Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


The TNIV: Express your ideas

posted by Scot McKnight

NIV2011.jpgIf you have not heard, here’s the basic scoop: Yesterday Christianity Today wrote a piece, a bit on the sensational side, to say the TNIV was being put to rest because of mistakes. Well, as the story developed yesterday, it became a bit clearer that something else was going on. The TNIV, in fact, is being revised and it will be the NIV 2011.

For those of you who are TNIV and NIV readers and users, please speak up now because the editors and translating folks are busy at work making changes. Speak up for what you like, what you’d like see changed, etc..  Here’s the official link for suggestions: NIV Bible, but you can speak up right here and I can pass on your comments.

Here’s how I see it:

1. Zondervan published the best-selling NIV in the 1970s. I remember the days.
2. Zondervan constantly updated the NIV.
3. Zondervan worked on an inclusive version called NIVi but it was only published in the UK. There was much opposition to the NIVi before it came out and the folks most upset produced and now support the ESV.
4. Zondervan decided to suspend updating the NIV and produced the TNIV, which was really only a significant revision to the NIV and could have been called an NIV.
5. This week Zondervan announces it is ending the TNIV line and producing the NIV 2011.

But, let’s look at this closely. The NIV 2011 will be a TNIV revised and will be called, and bring it back in line with the original process, the NIV (2011). I hope they call it “NIV.”

The CT piece yesterday wounded me but after reading the fuller comments throughout the evening, I became convinced the CT piece overdid the emphasis on “mistake.” 



Advertisement
Comments read comments(111)
post a comment
Norton

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:26 am


The CT piece was wrong when it was first published, suggesting the “mistake” language was made in reference to the TNIV. They have since corrected their article online. The “mistake” language was made in reference to the NIVI from the 90s. As I understand it, IBS doesn’t seem to regret the translation philosophy of the TNIV, only the process of how it was published and the lack of support/consensus they were able to acheive.



report abuse
 

Clay Knick

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:29 am


Even though I was raised & educated on the RSV and even though I’ve used it and the NRSV for many years, I continue to love the NIV/TNIV.
I have so many passages memorized in the NIV. It is in me like no other except for the RSV/NRSV. So I am rather positive and hopeful about the NIV 2011 or whatever they call it. I suppose one reason is that I trust the CBT. The scholarship of the CBT is superb.
Changes? I would rather have a sentence read as a plural in English than use the singular “they.” For some reason “they” grates against me. Yes I know it is used in spoken English, but I don’t like it. I have not found the TNIV to be that much different from the NIV. So I don’t have any other suggestions today. I may in the next days or months. I’m sure they will be rather minor.
Basically I am with you on this Scot and could see myself using the 2011 NIV very, very much.



report abuse
 

Joseph Holbrook

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:45 am


somehow I am missing something … I didn’t read the CT piece, so why did it wound you Scot?
What do you all think of NASB? I got a new bible in NASB in 1975 and have cherished it for many years … and almost all of my memorization is in NASB … I can’t find anything in biblegrate.com because the search engine is in NIV.



report abuse
 

Anonymous

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:50 am


Scott — I too thought this was a problem at first as I read the release and comments. I am concerned with the reactionary ESV translation that seems more focused on translating the text through a male, Reformed lens rather than letting the text inform our theology. I am hopeful that the result will provide the best scholarship from a broad theological perspective that is not tethered to a system of thinking that produces eisegesis rather than the hard exegetical work we need. A quick review of 2 Cor. 5:17 among several translations shows how awkward this can be, and I think that new work must be done. We need the whole Bible for the entire people of God. If we can maintain NIV’s “Dynamic Equivalent” or similar approach, rather than the more wooden Literalistic approaches of the NASB or ESV, I think we remain truer to both the text itself and the intended meaning for the reader. Event he TNIV was awkward at points. A new work is needed–drop the T and give us the best NIV we can possibly have. – Bill Donahue



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:50 am


Josenmiami, because the original piece sounded like the TNIV was history. That wounded me —



report abuse
 

Bob Brague

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:53 am


I am a little older than some of you (68), so the Bible that is “in me” (the one I used early on for memorization) is the KJV, but I have read many other versions over the years, including the NASB, NKJV, NLT, Wuest’s, J.B. Phillips, The Message, Good News for Modern Man NT, NIV, and ESV. I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting.
I like the NIV for its clarity and modern sound. What I don’t like at all about the NIV has nothing to do with grammar. I don’t like the moving of complete verses out of the main text and into the footnotes, or the total absence of other verses entirely (not to be found in text, footnotes, or anywhere else). I know the translators were after accuracy from ancient texts, but their method, to my way of thinking, bordered on tampering with God’s word. Ken Taylor lost his voice for less. Clarity is one thing. Alternate renderings I don’t mind. Elimination is something else altogether.



