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New International Version

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New International Version

New International Version
Cover for a NIV Bible
Full name New International Version
Other names Nueva Versión Internacional (Spanish); Nova Versão Internacional (Portuguese)
Abbreviation NIV (Spanish: NVI) (Portuguese: NVI-PT)
OT published 1978
NT published 1973
Complete Bible
1978 (Spanish: 1999) (Portuguese: 1993)
Authorship Biblica, (formerly International Bible Society)
Textual basis NT: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. OT: Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, Latin Vulgate, Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targums, for Psalms Juxta Hebraica of Jerome.
Translation type Mixed formal & dynamic equivalence
Reading level 7.80[1]
Publisher Biblica (Worldwide), Zondervan (US), Hodder & Stoughton (UK) and others
Copyright Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 Biblica [2]
Religious affiliation Protestant

The New International Version (NIV) is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) is the worldwide publisher and copyright holder of the NIV, and licenses commercial rights to Zondervan in the United States and to Hodder & Stoughton in the UK. Originally published in the 1970s, the NIV was updated in 1984 and 2011,[3] and has become one of the most popular modern translations.[4]


The NIV began in 1956 with the formation of a small committee to study the value of producing a "faithful translation of the Scriptures in the common language of the American people."[5] The project was formally started after a meeting in 1965 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, of the Christian Reformed Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars. The initial "Committee on Bible Translation" consisted of E. Leslie Carlson, Edmund Clowney, Ralph Earle, Jr., Burton L. Goddard, R. Laird Harris, Earl S. Kalland, Kenneth Kantzer, Robert H. Mounce, Charles F. Pfeiffer, Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Francis R. Steele, John H. Stek, J. C. Wenger, Stephen W. Paine, and Marten Woudstra. The New York Bible Society (now Biblica) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978.

In 1979 it was decided to produce a version of the New Testament in Spanish with the title La Santa Biblia, Nueva Versión Internacional (often abbreviated NVI)[6] though at this point this version was based only on the former English translation of the historic manuscripts. The English version underwent a minor revision in 1984. In 1990 the committee on Bible translation headed by Drs. René Padilla and Luciano Jaramillo to conducted a translation from the historic manuscripts directly into Spanish of both testaments, bypassing English altogether and producing a complete Spanish NVI Bible in 1999.

A planned 1997 English edition was discontinued over inclusive language.[7] A revised English edition titled Today's New International Version (TNIV) released a New Testament in March 2002, with the complete Bible published February 2005. In 2011, an updated version was released. The update incorporated some of the gender language of the TNIV, along with other changes. Translational issues with Paul's letters were also addressed.[8][9] Keith Danby, president and chief executive officer of Biblica said they had failed to convince people revisions were needed and not updating the NIV was a mistake.[7]


The manuscript base for the Old Testament was the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia Masoretic Hebrew Text. Other ancient texts consulted were the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targum, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome.[10] The manuscript base for the New Testament was the Koine Greek language editions of the United Bible Societies and of Nestle-Aland.[11] The deuterocanonical books are not included in the translation.

Translation philosophy

The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars. The translation took ten years and involved a team of up to one hundred scholars[12] from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included many different denominations such as Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Lutheran and Presbyterian.[13]

The NIV is a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought or literal and phrase by phrase translations.[10][14][15]

Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding passages that have traditionally been difficult to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.[16]

Its translation principles have been questioned for artificially bending towards a creationist interpretation of Genesis 2:19, attempting to impose coherence with Genesis 1. A translation such as the NRSV uses "formed" in a plain past tense "So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal...". But the NIV imposes a questionable pluperfect "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals..." to try to make it appear that the animals had already been created.[17] Theologian John Sailhamer states "Not only is such a translation ... hardly possible ... but it misses the very point of the narrative, namely, that the animals were created in response to God's declaration that it was not good that the man should be alone."[18]


According to the Christian Business Association, the New International Version has become the most popular selling English translation of the Bible, having sold more than 450 million copies worldwide.[19] (However, other surveys have shown the King James version to be more widely read.)[20]

There are numerous study Bibles available with extensive notes on the text and background information to make the Biblical stories more comprehensible. Among these are the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, Concordia Study Bible, the Zondervan published NIV Study Bible, the Wesleyan revision, Reflecting God Study Bible, as well as the Life Application Study Bible.


