Monday, December 10, 2007

Review: The TNIV Reference Bible

I had a nice little surprise waiting for me when I got home today: an advance copy of the TNIV Reference Bible. I'm pleased to say that it was everything most of us who have been waiting for it hoped it would be.

I've written a full hands-on review at This Lamp, and I encourage you to read that and post comments either here or there.

If you don't have time to read the full review right now, let me simply quote my last paragraph:
In the final analysis, the TNIVRB is the edition of the TNIV I wish I had been using from the very beginning. Nevertheless, late is better than never. Everything about it says this is a quality product, and while it isn't everything I finally want in an edition of the TNIV (I'm still holding out for wide margins), it will replace my TNIV Study Bible as my public TNIV of choice. I know a lot of people have been waiting for this Bible, and I'm glad to say there are no final "gotchas." The TNIVRB is everything it was promised to be. I can readily recommend it to anyone wanting a regular reference edition of the TNIV, and it will be the edition that will receive the majority of my use.

2 1/2 weeks to go

There are 2 1/2 weeks to go before the deadline of Dec. 31 to submit revision suggestions for the TNIV. During the last few weeks I have almost completed checking the minor prophets.

As I have flagged verses for the TNIV committee which could benefit from revision, I have also flagged verses which strike me as having nice, idiomatic English. Those get flagged with green highlighting. If you would like to read my comments so far, click here.

Today I merged all the pages of comments submitted up to today from others into a single file. (I'll add further suggestions to that file.) That will make it easier for me to send all the revision suggestions to the TNIV committee by Dec. 31.

I am pleased with the comments others have been suggesting. I suspect that the files I will forward to the TNIV committee will include the largest number of suggestions given to the them at any one time, at least from non-members of the committee.

There are still a few books of the TNIV Old Testament which no one has volunteered to check. There is still time for people to check them, even if there is only time to skim a book, before the deadline of Dec. 31.

word alone: TNIV will gain trust and readership

word alone: TNIV will gain trust and readership

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Witherington on the Bible Experience

Click here to find out whether Bible scholar Ben Witherington likes The Bible Experience, with all of the TNIV dramatically rendered on CD or MP3.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mark Strauss on TNIV revision suggestions

The TNIV committee (the CBT) is always willing to examine specific suggestions for improvements. Just last year we examined dozens of Wayne's suggestions (and accepted many).

Referring back to earlier posts [in discussion lists] would not be helpful for me, since I don't really have the time to read through archives. However, if you have specific suggestions for improvements, and want to cut and paste your exegetical arguments from past posts for these suggestions into a list of proposals, I would be more than happy to present these to the committee.

List the present reading of the TNIV, the proposed reading, and then the argument for it. [WL:Use the webpage form provided for your suggestions.]

As Wayne noted, December 31 is the latest we can receive proposals. Many years we do not get to all the proposals at our June meeting, but they are kept in a chronological list when they are received and will eventually be examined by the committee.

Hope this helps.


CBT member

Friday, November 30, 2007

English idioms in the TNIV

I have just posted on the Better Bibles Blogs about idiomatic Bible translation in the TNIV.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

TNIV the Basis for New Edition of A Reader's Greek New Testament

Earlier this month, Zondervan released the second edition of A Reader's Greek New Testament. Like the first edition, the second edition contains a Greek text of the New Testament with a vocabulary apparatus at the bottom of the page listing all Greek words that occur 30 times or less along with a brief English definition. The goal of the RGNT is that a person with at least a basic knowledge of the language can simply read the New Testament in its original language without having to constantly consult one of the standard lexicons.

The RGNT differs from standard UBS/NA Greek texts in a number of places. The original first edition was based on the Greek text underlying the New International version of the Bible. The copyright page of the RGNT2 contains this statement:

The Greek text used in this edition of the Greek New Testament was originally developed for the Portland Index Project by Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III, and subsequently reviewed and modified by Gordon R. Fee.

The first edition contained the same statement, but without the mention of Fee, which makes for speculation that Fee, a member of the TNIV committee had a hand in modifying this new edition which is based not on the NIV text, but rather the TNIV. There's also a brief forward by Fee immediatly following the title page.

What many people don't realize is that the so-called "standard" Greek text is an amalgam of readings from many different ancient manuscripts in an attempt to sort through discrepancies and find what is probably the original reading. Many people may not also realize that often strong cases can be made for the reading of another variant over the one accepted in the standard text. Almost all English translations have readings in which a variant has been chosen over the "accepted" text. In the past, unless one chose to compare a translation very closely and systematically to the Greek text, there was no way to discover how many places that a translation committee chose to follow a variant text. 

When the first edition of the RGNT was published, it was based upon the NIV and it listed exactly 231 places where this translation diverged from the standard text. This new second edition has been modified to match the TNIV, and according to the introduction, 285 divergent readings are found in this translation. Everyone of the divergences are indicated in the text at the bottom of the page in both editions.

Until now, it's been very interesting to compare translation renderings between the NIV and TNIV texts. Now, however, we have access to something more interesting--the underlying Greek texts themselves. Now we can spot and confirm alternative readings such as that found in Mark 1:41 which I've written about on This Lamp.

I'm also pleased to see Zondervan make a bold step away from the NIV and to the TNIV as it is time for the older to become "lesser" and the newer to become "greater" (to borrow from John 3:30). I've suggested to my contacts at Zondervan that should consider publishing a diglot containing the RGNT2 text on one page with the TNIV on the facing page.

If you're interested in further information about the second edition of the Reader's Greek New Testament, see my full review at This Lamp. I welcome all of the new features except the new typeface, which I don't care for any more than I did that of the original.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TNIV revision deadlines

Gladness has come to my heart (does that sound biblical?!) since some others have been contributing revision suggestions for the TNIV. If you click on the "View" button at the bottom of the green poll in the margin of this blog, you can see which books of the Old Testament have been, or are in the processed of being, reviewed for the TNIV translation committee (CBT).

I got an email today from someone wishing that that deadline for suggestions were not so close as it is, January 1. I realized as I responded to that email that I have not made something clear: that deadline is an annual deadline. Suggestions which do not make it into the suggestions files for the CBT by January 1, 2008, can still be suggested for their next annual deadline, January 1, 2009.

So if you have wished you could submit revision suggestions but are overloaded at this time, there is always next year, and the year after that, and ...

I hope that the TNIV will have enough support from the public so that it will continue to be revised for a good number more years, or, using "biblical language", until it is full of years.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas presents for the TNIV team

There are few things in life that bring me greater joy than helping a Bible translation team improve its translation. Others might not experience that same joy that I do, but I do know that people experience joy when reading a better Bible. All around the world people marvel (and are spiritually impacted) whenever they hear God's Word translated as they speak and write their own language.

For several years I have been sending revision suggestions to the CBT, the TNIV translation team. These days I am checking TNIV Psalms. My regular job (checking Bible translations in other languages) does not allow me time to check the TNIV as thoroughly as I would like, but I am still able to skim read and spot wordings which could be improved.

But I am not going to be able to complete my check of the TNIV before their annual deadline, January 1, for receiving revision suggestions. Would you consider giving a Christmas present to the TNIV team by suggesting revisions which would make their translation even better? Perhaps you could skim read books of the Bible which I have not yet been able to check, so that as many books of the Bible will be covered as possible before the CBT deadline. In my latest push the past few weeks I have checked Ruth, Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and I will soon finish Psalms. BBB and TNIV Truth reader Tim Carr is expecting to complete checking the New Testament by the deadline. If you prefer to check New Testament books, check Tim's suggestions on the TNIV revisions suggestions webpage to see if he has not already suggested a revision for a wording you are interested in.

I realize that there is barely a month to go, but if you would be willing in that time to skim one or more books which Tim and I have not been able to check yet, it would be a big help. I will post a survey in the BBB (and TNIV Truth blog's) margin where you can mark down which book, God helping you, you hope to check for the TNIV team.

Do you need to be a Greek or Hebrew scholar to check an English translation? No, in fact such scholarship can often be an impediment to the kind of TNIV checking most needed at this time. You just need to be a native speaker of English, with a good sense of whether or not some wording sounds like good English, whether it follows the standard rules of English syntax and lexicon.

