New New International Version

This will be a different kind of post. Ever since I became a Christian, I have been using the New International Version (NIV). Perhaps I have been a little behind, but I have recently become aware that the NIV that I am so used to (NIV 1984) is being replaced (with the NIV 2011). According to the translators, about 5% of the text will be changed. In what will no doubt create a good deal of confusion, it will be called the NIV.

The idea of this post is to raise a discussion about what, if anything, we should do. I do not claim to have any answers. Nor have I done much research at this stage. As best I understand it, the facts are:

1. Biblica (NIV copyright holders and worldwide publishers) and Zondervan (publishers in North America) announced in September 2009 that both the NIV 1984 and TNIV would be replaced with the NIV 2011.

2. The updated text has recently been finalised, and now available online.  There is ‘an aggressive schedule for getting all NIV products converted to the new text.’ It is envisaged that within 2 years that the NIV 1984 will not be available.

3. The primary reason for the update is to reflect ‘developments in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage.’ See here for FAQ’s about the update.

4. The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood has conducted an initial evaluation, concluding that ‘we cannot commend the new NIV(2011) …. [it] retains many of the problems that were present in the TNIV ... especially with regard to the over 3,600 previously identified gender related problems.’ Read their full statement here.

To be fair, someone has suggested to me that the Bible Society in Australia has indicated that it will continue to publish the NIV 1984. But I could not find such a reference. Perhaps someone can provide some clarity here.

There are several questions that could be asked. My main question is: if one were to concur with the Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, and in the circumstances where the NIV1984 is now being phased out, does this mean we should go through the complicated process of switching translations in our churches? 

The Rev Raj Gupta is the senior minister of Toongabbie Anglican Church, member of Standing Committee, and Mission Area Leader of the Parramatta Mission Area. He is also a partner with the 'Exploring Effective Ministry under God' team, and currently undertaking a Doctor of Ministry at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDs).

Comments (43)

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  • Andrew Mackinnon
    April 6, 11 - 3:05am
    Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins which is, in turn, owned by News Corporation. News Corporation is chaired by Rupert Murdoch and owns 20th Century Fox films, Fox News in the USA and many newspapers in Australia such as The Australian. The objective of News Corporation is not to promote Christianity but to degrade it.

    The current NIV Bible is not a very good translation and you can be sure that this new NIV Bible will be a significantly poorer translation still. The New King James Version is a better translation to use.

    The Christian church around the world needs to tell those behind the new NIV Bible to go and take a running jump. The Christian church should not endorse or purchase or use this new NIV Bible. It should boycott it and use the existing NIV or move to the New King James Version.

    As soon as possible, the Christian church should obtain the means to publish its own Bibles instead of having Bibles sold to it by unbelievers such as those who run News Corporation. This is a lamentable state of affairs.
  • David Clarke
    April 6, 11 - 4:25am
    Andrew, Don Carson's book on the KJV might be good for you to read.
    http://www.amazon.com/King-James-Version-Debate-Realism/dp/0801024277
  • Hamish Blair
    April 6, 11 - 5:05am
    Dear Rev Gupta

    What about the ESV?

    http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/ESV/

    Yours
    Hamish

    PS No comments about the cricket in your post?
  • Allan Dowthwaite
    April 6, 11 - 5:08am
    ...if one were to concur with the Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood


    Martin Shields wrote a brief review of CBMW's review late last year. Might be helpful to the discussion.
  • Raj Gupta
    April 6, 11 - 5:26am
    Hamish - how wonderful to hear from you. I did have to refrain from talking about the cricket.

    Those who are using the ESV do not have this issue to deal with. I have tried to frame this discussion for the many churches that are still using the NIV - like mine. If the conclusion is reached to switch, the question is then - what to?
  • Raj Gupta
    April 6, 11 - 5:28am
    David and Allan - thanks for these references. Anyone else know of things which will help us here?
  • Hamish Blair
    April 6, 11 - 6:36am
    Raj

    I noticed your restraint.

