Books, Brokenhearted Theology, Ministry, Ramblings, Reading Reflections

The New NIV and Bible Translations

Starting today, the new New International Version of the Bible is available for reading on Bible Gateway.  Rather than being called the NNIV or the NIV 2011 (the working name for the project), this new translation is simply going to be the New International Version starting next year.  While I have not had a chance to spend a lot of time looking over the new version, I come into it with some mixed feelings:

  • I really enjoy reading the TNIV (Today’s New International Version).  The full TNIV was introduced in 2005 and I have been using it as my primary translation for the last three or four years.  Unlike the 1984 NIV, the TNIV incorporated a number of updates to the translation, most notably (and notoriously) gender-inclusive language, in order to present a more readable translation for everyday purposes.  I am a proponent of gender-inclusive translations for a number of reasons, and found myself preferring the TNIV over most other translations (including other inclusive translations).  The TNIV was not a perfect translation (none are) and I often consult other translations (mainly the ESV, NRSV, and most recently, the CEB) and original languages when possible, but the TNIV is my “go to” Bible.  With the publication of the new NIV, the TNIV will no longer be published and is no longer available online through Bible Gateway.  I recognize why this is the case, but it is sad to see happen to a translation I enjoy.
  • From what it seems, the new NIV has taken a middle road between the non-inclusive 1984 NIV and the inclusive TNIV (which was criticized for going overboard on inclusive language).  This means that many instances where the 1984 read “brothers” and TNIV translated “brothers and sisters,” the inclusive “brothers and sisters” language will remain in the new NIV (this is a good thing).  However, the translation retains the use of gendered language like ‘mankind’ and ‘he’ (as a generic singular), which I think is awkward and unhelpful (and will continue to grow more and more unhelpful and alienating).  I am glad that a translation of this magnitude is moving toward more inclusive language, but am not convinced that the new NIV is better than the TNIV in all areas.

A brief overview of the translators notes are available here in PDF explaining the changes and some of the reasoning for the changes.

Any thoughts?  Any want to convince me to drop my TNIV for a new NIV?  Anyone currently using an NIV (who never jumped on the TNIV wagon) excited about the new NIV?

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2 thoughts on “The New NIV and Bible Translations

  1. Brent T. Walmsley says:

    I think the fact that Zondervan moved away from gender inclusive language is one of the saddest setbacks for good translation that we have seen. Keep using your TNIV, and hopefully enough organic interest will take place with it to keep Zondervan publishing it, but I cannot stand behind the NIV 2011 if it moves away from good translation to appease a few insecure men…

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  2. Brent, I would agree that the process, in many ways, might be more of a setback than an advancement. One of the positives that will come out of this is that I would expect to see a surplus of discounted TNIV bibles for sale all over the place. Now is the time to stock up – they may not be available ever again!

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