To help you see what kinds of things you might find, here are few examples I have spotted in the TNIV Psalms, along with explanatory words about the translation issue:

Ps. 38:3 "there is no health in my body" – unnatural; consider natural: "my body is not healthy

Ps. 68:17 "The chariots of God are tens of thousands" – improper English with "are" connecting the noun subject and the number of them; consider: "The chariots of God number in the tens of thousands", or "God has tens of thousands of chariots"

Ps. 75:1 "Name" – This is the only capitalized instance of "name" (including for God's name) I have found in the TNIV. I suspect it is a typographical error.

Ps. 82:1 "gives judgment" – unnatural; I don't think we "give" judgment in English

Ps. 84:7 "from strength to strength" – unnatural English; I don't know what it means.

Ps. 89: 13 "endued" – not a well known word today

Ps. 89:15 "acclaim" – not a well known word today

Ps. 90:12 "Teach us to number our days" – I've heard this Bible phrase since childhood but I do not understand it. It sounds like the psalmist is asking God to teach him how to count the number of days he has done something, perhaps how many days he has lived.
You can record your revision suggestions on the TNIV revision suggestions webpage. There are further instructions on the webpage. There is also a link there to download a free copy of the TNIV if you do not have this Bible version yet. I will forward suggestions to the TNIV team by their deadline, January 1.

Please consider indicating which TNIV books you would like to check in the new survey in this blog's margin. And if you cannot skim an entire book, if you can submit even one suggestion that can be a help.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Who Is the World Subject To?

Joe Myzia discusses how the TNIV translates a difficult passage in his latest post, Who Is the World Subject To?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wayne Grudem on the State of the Gender Debate and the Way Forward

Sorry, folks, this post was intended for the Complegalitarian blog, not this blog. I thought I had deleted it from this blog after I discovered my mistake, but I was mistaken about the deletion of the mistake! :-)

The post content didn't belong here on the TNIV Truth blog. I won't delete this space on the blog since there are now two comments, but I invite you to read the post where it was intended to be in the first place.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spiritual gifts are not just for men

The NIV wording of Rom. 12:6-8 sounds like spiritual gifts are only given to men:
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
All other English versions that I am aware of, including KJV, RSV, ESV, NASB, TNIV, and HCSB do not insert the word "man", as the NIV translators did. There is nothing in the underlying Greek which corresponds to the word "man". The TNIV removes "man", creating greater accuracy:
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
There are several other places in the NIV text where the word "man" is used in a way that is not accurate, and other translations, including those conforming to complementarian standards such as the ESV, HCSB, and NASB, have an accurate translation of the Greek.

One of the points missed in debates over the TNIV is that it was necessary to revise the NIV to remove such inaccuracies. The ESV and HCSB, two recent versions which specifically follow the male-oriented Colorado Springs Guidelines, are more accurate than the NIV for those verses where the NIV translators used the word "man" when the Greek is not referring to a male adult.

HT: Christian Bible on Wikipedia Deletions blog

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mike Aubrey's series on NIV/TNIV differences

Mike Aubrey is continuing posts on differences between the NIV and TNIV. Today he posted on differences he finds in the Pentateuch.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mark Strauss on NIV/TNIV degrees of literalness

In response to recent posts about whether the TNIV is more or less literal than the NIV, Mark Strauss, a member of the CBT, has emailed the following and given his permission to post it:
I cannot say statistically whether the TNIV is any more literal than the NIV. That is never in issue in discussing translation possibilities among the committee. It is always the question of what is more exegetically accurate and what communicates most clearly in English. I think at times the TNIV is more formal equivalent than the NIV and at times it is less. But there is no intention to go either way.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Was this written in your behalf?

My eyes landed on part of a verse in the TNIV today which had a preposition that didn't sound right to me. I read it to my wife and it didn't sound right to her either. I later checked a dictionary and discovered something. But before I tell you what I discovered, would you please read the following words and vote in the new poll in the margin whether the bold italicized words sound good to you in your dialect of English. Please do not check a dictionary before you vote:
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
(UPDATE: Commenter Martin Shields discovered the same thing I did: some dictionaries state that there has been a difference observed by some people between "in behalf of" and "on behalf of". As you can see from the results of Martin's googling and the poll results for this issue, that distinction has been lost for a large majority of English speakers. I am nearly 60 years old. I was taught English by a prescriptivist mother and prescriptivist teachers at school, but I had never heard of the dictionary distinction until a few minutes before I wrote this blog post. Oh, the wording in question is from Is. 58:10, in both the NIV and TNIV.)

Friday, October 19, 2007

NIV/TNIV Comparison

Mike Aubrey ran his computer all night last night, as it checked for differences between the NIV and TNIV. Read his post to learn the results.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The TNIV translator vs. the TNIV boosters

Iyov continues the discussion about whether the TNIV is more or less literal than the NIV in his post The TNIV translator vs. the TNIV boosters. I have emailed Mark Strauss and Gordon Fee, co-authors of "How to Choose a Translation For All Its Worth," in which they speak to this point (cited in Iyov's post), to find out more definitively whether they think the TNIV is more or less literal than the NIV. (UPDATE: Mea culpa: Iyov actually quoted from the earlier book, updated since publication of the TNIV, which Fee co-authored with Douglas Stuart, "How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth.") Both Fee and Strauss are also members of the CBT which has revised the NIV to become the TNIV, although Strauss became a member after the TNIV was published. He has, however, followed issues concerning production of the TNIV very closely and will be part of future TNIV revision decisions (toward which each of you can also contribute).

And you, too, can weigh in on this issue, both in comments to this post, as well as in a new poll which I have just put in the margin to this blog.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

complete Bible Experience

Pat at kata ta biblia blog has posted on The Bible Experience now being available as both the Old and New Testaments. He also reacts to what he hears in the recording.

super discounted TNIV price

Jeff at Scripture Zealot has wanted a copy of the TNIV. He was delighted to locate one at a 77% discount price. And you, too, can purchase this thinline Italian leather edition for only $5.99 (U.S.) plus shipping.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Is the TNIV more literal than the NIV?

A blog visitor comments on the preceding post:

The problem that I have with statements that the TNIV is more literal than the NIV is that I have found no proof of this. All the Bible charts that I have seen have listed the NIV as being more literal than the TNIV such as this chart

This is an important enough issue that I have decided to reply in a post rather than a comment.

The degree of literalness charts, such as the one linked to by the visitor, are subjective, based on what the opinions of the chart maker are. In general, such charts are accurate, but we need objective proof, to help us break away from the subjectivity of opinions. Objective evidence has to come from extensive comparison of specific wordings among Bible versions.

I have tried to do such quantified comparisons. There is more work to be done, but the general trends on my charts accurately reflect relative degrees of literalness among Bible versions:
  • TNIV is 2% more literal than NIV for translation of accusatives.
  • TNIV is 3% more literal than NIV for translation of datives.
  • TNIV is 3% less literal than the NIV for translation of genitives; progress has been made since the NIV was published in understanding how better to translate genitives to English.
  • TNIV is 8% more literal than NIV for translation of New Testament idioms.
  • My comparison of Old Testament idioms is in progress so figures are not reliable.
There is more research that needs to be done, but I am rather sure that further empirical studies will affirm the claim that the TNIV is more literal than the NIV. Bible scholar Craig Blomberg agrees. He has shown that the TNIV is more literal than the NIV in a number of specific passages:
Non-gender-related revisions [in the TNIV], however, move from a less literal to a more literal rendering of the Greek approximately three times as often as the reverse.
Contrary to popular lay opinion, the TNIV is more literal than the NIV. The translators of the TNIV have "tightened up" a number of NIV wordings which had been criticized over the years for being too interpretive or dynamically equivalent.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Can the TNIV Be Used for "In-Depth" Study?

In the comments of the previous post, a reader asked this question: Can someone please explain to me how you can use the TNIV for in-depth study? I love the TNIV, but I am having a hard time using it for deep study because of the dynamic equivalence. I don't know if this is a mindset or an actual problem.

Well, I don't think it's an actual problem (for which I'll make a case below). However, if it's mindset, it may come from using formal equivalent translations for so long. I know because I've been there. Some days I'm still there, but I've made lots of progress!

Really, it may be difficult to answer your question definitively because (1) I don't know what you were using before the TNIV, and (2) I don't exactly have a definition for what you mean by in-depth or deep study. Nevertheless, I'll make some assumptions and answer the best I can.