    We have NRSV at our church, but I am using ESV in hard and electronic form mostly these days. Guess the switching costs are low for an individual but high corporately?

    Cheers
    Hamish
  • Martin (Enkidu) Shields
    April 6, 11 - 7:34am
    Hamish,

    There are good reasons to think twice before jumping on the ESV as a pew-Bible for church use (for example, see <a href="http://betterbibles.com/2008/11/21/why-the-english-standard-version-esv-should-not-become-the-standard-english-version-by-mark-strauss/">this article</a>). Formal equivalent translations serve best those with some understanding of the underlying languages and may obscure meaning otherwise (see my comments <a href="http://blog.shields-online.net/?p=117">here</a>).
  • Danny Maher
    April 6, 11 - 12:08pm
    Hi Raj and congratulations on the cricket...

    I really find this discussion about different versions of the Bible a little disturbing insofar as people who purport to be Christians are arguing about different versions of the same thing. Billy Graham was a promoter of the "good news Bible" does that make him a lesser Christian? Catholics use Good News as well as a more traditional version that looks and feels like the KJV. Does that make then not Christian. If you look at the real differences they lie in the Old Testament that is a wonderful guide to many of the things that guide our Christian path today however they are also in the Jewish and Muslim texts of the same time. Jesus is the reason we stand on this side of the cross and the new testament across texts is fairly consistent. At any rate knowing the Bible in one of its forms is far better than not knowing it at all. For Me I am moving to the Apple APP version.
  • Danny Maher
    April 6, 11 - 12:12pm
    BTW Andrew,News Corp s not run by the devil and if you read the Australian gives much space to Christian beliefs and ethics through columns such as Christopher Pearson's. Christopher writes regularly in the "inquirer section if you want to have a look and is a vocal Christian
  • Michael Jensen
    April 6, 11 - 12:54pm
    I don't think anything would make the CBMW happy, to be honest.
  • Danny Maher
    April 6, 11 - 1:22pm
    Agree Michael. I am going to say lets get a christian unity blog happening here...
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 6, 11 - 11:28pm
    At some stage our pew Bibles will wear out and we'll have to replace them with something.

    Having read the NIV translators notes I have a major concern. There seem to be 2 areas where they seem to have chosen not to translate the passage but rather provide a reading more palatable to some audiences. The first is in John where they have chosen to write "Jewish leaders" instead of "the Jews". The would argue in the 21st Century John's usage sounds anti-semitic which was never his intention. However, it is not always clear that John is just talking about the Jewish leaders. He could have been that specific, like the other gospel writers, but he chose not to be. God, (the God of the Jews), speaking through John, (a Jew) had a very good reason for writing it like that and we shouldn't try to change it.

    Again, 2 Timothy 2 they have chosen to provide a translation that can fall in either direction of the debate about women's roles in church. That would be fine if that's what the Greek did, but it doesn't. They don't even seem to have argued that it does. Rather they've justified it as contributing to the debate. Surely it will just muddy the waters. Bible studies will say "my Bible says...", "but my Bible says...". That'll downgrade trust in translations.

    At the moment my money's on the Holman CSB. It reads more like the NIV than the ESV but without these problems. A change over would provide good opportunity for a sermon series about the Bible.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 6, 11 - 11:29pm
    Raj, thanks for once again raising this issue. I blogged about it on solapanel, and there's a discussion there about what to do, especially from my third point down, plus a link to a fairly comprehensive list of resources.

    So as not to do the slightly frowned upon thing of only referring to your own blog, I will add a few more thoughts here.

    For me, and I am serving a congregation right next to a university!, the ESV is a step too high for too many people in our congregation in terms of reading ability. (I also don't think the ESV lives up to its own translation philosophy, but that's another matter). For this reason, I am not persuaded it's a frontrunner for where we should turn.

