Evaluating the New International Version (NIV)

History:

The New International Version

Copyright owned by Biblica (International Bible Society)

Published by Zondervan Publishing

Translated in 1978 – Revised in 1984 and again in 2011

THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION is a completely new translation of the Holy Bible made by over a hundred scholars working directly from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. – From the NIV Preface

Key #1: Concept Behind the Translation

The first concern of the translators has been the accuracy of the translation and its fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers. They have weighed the significance of the lexical and grammatical details of the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts. At the same time, they have striven for more than a word-for-word translation. Because thought patterns and syntax differ from language to language, faithful communication of the meaning of the writers of the Bible demands frequent modifications in sentence structure and constant regard for the contextual meanings of words. – Preface to the NIV

Plain English:   This translation seeks to preserve the thoughts of the author while doing its best to bring the Bible from the original languages to Greek and Hebrew.  The committee used the original languages and started from scratch.  This fact qualifies this translation as a new translation.

Key #2: Readability

The NIV is written on a 7th – 8th grade reading level.   Vocabulary will be written at this level.  A 7th – 8th grade level word such as avenged will show up in the translation.

Key #3: Understandability

The 2011 revision seeks to incorporate the English language in a deeper way.  An example of this can be seen in Genesis 4:1: Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.”  In this rendering, no one needs context clues to understand what Adam and Eve did.

Key #4: Reliability

The group of scholars that make up the committee on translation mirror the evangelical spectrum.  Dr. Gordon Fee comes from the Assemblies of God.  Dr. Douglas Moo comes from Wheaton College, a traditional conservative university.  Dr. Craig Blomberg is a professor at Denver Seminary.  These men and women represent Christendom in a unique but special way.

Key #5: Relateability

The nature of thought for thought translation makes relateability to the NIv much more accessible.  This translation strives to use current 21st century English and to engage the reader in the context of culture they find themselves.  Readers in an urban or rural context can engage with the NIV text in an easier way than they could a translation that strives to use a more refined version of English.

 

 

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