First, let me make a clarification at the very beginning. In my reading of the TNIV, I don't consider it a pure dynamic equivalent translation at all. I consider it a median translation, sometimes more literal and sometimes more dynamic according to the decisions of the translators (and all translation requires such decisions, even interpretive decisions). On one side of the spectrum, one can find fairly literal translations such as the NASB or the NKJV. On the other end, one can find good examples of dynamic equivalency in translations such as the GNT and the CEV.

In the middle are translations such as the NIV/TNIV and the HCSB. The NRSV is a bit closer to that median range than was the RSV, and the NLT2 is not quite as far down the road of dynamic equivalency as was the NLT1.

You might even want to check out an old post of mine, "TNIV More Literal than the NASB?" where I point out renderings where the TNIV is more literal. It's so not throughout, but the TNIV is more literal in some places meaning these categories are not always hard and fast. And I've also demonstrated a number of times that the TNIV is much more formal/literal in its renderings than the NIV.

As for doing in-depth study, let me point to the example of the NIV. The reality is that there are more commentaries and reference books in the modern period based on the NIV than any other translation, and as I've pointed out, it's more dynamic than the TNIV is!

Granted most of your more "in-depth" commentaries will deal directly with the original languages, sometimes offering the writer's own translation (WBC) and sometimes not (ICC). But a number of mid-level commentaries will use the NIV and still interact with the original languages to a certain extent. The NAC is an example of that. The body of the commentary itself is based on the NIV, but the writers are free to interact with Greek and Hebrew in the footnotes, allowing the reader to go more in-depth as he or she wants to based on knowledge and ability. I might also point to the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, another mid-level series, and this based on the NLT2 (much further along the dynamic path than the TNIV) which is an attempt to facilitate serious study using a non-formal/literal translation.

Another reason for the success of the original NIV for serious study was the early development of the Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbering system which connected the translation back to the original Greek and Hebrew. If you've ever spent any time with it, you know that the GK system is more than simply the NIV version of Strong's dictionaries. It not only fixed Strong's but improved it since the GK system takes the connections of homonyms and related words into account in its system. The development of the GK numbering system for the NIV allowed access to the underlying Greek and Hebrew of the translation to anyone whether they had studied original languages or not. This gave access to significant technical works such as the NIDOTTE to all, even if the user hadn't studied Hebrew.

So, what about the TNIV? Well, keep in mind that it's a new translation. But I do know that a project is well underway to apply the GK system to the TNIV. Once that is done, the reader can have instant access to numerous reference works tied directly to the TNIV, even taking advantage of those older works written in relation to the NIV. Plus we'll be able to have tagged electronic editions of the TNIV in computer software. Currently, I still use the NASB as my default translation in Accordance because it's tagged, but I'll gladly switch the default to a tagged TNIV when it becomes available. [Note: I don't use an original language text for my default in Accordance because I prefer to have the software open to a text containing both testaments].

Also the forthcoming second edition of the Readers Greek New Testament is going to reflect the Greek text of the TNIV, a welcome update to the current edition.

All of this to say, I believe the TNIV is set quite well for serious study. So, is it a mindset issue, after all? Well, maybe. There's still a popular notion that literal = more accurate, and that
simply is not true. I've tried to demonstrate this a number of times, too. I would especially recommend two blog posts I wrote a while back:

And for a significant study of the issue, I still like the book Challenge of Bible Translation edited by Scorgie, Strauss, and Voth.

Finally, while it's good to have a primary translation (I'm working very hard to make the TNIV mine), truly in-depth/deep study is going to require reading multiple translations in parallel. Since I usually pursue any significant study of the Bible in front of Accordance these days, I have a "first tier" of sorts that I have open before me as I study. This includes either the Greek or Hebrew and then my preferred English translations: NASB, TNIV, HCSB, and NLT2. The original languages plus a variety of translation approaches help me to study and understand the passage better. I also have a second tier that I examine if I have time including the ESV, NRSV, JPS (which sometimes moves to the first tier on OT passages), NET, KJV and others.

I hope I've helped to answer the question. Further questions and your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dig deeper and compare

A few days ago I learned how to compare three versions of the Bible produced by the CBT (Committee on Bible Translation): NIV, NIrV (reader's version), and TNIV. And you can compare them as well by clicking on this link.

Recently I have become more interested in the NIrV due to the work of Tim Carr. Tim Carr is an English teacher who submits more TNIV revision suggestions than anyone else to the online form for those suggestions. He often finds that an NIrV wording sounds better to him than a TNIV wording. (You can read Tim's suggestions, and those of everyone else who has posted them, by viewing TNIV revision suggestions submitted so far.)

Here is a screen shot of Rom. 12:1 in the three versions:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Dig Deeper

The advertisement above ran in a recent issue of Christianity Today. You probably cannot make out the actual copy in the ad, but it says:

There are many reasons the Today’s New International Version Study Bible from Zondervan is the first choice for serious students of Scripture. Verse-by-verse notes. Detailed historical and archaeological commentary. The incredibly detailed topical index. Satellite-generated maps. The clarity and accuracy of the TNIV translation. For digging deeper, there’s no better choice than the Zondervan TNIV Study Bible.

I like this ad for a number of reasons:

  1. I'm glad to see Zondervan promoting the TNIV in an Evangelical publication like Christianity Today. This is yet another move by the publisher that directly addresses one of the concerns I voiced in my "open letter" earlier this year.
  2. As it says in the ad, the TNIV can be used by "serious students of scripture," going beyond any assumption that it is strictly a popular translation. My reading of the TNIV, especially in some of its choices away from its predecessor, the NIV has demonstrated some very significant wrestling with texts on the part of the translators. Wayne Meeks' choice to use the TNIV in his second edition of The Writings of St. Paul, a scholarly and essentially non-evangelical work, also confirms the strong academic potential of the TNIV. But more will have to be done, which I'll mention in a moment.
  3. Ultimately, this ad is not simply highlighting the TNIV, but more specifically, The TNIV Study Bible. This is currently the Bible I teach from at church, and find it to be the best choice for that task among the current options. I've never carried a study Bible with me before the TNIVSB, but it's a good choice until I can get a wide margin text edition from either Zondervan or Cambridge one day. When I first saw the picture above, I wondered if someone from Zondervan snuck into my house and took a picture out of my copy. Nevertheless, the TNIVSB is worthy of this kind of exposure. If you haven't already, see my review here.
Perhaps now that the TNIV has been out a while and can be evaluated on its own merits as opposed to the rhetoric of an uncharitable disinformation campaign, ads like this may spur potential readers to take another look. This is all well and good, but where do we need to go from here? How do we dig even deeper, to borrow from the theme of the ad?

I would suggest that we need to see more advertisements like this, but we need to see some specifically with newly written testimonials from academics like Don Carson on the Evangelical side of scholarship and perhaps even someone like Wayne Meeks representing the non-evangelical world as well. I've found that many who want to have nothing to do with the TNIV simply go on the rhetoric they've heard. When I start mentioning names like Carson or Timothy George or even TNIV translators such as Doug Moo, Bruce Waltke, and Gordon Fee, those who think they won't like the TNIV often have to stop and really consider why they think this way. Throwing respectable names around doesn't solve the issue of whether a translation is reliable or not, but would hopefully cause others to examine why these individuals have endorsed the translation.

There have been rumors, denials, and maybe's floating around a while, but I'd really like to see the TNIV expanded to include the Deuterocanonicals. Let me reiterate to those who haven't heard me say it, that I do not consider these books to be inspired Scripture. Nonetheless, the Deuterocanonicals are essential for a comprehensive understanding of the context of the New Testament. Further, there's a long Protestant tradition of including the Deuterocanonicals, or "apocrypha" in Bible translations, often in a section between the testaments. These writings were in Luther's Bible, the KJV, the RSV and many others along the years. If we want to see more works like that of Meeks' using the TNIV, this will be essential.