    I see two realistic possibilities: NIV 2011 or HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible). The HCSB is pitched at a very similar level in the spectrum between essentially literal and dynamic equivalence. My preliminary judgment is that HCSB possibly follows Greek word order a little more than NIV, but not always and only slightly more so.

    The HCSB has a very mild gender inclusivity, just like the ESV has (e.g. 'person' for 'man' where generic). The NIV2011 is more so, but not as much as TNIV, arguing its case this time on the basis of research on current English (the receptor language).
  • Sandy Grant
    April 6, 11 - 11:39pm
    At this stage I think key steps to making a decision include:

    (i) Don't rush - selecting a translation to use in a congregation is a major thing - give yourself 12 months.

    (ii) Use both translations (& any other candidates) side by side and start to form impressions. Perhaps take notes on key observations. So I have forked out to buy copies of both and am encouraging other staff to do so.

    (iii) Involve others, especially leaders in your parish, since it should not be the Minister's (potentially idiosyncratic) decision alone.

    (iv) Remember a church Bible is for reading aloud, so ensure your candidates get tried out for reading aloud, not just silent reading. You could trial a translation for a series of Bible studies on small groups, or for a sermon series.

    (v) Search out reviews - proper academic ones too and not just blogs - on both NIV2011 and HCSB.

    (vi) Consult others in your circles to find out what they might be doing. One of the good things about NIV was it wide acceptance among evangelicals. It might be a pity to decide to go with one of these translations only to find out that everyone else around about has decided to go another way. This is not a deal breaker, but I am not sure a radical congregational individualism on this is any more praiseworthy than radical personal individualism.

    (vii) Try not to make the important gender issue the only issue.

    (viii) Don't rush to conclusions. It really will take months of use to get a feel for new translation.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 6, 11 - 11:49pm
    Dave, I write as a complementarian, publicly and well known as so, however I just wonder if you can be a bit more specific about your claims presumably about 1 Timothy 2 (and not 2 Timothy 2) and in particular, the word transliterated from Greek as authentein. What is your authority for saying what you say about the Greek?

    For non-NT-Greek readers, this word occurs only once in the NT, and there are not very many occurrences of the wide corpus of ancient Greek through the centuries, and even less dating from the time of the NT (most uses are later).

    I have found many complementarians in this particular debate have relied on what other well known complementarian authors have said, without checking the evidence for themselves.

    It is also worth noting that the chair of the NIV Committee for Bible Translation is Doug Moo, who is himself a complementarian.

    I am happy to discuss the verse details more, but I suspect that is off central topic to this blog. My point is to say that I am not sure your opinion on the merits of the translation of just one word in one verse should be decisive for evaluating the whole translation.

    (I realise that there are also some other gender issues to evaluate here too, e.g. the generic singular to plural pronoun pattern. But once again, these need careful thought, and not knee jerk reactions.)
  • Allan Dowthwaite
    April 6, 11 - 11:50pm
    Sandy has touched on a really important point about deciding what version to get for congregational use - which one has the best chance of being understood by the 'audience'.

    At synod quite a few years ago, when Minto moved from provisional parish to parish, the then Rector (memory fails me as to who is was) said they had decided to use the CEV as it best suited the literacy level of the community they were reaching. I remember quite clearly the gasps of surprise/shock/horror - at least near where I was sitting - but I thought the decision showed good missional sensibilities.

    I'd also hope people think about which versions lend themselves to being read aloud well. The public reading of scripture should be central to our gatherings and some versions are better than others in this regard.

    When it comes to small group or individual study, I'd encourage having a range of versions.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 6, 11 - 11:59pm
    By the way, the much loved KJV translated authentein as "usurp authority"!

    Back more closely on topic, one of the reasons I don't want people to rush to reject the NIV2011 is exactly what Raj was writing about. Since it has been the Bible that a couple of generations of Christians have grown up, and this was almost monolithically the case across the evangelical world, then its version provided the verses people have memorised, the phrases they recall.

