This is a really controversial issue in the Church today. It is likely that many readers have a strong opinion pro or con; if you do, you will surely choose your Bible translations based on that opinion.

So, here is my opinion. I personally don't mind "inclusive" renderings of a text as long as they meet two criteria:

First, they must remain faithful to the original text. This, of course, goes for any Bible translation. But some of the "inclusive" ones tend to stray from this basic principle of translation in various ways.

My second criterion is: the inclusive translation must not butcher the English language leaving the passage stilted, difficult to read and unedifying.

Example: some inclusive translations bowlderize the psalms in an attempt to avoid calling God "He". So we end up with the following (try reading it out loud for full effect):

Know that the Lord is God
God has made us, and we belong to God
we are God's people and the sheep of God's pasture
Enter into God's gates with thanksgiving
and into God's courts with praise
give thanks to God
and bless God's name...(Typical inclusive mutilation of Psalm 100:3-4)
Have you ever heard anything more stilted? Would this text inspire a worshipful attitude? Or would its bizarre syntax jar the listener and so distract from worship of God?

So those are my criteria for a "good" "inclusive" translation of the Bible. Unfortunately, most inclusive texts I've read violate both counts!

The New American Bible's Revisions

The 1986 Revised New Testament of the NAB is a rare example of moderate inclusive language which does not violate either of the two conditions stated above. It even continues to use the generic "he" or "brother" in some texts - big no-no's to most feminists! Here are two examples:

"Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24).

"Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in darkness" (I John 2:9).

Believe me, no pro-inclusive language feminist would consider those renderings satisfactory!

The revision is also a vast improvement over the original NAB New Testament, which was too "colloquial" in its rendering of many passages. Here is another example; note the differences in Matthew 16:23:

1970 New American Bible

1986 Revised New Testament

'Jesus turned on Peter and said, "Get out of my sight, you satan! You are trying to make me trip and fall. You are not judging by God's standards but by man's."'

'He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do."'

The revision is less colloquial yet still understandable. It is also closer to the flow of the original. That is why I like it!

However, editions of the NAB printed after 1990 have a Revised Psalms which goes way overboard with the inclusive language. The effort to minimize masculine pronouns for God causes some stilted renderings, and the "horizontal" inclusive language obscures the Messianic meaning of many psalms.

Here is an example of the stilted inclusive rending. Compare the 1990 revision to the original 1970 translation of the New American Bible:

1970 New American Bible

1990 Revised Psalms

Know that the Lord is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise
Give thanks to him; bless his name.(Psalm 100:3-4)

Know that the Lord is God
our maker to whom we belong,
whose people we are, God's well-tended flock.
Enter the temple gates with praise,
its courts with thanksgiving.
Give thanks to God, bless his name;

Note how "his gates" become "the temple gates", and "his courts" become "its courts". This is not the sense of the original Hebrew; the temple gates are called "His gates" because it is God's temple! The new translation obscures that fact, and so is not faithful to the original text.

As for destroying the Messianic meaning, compare Psalm 8:5-6 in the original and the revision:

1970 New American Bible

1990 Revised Psalms

What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
You have made him little less than the angels,
and crowned him with glory and honor

What are humans that you are mindful of them,
mere mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them little less than a god,
crowned them with glory and honor

According to Hebrews 2:6-9, this passage refers mystically to Jesus, the Son of Man who became "a little less than the angels" in His Incarnation in order to save us. This meaning is completely lost in the inclusive translation.

The editions of the NAB which I have included in the Catalog were printed before 1990 - at least that's what Amazon.com says! So they most likely don't have the Revised Psalms. (Of course, editions with the Revised Psalms are also available through Amazon.com, though I don't personally recommend them unless you want an example of how not to translate the Bible for your personal library.)

If you can't stand any inclusive language, you might want to get the Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition instead. It is highly recommended by traditional Catholics such as Karl Keating, and comes in two editions: the Ignatius Bible and the Scepter Bible (from Ignatius Press and Scepter Books, respectively).

I, personally, have two small problems with the RSV-CE. First, it renders Isaiah 7:14, a prophecy of the virgin birth, as "a young woman shall conceive and bear", rather than "a virgin shall conceive and bear". This goes against the historical Christian understanding of the passage, based on Matthew 1:23.

Second, It renders Jesus' words in John 2:4 as: "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come". This comes off as too disrespectful; Jesus really said "What to me and to you"?, meaning, "How does this concern us"? He was not rebuking his sinless Mother!

Other than that, it's a good translation. Especially if you don't mind a few "thees" and "thous" (only when God is addressed, as in the Book of Psalms).

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