Updated NIV Now Available In Digital Form
Nov 01, 2010 by Craig Blomberg | 3 Comments
In September 2009, Zondervan and Biblica (formerly International Bible Society—Send the Light international) announced the upcoming publication of an updated edition of the New International Version of the Bible to be released in 2011. Current projections are aiming for a pre-Easter release of the hard copy of the updated NIV. Meanwhile, the digital form of the text has been made available beginning on November 1, 2010 at www.biblegateway.com, already the premier website for accessing dozens of Bible translations in dozens of languages.
A video clip of Dr. Douglas Moo, the chair of the Committee on Bible Translation that is responsible for the actual text of the updated NIV, appears there, as does a document explaining how the translators went about their updating, some of the key principles they employed, and sample results from texts in various parts of the Bible.
As already announced also in 2009, this updated NIV, once it is released in hard copy form, will be the only one that Zondervan and Biblica continue to print. Both the current, 1984 edition of the NIV and the TNIV will be superseded by the 2011 edition of the NIV. Of course, with over 400,000,000 copies of these editions of the Bible in circulation worldwide, neither is going to disappear overnight!
As one who has been privileged to be a part of the CBT for the last three years, I am thrilled with these new developments. I will not attempt to summarize the document explaining the translation philosophy here, especially since I was the first and primary author of that document, subsequently edited and improved by several hands, and I was trying to be as concise as I knew how to be already there. Suffice it to say, however, that if any translation in today’s crowded market of English Bible translations stands a chance of carrying on the tradition of the original NIV—transparency to the meaning of the original text combined by ease of understanding in current English by the largest cross-section of the English-speaking population, this is it!
For those whose only or major issue is the question of inclusive language for humanity, reading the translators’ notes will disclose that the updated NIV has listened very carefully to some of the criticisms of the anti-TNIV folks and have removed some of the most objectionable forms of inclusive language, without thereby in principle resorting to non-inclusive language. In other words, in most instances, more valid forms of inclusive language for humanity have been substituted for more controversial ones.
Someone may ask, but how were the most “valid” forms determined. The answer is by means of an unprecedented survey of the Collins Dictionary linguistic corpus—a database of over four billion words of current, written English, ranging from theology textbooks to printed sermons, to secular journalism and everything in between. The goal of the NIV has always been to use the language that most approximates how the vast majority of English speakers and writers are actually speaking and writing at any given time, not how they once did and how a few might wish they still did. The results of this survey have been scrutinized very carefully, therefore, while at the same time recognizing that the immediate context of any passage always potentially trumps standard usage of a given expression if something about that context makes it too unintelligible.
Abraham Lincoln said that you can’t please all the people all the time. Doubtless, this will always be true with Bible translations in particular. But for those with any flexibility at all on inclusive-language issues, for those who want the very best of cutting-edge scholarship, for those who want a translation that in over 95% of its text preserves the time-tested reliability of the 1984 NIV, for those who want a translation that is neither fully formally nor fully dynamically equivalent but aims to capture the best of both worlds as often as possible, the 2011 NIV should be the English translation of choice for use in the broadest cross-section of ministry contexts for many years to come.