    There is great value - if wisdom judges it possible and right - in allowing those people continuity with the updated NIV which keeps 95% of the text the same.

    And this idea of continuity through updated translations is not new. It features in the KJV, RV, RSV, ESV procession, as well as in a different way, in NKJV.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 12:07am
    To give you a quirk of HCSB, I note that in Romans 1, HCBS flips between 'good news' and 'gospel' as the translation for the Greek word euangelion (and repeats this inconsistent translation at later points in Romans). But would it be wise of me to campaign against it on the basis of a poor translation decision on such a crucial word - the gospel itself?

    (It's well known that NIV has this same odd feature of inconsistency in Romans 1 translating "greek" sometimes as "greek" and sometimes as "gentile". Sadly NIV2011 has not fixed this!)

    Another interesting feature of HCSB is that it uses lots of contractions, like "don't" and "God's" - I'm open minded about this, but am a little unsure about how well this feature will endure.
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 7, 11 - 12:31am
    Thanks Sandy,
    I'm looking at my BDAG greek lexicon and I'm not convinced the word is as open as the NIV 2011 makes it. I'm also looking at nine modern translations that translate it as "have authority" or "exercise authority" (not "assume authority" as NIV 2011 has it).

    I'm not convinced that this is quite the same as whether we say gospel or good news, since both are fair translations of the same word. (even though I'd prefer good news!)

    You raised the important point of evangelical unity and I agree. Its great that we've generally been able to support the NIV. There have been great benefits. But surely one of the big issues that divides evangelicals is this one of the roles of men and women? People leave churches over this one! Now, if the NIV 2011 has it right and the translation is as open as they make it, then fair enough. That gives us a great groundwork to come back and consider our opinions based on what the Bible actually says. The big danger of course is that people will be entrenched in their positions and just read the wording the way they want to read it. If they've got it right, they've helped us in spite of the inherant dangers. They've given us insight into what God teaches us. If they've got it wrong, they've opened up a major cause of division that will be far less resolvable in Bible studies simply by saying 'lets look at what the passage actually says'.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 12:41am
    So everyone can judge for themselves, at least about what the standard Greek lexicon BDAG says, for the meaning of authentein, here it is...
    to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to
    .

    Lexicons are very valuable of course, but not the only tool in play, given there are also (in this case many) specific scholarly articles on the word, and sometimes lexicons take a little while to catch up with latest scholarship.

    In this case, however, it seems BDAG is explicitly comfortable with the translation "assume authority" since it uses both words in the first phrase it gives as the meaning of this word.

    Dave, have you looked up the occurrences of the word in extra-biblical literature in the original Greek yourself (some of which are listed by BDAG)?

    In regards to English use, to "assume authority" can be negative or positive depending on context. It is not necessarily negative (as some people claim) E.g.

    "Barack Obama assumed authority in January, a couple of months after his election of President." And he was quite right to do so!

    "After the massive train accident, Fred Jones assumed authority until the ambulances arrived, because everyone else seem dazed, and he'd had some first aid experience." In this case, no one gave him the authority, but it seems like he did a reasonable thing.
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 7, 11 - 12:44am
    I was surprised to find that the translators made really good arguments for how they've done gender inclusiveness. They've taken some of the feedback from the TNIV on board and really considered (helpfully I think) where its valuable and where it isn't.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 12:53am
    Onya Dave!

    My aim at this point is not really to push for NIV2011 or HCSB. Rather it is to avoid us rushing to premature conclusions, without a lengthy period of use and reflection on potential candidates.

