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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.