report abuse
 

Matt K

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:53 am


The CT Liveblog has not been a beacon of great journalism lately. They’ve been putting a lot of spin in their headlines. Its becoming a little like an evangelical tabloid.



report abuse
 

kent

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:57 am


I must confess to be a little thick headed. I am not sure what the fuss is about the TNIV. Of course they use inclusive language, we have inclusive churches. They did explicitly what everyone does implicitly. No one preaches or teaches or studies believing better than 50% of the attendees are exempt on the basis of gender.
I also, being thick headed, do not understand why the neo-reform crowd ggets t have so much sway. Just because they are louder doesn’t make them right. If they can’t play nice with others well let them kick all dust they want to, but don’t give into them. This sounds more like a business decision wrapped up as theologicsl decision. If it is a business decision, then fine, just say so. But to back off theologically because one camp isn’t happy is a mistake.



report abuse
 

Randy

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:22 am


Reference the article in World,(URL) and be reminded that Zondervan can not be trusted, “just because the say so”. Be aware and watch the changes they make under the guise of “cultural sensitivity”.
They chose to open Pandora’s box with the TNIV and have begun heading down a slippery slope that I believe they many not even realize they are sliding on.
http://www.worldmag.com/articles/10255



report abuse
 

Joseph Holbrook

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:22 am


oops …typo … I meant to say “Biblegate” not Biblegrate.



report abuse
 

SteveT

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:27 am


This is only slightly off-topic, but I have been stunned by the transformation that has happened in the JesusCreed community over the last year or so, and not stunned in a good way. There has been so much vitriol in the comments on this blog which never would have been seen a year or two ago.
I would consider myself part of the so-called “neo-reformed” crowd, and I have been a semi-regular lurker and infrequent commenter here, trying to understand those with whom I may not agree but want to be able to engage fairly and honestly. I had always been genuinely impressed with the gentleness and humility of the discussions here.
What has happened? If a topic comes up that mentions reformed theology or Sata… err… I mean, John Piper, the level of anger that immediately pops up is so discouraging, and so foreign to the community that I once found enjoyable and engaging.



report abuse
 

David B. Johnson

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:32 am


I’m in total agreement what Kent (#8) has said. I fear that financial concerns have led Zondervan to submit to the power of our Neo-reformed brothers (and maybe a few sisters), whom I’ve heard criticize the TNIV/NIV in some very public settings. This group is becoming or has become the new fundamentalists. I personally know many former fundamentalists who have violently changed the Arminian (albeit inconsistent) beliefs in order to be accepted by this group. I think the reason is simple. They relate with nostalgia to the yelling and anger expressed toward those who do not confess the new list of Fundamentals.
On a more positive note, I can’t wait for 2011! I hope and pray cooler heads will prevail and the updated NIV will be greeted in a reasoned Christian way.
One suggestion from a “consumer” for the 2011 NIV. Provide more basic options (black, burgundy, brown, bonded leather, genuine leather) for the binding. As I looked to purchase a TNIV when they were first published all I could find was pink and green and blue and flowers, etc. I prefer a simple, durable, black genuine leather Bible.
Scot, thanks for starting this discussion.



report abuse
 

Rick

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:34 am


I am in agreement with SteveT #11.
It is interesting to see how some are nearing the “we” v. “them” problem that Scot discusses in today’s other post.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:39 am


SteveT, thanks for the comment and I do want to maintain civility. You know where I stand on some of these issues, but if you could point to specifics on this post, let’s deal with them…



report abuse
 

Allen

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:45 am


I have used the NIV since my Bible college days. I switched to the TNIV a couple of years ago and love it! So, I too was very saddened at the news of its supposed discontinuation. Even when using the NIV in my preaching, I would read and preach places like “one new man” in Eph 2 as being inclusive. I liked that the TNIV did a lot of that for me. I like it and will continue to use it, especially now that I know about the NIV 2011. Thanks for the update!



report abuse
 

Chad

posted September 2, 2009 at 9:51 am


I work in the chapel office at Asbury Seminary, leading our Worship Design Team, and we use the TNIV alot. For a community that supports women in ministry, the TNIV is the gender inclusive translation that we use for most of our communal readings in chapel. It is easy to understand, and our international students don’t have a hard time with it. It is by no means an official translation for us, just one our office tries to use because it works great in worship.
As a student of biblical studies and a frequent bible reviewer, I think the NIV family won’t have the traction that it did in the late 80’s early 90’s. I also spent 3 years in Christian retail and had the best sales record in the region. With the translation of the HCSB and the ESV, certain groups that had kept the brand this high now have translations of “their own”. Rick Mansfield (thislamp.com) had a great series on the NLT, and made a good case for it taking on the larger evangelical share. I still also know plenty of evangelicals that like the NRSV, and have no problem with it, especially those in the academic community.



report abuse
 

Paul D.