    That means defending a potential candidate, if I think people have already rushed too quickly to judgment on it, even though ultimately, I might go another way.
  • Ali Sulian
    April 7, 11 - 12:58am
    The idea behind the 'thought for thought' (or 'less literal') translations is that the committee who translated them has already taken the liberty to interpret the thought that they think was in the original text (not making a comment here that any of them are right or wrong etc). But should that interpretation not be the role of the preaching pastor/minister in their expository preaching? If their preaching and teaching is coming out of the Bible that's in the pew, then surely something in the direction of 'less literal' (NIV 2001, TNIV) is going to hinder their work interpreting the original message. Then, it's their job to explain the meaning of the text and apply it to our lives (under the Spirit's enabling of course).
    So if the NIV 2011 is going to be less literal, then perhaps the safest bet (in the absence of the 1984 NIV) would be the HCSB - slightly more literal than the NIV '84, more readable than the ESV. In other words, 'don't take a step back in the other direction'.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 1:05am
    Ali, can you give some examples, please, where you think this is decisive?

    My initial experience using both side by side, is that NIV2011 and HCSB are very close on the spectrum as reported above, with HCSB perhaps slightly more 'literal' or 'word for word' over all, but not consistently so. I do not have time to give examples right now.

    The good thing about NIV2011 is that they have improved a few places where NIV1984 perhaps made poor choices on this sort of matter. In addition, they have restored some (not all) connectives like "for" and "therefore", which NIV1984 left untranslated, and which was a point of criticism of the NIV when ESV came out.

    So this is a move to being more literal from the NIV2011 compared to NIV1984 (although the Jewish leaders one goes the other way).
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 1:07am
    Ali, what I am really saying is that the "safe bet" would be to use both (and any other candidates) side by side for a lengthy period of time, rather than rely on bloggers' initial and provisional impressions, and for those or other reasons rush to a decision.

    Does anyone think I am sounding like a broken record?
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 7, 11 - 1:28am
    Ali, I guess I'd hope that as much as possible the aim of the translation is to make the original meaning available to everyone. That way, when the preacher gets it wrong everyone can jump up and down and say that's not what it says. There are times when a translation choice has to be made by the translators. For example, the word woman in Greek is exactly the same as the word for wife. That's not what's happening though in John or 1 Timothy (at least the bit I'm talking about. Some would argue woman there should be translated wife and they have grounds for doing so. The debate then has to move to context rather than translation). As much as possible the meaning should be plain to anyone who's willing to put the time into doing the comprehension work. As plain as is possible in the original, of course.
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 7, 11 - 1:35am
    Sandy,

    I'm hoping this is one of the many forums where this sort of debate can take place so that when we do make a decision (probably when our pew Bibles wear out) we'll have been talking about it for a while. I'm trying out thoughts I've had for a while and your debate is very helpful thank you.

    I think BDAG is tightening the meaning of the word assume by the other words it uses there. In the NIV 2011 it can mean its okay for the woman to have authority if someone else gives it to her. I don't think that fits into BDAG's definition.

    I take your point about the research though. No, I haven't read all the recent articles.
  • Hamish Blair
    April 7, 11 - 2:45am
    Raj, you seem to have stirred up some good discussion here.

    I recall the story of one person who decided on the good old KJV on the basis that if it were good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for them.

    Highlights some of the issues I think about pre-conceived notions people hold.
  • Ali Sulian
    April 7, 11 - 3:01am
    Hi Sandy,
    what do you mean by "this" in 'what makes "this" decisive'?
    I can see your point in using both translations. But I'm speaking in practical terms of what is used in a congregational, church service setting, for the preacher to be basing their exposition on. Would we really have every Bible reading twice (for eg: once from the HCSB and from the NIV 2011) prior to every sermon?
    I'm sure (again, in the gathered church setting) that the preacher would be qualified enough to be able to explain how 'adelphoi' (for example, found in in 1John 3:13) can mean both 'brothers and sisters in the Christian community'. But interestingly, even the ESV pew Bible I've noticed has put "brothers and sisters" in the footnotes, whilst preserving the original text by not adding into the main body what's not there ("kai" - "and", "adelphai" - "sisters"). Is that not a viable option at preserving both original text and thought?
    Outside of the congregational (and preaching) setting where people are engaging with their Bibles on their own, perhaps would be a more helpful time to use different translations for assistance. But again, my main point has to do with what's proclaimed and coming out of the pulpit.
  • James Ramsay
    April 7, 11 - 3:20am
    I see no problem with more literal versions being used as pew Bibles because as someone already pointed out the reason you have a preacher is so they can pull the meaning out of the text via explaining areas which may be unclear to the "lay" reader.