Finally, while I like the ad above, I immediately noticed that only a small section of a TNIVSB page appears. If the camera had zoomed out, we would immediately see that there's no space to include notations to go along with those highlights and markings. One can highlight a Bible as much as one wants, but highlights alone are useless (in my opinion) without accompanying notes. I know that regular readers will perceive me as a broken record by this point, but I still suggest that a small percentage of TNIV users, specifically teachers and pastors want wide-margins in which to write their own notes. Yes, I know the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible is designed for teachers and pastors, but it will not have margins wide enough to completely fulfill this need. Those who want a wide margin TNIV will continue to look for something more. Hopefully publishers realize these users are the gatekeepers' gatekeepers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

new url for TNIV revisions suggestions

We've been getting some helpful suggestions for revising the TNIV. I will forward them to the CBT by the end of this year. But we could be getting many more suggestions. Whenever you are reading the TNIV, if you spot a wording which you think could be improved. please consider posting it to the list so it can be forwarded to the CBT.

You can click on the posting link in the margin of this blog, or if you prefer, you can use a new url which will redirect you to the revision suggestions form:
(UPDATE: If that url doesn't work for you, click here. Also see the TNIV revisions links in the margin of this blog.)

Please feel free to distribute this new url widely on your own Internet websites or blogs and in email messages to friends.

The form does not ask for your email address, so you will not be spammed by the Bravenet service which hosts the form.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Bible Experience - Another Reminder

While I have not checked out The Bible Experience, Wayne has and he liked what he heard. I do like audio Bibles. I like memorizing whole chapters and audio Bibles are fantastic for that. This is especially true if you have a 45-minute or longer ride to work as I do.

Before attempting to memorize, I read the passage along with the audio to note any differences. Just as scribes have made scribal errors, so readers make errors on audio Bibles. Once I note any differences, I proceed with memorizing with the audio version.

I plan on picking up the MP3 version. CBD offers it for $49.99 plus shipping. Not a bad price in my mind. Scheduled date for release at CBD is October 17th. I'm looking forward to it.

Whatever translation you use, I cannot recommend an audio version too much. Taking the Bible in by another sense, and hearing it read by another person other than yourself, can often bring things to your attention that you may not have noticed before.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Zondervan promotes a less precise and less readable Bible?

This is, I see, post number 100 at TNIV Truth. I would like to celebrate this milestone by posting a link to a post by ElShaddai Edwards (yes, his real name), Gen-X Bible thumper seeks TNIV… In this ElShaddai endorses TNIV but regrets the limited choice of editions available, most of which seem to be targeted at the younger generation. He surmises that in the view of Zondervan, as someone just older than the target 18-34 age range,
Presumably, I should be using the less precise, less readable and less advanced, but more popular, uh… traditional, NIV.
Surely not! I am quite a bit older than ElShaddai and happily using TNIV, but then I am not as fussy as he is about the look and feel of my Bible. Indeed here in the UK none of us are as fussy as many Americans seem to be, partly because we don't have the chance - there are far fewer Bible editions available here, although still plenty of choice. But I share ElShaddai's frustration that Zondervan and others are continuing to promote NIV despite their claims that TNIV is better. If they really believe that TNIV is “more precise” and “reflects the most recent advances in biblical scholarship” (but this text is from an IBS site, not a Zondervan one), they should instead gradually phase out NIV, keeping just a few editions in print to satisfy continuing demand (and fulfil their Colorado Springs promise), and promote TNIV as their preferred Bible for all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TNIV revision suggestions service ready

There is now a service in the margin of this blog for accepting your suggestions for revisions for the TNIV. Please be as professional and gracious as possible when submitting suggestions. Please base your suggestions on sound biblical scholarship, translation theory, or your sense of proper literary English. Be sure to include the Bible book and verse reference for any wording you are discussing. Include only one verse per post. You may post suggestions as often as you like.

Before you post, check to see if the TNIV team has already addressed a concern that you have about a verse. If they have, do not submit your suggestion for that verse.

Avoid any suggestions about motivations for TNIV translation wordings.

Suggestions will be moderated. Suggestions which follow each of the submission guidelines will be forwarded to the TNIV CBT (Committee on Bible Translation).

The links for this service appear immediately below the daily TNIV Scripture verse in the blog margin.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


New Testament scholar Scot McKnight has just posted Colossians on his Jesus Creed blog. Literally, he posted Colossians, the entire book. The Bible version he chose to post is the TNIV, which he likes to use, including in books he has authored (see the Bookshelf of this blog). A number of biblical scholars have been finding out how good the TNIV is.

I highly recommend his blog post. I have already commented on it. You might want to also.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Does this melt your heart?

In several passages in the Old Testament there is a Biblical Hebrew idiom which literally refers to the heart of someone melting. For example, notice this TNIV translation of Is. 13:7:
Because of this, all hands will go limp,
every man’s heart will melt.
Now read the next English sentence which I could easily have uttered on four occasions:
When I first saw my newborn granddaughter in the hospital my heart melted.
The wording "my heart melted" is an English idiom. But it has a very different meaning from the Hebrew which refers to a heart melting.

I haven't fieldtested literal translations of the Hebrew idiom, but I suspect that many current English readers will assume that a wording in an English Bible referring to a heart melting means what I meant when I referred to my heart melting in the hospital nursery, namely, I felt in awe, very joyful, deeply touched.

The TNIV is a good translation. It has far fewer wording issues like this one, compared to some other English Bible versions. But it can be made even better. Fortunately, the CBT is a good group of biblical scholars who not only want the TNIV to be accurate but to have good English. I doubt that they would want misleading English which is what we have with a literal translation of the Hebrew idiom in Is. 13:7 and similar passages (e.g. Josh. 2:11).

I am compiling a list of problem wordings in the TNIV for the CBT. The CBT requests revision suggestions by the first of each year so that they can organize them for their annual meeting which is in the middle of the year. I invite you to send me your suggestions for improving the TNIV, and I will forward them to the CBT. I am also trying to make available a website facility where we can click on Bible reference buttons and enter our suggestions that way for the CBT so that they are easier for the revision team to access the material. I will keep you posted if and when that facility becomes available.

In the meantime, keep reading your TNIVs. It's a good translation. And I trust that your own heart will be moved, if not melted, as you read it. And when you come across a wording that you think could be better, let us know so that the TNIV can become even better.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Beauty Behind the Mask: Rediscovering the Books of the Bible

That latest post at The Books of The Bible Blog notifies us of a new book, The Beauty Behind the Mask: Rediscovering the Books of the Bible, by Christopher R. Smith. This book gives background and rationale for The Books of the Bible, recently published by IBS, as described on
Christopher R. Smith is a member of the team that worked with the International Bible Society to develop this new edition. In this book, he traces the history and effects of the traditional elements that have shaped the customary presentation of the Scriptures. He describes how the new format was developed to help overcome these effects. And he explains how The Books of The Bible can be used effectively for personal devotions, group studies, sermon preparation and the other disciplines by which we apply the teachings of God's word to our lives. The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is pastor of the University Baptist Church of East Lansing, Michigan. He has a B.A. in literature from Harvard University, an M.A.T.S. in church history from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in theology from Boston College. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, New Testament Studies, Novum Testamentum, and Vigilae Christianae.
I have added Smith's book to this blog's TNIV Bookshelf (right margin). I also pushed the 1-click button at to order my own copy.

Friday, August 31, 2007

biker Bible

Garin at has blogged on an edition of the TNIV for bikers. It is called Hope for the Highway.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

TNIV, James Dobson and the Church of the Nazarene

Dennis Bratcher has written an interesting article, from a Nazarene and Wesleyan perspective, reflecting on the controversy about TNIV and what lies behind it. The issue is clearly not quite as simple as that all Baptists and/or Calvinists are anti-TNIV, but the main opposition does seem to come from that direction.

To start with I was puzzled by the reference to
several high-profile members of the Church of the Nazarene ... openly and aggressively advocating ideas and theologies that are alien to the tradition of which they claim to be a part.
But I understood this when I discovered that (if Wikipedia is to be trusted here) James Dobson is a member of this church.

Hat tip: Henry Neufeld.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Adam did what?

A recent post on the Coded for Worship blog asks: "Adam did what?" The blogger, Andy, compares the ESV and TNIV translations of Gen. 4:1:
I’ve decided to read through the Bible twice before the end of the year. Once for story’s sake with the TNIV. The second time to be a content-focused (more in-depth) reading using the ESV, the Bible version that I use 95% of the time. By the time I’d reached chapter 4 of Genesis, I began to think that I’d put the TNIV back on the shelf. I thought this because, as I took as sip of my coffee and started reading verse 1 of chapter 4, I stopped dead in my tracks.

Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.
-Genesis 4:1 (TNIV)

Adam did what?! I mean, I know what Adam did (he knew Eve), but do you really have to tell me that they made love? Does it really need to be correctly stated that they consummated the first marriage in history? I’m sure there are entire papers written on both the defense and criticism of this one verse in this particular translation. I’m not going to add to that collection. But I will say this: I’m wondering if the TNIV is going to be worth my time.

Then again — I suppose that for someone who didn’t grow up in an area so heavily influenced by the Christian sub-culture that exists here in “the south,” reading the phrase “Adam knew his wife” might make about as much sense as a hearing kid asking his mom if he can help her “salt hay” in front of a skillet full of fried eggs.
The ESV translation of Gen. 4:1 is:
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD."
I think that for most current speakers of English, the word "knew" communicates far less accurately what Adam did than does the wording of the TNIV. Another win for the TNIV!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Review of changes in the TNIV

Suzanne McCarthy at Better Bibles Blog has posted a Review of changes in the TNIV. As she points out, many of the helpful revisions which make the TNIV more accurate than the NIV, which is/was already an accurate version, are not gender language related. Read Suzanne's post for specific examples of good revisions the TNIV makes to the NIV.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Psalm 23: The Bible Experience

Zondervan has just emailed us with news of progress on the Old Testament of The Bible Experience, dramatized TNIV audio:
Hey guys! I’ve got some Old Testament tracks hot off the presses! You can use these on the various blogs etc. where you would like to. We actually got the first complete Bible TBE off of the boat last week, and it looks incredible to see it all done. In some ways it’s hard to believe it’s really done. And now the fun stuff begins: the promotions and introducing people to the world of the Bible in a fresh, new way!
Click here to listen to Psalm 23.

We've got some other OT TBE samples we can share, also, as time goes on.

Enjoy! And pass the word around that it will not be long (November 2007) before the entire Bible in TBE format will be available. It would make great Christmas or Hanukkah gifts -- hint, hint!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Books of the Bible is shipping

I just received email notice from the IBS (International Bible Society) that they have shipped my copy of the new format of the Bible, The Books of the Bible (TNIV). Unfortunately, I will not be home to receive it and report on it when it arrives. My wife and I are still with our daughter and her family, helping them after the birth of their daughter on July 13. We will be back home August 9, for a few days, and then off on another trip.

Friday, July 27, 2007

An odd quirk of gender neutral language

Psalm 7:14 NIV: "He who is pregnant with evil ..."

Psalm 7:14 TNIV: "Those who are pregnant with evil ..."

Of course TNIV is right to be consistent in its gender language policy here. But by dropping the striking gender clash of NIV, which is in the original (one of only two places in the Hebrew Bible where the verb "be pregnant" is used in a masculine form, the other is Isaiah 33:11), TNIV seems to have lost something.

Actually there is an advantage of the TNIV reading here: it avoids the possible misunderstanding in NIV that this verse is still about God, the "he" of verses 12-13.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Philemon 6: TNIV improves on NIV

Lingamish has looked at Philemon 6 and noted several inadequacies in the NIV rendering:
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
As I commented there, there are substantial improvements in the TNIV version of this verse:
I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ.
  1. NIV wrongly suggests that Philemon is not yet properly "sharing [his] faith" and that Paul is praying that he should do so. TNIV rightly clarifies that Philemon already has this.
  2. NIV is often understood as referring to evangelism, at least when read by evangelical Christians for whom "sharing your faith" is jargon for evangelism. It is unclear to me whether the NIV translators really intended this verse to refer to evangelism, but it seems rather unlikely that this was Paul's meaning. And so TNIV is correct to avoid this evangelical jargon and use words which point to a more probable understanding of the Greek text.
  3. NIV's "full understanding" goes beyond what the Greek text says, and suggests that we humans can aspire to completely understand matters which are surely beyond our full understanding. TNIV's "deepening your understanding" is much better.
  4. NIV closes with a rather bland "we have in Christ", for a literal "(which is) in us into Christ". This is not even the regular "in Christ" phrase, so there is little excuse for using this difficult to understand wording. Also it fails to note that the Greek word en here probably means "among" rather than "in". The TNIV rendering "we share for the sake of Christ" seems to capture the main point far more clearly.
This verse is a good example of TNIV being substantially better than NIV, in ways unrelated to gender language. Since there is no possibility of NIV itself being revised, it really is time for publishing and marketing efforts to be put into TNIV rather than NIV so that improvements like these can be widely distributed to the Bible reading public.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

TNIV on the iPhone

Earlier today on This Lamp, I reviewed three different Bible applications for the iPhone. One of those applications is from 3onesix Ministry Tools. In my review, I noted that this app only accessed the NIV, in spite of the fact that it is based upon eBible which has multiple translations.

Well, evidently there's a little trick for accessing other translations, including the TNIV. Simply add a translation abbreviation as a prefix in the search field such as shown above.

This little trick works not only with the TNIV, but also the ESV, HCSB, KJV, NASB, NCV, NKJV and a few others.

Thanks goes to Tom Krush of 3onesix for this tip!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Youngblood on TNIV

I have just got round to start reading the ETS papers to which Wayne provided a link on BBB nearly two weeks ago. The first of these papers, by Ronald Youngblood and entitled TRANSLATION VERSUS TRANSLITERATION: THE TRIUMPH OF CLARITY OVER OPACITY (direct link to the PDF), in fact dates from 2003, and is largely an explanation of some of the translation decisions in TNIV Old Testament, from a reasonably scholarly viewpoint, including a defence of singular "they". This is important reading for anyone who finds some TNIV renderings hard to accept.

Unfortunately the way in which this paper was prepared for electronic publication, by a poorly configured OCR scan, makes it rather difficult to read in places.

My apologies if this has been mentioned before on this blog. I seem to remember a mention of it, but I can't find it with a search.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Clay tablet proves TNIV correct!

According to an article by The Times (London), an ancient clay tablet has provided evidence for the existence of a person named in the Bible - but only in NIV, TNIV and NLT, not in KJV, NAB or ESV, as mostly pointed out by Claude Mariottini. The tablet names Nebo-Sarsekim, an officer under Nebuchadnezzar, who is also named in Jeremiah 39:3, NIV and TNIV. For once we have clear and new archaeological evidence that TNIV is more accurate than ESV!

UPDATE 12th July: The Telegraph has more on this (thanks to Gary Hedrick for the link, note also, among others, my reply to him), including a photo of the tablet, and a complete translation in which Nebo-Sarsekim is called "the chief eunuch". This title ties up well with his Hebrew title rab-saris, "chief officer" in TNIV but saris generally if not always means "eunuch". This detail seems to me to confirm that this really is the same person with the same title. Also the date on the tablet, the tenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, is two years after Nebuchadnezzar first sacked the temple in Jerusalem and took all the gold from it, 2 Kings 24:13. So the gold mentioned in this tablet could well have been Nebo-Sarsekim's share of the spoil from Jerusalem.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

TNIV revisions: CBT annual meeting

The CBT has just finished its annual meeting to revise the TNIV. This time it was held in Gig Harbor, Washington. I was encouraged by these words which one of the CBT members emailed to me:
During our session, we considered many proposals, including quite a number that ___ ___ had passed on to us from you. You should be encouraged to know that we have adopted a number of your suggestions, while, in other cases, your flagging of a problem led us to consider another re-wording. Of course, many were not adopted -- but that is the case for all of us who make proposals!
I was also informed that it is easier for the CBT if suggestions for revisions for the TNIV are sent to them once per year, instead of at any time which is what I've been doing. They ask that proposals be submitted to them by January 1 to be considered at their annual meeting.