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:07 am


It seems to me that IBS/Zondervan decisions have been driven primarily by their marketing divisions. (Not necessarily evil; they are publishing houses after all.) The NIV emerged early in my ministry and was welcomed. I smuggled an NIVi from the UK as soon as it became available, and quickly adopted the TNIV for general use. My biggest complaint with the whole NIV family, however, is that it tends to flatten out the Bible into textbook language. My current “favorite” translation is the ESV — probably because I was raised with the RSV and the ESV is more RSV than the NRSV. I currently serve a congregation that uses the NRSV for its pulpit and pew, and so mostly read from that, with occasional dips into others, including “The Message”. Fred Holmgren and Klyne Snodgrass drilled into me the importance of always going to the original languages for serious study and sermon preparation. It has served me well for over 30 years. Beginning with Tyndale I have over 30 different English translations and have used them all. I regularly read through the Bible for personal devotions, switching translation for each cycle. I know controversy sells but I firmly believe almost every translation has its place and appreciate most of them.



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:14 am


Scot, what is so ironic is that the ESV is simply an update of the RSV (a translation that conservatives had a beef with back in those days). I think the NIV/TNIV should learn from this history. I believe that Evangelical scholarship should drive translation decisions not accommodation to the voice of the Neo- Reformed crowd or any other fundamentalists voice or aggression. The irony here is that I like the ESV Reformation Study Bible. Yet, I use the TNIV extensively to read, teach and preach. I felt the gender inclusive language was appropriate, not overboard, and that the updating of word choices were thoughtful (the frequent substitution of Messiah for Christ, etc.) As an Evangelical Free Church pastor I felt that the Neo-Reformed reactions (including boycotts) were unnecessary, unkind and unchristian. Now that they have their ESV, I don’t think it matters what you do with the NIV update. They voted with their feet and trust me, as a pastor, it is very difficult to re-win someone who has left. I think the NIV/TNIV committee should move on and be thinking about a translation that reflects the best Evangelical scholarship of today.



report abuse
 

Mark Baker-Wright

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:20 am


I’m very sad to hear this news. Not only because of CT’s mistake, which adds fuel to a fire that really didn’t need any more, but because it sounds to me like Zondervan’s caving to the vocal anti-TNIV crowd. The kind of angry, bitter ranting that crowd represents should be fought, not capitulated to. This is more disappointing than I can express.



report abuse
 

billy v

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:25 am


I think this shows us that John Piper is the Christian version of Oprah. Whatever he says, his followers will echo, including his bashing of the TNIV and his promotion of the ESV (whether they’ve done the work of reading the TNIV or not).



report abuse
 

DP

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:27 am


I grew up on the NIV, switched to the ESV, and now use the ESV alongside the NLT.
I think that combination strikes a good balance that I’m going to be using for years to come.



report abuse
 

Jim Martin

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:35 am


Scot,
I will be very interested to see how this plays out. I typically preach/speak using the NIV, primarily because that is still what the majority of people (at least in the circles in which I live and travel) seem to use.
However, Zondervan chooses to handle this, I suspect one of the questions they may have is, “Will the people in these churches make the switch once this updated (TNIV or NIV) is out?”
At the same time, I recognize the importance of translations being reworked, etc. Anyway, I look forward to seeing the finished product.



report abuse
 

dopderbeck

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:42 am


I don’t know much about the gender-inclusive language issue. One thing I would like to see in a new version of the NIV is a clearer translation of Gen. 2:19, not the current NIV’s use of a past perfect to massage the different chronologies of the Gen. 1 and Gen. 2 creation narratives.
I tend to use the NASB when trying to do serious English language Bible study.



report abuse
 

Randy

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:43 am


My 2 cents about translations: I use the ESV from the pulpit. In my congregation I have people that use the KJV, NKJV, NIV, and probably a RSV and NRSV. I don’t know what the market research is, but I imagine a person doesn’t buy a new Bible but maybe once every 10 years or so. Maybe more years than that. So, to keep giving new additions and updates can get confusing for people, especially with the rhetoric from the extremes.
I try to emphasize that almost all of the translations have something positive to contribute. The Bible I probably recommend the most though: the NIrV, a real translation but written at a very young reading level. For people that have a hard time reading, this is a great route to take, even better I think than the NLT or NIV.



