No “Saints” in the New NIV

Slowly but surely the new NIV (2011) has become my primary Bible.  The more I read through it with the old NIV (1984) nearby to compare, I’m rather impressed with the revision done.  It seems like no stones were left unturned, so to speak.

And while I appreciate the new NIV as a whole, I find myself objecting to a few minor changes.  Before it was the singular “they/them/their,” now it’s the complete replacement of “saints” for “God’s holy people” (Phil. 1:1; Jude 3) or something to that effect.

But it’s not a deal breaker for me, since behind the Greek hagioi, traditionally “saints,” is “being dedicated or consecrated to the service of God,” and in the cultic sense, “dedicated to God, holy, sacred, i.e. reserved for God and God’s service–hence, “God’s holy people” (BDAG).

“Saints” shall be missed.

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4 Responses to No “Saints” in the New NIV

  1. Jon Hughes says:

    I still think that the NRSV is under-appreciated by evangelicals. It was ahead of its time in many ways, with many conservative translations subsequently following its lead – gender neutral language, “Messiah” (on occasions) rather than “Christ”, etc.

    But it’s still got “saints”!

  2. John David says:

    Your opening sentence describes me as well! And while I’ve missed “saints” in some passages I’ve noticed it doesn’t sting as much as I feared. I’m working on memorizing the book of Ephesians and have enjoyed verbalizing, “God’s people,” or “God’s holy people!”

  3. Simon says:

    i’m with Jon, NRSV is my translation of choice. It does let you down sometimes, but not as often as the NIV or the ESV for instance.

  4. TC says:

    Jon, yes, the NRSV is quite good, but it needs some updating, even an NT Wright notes that. 😉

    John, that’s quite a feat! Good stuff. The new NIV had indeed tightened up in Paul’s writings.

    Simon, I once thought seriously about the NRSV along those lines but more comfortable with the new NIV now, since its revision in Paul.

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