My take on today’s announcement from Biblica, the Committee on Bible Translation, & Zondervan that they are doing a major revision of the NIV, and when the new NIV comes out in 2011 they will drop both the 1984 NIV and the TNIV:
It’s about time.
Maybe I’m reading too much into the letter from Moe Girkins, President and CEO of Zondervan, but it looks to me like what they are doing is incorporating many of the changes they made to the NIV when they brought out the TNIV, possibly dropping some of the more “controversial” changes. In other words, I think they are making the NIV a little more “liberal”, if you will, and making the TNIV a little more “conservative”, and making one Bible out of the two.
You know, the English language and the way people use it has changed since 1984. But even more than that, I think the advances in Hebrew and Greek scholarship have made the revision absolutely necessary. The new NIV will incorporate that scholarship, much of which we already saw in the TNIV, and which had prompted me to say the TNIV had all the easy-readability of the NIV with the accuracy of the NASB. The new NIV will have that, plus it will have updated language to make it easier for normal, everyday English-speakers to understand.
Overall, I am excited about the prospects. But I’m also concerned about the risk that is being taken.
There are lots of folks who are very concerned about this, because they love their NIVs, and they don’t want the words messed with! They’re almost NIV-ONLY. (I know, it’s a scary thought!) The CBT and Biblica are taking the risk of losing those people to another translation, whether it be the ESV or the NLT, or whatever else. And from what I’m hearing already today, that’s a real possibility.
I also see the TNIV supporters are unhappy, because what they see is that the TNIV will be dropped. I count myself among them, but I’m more hopeful. I think the CBT is going to do a great job with the new NIV revision. I expect it will be a great new Bible, and if people will put their prejudices behind them and take an honest look at it when it comes on the market, the people in both camps will discover it’s surprisingly good.
(Of course, I haven’t seen it either. I’m just being hopeful and keeping an open mind about it.)