report abuse
 

Brian

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:47 am


SteveT is right. The labeling and caricatures of the Reformed crowd is sad to see on the Jesus Creed. A blog that used to seem more fair seems to have settled for using Reformed evangelicals and its leaders as their go to villain.
I am like Steve and have often come here to hear from my brothers and sisters in the faith who differ from me theologically. In the past I have found some of the comments to be insightful and convicting to me as someone who is part of the Reformed crowd. Sadly that has seemed to have gone away.
Comment after comment now is riddled with anecdotal hearsay of Reformed people the commenter knows or has interacted with who is the problem. Even on this discussion thread we are given the obligatory comment that the revision of the TNIV is due to the Reformed ESV crowd who have become the “new fundamentalists.”
Why is it too much to assume that Doug Moo and other scholars have realized the need for some revisions and desire to make them? Why does it have to be the fault of the Reformed crowd?
Yes it is true, “Us v. Them” is alive and well.



report abuse
 

Ben Wheaton

posted September 2, 2009 at 10:56 am


I think that SteveT’s post on the declining civility is absolutely right; for example, just look at billv’s post #21. And accusing the so-called “neo-reformed” of “aggression” and fundamentalism is childish.



report abuse
 

Kurt Willems

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:00 am


I recently purchased the TNIV and have to say that it is amazing! I hope that the publishers will still use the TNIV method to be gender inclusive when the Greek seems to point to a general audience!



report abuse
 

Kevin

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:05 am


Re, my brother Brian (post 26). I too would label myself Reformed theologically. As I said in my earlier post, I really appreciate the ESV Reformational Study Bible. At the same time, we have to deal with the fact that it was our own camp that stirred up the controversy regarding the TNIV. And when we look back, it was not just some stirring up, it was some extreme aggressive antagonism. Maybe we are the ones that owe the NIV/TNIV folk an apology. I tried not to name names but simply point out where the pressure came from. I just think translation decisions should be based Evangelical scholarship alone.



report abuse
 

Karl

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:06 am


Brian and Steve T, I don’t speak for Scot or the Jesus Creed community by any stretch, but this is my take on the anti-reformed attitude that you are objecting to.
The Jesus Creed blog community seems to be, among other things, about finding a “third way” for Christian dialogue to take place – for the exercise of a chastened epistemology and for respectful discussion of differences. Right now within evangelicalism in general, and within the blogosphere in particular, it seems to many of us that the single group that is most frequently NOT like that – the single most theologically contentious and dogmatic group that is kind of the antithesis of the approach that many on Jesus Creed find attractive – are the neo-reformed folks.
I’m not saying that *all* reformed or neoreformed folks are this way. Nor am I saying that *only* reformed or neoreformed folks can be this way. But it’s where most of us meet that attitude most often. So while it may not be entirely fair, it shouldn’t be altogether surprising that in a place like Jesus Creed, you’d pick up a generally negative attitude toward Piper and (even more so) his many strident disciples.
At least for me, my problem is far less with their theology than their attitude. Your very presence here indicates that you probably aren’t the type of reformed folks who make me break out into a rash and want to pull my hair out after spending a half hour with them. I have numerous friends whose theology is reformed but with whom I can and do have irenic and mutually edifying conversations, even when we disagree. But those more contentious and dogmatic “defenders of the TRUE REFORMED FAITH” types are quite numerous and vocal. Even within reformed circles this problem is often recognized and discussed. I like John Frame’s article that touches on this phenomenon of reformed theological contentiousness, titled “Machen’s Warrior Children”:
http://www.frame-poythress.org/frame_articles/2003Machen.htm



report abuse
 

Tony Myles

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:12 am

Kurt Willems

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:27 am


http://bible.org/article/do-gender-sensitive-translations-distort-scripture-not-necessarily
This is the link to Darrell Bock’s article in support of the gender sensitive approach taken by the TNIV… Imagine that, a Dallas Theological Seminary professor, endorsing the method :-)



report abuse
 

Rick

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:33 am


Karl #30-
That is interesting, but this post is not even about the neo-reformed, Piper, etc…, it is about an update to the NIV/TNIV; yet people still are dragging them into it.
I am not neo-reformed, and recognize that there are some hot-heads out there, yet still I am troubled by some of these comments.
There seems to be “theological contentiousness” from many sides.
Perhaps people can just focus on recommendations for updating the NIV.



