1 And when we had parted from them and set sail, we came by a straight course to Cos, and the next day to Rhodes, and from there to Patara. 2 And having found a ship crossing to Phoenicia, we went aboard, and set sail. 3 When we had come in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left we sailed to Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unload its cargo. 4 And having sought out the disciples, we stayed there for seven days. Through the Spirit they told Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 And when our days there were ended, we departed and went on our journey; and they all, with wives and children, brought us on our way till we were outside the city; and kneeling down on the beach we prayed and bade one another farewell. 6 Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.That from the RSV. Note particularly verse 5b: "They all, with wives and children, brought us on our way." Since "they" refers back to the Tyrian disciples, the passage clearly shows that the author of Acts used 'disciples' with a primarily adult male connotation, and had to specify when the term was intended to include others.
How did the NIV handle this passage?
We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.Aha, so the CBT on this pass agreed that 'disciples' referred to adult men only. Clear enough. But look at what happened when the CBT put out an edition of the NIV for kids--the NIrV:
We landed at Tyre. There our ship was supposed to unload. 4 We found the believers there and stayed with them for seven days. Led by the Holy Spirit, they tried to get Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when it was time to leave, we continued on our way. All the believers and their families went with us out of the city. There on the beach we got down on our knees to pray. 6 We said good-by to each other. Then we went on board the ship. And they returned home.Since 'their families' is a distinct subset from 'all the believers', the CBT made the ridiculous assertion that a bunch of unbelievers not only accompanied their loony Christian relatives to the beach, but knelt with them to pray!
Did the CBT fare any better when they brought their gender-neutral strategy to bear on the adult version? Let's see:
We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. --TNIVSee what happened? They managed to eliminate the praying unbelievers, but in order to pull it off, "the disciples" had to be erased from the text, and replaced with "them."
Just to be fair, let's see how some other gender-neutral translators handled the problem. First, the NRSV:
We left and proceeded on our journey; and all of them, with wives and children, escorted us outside the city. There we knelt down on the beach and prayed 6 and said farewell to one another. Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home.Hmm. In this case gender neutrality had to go, in the interests of accuracy. OK, next the NLT:
The entire congregation, including women [or wives] and children, left the city and came down to the shore with us. There we knelt, prayed, 6 and said our farewells. Then we went aboard, and they returned home.Same story here. The reading "including wives and children" is, to begin with, strikingly inarticulate. And notice how "and" has been replaced with "including" only where the text had to be wrested into a gender-neutral position. It took CBT two tries to make the switch!
"And" and "Including" are mutually exclusive terms in this context, so the CBT are in a real pickle. Either they were poor translators when they used the one, or they were denying their stated principles when they used the other. Which will it be in the Newer and Improveder International Version?
UPDATE June 10, 2011
There was no change in the NNIV.
UPDATE June 10, 2015
I'll grant the CBT another point here, as I encountered a quote in which AIG's "Bodie" Hodge wrote: "A feasibility study predicted that 1.6 million people will visit in the first year alone with hundreds of thousands who will not be Christians." Thus using 'with' to mean 'including' is an acknowledged feature of English. It's awkward, but usually its meaning is clear: in this example, 'unbelievers' are clearly a subset of 'people.' As in Philippians 1:1, where 'bishops and deacons' are subsets of 'saints in Philippi.'
But not so much in Acts 21.