NASHVILLE, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The world's best-selling Bible has been revised after a 2002 gender-inclusive version condemned as too liberal failed to sell, its publisher says.
Since 1978, the New International Version has been the most popular Bible among evangelicals, selling more copies than any other version, but the 2002 gender-inclusive edition was a publishing failure, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported.
The new edition published online this month, with printed copies to follow in March, retains some of the language of the 2002 edition but includes changes like returning to using words such as "mankind" and "man" instead of "human beings" and "people" to appease critics.
Bible scholar Doug Moo, who headed the translation committee, said the group wanted to create an accurate English Bible without offending readers, the Tennessean said Friday.
"We really tried to get it right this time," he said. "We tried to be careful about not bowing to any cultural or ecclesiastical agenda."
The Committee on Bible Translation, which translated the NIV, admits the 2002 revision was a mistake.
That version included changes such as substituting "brothers and sisters" where the New Testament writers used "brothers."
Jay Phelan, a professor of theological studies in Chicago, says he worries the translators have bowed to pressure from conservatives in preparing the new edition.
"The whole idea that we want to make this constituency or that constituency unhappy is wrong," he said. "You don't do a translation that way. You don't say 'this will make the liberals unhappy' or 'this will make conservatives unhappy.' Your job is to produce the most accurate translation possible."
In 2009, the NIV accounted for 28 percent of Bibles sold in Christian bookstores, followed by the King James version at 16 percent.