Biblical scholar Bruce M. Metzger criticized[21] the addition of just into Jeremiah 7:22 so the verse becomes "For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices." Metzger also criticized[21] the addition of your into Matthew 13:32, so it becomes "Though it [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all your seeds", avoiding any impression of Jesus's speaking a botanical untruth. The usage of your in this verse has been removed in the 2011 NIV revision.

In 2009 N. T. Wright accused the NIV of obscuring what Paul was saying, making sure that he conformed to the Protestants and Evangelical tradition. Concerning previous revisions, he has written that due to paraphrasing and interpretation in Paul's letters, Protestants and Evangelicals will never understand what Paul was talking about if they rely on the NIV. According to Wright, this happens in several of Paul's letters, Galatians and Romans.[22]

2011 Revision

Professor of New Testament Studies Daniel B. Wallace[23] has praised the 2011 update, "it is a well-thought out translation, with checks and balances through rigorous testing, overlapping committees to ensure consistency and accuracy".[24] However, the Southern Baptist Convention rejected the 2011 update because of gender-related issues. Southern Baptist publisher LifeWay declined the SBC's censor request to remove the NIV from their stores.[25][26] The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod also cautioned against its use.[27][28]


  1. ^ "The New International Reader’s Version: What, Who, and Why". International Society of Bible Collectors. Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  2. ^ "New International Version :: Official Site". Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  3. ^ "Biblegateway About The NIV, Version Information". Retrieved 2014-09-14. 
  4. ^ "August 2009 CBA Best Sellers". Christian Business Association. Retrieved 2014-09-14.  New International Version #1 in dollar and unit sales
  5. ^ Ronald F. Youngblood, Glen G. Scorgie, Mark L. Strauss, Steven M. Voth, ed. (2003). The Challenge of Bible Translation: Communicating God's Word to the World. Zondervan. pp. 236–245.  
  6. ^ "Nueva Versión Internacional - Version Information -". 
  7. ^ a b "Update of popular 'NIV' Bible due in 2011". USA TODAY. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Updated NIV Text Available for Online Viewing November 1". Zondervan. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  9. ^ World’s most popular Bible to be revised,, 9/1/2009, retrieved 2011-02-19 
  10. ^ a b Irwin, Ben (2002). History of the English Bible. Zondervan. p. 61. 
  11. ^ Barker, Kenneth L. (1991). The NIV The Making of a Contemporary Translation. International Bible Society. p. 54. 
  12. ^ "History of the New International Version". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  13. ^ Irwin, Ben (2002). History of the English Bible. Zondervan. p. 60. 
  14. ^ "Bible Translation Chart". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  15. ^ "Bible Translation Chart". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  16. ^ "Background of the New International Version (NIV) Bible".  "Although archaeological and linguistic discoveries in this century aid in understanding difficult passages", "As for other proper nouns, the familiar spellings of the King James Version are generally retained" Paragraphs 14 & 17
  17. ^ Mariottini, Claude F. (2013). Rereading the Biblical Text: Searching for Meaning and Understanding. Wipf and Stock.  
  18. ^ Sailhamer, John H. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Zondervan.  
  19. ^ Menzie, Nicola (27 March 2013). "NIV remains the bestselling Bible translation". Christian Today. Retrieved 16 April 2013. 
  20. ^ Zylstra, Sarah (13 March 2014). "The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn't What You Think It Is". Christianity Today. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  21. ^ a b  
  22. ^  
  23. ^ "DTS faculty". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  24. ^ Wallace, Dan. "A Review of the New International Version 2011". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  25. ^ Stephanie Samuel. "'"LifeWay Tells Critics of 2011 NIV Bible: 'Trust the Trustees. Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  26. ^ Marty King. "LifeWay to continue selling NIV; trustees select new leadership". Retrieved 2014-04-21. 
  27. ^ "Patterson, Mohler endorse resolution critical of NIV '11". Retrieved 2012-09-05. 
  28. ^ Audrey Barrick. "Lutherans Latest to Reject New NIV Bible Over Gender Language". Retrieved 2012-09-05. 

External links

  • Official website
  • Committee on Bible Translation (CBT)
  • Biblica
  • The NIV: The Making of a Contemporary Translation, Barker, Kenneth L. (ed.), Biblica
  • "Is Your Modern Translation Corrupt?", Dr. James R. White, Christian Research Institute
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