I am mulling over ideas for how we might be able to set up an Internet forum where TNIV revision suggestions could be posted, similar to how the NET Bible invites input. I would welcome your input for such a forum.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

discovering the Bible for ourselves

Glenn at IBS continues to blog about the Books of the Bible, a new format for the TNIV. Some (but probably not most who choose to buy this new format) will criticize IBS for taking out verse and chapter numbers. But Glenn argues that we need to discover the literary units and features of the Bible for ourselves:
What we do instead is explore literary signals. There are lots of things to look for: shifts in literary type, changes in topic, progression in plot, and, very importantly, key repeated phrases at literary seams. Because most of us have not been encouraged to read whole books of the Bible, nor to read them as literature, we are not used to paying attention to these things.
Reading whole books of the Bible to find out what the big picture is! Now that sounds like something my friend Mike Sangrey has been saying for years. And Mike and Glenn are both right. We need to move beyond proof-texting usage of Bible verses. We need to move beyond using just a few verses, or even a single verse, to "support" some claim. We need to seriously study the biblical text. There is a lot to discover in it.

I'm looking forward to getting my copy of the Books of the Bible.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


The TNIV, and the NIV, are now available at See also the eBible blog, which has also recently announced blog scripture reference tools for Blogger and for WordPress.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Books of the Bible pre-ordered

A couple of posts ago I blogged about a new format for the TNIV, which should enable people to read the Bible in more appropriate literary segments.

Pre-publication orders for the new format can now be made. I just pre-ordered a copy with a sage cover (because I want to be wise!).

Friday, June 29, 2007

embedded meaning

In Luke 11:7 the man whose friend wants to borrow bread from him says in the NIV:
Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.
It is revised in the TNIV to:
Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.
I consider this another example of an improvement of the TNIV over the NIV. The NIV is "literally" accurate, but to many readers today its wording can connote something along the lines of a Michael Jackson pajama party with children. And that was not what was going on in the setting of this story. In those days there was a common bed for poor families.

The NIV and translations like it which translate the Greek here literally communicate wrong connotation. And that is inaccurate translation. The TNIV communicates the essentials of the scene accurately and does not invite an unintended inference of a father's incestuous abuse of his children.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Motives and Bible translation

A Friend of Christ questions whether it has been right to question the motives of those who have translated the TNIV and ESV.

He concludes:
I think it's time we stop questioning the motives of those who want to bring us the Word, and look at the translations for what they are. Otherwise, we're not just hurting ourselves, but others as well. We who study this sort of thing need to be able to be objective in our recommendations, and not reject certain translations because we question the motives of the fallible people who made them.
I agree.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

innovative TNIV format

Today Michael Hanegan blogged about a new format for publication of the TNIV:
Check out this new exciting project from the International Bible Society!! It’s called “The Books of the Bible” and it features the entire text of the TNIV in a more theologically and chronologically sensitive order without chapter or verse numbers, footnotes, or multiple columns. Basically they want you to just read and pay attention to the Bible.
In the new format, the books of the Old Testament (called the First Testament in the new format) are grouped in a similar way to the traditional three sections of the Hebrew Bible, but the sections are now labeled as "Covenant History" (which includes not only the Hebrew Torah, but also the "former prophets", Joshua-Kings), "The Prophets," and "The Writings." The order of books within a section, however, differ from their order in the Hebrew Bible. The IBS format emphasizes chronology for its arrangement of the books. It does so also for the books of the New Testament.

The Books of the Bible will display the biblical text in a single column format, which I prefer.

Several books of the Bible in the new format are available now as free pdf downloads.

According to IBS, the new format will be available for purchase in August 2007. It can be pre-ordered after July 1 at the IBS phone order (1-800-524-1588) or online.

Click here to read more about the Books of the Bible. I plan to pre-order a copy.

Thursday, June 21, 2007 adds TNIV has added TNIV to its Bible search engine. This is good news, as more and more Bible search engines include the TNIV. I think it shows that the truth about the TNIV is gaining ground against the well-intentioned, but misinformed, attacks on the TNIV.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Is anything now impossible for God?

Chris Brauns argues that there are things which God cannot do. I'm not sure he has got this quite right - see my comment. Part of my argument is from Luke 1:37, which in NIV reads:
For nothing is impossible with God.
But in TNIV this verse has been changed to:
For no word from God will ever fail.
Why the change? Is it justified? The main issue is apparently with the Greek rema, which usually means "word" but sometimes, and especially in Luke's writings (also 1:65, 2:15,19,51; Acts 5:32, 10:37) has a weaker meaning "thing, happening, affair". So the NIV interpretation can certainly be jusitified. But then in Luke 1:38, 2:17,29,50, 5:5, 7:1, 9:45×2, 18:34, 20:26, 24:8,11; Acts 2:14, 5:20, 6:11,13, 10:22,44, 11:14,16, 13:42, 16:38, 26:25, 28:25 rema clearly refers to spoken words. It is most telling that 1:38 in the sense of spoken words immediately follows the ambiguous 1:37, although there must be a rapid shift in sense in 2:15,17,19 and 2:50,51.

The slight problem I see with the TNIV interpretation is that adunateo would normally mean "be impossible" rather than "fail". In fact this verb is found elsewhere in the New Testament only in Matthew 17:20, but the related adjective adunatos is more common. The meaning is almost always "impossible", although in Acts 14:8 and Romans 15:1 it means more like "weak, powerless".

So, literally the verse is "With God every word/matter will not be impossible". I would take this to mean something like "Nothing that God says he will do will be impossible for him to carry out". And the TNIV rendering effectively says the same thing.

But, lest anyone think that TNIV is weakening God by denying that he can do all things, that he is almighty, see Matthew 19:26 TNIV:
... with God all things are possible.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Generic "man" being misunderstood

I have just posted at Better Bibles Blog on how generic "man" in NIV and other translations is being misunderstood. I concluded my post with:
The sooner IBS and Zondervan phase out NIV and replace it by TNIV, the better.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Important Articles to Read

If you find that reading anti-TNIV material is convincing, I don't think your research is complete until you read Dr. Craig Blomberg's review of the TNIV. This review is provided in a link on the side of TNIV Truth as you scroll down. I think Blomberg's review is the most thorough and unbiased review I've read. Blomberg read the entire TNIV New Testament along side the NIV and his United Bible Society's Greek New Testament. If you read Blomberg first then the reviews at The CBMW, I think you have to go back to Blomberg afterwards. So many arguments about verses that sound convincing at The CBMW reviews are dealt with rather well by Blomberg. I have not read satisfactory counters to Blomberg.

Also, I recommend reading this commentary from Dr. Darrell Bock.

These are both long, but they are worth your time. Print them out and read them at your own pace.

It's obvious, I do not have a problem with the TNIV (I can find a verse or two or ten in every translation that I think is weaker than some other translation). But who am I? I'm not your Protestant Pope. Read both sides and decide for yourself.

This year I've been reading through the ESV. It's a fine Bible. Since the ESV has been known to be an Evangelical revision of the RSV, I've often been reading the RSV while listening to an audio version of the ESV. I've found this summary to be accurate. It reads a lot like the RSV.

Wikipedia states the ESV made changes in 5-10% of the text from the RSV. My Libronix software does verse comparisons and tells the percentage of difference between translations. I tried doing the entire RSV against the entire ESV. My computer doesn't pack enough punch to complete that comparison. However, based on my comparison while reading the RSV and listening to the ESV, Wikipedia may be fairly accurate at that point.

Next year, I plan on reading through the TNIV. I'm hoping to often do so while listening to audio of the NIV in order that I may become aware of all the differences between the two.

My conclusion at this point based on:
  • all the articles (and books) I've read
  • the debate I listened to between Grudem & Strauss
  • carrying around a TNIV and comparing it with what is in other Bibles that pastors read from
  • cross-referencing verses between other translations and the Greek texts I own
is that as people's NIV wears out and they decide it's time to purchase a new Bible, instead of buying a new NIV, I recommend they replace it with a TNIV.

I am enjoying it and am not troubled by the TNIV. The hoopla about it is for the most part generating heat, not light. There are other Bibles that deserve more negative attention than this one.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

TNIV XL customer reviews

The customer reviews of the TNIV XL (larger print) edition from Zondervan are interesting. I found them helpful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

large print TNIV

I am in my mid-50s and my eyes are finding it more and more difficult to read small to medium font sizes. I have a pocket edition of the TNIV. Its print is far too small for comfortable reading. I have a hardback TNIV printed by Zondervan. It's about the size of a pew Bible. I also have a TNIV Study Bible. Both seem to use the same size print, less than 7 points, I believe. That, also, is too small for my eyes. I cannot read the text comfortably in either edition.

