Richter Joins Top Bible Translation Team
Sandra Richter, Robert H. Gundry professor of biblical studies, serves on the New International Version (NIV) Committee for Bible Translation (CBT). Few women have joined the prestigious team translating the top-selling English- language Bible.
“Knowing the reach of the NIV and the reputation of the excellent scholars already serving on the CBT, it was a quick ‘yes’ for me,” Richter says. “I tell my students it’s like going from nine months of teaching P.E. to getting to play on the All-Star team.”
Richter, who has taught at Westmont since 2017, serves a life-long appointment to the 15-member CBT with two other women. “It’s a sad testimony that we, the Christian community, have failed for so long to encourage women to pursue their gifts in leadership and biblical studies,” Richter says. “As a result, there’s a dearth of women to fill these roles. But that’s changing rapidly.”
Classically trained in biblical exegesis and the history, language and anthropology of the ancient Near East, Richter offers expertise in Hebrew, its cognates, and the world of the ancient Near East. She attended her first meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in June 2021.
“These contexts become critically important when we try to move an idiom or practice in the Old Testament into current usage, both in the U.S. and throughout the English-speaking world,” she says. “If the committee doesn’t fully understand what’s going on in a particular text, how can we translate it for the everyday Christian studying the Bible at church? We dive deep on these issues, doing our best to understand the ancient authors so we can best communicate their words to the modern reader.”
Seventy-five percent of the committee has to approve a proposed change before it takes effect. “This group is so careful to hear every voice, consider every option, and deliberate fully before taking action,” Richter says.
She’s identifying passages that feature in new, emerging research as possible areas for change. “My dissertation research and work on Deuteronomy — particularly the sexual misconduct laws — are the sorts of proposals I’m bringing before the committee,” she says.