report abuse
 

Carl Franzon

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:38 am


A question that I have not seen addressed in any of the comments here or at CT is the effect of ever-changing translations on the spiritual formation of the church. What is the result, if any, on disciplines like scripture memory when there is a new “standard” translation every 15-20 years? What happens when two generations of translations separate a grandparent and grandchild? Is there something to be said for consistency and longevity? There is something wonderful about being able to say the Lord’s Prayer, sing a hymn or recite Scripture with other Christians. But, that’s becoming increasingly difficult as translations multiply. No, I am not a KJV only person. I have long used the NIV and recently switched to the TNIV and was planning on that being the translation I used for the rest of my life and the one I would use with my kids and grandkids. Now I am wondering.
One of my comments that I would pass on to Zondervan (and all the other publishers) is to think about the implications and effects on the church of the many translations. Just wondering.



report abuse
 

Karl

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:43 am


Rick, see comment #29 by Kevin. It’s my understanding that Piper and many other reformed folks were/are among the most strident opponents of the TNIV in the first place. So when a discussion comes up about updates to the NIV/TNIV it’s not surprising that they get “dragged into it.”
I agree that some of the comments above about reformed folks were gratuitous and part of the problem of uncivility rather than part of the solution. But my post wasn’t to defend those specific comments as much as to explain why reformed folks might pick up on Jesus Creed a bias against or defensiveness toward, Piper and his disciples.



report abuse
 

Bill S.

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:51 am


I like the TNIV and hope this whole thing gets worked out without more open warfare. It seems that there has been too much open warfare lately, and I certainly don’t claim to have been above it. Christ, forgive us and bring us your peace.



report abuse
 

Mark Baker-Wright

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:57 am


it is about an update to the NIV/TNIV; yet people still are dragging them into it.
I am not neo-reformed, and recognize that there are some hot-heads out there, yet still I am troubled by some of these comments.
There seems to be “theological contentiousness” from many sides.
Perhaps people can just focus on recommendations for updating the NIV.

To be fair, comments about whether the TNIV should even be retired (or, perhaps more properly, folded back into the NIV line)–let alone who/what’s to blame–should probably be in Scot’s earlier thread. I think the addition of this post, so close to that one, had the unfortunate effect of short-circuiting that discussion and pulling comments that should have gone there over here.
Obviously, one thing I want the NIV 2011 to retain from the TNIV is the gender-neutral language (note the TNIV’s preferred term, which I think is preferable to “gender-inclusive,” because it reduces the feeling that the original language was somehow FORCED into an “inclusive” posture when it wasn’t so in the first place). However, another thing I think NEEDS to happen is damage control, and a clear statement from Zondervan that the TNIV isn’t being killed so much as brought into the normal fold, because as I read this right now, this is a strong signal of back-pedaling, which comes off as a moral defeat for those of us who’ve fought for biblical equality for so long.



report abuse
 

Aaron

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:57 am


Scot,
Do you think this new NIV will keep the inclusive language?



report abuse
 

Mark Baker-Wright

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:59 am


Ummmm, that post seems to have mucked up my quotation. The quote ends after “Perhaps people can just focus on recommendations for updating the NIV.” My comments start with the following line.



report abuse
 

Ted M. Gossard

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm


What I fear is a wholesale surrender on the gender issue, for example going back to generic “he” instead of avoiding that- a way most folks today do not speak.
But I’ll still go with the new NIV regardless. I’d rather make some sacrifices to bring unity.
The bottom line on this one is that we just can’t have a translation that the CBT would want in an ideal world. CBT may defer to Zondervan on this one, or perhaps they themselves are backtracking some?
I’m afraid to hear the backlash Zondervan will get, and the CBT. But they made mistakes in their commitment, repented, and life goes on. A tricky path.



report abuse
 

Aaron

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm


SteveT, Rick, & Brian,
I think this blog is about the third way and most of the readers are genuinely civil towards those they disagree with on both sides. However I think what your seeing is also is a reaction by some arminian types who have been really hurt or beaten down by some zealous reformed types.
These responses do not form out of a vacuum most are coming from a place of pain caused by those they are voicing concern over.
I am one who has painfully struggled with, and has never felt comfortable with calvinism, this blog has been a huge source of encouragement from folks on both sides! There are not a lot of other blogs out there like this!