So I researched large print TNIV editions. There is a TNIV XL thinline edition which has a 9.6 point font which Zondervan calls "larger print". But their "larger print" is smaller than large print in many other Bibles. Then Rick Mansfield told me about a large print TNIV available from IBS, the copyright holder of the TNIV. I ordered it.

IBS ships by FedEx Ground. The Bible left the IBS warehouse in Colorado Springs, CO, on Monday afternoon, June 4. It was scheduled to arrive tomorrow, but got to me a day early. Finally, I have a TNIV with a print size that is comfortable for my eyes! From my comparisons with printouts at 10, 11, and 12 point sizes, the IBS large print is between 10 and 11 points in size.

Some of you may be like me, visually challenged, or at least visually challenged at this stage of life. My optometrist has told me I have "presbyoptic" eyes. He knew I was a linguist and enjoyed using that word with me. Anyway, for those of you who need larger print, I'll describe the TNIV edition which I received today.

The cover is attractive, a conservative, two-tone brown. The binding looks sturdy. This Bible easily lies open on a flat surface.

The font used is either Arial or a font very close to Arial, the same sans serif font I have seen in all TNIV Bibles, including those published by Zondervans.

The page format is two-column. With the larger print there are not very many words per line of print. In the poetic books average line length seems to be about 5 words. That's too few for me; I find so few words per line to be a distraction for smooth reading. I would prefer a one-column format for smoother reading.

There is no red print in this edition from IBS. Hurray! My eyes find it difficult to focus on red print in Bibles. The red of shimmers before my eyes and my eyes get stressed reading it. (How do publishers get a color to shimmer?!) I really don't need to see the words of Christ in red.

Pagination in the IBS large print edition does not match pagination of any other TNIV edition that I have. But pagination does match among several other TNIV editions, just not the ones I have.

Paper thickness seems fine in the IBS large print Bible. It feels more like a good quality book paper, thicker than thinner paper often used in Bibles. The paper in the IBS Bible has a glossy, smooth finish on it. The paper used in this IBS edition has a harder surface than the paper used in the TNIV hardback Bible I have published by Zondervan. The color of the IBS Bible paper is a creamier white than the white used for the pages of the TNIV Study Bible. The contrast between the black print and the background white is comfortable, not too highly contrastive as found in some books which use whiter paper.

I think my eyes might be able to read the TNIV XL Larger Print thinline Bible which is printed at 1 point less than that of the IBS Bible I received today. But I'm not sure. The proof of the pudding is in the ..., hmm, seeing? And it's not easy to locate a bookstore nearby where the TNIV XL is stocked to be able to see it for myself. Would any of you like to photocopy a page from a TNIV XL Bible and mail it to me?

Monday, June 4, 2007

CBT member on Shema post & comments

One of the oldest members of the NIV/TNIV Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) has responded to our post on the Shema and comments on the post. Here is his response, speaking as an individual, not for the CBT as a whole:

"Chemo head" has been so severe the past few weeks that I have been incapacitated. Today, hopefully, I can make some sense.

I cannot now respond to every item raised in your blog and the responses, but in general I must observe that the critics , at least the worst of them, show a serious deficiency in their understanding of the Hebrew (its idioms, and how it works), and in their understanding of the social system that developed the Hebrew language and which that language served. As for this latter, ancient Israel was not a community created by a large/small group of individuals through economic and political action. It was rather a community generated organically (family->clan->tribe->people).For that reason the people could be called/named after its patriarchal ancestor, and was so called/named regularly. When such was addressed by its progentor's name, it was both the community itself that was addressed collectively and its members destributively at the same time. And the language reflects that.

Allow me to work through the shema' in detail, with brief annotations. This will show how the language works: how the collective (and generic) [which is implicitly distributive also] can be and is referred to in pronouns and verb forms with either the singular or the plural without any difference in meaning.--the shema' is not a catechism of the individual, as "anon" claims, but is expressly (and grammaticaly) addressed to "Israel" (the people with whom Yahweh made covenant at Sinai), which is the antecedent of the pronouns (both independent and as integrated with the verbal forms) throughout the shema'. That is to say, here the pronouns, mostly singular but sometimes plural, refer to the people of Israel, collectively and/or distributively at the same time. This will be demonstrated by also adding some of the following narrative, where the same language is continued.
4 Hear (m.s.impv), ISRAEL (prop. n., m. s. col), Yahweh our (1st pl: Israel) God, Yahweh is one [see also the possible alternatives]. 5You (m.s.: Israel--all and each, and similarly in what follows) are to love Yahweh your (m.s.) God with all your (m.s.) heart and with all your (m.s.) nephesh and with all your (m.s.) might / strength / power. 6And these words/commands which I command you (m.s.) today are to be on your (m.s.) heart. 7And you (m.s.) are to recite them to your (m.s.) children and you (m.s.) are to speak of them when you (m.s.) are in your (m.s.) houses (pl. according the Mas. pointing) and when you are walking on the way (s. abstract generic ), and when you (m.s.) are lying down and when you (m.s.) are rising up. 8And you (m.s.) are to tie them for a sign on your (m.s.) hand/arms (pl. according to Mas. pointing), and they are to be philactories (pl) between your (m.s.) eyes. 9And you are to write them on the doorposts of your (m.s. ) houses (pl. according to Mas. pointing) and on your (m.s.) gates [pl.--city gates?].
10And it shall be when Yahweh your (m.s.) God brings you (m.s.) to the land which he swore to your (m.s.) fathers (pl), to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give to you (m.s.), great and pleasant cities (pl.) which you (m.s.) did not build, 11and houses (pl.) filled with all (s. col.) [kinds of] good (s. col.) [things] which you (m.s.) did not fill and (already) dug wells/cisterns (pl.) which you (m.s.) did not dig, vineyards (pl.) and olive groves (pl.) which you (m.s.) did not plant, and you (m.s.) eat and you (m.s.) are satisfied, 12guard (m.s.) yourself (m.s.) lest you (m.s.) forget Yahweh who brought you (m.s.) out of the land of Egypt, from the house (s.) of bondage (pl.). 13Yahweh your (m.s.) God you (m.s.) are to fear and him you (m.s.) are to serve and in his name you (m.s.) are to swear (your oaths). 14You ( are not to go after other gods from the gods of the peoples who are all around you (, 15for a jealous God is Yahweh your (m.s.) God who is in your (m.s.) midst, lest the anger of Yahweh your (m.s.) God flare up against you (m.s.) and he destroy you (m.s.) from the face of the ground. 16You ( are not to tempt Yahweh your ( God as you ( tempted him as Massah. 17Be sure to keep ( the commands of Yahweh your ( God and his statutes and decrees he commanded you (m.s.).
Note carefully all the annotations. One cannot read Hebrew forms/idioms as if they were English. Clearly, throughout this typical piece of Hebrew text, ISRAEL, the people delivered out of Egypt and covenanted with at Sinai is the community addressed (collectively and distributively), the people who constitute a community generated from their patriarchal ancestors, not created (through economic and/or political action) by a group (large or small) of individuals. That is what translators have to honor. FOR THAT REASON, RENDERING THE SINGULAR PRONOUNS AND VERBS WITH PLURALS IN ENGLISH THROUGHOUT SUCH PASSAGES IS ACCURATE TRANSLATION.

Many other matters could be addressed: the Hebrew use of the conjunctive waw, the Hebrew use of nephesh (as well as our modern uses of "soul" as in "heart and soul" or "body and soul" or "heart, soul, mind and strength," etc.), but I do not have the strength for it now.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Bible Experience: New Testament is the 2007 Audio Book of the Year

The Bible Experience, a dramatized recording of the TNIV, has taken top honors at this year's Audie Awards. (The Audies are to audio books what the Grammys are to music.)

Five years ago, Zondervan's NIV Audio Bible won an Audie in the inspirational category, but this year, the Audio Publishers Association named The Bible Experience the best of the best—in any category.

Congratulations, Zondervan and Inspired By. This is exciting news for the TNIV.

complementarian TNIV

The TNIV has been criticized as being an egalitarian and/or feminist Bible. One wonders how closely those making this accusation have actually read the TNIV. If you are a complementarian and wish to teach about complementarianism from the Bible, you can teach that from the TNIV as you would from any other version of the Bible. (And if you are an egalitarian, be sure to read the final paragraphs of this post.) Following is a post (with minor modifications) that I blogged some time ago on the Better Bibles Blog. I will add a few comments at the end, referencing the complementarian writing of Doug Moo, the current chairman of the CBT. which revised the NIV to become the TNIV.

