Notes on the New NIV

Most people may not be aware of this fact, but there has actually been an official revision of the beloved 1984 NIV.  The revision first appeared online in the fall of 2010 and then in hard copy in the spring of 2011.

For someone who likes to discuss issues of English Bible translations, I thought I’d share a few notes on the new NIV.

  • The new NIV is an improvement of the 1984 NIV in many ways.  For example, a lot of words or phrases that were left untranslated ( for example, “according to the flesh” in Rom. 4:1) have now been addressed.
  • Texts that were first thought as being handled in a sloppy nature have been tightened up, so to speak (see John 1:16; Rom. 16:26, etc).
  • In Paul’s writings, sarx has now been rendered “flesh” rather than “sinful nature.”  I’m especially pleased with this one.

But not all of the changes have not been well received.  These changes are especially in reference to gender.

  • For example, the new NIV has opted for the singular “they” rather than the generic masculine “him.”
  • Son/sons have been replaced by “child/children.”  The objection to this is especially noted in Paul’s writings, where believers’ new status as “sonship” has been obscured by the new NIV’s replaced of “children” in several places.
  • Many feel that the new NIV has made a mess of Psalm 1.  I tend to agree.
  • Perhaps Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11 should not have been italicized.  The average Bible reader is not preoccupied with the textual issues of Bible translators.  A footnote or two would have sufficed.

As I mentioned above, I just want to share a few notes on the new NIV.  At any rate, I find myself going back and forth between the new NIV and the ESV.


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