report abuse
 

Ted Olsen

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm


Scot:
My post was not sensational. On the contrary, it was a report on the news.
Yesterday’s news really was that Biblica, Zondervan, and CBT now say they made mistakes in releasing the TNIV (and the NIVi). This news was a much bigger deal than saying “we’re going to update the NIV/TNIV.”
Bible updates happen all the time (though as I reference in my post, I do think an update to the NIV is more significant than the updates that have happened lately to the NLT, ESV, etc.). But you’ll remember during the 1997-2002 debates that Zondervan, CBT, and IBS-SBL were adamant not just about the translation decisions that were made, but also the way in which the TNIV was brought to market.
In fact, the initial critique wasn’t just about gender. It was also about process. Remember World’s cover copy? *Stealth* Bible. For Zondervan/CBT/Biblica to now say they were not transparent and made a mistake in the way they released the TNIV is a significant admission. (Of course, the leaders of those groups are not the same as they were during the earlier debate, so it?s less personal that it might have been in earlier years.)
I would also say that the degree to which Biblica and CBT called the NIVi a mistake and a bad translation is very newsworthy. (“I don’t think any member [of CBT] would stand by the NIVi today,” Moo said. He also told me that the translation was rushed to publication without proper vetting.) Let’s remember that these groups had no less than John Stott brought out to defend the NIVi.
The NIV team has done a remarkable job in the last 24 hours of making an announcement that pleases both CBMW leaders and TNIV supporters. Kudos to them. But as a journalist, my job is to explain to people the significance and context of the announcement.
Since we don’t yet know what will be in the 2011 version, the news for now is that Zondervan/Biblica/CBT are admitting mistakes that they have long claimed they did not make. When we know more about what’s in the 2011 NIV, we’ll report that as news.
If you still disagree or think that I sensationalized the news, I’m eager to hear why.
Ted Olsen
Managing Editor, News & Online Journalism
Christianity Today
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/



report abuse
 

David

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm


I only hope he will write more of my story as my son 1971 was a startI guess we’ll see in 2011 love all David



report abuse
 

Brian

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm


Karl thanks for the thoughtful comment. I appreciate your opinion and it is duly noted.
I would only comment that to think that degree of an “attitude” problem is not exclusive to the Reformed crowd. For every anecdote about a smug, arrogant Reformed guy or gal there is an equal number of the other side that can be told. But seriously where does that get us?
Second, let me just say I like the TNIV, I preached from it last week in my Reformed, complementarian church. That is why I think it might be a tad paranoid to assume this is all the doing of conservatives and not just CBT wanting to make some revisions. Why do we all have to assume the worst?
I just think it is trite and reactionary to automatically jump to the conclusion this is all the fault of the ESV crowd.
I would also push back and say that what you call Reformed pastors stirring up a controversy, could just as easily be seen as those men raising what they believed to be legitimate concerns. I share some of their opinions on issues like the deity of Jesus being slightly obscured in the TNIV. Why just assume they are responding with any other agenda then them trying to be faithful to the Bible? We may all disagree on what that exactly means, but can?t we be more charitable to those we disagree with?



report abuse
 

Ted Olsen

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm


Scot:
My post was not sensational at all. It was a report on the news.
Yesterday’s news really was Biblica, Zondervan, and CBT saying they made mistakes in releasing the TNIV (and the NIVi). This news was a much bigger deal than saying “we’re going to update the NIV/TNIV.”
Bible updates happen all the time (though as I reference in my post, I do think an update to the NIV is more significant than the updates that have happened lately to the NLT, ESV, etc.) But you’ll remember during the1997-2002 debates that Zondervan, CBT, and IBS-SBL were adamant not just about the translation decisions that were made, but also the way in which the TNIV was brought to market.
In fact, the initial critique wasn’t just about gender. It was also about process. Remember World’s cover copy? Stealth Bible. For Zondervan/CBT/Biblica to now say they were not transparent and made a mistake in the way they released the TNIV is a significant admission. (Of course, the leaders of those groups are not the same as they were during the earlier debate, so it?s less personal that it might have been in earlier years.)
I would also say that the degree to which Biblica and CBT called the NIVi a mistake and a bad translation (“I don’t think any member [of CBT] would stand by the NIVi today,” Moo said. He also told me that the translation was rushed to publication without proper vetting.) Let’s remember that these groups had no less than John Stott brought out to defend the NIVi.
The NIV team has done a remarkable job in the last 24 hours of making an announcement that pleases both CBMW leaders and TNIV supporters. Kudos to them. But for me, as a journalist, my job is to explain to people the significance and context of the announcement.
Since we don’t yet know what will be in the 2011 version, the news for now is that Zondervan/Biblica/CBT are admitting mistakes that they have long claimed they did not make.
If you still disagree or think that I sensationalized the news, I’m eager to hear why.
Ted Olsen
Managing Editor, News & Online Journalism
Christianity Today
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/



report abuse
 

Rick

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm


Karl-
I do understand the connect and think you discussed it calmly, so thanks.
However, the conversation did not even have to go there (the topic was not a history of the TNIV translation), but people just could not help themselves. Mark Baker-Wright (#37 and #39) had some good thoughts on this.
Sometimes I think Scot could post on the trouble with the Cubs or Michigan football and people would still blame it on Piper and the neo-reformed. ;^)
Bill S. #36-
Amen.
Aaron #40-
Good thoughts. I lean towards that Arminian camp theologically, and that is one reason the comments are bothering me.