Complementarians believe that men and women are of equal value, but complement each other with different God-appointed roles in the home and church. (Egalitarians believe that women and men are of equal value and can have the same roles in the home and church.) Are you a complementarian? Did you know that you can teach complementarianism from the TNIV, just as you can from another Bible version such as the ESV? This may surprise some complementarians who have attacked the TNIV, calling it a feminist Bible, a Bible for "feminazis", a Bible "soft" on biblical manhood and womanhood, a Bible that "neuters" masculinity, and boycotting it in Christian bookstores.

Let's examine what the TNIV actually says to see if it can be used to teach complementarianism. We'll compare what the TNIV says to the ESV. Some complementarians claim that the ESV promotes a biblical view of manhood and womanhood while the TNIV does not. Following are some key tenets of complementarianism, with Bible passages typically used to support them:

1. A husband is the head of his wife (Eph. 5:23):
For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (TNIV)

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (ESV)
The TNIV and ESV teach headship of the husband identically in Eph. 5:23.

In 1 Cor. 11:3 the TNIV actually translates about headship of a woman more strongly than does the ESV:
But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (TNIV)

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. (ESV)
The TNIV translates the Greek words gunaikos and aner of this verse as "woman" and "man," respectively. This is more literal and a broader (stronger) translation than the ESV which translates these Greek words as "wife" and "husband," respectively. The more restrictive translation of "[the head] of the wife is her husband" is footnoted in the TNIV but not found in the translated text itself.

2. A wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22):
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (TNIV)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (ESV)
The TNIV and ESV teach the same thing about submission.

3. Woman is the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7):
A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (TNIV)
For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. (ESV)
The TNIV and ESV not only have identical teaching in this verse, but identical wordings of "but woman is the glory of man."

4. Women are to be silent in church (1 Cor. 14:34-35):
Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (TNIV)

the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (ESV)
Again, the teaching is identical between the TNIV and ESV, and the wordings are nearly so. Neither is stronger than the other in what it states.

5. Women are not to exercise ecclesiastical authority over men or to teach men (1 Tim. 2:12):
I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. (TNIV)

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (ESV)
Again, the meaning of the translation wordings from these two versions is identical, as far as I can tell. I don't sense a significant difference in meaning between the two wordings "assume authority" or "exercise authority." Dr. Wayne Grudem, however, does consider there to be a significant difference between these two wordings. He says that
the TNIV adopts a highly suspect and novel translation that gives the egalitarian side everything they have wanted for years in a Bible translation. It reads, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man” (italics added). If churches adopt this translation, the debate over women's roles in the church will be over, because women pastors and elders can just say, “I’m not assuming authority on my own initiative; it was given to me by the other pastors and elders.” Therefore any woman could be a pastor or elder so long as she does not take it upon herself to “assume authority.”
The TNIV and ESV both make it clear that Jesus was a male, not some androgynous human. Both versions refer to God with masculine pronouns. Both versions retain the biblical language text wording of God the Father, rather than as generic God the Parent.

As far as I know, those who accuse the TNIV of being a feminist translation or being influenced by feminism cannot support that claim from how passages traditionally used to teach complementarianism are worded. The TNIV is an accurate translation and does not deserve the criticism it has received from its opponents. It does not deserve to be boycotted by Christian booksellers who seem to believe its critics rather than being Bereans (Acts 17:11) who study the Bible (or any translation of it) carefully for themselves to find out if what people claim about it are true or not.

UPDATE: Dr. Wayne Grudem, probably the most vocal critic of the TNIV, has written:
The TNIV in particular has changed the translation of many of the key passages regarding women in the church, and I would find it almost impossible to teach a Biblical “complementarian” view of the role of women in the church from the TNIV.
But complementarianism can be taught from the TNIV just as egalitarianism can be. Both viewpoints can be taught from any English Bible version. I do not know what Dr. Grudem is referring to when he says that the "TNIV in particular has changed the translation of many of the key passages regarding women in the church." I would like to see a list of such verses and an explanation for how their translation has been changed from other Bible versions.

I disagree with Dr. Grudem's claim about the TNIV. I suspect that the complementarians on the TNIV translation committee would disagree also, starting with its chairman, Doug Moo, who has written an article defending complementarianism. It appears in the anthology Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which may be downloaded for free from the complementarian CBMW website. Other authors in the anthology include, among others, Dr. Grudem, his co-author, Dr. Poythress, with whom he has written a book against the TNIV, Thom Schreiner, and D.A. Carson.

Does the TNIV slant the teachings of the Bible toward egalitarianism or feminism, as its critics claim? No, it does not. But a claim of a feminist bias in the TNIV, repeated often enough, is believed by many who do not study something carefully enough themselves. This blog attempts to set the record straight and tell the truth about the TNIV.

Now, if you are an egalitarian, I hope you were able to read all the way through this post without feeling betrayed by the TNIV. Because another truth about the TNIV, or any other Bible version for that matter, is that you can teach egalitarism from the Bible, if that is your belief, just as you can teach complementarianism from the Bible. The Bible is simply the Bible. We come to it, we read it, we attempt to understand it, we interpret it, often trying to be fair but sometimes bringing our own presuppositions to the sacred text, we draw conclusions from what we read in the Bible. And yet, throughout the centuries of Bible study and scholarship humans have drawn different conclusions from the Bible. This is normal. We are humans, trying to understand a text which was not written as a systematic theological textbook. It was not written to definitively solve all the difficult theological questions. We humans want definitive solutions. We crave systematic and categorical answers.

If you give the TNIV a fair hearing (or reading), you should find that it teaches biblical truth as well as any other Bible version, and more accurately and clearly than many.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

flaming arrows of death

Josh Tinley likes the wording "flaming arrows of death" in the TNIV, Prov. 26:18-19:
Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives a neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
Josh prefers that crisp metaphor over the wordings in the NIV:
Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!”
and NRSV:
Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, “I am only joking!”
It's nice to see that the TNIV not only updated some of the language of the NIV to be more current, but also made some revisions like this which are more effective from a literary standpoint.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

TNIV Reference Bible: THICK It Is! [UPDATED*]

Last week, I wrote a post titled, "TNIV Reference Bible: Thick or Thin?" In that post I pointed out that we did not know whether or not the upcoming TNIV Reference Bible would be a standard reference Bible or a thinline reference Bible. Personally, I did not want a thinline for a number of reasons, and I felt like most of you who are interested in this Bible felt the same way. I asked you for your opinions in the comments and you gave them.

And then we waited...

Well I've been given authority to tell you that around mid-day today, the powers-that-be at Zondervan made an official decision. They made the decision to change the paper in this Bible to a heavier weight--specifically one more suitable for writing notes! I'm drawing from two sources here, but one says that the paper is indeed heavier than what was originally planned, which was already heavier than the standard thinlines produced by Zondervan. My other source gave me some specifics: the TNIV Reference Bible will use a 39 GSM TerCoat Plus Paper stock. If you want to get a feel for this paper's thickness, go check out the Archaeological Study Bible (best-selling study Bible in the marketplace in 2006) which basically uses the same stock.

Of course, this is extremely good news! Here are a few of other little tidbits:

  • Because of the change in paper stock, the list price goes up from $29.99 to $34.99.

  • The thickness will be approximately 1.25 inches.

  • The downside is that the change in paper means a delay in delivery. Rather than a September/October release date, realistically, we'll be looking more realistically at December.

I imagine that I speak for a lot of folks when I say the extra $5 is not a problem, nor is the extra wait. I believe most of us would rather wait a couple of extra months and get a quality Bible, all things considered.

Based on the specs we've already seen and the information about the paper weight revealed today, I can fully endorse the TNIV Reference Bible as THE edition for pastors, teachers, and other serious students of the Bible to use--at least until that wide-margin edition comes out one day :-)

I know that I'll look forward to using one of these Bibles myself for teaching and preaching.

*UPDATE: I just got further good news about this Bible from Zondervan. In addition to the thicker paper mentioned above, the TNIV Reference Bible will, in fact, feature a smyth-sewn binding!