to the entire group of listeners? If we are being gender-inclusive only for the sake of being neutral even if the speaker’s intention was directed to men, then I want nothing of it. But if it was the speaker’s original intention to speak to both men and women, then “Yes! I’m all for the changes in the updated NIV 2011.