Updating the New International Version of the Bible: Translator’s Notes
There has been a great deal of anticipation about the new edition of The New International Version translation of the Bible. It was first released in 1984 and took off like a rocket, particularly among generally conservative American Evangelicals. Since then, there have been many other translations produced, as well as a growing level of concern that the NIV is not actually, in many respects, a translation, as much as it is a dynamic equivalence. The LCMS moved to accept the English Standard Version as its translation of choice in all worship materials and consequently the Synod’s publishing arm, Concordia Publishing House, has moved to use the ESV as its translation of choice in all published materials. The ESV is a more accurate translation and lends itself well to a study Bible due to its consistency in translating key terms in the original languages.
But, the NIV remains popular among some conservative Lutherans, like the Wisconsin Synod, and those who “grew up with it.” I share Gene Edward Veith’s recent comment about the NIV that what is most irksome about, on a consistent basis, and grated on my ears for the many years I was forced to endure it in church is “the utter tone-deaf resistance to metaphor, poetry, and beauty of language.” Zondervan has released a statement explaining what the changes are that have been made to the NIV. You can read the document by downloading it here: Translators-Notes I have found several much more detailed listings of changes here and here and here.
You can also review the entire new NIV translation at Bible Gateway, which is now owned by Zondervan, the publishers of the NIV. I have said this often, but it always catches people by surprise when they find out that Zondervan is owned by Harper-Collins, which in turn, is part of the Ruppert Murdoch media empire. It is important for Christians to realize that supporting the NIV contributes to the support of Murdoch’s corporation, which is one of the world’s largest providers of pornography. Something to think about.
The question now becomes what are publishers going to be asked to do with the new NIV. We at CPH have heard from Zondervan asking us to agree to use only the NIV by 2013, this is the same request that has been sent out to many other publishers. Much remains unclear about what this means for existing publications, like the Concordia Self-Study Bible which was based largely on the Zondervan NIV Study Bible. Will we be permitted to keep that book, as it is, in print, or would we have to entirely revise it to use the newest NIV edition. Churches like the WELS which remain strongly attached to the NIV will need to evaluate the changes in the latest edition of the NIV, some of which I find personally very disturbing, particularly when it comes to key theological concepts.
Here is a graphic display of what has changed over the years in the NIV and the present level of changes in the 2011 NIV. HT, for the graphic and the comparative details, to John Dyer.