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm


Steve T (#11),
I’ve been reading this blog as closely as anyone over the last several years (except Scot) and I don’t see a stunning transformation at all.
What I do see is that some commenters overstep the bounds (billy v #20 as an example) – but this is true on all controversial posts and always has been.
I also see a tendency by some to take any negative comments personally – and this is a problem, to further conversation we need to let this run off the back.
I tend to get in trouble, not in the Reformed/neo-reformed conversation, but in the intelligent design, creation and science discussion. I have learned to be very careful to be impersonal in characterizations (and sometimes even that isn’t enough). Perhaps the idea of care is a lesson we would all do well to learn, while realizing that there will always be some who don’t.



report abuse
 

ChrisB

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm


Maybe the English should just say “it” where the Greek is gender neutral. Or perhaps we should invent a new gender-neutral pronoun.
Otherwise, the accepted convention for gender neutrality, or at least non-specificity, has been “he.”
That said, the whole gender-neutral controversy has always been about the (probably overblown) fear that the next NIV would read, “Our Parent who is in heaven.”



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm


Ted, thanks for writing in here. As I said to you in private, so I say now: it all has to do with the angle. I don’t know chronology, but I just read this piece released yesterday and it explains what the NIV 2011 wants to do (http://www.nivbible2011.com/press.html). I don’t see any interest in your piece in explaining what the CBT wants to accomplish. The focus in your article, I believe, was on the “mistake” theme.
I don’t see why the mistake theme was more important than the rationale news theme. From my perspective, that concession, which is honest but nothing new [don’t we know that all translations make mistakes?], is no where near as important as Doug Moo’s words that they are committed to accuracy and language that speaks to our generation. Confession: I didn’t hear about the Stealth Bible article (which is trading in sensationalism).
Yet another significant news item here: Zondervan is abandoning the NIV + TNIV version of the larger NIV project for a single NIV 2011 translation. That’s a significant decision, with a clear statement that the new NIV will be 95% like the TNIV.



report abuse
 

Kenny Johnson

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm


I’m happy to hear that they’re not really getting rid of the TNIV, but instead it sounds more like they are updating the TNIV and making it THE NIV. I hope they keep some of the inclusive language.



report abuse
 

Anderson

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:22 pm


Otherwise, the accepted convention for gender neutrality, or at least non-specificity, has been “he.”

The key words being “has been.” Language evolves. Many writers and publishers no longer use “he” as a gender-neutral, third-person singular pronoun or “man” as a gender-neutral name for human beings. For many children and youth using a male word to imply gender neutrality just seems odd.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:25 pm


I got to play a quick round of 9 holes of golf this morning with my son and missed the heat of this discussion, so I want to step in now and say a few things…
I concur with those who think some have been too polemical here. We know that, for their own exegetical and theological reasons, those who are most vested in the ESV were most vocal critics of the TNIV. And there is clearly a fear on the part of many — the number of private emails to me today about both the CT piece and the ESV critics is more than I can possibly respond to — that this is capitulation by Zondervan, etc.. That’s not what this post is about.
Ted Olsen is pushing back against me for my use of “a bit on the sensational side” and we can discuss that too. I’m still waiting to see the whole thing, but I have read the press release, which had nothing to do with the mistake theme.
But, this post is for those who want to make suggestions about the NIV and I’d hope more would weigh in on that sort of question:
What do you want? What do you not want? etc.



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm


Anderson,
You are right – and I think that this is where we (speaking as a woman and an academic) have won the battle but lost the war toward egalitarianism.
Instead of pushing for an inclusive interpretation of language we have emphasized and exacerbated the distinctions and have made egalitarianism in language (at least in the English language) well nigh impossible.
If the emphasis had been on changing the term “he” to a gender neutral term people would think gender neutral rather than having distinction shoved in the face.



report abuse
 

Karl

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm


Brian (43), thanks for your reply. I typed a lengthy response but on further thought agree with Rick and Mark Baker-Wright that this isn’t the place for that discussion. If you want we can continue the discussion by email or just let it be.
As for Bible translations, I use the NIV for my regular personal devotional use but when doing a real study or when teaching on a text, I look at several translations including the NIV, ESV, RSV, NKJV and others. It’s nice to have so many online resources available these days that it’s easy to do that.



