Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: NIV to be updated!

I (Peter Kirk) just received from Zondervan a letter announcing that the NIV Bible is to be updated in 2011. The announcement is at this website. Here are some extracts from the full text of the announcement:
The global board of Biblica today announced its intention to update the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible, the first time it has been revised since 1984. The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), the independent body of global biblical scholars solely responsible for the translation of the world's most popular Bible, is slated to finish its revision late next year, with publication in 2011. ...

"We want to reach English speakers across the globe with a Bible that is accurate, accessible and that speaks to its readers in a language they can understand," said Keith Danby, Global President and CEO of Biblica. ...

"As time passes and English changes, the NIV we have at present is becoming increasingly dated. If we want a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to, and respect, the vocabulary they are using today."

BBB readers and friends have their opportunity to contribute to the new edition, as explained by Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation:
The CBT also reiterated its longstanding openness to receiving input from both external scholars and regular Bible readers.
"The CBT has always proactively sought peer review from qualified biblical scholars, linguists and English stylists and it continues to do so," said Moo. "Every suggestion presented in writing to the CBT before the end of this calendar year will be considered for the 2011 edition of the NIV Bible. The CBT also values the feedback it receives from NIV Bible readers – be they scholars or not – on the comprehensibility of the text as we continue in our efforts to create a translation that offers English speakers across the world accurate understanding and unobstructed access to God's unchanging word."

I understand that this new edition is intended to replace both the 1984 NIV and the 2005 TNIV. I hope to be able to confirm this soon.

UPDATE: There is also an article about this in USA Today, a rather strange article I thought, which concludes with the following:
The T-NIV will be taken off the market when the new Bible is released.

For the 2011 edition, more than a dozen scholars will "review every single gender-related decision we have made and make sure we are putting God's unchanging word into English people are actually using," says Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee on Bible Translation.

Gender issues aren't the only areas for re-examination, says Moo. "In the 1984 NIV when Paul says (in 2 Corinthians 11:25) 'I was stoned,' we changed it to 'pelted with stones' to avoid the laughter in the junior high row of the church."

While the committee has always called on scholars from numerous faiths and disciplines, they're also now calling for input from the general public at a special new website, NIVBible2011.com.

"I can't predict what will happen with gender usage. My guess would be we made a lot of the right decisions for the T-NIV but every one of those is open for consideration. We may even be returning to what we had in the 1984 NIV," says Moo.

Well, I certainly hope they don't return to what was in the 1984 NIV, which includes clear gender-related errors like this one. But I would be very surprised if they do. Nevertheless I'm sure there will be a lot of wrangling over the next two years about whether to follow NIV or TNIV on debatable matters.

51 comments:

Peter Kirk said...

Wayne, thank you for copying my post from BBB to here. There are more comments and links there.

Walt Bertelsen said...

I am delighted to hear this news!! I think it's a shame that there have been two "competing" NIVs, albeit in God's providence. I have used the NIV since it came out (I was a new Christian), and switched to TNIV a couple years ago, though have never been completely satisfied with its formatting. I would like to see a "united" NIV, one that reflects what was done with the TNIV, and I pray that the Lord will override the vitriole that has so marred discussion of the TNIV.
Thanks,
Walt Bertelsen

sunestauromai said...

so what will be the future of this blog then once the 2011 NIV comes out?

Long live the TNIV! ;)

Peter Kirk said...

Brian, if that's you hiding behind a Greek name, we may have to rename this blog "NIV Update Truth", especially if it becomes a target for the same kind of criticism as TNIV.

Ryan Gill said...

As a college student, I am one who goes back and forth on the merits of the TNIV. The debate in my mind is always TNIV vs ESV, for better or worse. I am not a fan of the singular plural that has become part of the TNIV... but primarily I find fault in the rendering in the psalm that depicts, in the TNIV, not a bone of theirs shall be broken. I can't help but notice this seems to downplay the messianic nature/ interpretation of the psalm.

I am interested to see what the translators come up with for the UNIV? RNIV? NIV2011? May it be an accurate, readable translation of the Bible, while reflecting good biblical scholarship.

Peter Kirk said...

Ryan, what do you think you mean by claiming that Psalm 34 is messianic? This psalm is clearly intended to be about righteous people in general, as in verse 17 where "the righteous" is plural in Hebrew. The change to the singular in verses 19 and 20 does not signify a sudden change of reference to the Messiah, and it would be wrong to translate it as such.

You may be thinking that verse 20 is quoted in John 19:36. Actually it isn't - the wording there is much closer to Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12, showing that John's point is to compare Jesus to the Passover lamb rather than to the protected righteous person.

In fact Psalm 34 doesn't apply well to Jesus. He was not protected from persecution and death. If this psalm is messianic at all, it is because the Messiah takes the role not of the persecuted righteous people but of their Lord who is also their Saviour.

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Evangelist J. Rogers said...

So is God's Holy Word now at the mercy of the "laughter of teh junior high row"?! God help us all! God's wrath will be brutal against those who have playfully tampered with His words.

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R. Mansfield said...

Evangelist Rogers,

No, God's Word is not at the mercy of the junior high row, but often our TRANSLATIONS of God's Word are. The translation isn't inerrant.

Translation always includes choice. So if a translator has the choice between wording that will provoke incorrect understanding (or giggles from the junior high row), why not translate with different words that do not do this but convey the correct meaning?

The goal of translation should always be clear transference of the meaning in the original text. We have to be careful to keep language from getting in the way of that.

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