Below is the text of the Colorado Springs Guidelines as they were revised and signed by ten of the original twelve signers on Sept. 9, 1997. Click here to see the original form of the guidelines and the accompanying statement (May 27).

The following text is taken from the appendix to What's Wrong with Gender-Neutral Bible Translations? by Wayne Grudem (Libertyville, Ilinois: Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 1997).

Colorado Springs Guidelines

In recent controversies over gender-neutral Bibles, Christians have begun to wonder which Bibles they can trust to translate gender-related language accurately.

Here are some guidelines recently endorsed by Christian leaders who agreed that "it is inappropriate to use gender-neutral language when it diminishes accuracy in the translation of the Bible." These guidelines were written at a meeting convened by Dr. James Dobson in Colorado Springs on May 27, 1997.

If you want to know what Bible translations you can trust, one place to start is to ask your Christian book dealer or your pastor if your translation meets these guidelines. Several widely-used translations already meet these guidelines, including the NIV, NASB, RSV, KJV, and NKJV. 

Colorado Springs Guidelines for Translation
of Gender-Related Language in Scripture

A. Gender-related renderings of Biblical language which we affirm:

  1. 1. The generic use of "he, him, his, himself" should be employed to translate generic 3rd person masculine singular pronouns in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.  However, substantival participles such as ho pisteuon can often be rendered in inclusive ways, such as "the one who believes" rather than "he who believes."
  2. 2. Person and number should be retained in translation so that singulars are not changed to plurals and third person statements are not changed to second or first person statements, with only rare exceptions required in unusual cases.
  3. 3. "Man" should ordinarily be used to designate the human race, for example in Genesis 1:26-27; 5:2; Ezekiel 29:11; and John 2:25.
  4. 4. Hebrew 'ish should ordinarily be translated "man" and "men," and Greek aner should almost always be so translated.
  5. 5. In many cases, anthropoi refers to people in general, and can be translated "people" rather than "men." The singular anthropos should ordinarily be translated "man" when it refers to a male human being.
  6. 6. Indefinite pronouns such as tis can be translated "anyone" rather than "any man."
  7. 7. In many cases, pronouns such as oudeis can be translated "no one" rather than "no man."
  8. 8. When pas is used as a substantive it can be translated with terms such as "all people" or "everyone."
  9. 9. The phrase "son of man" should ordinarily be preserved to retain intracanonical connections.
  10. 10. Masculine references to God should be retained.

B. Gender-related renderings which we will generally avoid, though there may be unusual exceptions in certain contexts:

  1. 1. "Brother" (adelphos) should not be changed to "brother or sister"; however, the plural adelphoi can be translated "brothers and sisters" where the context makes clear that the author is referring to both men and women.
  2. 2. "Son" (huios, ben) should not be changed to "child," or "sons" (huioi) to "children" or "sons and daughters." (However, Hebrew banim often means "children.")
  3. 3. "Father" (pater, 'ab) should not be changed to "parent," or "fathers" to "parents" or "ancestors."

C. We understand these guidelines to be representative and not exhaustive, and that some details may need further refinement.


The following verses illustrate the guidelines for translation of gender-related language in Scripture.  For Guideline A1 (first sentence):  John 14:23Rev. 3:20;  (second sentence):  John 3:18. A2Psalm 1:234:20Gal. 6:7James 5:14-15. A3:  See guidelines for examples;  also Psalm 90:3. A4:  Hebrew:  Psalm 1:1;  Greek:  Acts 20:301 Cor. 13:11. A5 (first sentence):  Matt. 12:36; (second sentence):  1 Cor. 15:211 Tim. 2:5. A6Matt. 16:24. A7Gal. 3:11. A8John 12:32. A9Psalm 8:4Dan. 7:13. A10Matt. 6:9John 3:16. B1: Matt. 18:15. B2 (first sentence):  Gal. 4:7; (second sentence): Exod. 19:6B3: Gen. 48:21.

(This list of verses was not part of the original signed statement.)

Affirmed at a meeting at Focus on the Family Headquarters, May 27, 1997 (and revised Sept. 9, 1997), by:

These guidelines have also been endorsed by Gleason Archer, Hudson Armerding, Clinton E. Arnold, S. M. Baugh, Alistair Begg, James Montgomery Boice, James Borland, Bill Bright, Vonette Bright, Harold O. J. Brown, Bryan Chapell, Edmund Clowney, Robert Coleman, Charles Colson, Jack Cottrell, Jerry Falwell, John Frame, W. Robert Godfrey, Jack Hayford, H. Wayne House , Elliott Johnson, Peter Jones, Mary Kassian, D. James Kennedy, George W. Knight III, Andreas Kostenberger, Beverly LaHaye, Tim LaHaye, Gordon R. Lewis, Robert Lewis , Erwin Lutzer, Richard L. Mayhue, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., J. P. Moreland , Joel Nederhood, J. Stanley Oakes, Stephen Olford, J. I. Packer, Dorothy Patterson, Paige Patterson, Dennis Rainey, Pat Robertson, Adrian Rogers, Paul Sailhamer, Robert Saucy, Jerry Vines, John Walvoord, Bruce Ware, Stu Weber, William Weinrich, David Wells, John Wimber

Resolutions opposing "gender-inclusive" Bible translations were also passed in the summer of 1997 by the Southern Baptist Convention, 1 the Presbyterian Church in America, 2 and the Conservative Congregational Christian Churches. 3

1 In a resolution passed by the 16-million member Southern Baptist Convention at its June 17-19, 1997 meeting in Dallas, the denomination resolved to "urge every Bible publisher and translation group to continue to use time-honored, historic principles of Bible translation and refrain from any deviation to seek to accommodate contemporary cultural pressures, understanding that we are anxious to support the most accurate translations ... Bible publishers and translators are consistently faced with the tension of accuracy and readability along with the pressure from those who do not hold a high view of Scripture to take license with the use of particular terms, including, but not limited to, the use of so-called gender inclusive language."

2 The resolution adopted virtually without dissent by the 268,000-member Presbyterian Church in America at its June 9-13, 1997 General Assembly in Colorado Springs stated, "The PCA Concurs in the decision by (NIV) CBT, IBS and Zondervan Publishing not to pursue their plans to publish a 'gender-inclusive' version of the NIV in the United States, believing that such a version is inconsistent with the Biblical doctrine of divine inspiration." (Minutes of the Twenty-fifth General Assembly, 1997, p. 193). The Assembly also directed the Stated Clerk (who at that time was Dr. Paul Gilchrist) to communicate the Assembly's concerns to (NIV) CBT, and Zondervan Publishing Company.

3 In its July 20-25, 1997 meeting in Greeley, Colorado, the 40,000-member Conservative Congregational Christian Conference passed a resolution stating that it "would encourage those involved in Bible translation to continue to clearly and faithfully preserve the distinction between men and women which our wise and gracious God has established in creation and revealed in his Word ... while we appreciate and share their desire to communicate God's truth as clearly as possible to the people of our own day, we would also urge upon them to continue to use time-honored historic principles of biblical translation, and to steadfastly resist the pressures of sinful human culture which would obscure, diminish, or subvert any aspect of God's inerrant truth."