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Popular Bible becomes more 'gender-accurate'

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) -- "Sons of God" are becoming "children of God" and "brothers" will now be "brothers and sisters" in a top-selling translation of the Bible.

The changes in some gender-specific terms are among several revisions readers will discover in Today's New International Version of the Bible when it becomes available this spring.

"We firmly believe that to effect positive change in our world, we must communicate with today's generations in the English they are being taught and that they speak," Peter Bradley, president of the Colorado-based International Bible Society, said in a prepared statement.

"To accomplish this mission, we must make certain that Scripture is presented in a way that is unquestionably accurate and perfectly clear."

Notable changes in "Today's New International Version" Bible:

• In Matthew 5:9, "sons of God" has changed to "children of God."
• In Romans 3:28 "a man is justified by faith" has changed to "a person is justified by faith."
• In some cases "Christ" is changed to "Messiah."
• References to "the Jews" are described more specifically, such as "the Jews there."
• The word "pregnant" will be used in place of the archaic "with child."

The update of the New International Version, first published in 1978, replaces some gender-specific terms with language that could apply to both sexes. But it only does so where the text clearly didn't intend to refer to a particular gender, according to the IBS, which sponsored the translation.

The revision occasionally uses a generic plural pronoun, like "they," in the place of a masculine singular pronoun, the IBS says, but retains male terminology in all references to God.

IBS communications director Larry Lincoln said some are erroneously referring to the change as "gender-neutral."

"The TNIV is, in fact, gender-accurate," he told CNN.

Among other changes, the IBS says the revision has incorporated more commonly used language when it improves understanding without changing the meaning. Mary, for example, is described as "pregnant" instead of "with child."

Learn more about Today's New International Version 

The Today's New International Version also features changes in spelling and syntax along with some word changes. The term "O," for example, was omitted because it's no longer commonly used.

The updated translation of the New Testament will be released this spring, but a compete version including the Old Testament won't be available until 2005. It's being published in North America by Michigan-based Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

In addition to the updated option, the New International Version will continue to be published in its current form.

Development of the earlier version started in 1965 when committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals saw a need for a new English translation. More than 150 million copies of the version have been distributed worldwide.


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