    For home use I find you need a study bible/commentary to understand the many references to the contemporary culture of the writers anyway.

    In general I dislike paraphrases but I think they are more appropriate for the less Bible educated then a highly interpreted Bible that gives people the impression they are reading the authors actual words,.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 4:53am
    Ali, when I asked...
    Ali, can you give some examples, please, where you think this is decisive?
    I was referring to your comments that the NIV2011 is less literal than HCSB and you don't want to step in this direction. (I realise you were picking up my provisional initial judgment that this is slightly the case.)

    But I was asking you not to rely on my judgment and to give your own examples as to why the NIV2011 was less literal and therefore less worthy than HCSB. (Because my big point was that there was only a very slight difference I had perceived.)

    Perhaps that was not fair. Obviously it was unclear. Sorry about that.

    In regards to using the two side by side, I am not suggesting that you do each reading twice at church. I am referring to your own private use. In my case, I can cope with having two versions on my lap at church, and comparing, as they read out of the 1984 NIV! But I would not recommend it to many!

    In regards to trialling at church, perhaps a pastor could use HCSB for a series and then the NIV2011 for the next series. It means that his preparation will (hopefully) be grappling with the Greek behind the text, and everyone will be grappling with how it sounds as a spoken text.

    In regards to small groups, I agree with the comment that (for an experienced group at least) it can be good to have more than one translation in general anyway, and doing so with these two at the present would help you notice the differences, and similarities.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 7, 11 - 4:57am
    James, in regards to more literal translations, it may be the case that some congregations can cope with this. Excellent if this is your case.

    Sometimes I think it is more likely that the more educated people in those congregations are coping well and since they are often in positions of leadership and influence, they project their own ease with harder literary constructions onto everyone else.

    I would also note that I have heard the ESV read aloud badly from the platform at KCC and CMS Summer School, with readers stumbling over more complex sentence structures and vocabulary. (I certainly hear this often in small groups when people read some verses from the ESV. They stumble more often than when reading from NIV.)

    My presumption is that readers of an excellent standard are chosen for platform ministries - if even excellent readers struggle with ESV at times, then that is suggestive in my mind.

    I realise this is a subjective opinion!
  • James Ramsay
    April 7, 11 - 4:23pm
    I understand what you mean Sandy. But that is also an argument against the NIV*, and why some churches use paraphrases for public reading (and I shudder every time I experience that).

    As to self-study, there is some evidence that the more difficult the material is to read the more you will retain as your mind will switch to a deeper level of processing.

    * Which even with its "thought for thought" translation still has a lot of archaic analogies, particularly in the OT. These tend to make no sense to the casual reader in the ESV which IMO is good as it forces you to look it up rather then just glancing over it.
  • Philip Griffin
    April 8, 11 - 8:41am
    I have always disliked the NIV's translation of 'flesh' as 'sinful nature', which, in my view, is a complete misunderstanding of what Paul means by 'flesh', and the lack of connective words (which the 2011 translation has improved in some instances, but not others).

    But that said, there will never be a perfect translation, and there are problems we can all identify with every available translation. The Holman's translation of Philippians 2 is problematic, for example.

    I am asking groups from all our congregations to test translations we are considering for a minimum period of 6 months, and to read out loud from those translations. I am then asking for their feedback.

    Doing this means that, in what is sometimes an emotional decision for Christians, if we change the translation currently used it will have been tried and tested by those in the congregations.
  • Sandy Grant
    April 8, 11 - 10:32am
    Philip, I like your suggestion of bringing congregations in early on, and not just leaders.

