2011 NIV

Well, some of you have noticed and others of you haven’t noticed but the NIV has updated their translation. Many of us read the NIV and have used the 1984 edition since well, 1984. The NIV committee has made changes throughout the way but none big enough to roll out a new copyright date for the version. Until now.

After the debacle that was the TNIV (I blame the militancy of the piperites) they finally came out with an updated version that takes today’s language into account.

I sat in on a talk that Douglas Moo, the head of the NIV translation committee, gave at the Study Center last semester. He explained why the NIV committee updated their language and it made complete sense to me. I mean, why shouldn’t we have a translation that is up to date and helps us to understand biblical truths in today’s language?

Moo outlined the word studies that were done, the language studies that were done and why the changes that were made were made. It was all about making things more understandable, this should be a noble task!

I know a lot of people are getting caught up in the gender issues. I think the committee worked very hard to make sure what the author intended came across. So, if Paul used brothers to mean brothers and sisters, then they changed it to brothers and sisters. What is the problem there? If Paul used men to mean men, then they left it at men. This sounds like a good idea to me.

I also found the following statement from Moo to be very helpful. Wen talking of the translation difference between the NIV, ESV, and NLT he said the following,

The NIV is trying to preserve natural English.
The ESV is trying to make it understandable English, a more formal translation.
The NLT is looking for easy English.

I found that comparison to be very helpful in my understanding.
This is going to wreck havoc on some of my verses I had memorized, but if it makes the biblical text more understandable and is still a good dynamic translation, I’m all for it.

I haven’t yet picked up my copy yet, but I hope to grab one very, very soon.

What say you about the 2011 NIV?



Filed under Chi Alpha, church, Devotional

3 responses to “2011 NIV

  1. Elizabeth

    I received a copy of the 2011 NIV for Christmas and have loved it. Nothing I have read has made me think – wow this version is completely different than the 1984 version. They made minor changes that are not noticeable unless you have the verse/passage memorized or if you have both versions and are purposefully doing a side by side comparison.
    If it makes the Bible more understandable but still hold the true meaning then I am all for it.

  2. I think it’s interesting, the act of translating and trying to make things more understandable. Obviously, there is a certain amount of translation which has to be done, or else we’d all be learning Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew just to get some Bible reading in. However, any time you have a translation task going on, you will always face the dilemma of interpretation.

    I often wonder about the point at which you cross the line between bringing an old text into a modern context, and trying so hard to make a text “understandable” that you begin inferring things beyond what the author intended, or things that are flat-out not what they meant.

    Now, I’m not accusing the NIV of doing that, but any time I hear of a new translation, this thought always comes to mind.

  3. @elizabeth – that’s great! I’ve been reading it a bit here and there on the bible app, but no hard copy yet…

    @mike – definitely some interpretation going on with every translation. No real way around that. I see your point on the understanding aspect, but I do appreciate some of the changes the NIV made to help us understand some passages better.

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