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

TNIV at eBible.com

The TNIV, and the NIV, are now available at eBible.com. 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!).