New New International Version

Raj Gupta

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?