    By the way, NIV2011 restores 'flesh' in many places, and as far as I can see, only leaves 'sinful nature' in a couple of verses in Romans 7.
  • David Palmer
    April 9, 11 - 7:32am
    Interesting discussion.

    I've always used 1984 NIV since it came out and more recently the ESV, however most of my colleagues use the New King James Version, with a good number of congregations following suit.
  • Martin S Kemp
    April 9, 11 - 12:38pm
    As we think about this, let's not automatically assume that the CBMW ought to have the last word on what is the best translation, let alone what makes for a good translation. I think we grant them too much influence, and some arguments made by people in their stable are simply shocking. We forget that the TNIV had some very well respected supporters who are complimentarian in their views. I bought my copy on the recommendation of the MTC biblical studies staff!
  • Dave Whittingham
    April 11, 11 - 2:20am
    Can anyone tell us what happened in Sydney to make us mostly move to the NIV. What were we using? Was the change quick? Was it divisive?
  • Sandy Grant
    April 11, 11 - 4:07am
    Dave, it's a little before my time, even, so I will stand corrected...

    However I think the only real pre-existing alternatives then were KJV or RSV.

    KJV largely followed MT ('Majority Text', and so was and is thought by many not to follow the best textual evidence re. the original 'autograph' books in the NT) and also used lots of archaic language.

    RSV still used quite a bit of archaic language, including thees and thous for addressing God, but not for humans, which does not reflect the underlying languages which do not distinguish in these ways. In addition, RSV (whose copyright was owned by the National Council of Churches in the USA I think - being mainline protestants, often heading in a liberal direction) was perceived to have a couple of liberal tendencies, in particular, going for 'expiation' over 'propitiation' in Romans 3 etc, and being seen to downplay God's wrath.

    Other more recent translations (back then, like Good News or Living Bible) had been much more in the paraphrase/dynamic equivalence direction, which was too far away for comfort for many evangelicals (except perhaps with ministry among very poor readers).

    Therefore the 'market' was ripe for a new scholarly translation which used more up-to-date English, and was not marked by any liberal tendencies, and was not nearly so far down the paraphrase end of the spectrum.

    As I say people older than myself could probably improve this account.
  • Hugh Bryant-Parsons
    April 11, 11 - 5:57am
    people older than myself could probably improve this account.


    You're correct Sandy, and as one who may be older, I can confirm that the NIV fulfilled a void that the then generation had for something that made the word clearer then the KJV, but not paraphrased like the Good News or J. B. Phillips versions.

    My wife and I acquired a NIV book stand from a well known Christian book shop & ended up selling a copy to each member of our three church parish. Our congregation of around 200 was a cross section of ages, with most being in their 30’s with 2-4 kids.

    After the KJV the NIV was like refreshing water to people who were parched.

    I did not stray from the NIV until the ESV was released, and appreciate the difference.

    I support your contention that its good to have several translations in your small group as it helps those who have not studied Greek or Hebrew to get a better sense of the text.
  • Andrew Mackinnon
    April 11, 11 - 10:02am
    I'm going to take a leaf out of James Ramsay's book and make a post that actually agrees with somebody instead of just being cantankerous.

    I found your post at 41 above to be highly enlightening, Hugh. To think that the church struggled with the torturous King James Version before the NIV! I don't think that I'd be a Christian if the KJV was the only English version available to read. It's seriously heavy weather. So maybe my preference for the New King James Version is a bit flawed if the NKJV is modelled on the KJV.
  • Danny Maher
    April 12, 11 - 12:41pm
    Well said Andrew. My point is it doesn't matter which version individuals are comfortable with, the important thing is that they know Jesus' word on this side of the cross and if that is KJV, NIV,GN or an apple Ap then great. We have more people seeking and learning about Jesus