report abuse
 

John W Frye

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:46 pm


Ted (#44),
Did you craft the title of your news report?
CORRECTING THE ‘MISTAKES’ OF THE TNIV
AND INCLUSIVE NIV, TRANSLATORS REVISE NIV IN 2011
In light of all that’s come out in the last 48 hours,
I’d say that is a very “sensational” title.
That title provokes saber-rattling in the Evangelical Church.
“Blessed are the peacemakers…”



report abuse
 

Deana Rogers

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm


I would like to propose an idea that I hope someday a Bible publisher will be gusty enough to implement. I have been thinking about it for a while – I even mentioned it to my brother-in-law who is an editor in the Bible department at Zondervan. He said they loved new ideas, – but I think I might need some backing on this. Some of the people I’ve mentioned it to think that we are too steeped in tradition to ever see it happen.
So here it is: Change the wording of the divisions of the Biblr from the New Testament and the Old Testament to the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. Everywhere else in the text, the word testament has been changed to covenant in modern language translations. By keeping the old wording of “Testament” only in the titles of the divisions, we rob people of understanding the significance of these titles. I remember growing up listening to the last supper passages being read before communion. Every time I heard Jesus’ words. “this cup is the new testament in my blood,” I gleaned insight into the bigger picture of the Biblical story. I got it. It made sense to me that the first part of the Bible was about a different deal. The old sacrificial system and the new one had everything to do with how I referred to the first and second parts of my Bible. The word testament has been changed to covenant in several other instances also.
Today I teach classes at my church – mostly to believers who are new enough that they have never really read the text of the KJV. They have never read the word testament within the text. Last spring we celebrated Passover together with a small group Bible study and their families. When we got to the part where Jesus was talking about the new covenant in his blood – and they realized the connection between that statement and calling the second part of the Bible the New Testament – it was so eye-opening and significant. It adds completeness to the story.
I wonder if since the titles of the divisions are not a part of the original text, we have just skipped over them when translating the original text into modern language.
Maybe before a Bible publisher will print the change – they need to know that pastors and teachers and college professors are referring to the first and second parts of the Bible as the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. (Scot- don’t you think it would be kind of cool to be thought of as a scholar and professor of the New Covenant?)
It seems to me that if we want the next generation of believers – who will likely never read the word “testament” within the text of the biblical narrative – to really get the whole picture – to understand the Big story, we will match the wording of the divisions with what they will read within the text.
What do you think? Anyone want to join me in switching to the Old and New Covenant?



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm


Scot – to address your question:
I would like to see a text that is true to the context of the original authors and didn’t try to substitute 21st century ideas. This means that the translators should not harmonize parallel passages or try to produce a translation that enables better concordance between scripture and modern cosmology. Don’t change days or coins or measures.
As much as possible we need to let the text be the text and wrestle with it.
The move to 21st century application is the job of commentaries and preachers not translators.



report abuse
 

ChrisB

posted September 2, 2009 at 1:50 pm


I hope this new version isn’t just “NIV.”
It really bugs me in church when people read from the NAS or NLT and it’s a different version than mine. It’s a little thing, I know, but let’s just give this thing its own name, huh?



report abuse
 

David B. Johnson

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm


Suggestions for 2011 NIV …
Retain “new humanity” in Eph 2.15. AWESOME.
Translate monogenes (John 1.18; 3.16) as “only-begotten” or AT LEAST put in the margin as a legitimate option. The eternal begottenness of the Son is crucial for a Robust Orthodox Trinitarian theology and a generation of evangelicals who use the NIV/TNIV/ESV have had little if any exposure to it!
Continue to translate adelphoi “brothers and sisters.”
I love how the TNIV went more literal than the NIV with some participles (e.g. 2 Peter 1.4).
“So that through them you may participate in the divine nature AND ESCAPE the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (NIV).
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, HAVING ESCAPED the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (TNIV). – Better translation of the aorist participle!
For what it’s worth, those are my suggestions for now.



report abuse
 

John L.

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm


What do I want in the NIV 2011?
I want a Bible that’s translated accurately into modern english, sticks to the translation philosophy of the NIV and TNIV, and uses gender-accurate language when appropriate.
#1 Translated accurately in to modern English: The TNIV did a great job of this in my mind. Phrases like “She was with child” were replaced with “pregnant” and kept accurate to the text while still sounding like modern English. Don’t tell me someone “laid with” someone else, tell me they had sex or intercourse, unless the phrase “laid with” contains some sort of parallel in the text or elsewhere.
#2 Sticks to the translation philosophy of the NIV and TNIV: The NIV 2011 needs to keep t oits guns about this…I don’t want a dynamic equivalence Bible, and I don’t want a formal equivalence Bible. I want something in the middle like the NIV was.
#3 I love gender-accurate language…if the text implies a group of people that is mixed in gender, that should be represented accurately in English. If the text implies a single-gender group, then show that in the English. If the text doesn’t imply it, but we know from historical background that only a certain gender is being discussed, represent that in the English. When problem passages come put an alternate translation in the margin. If you are changing it from a third person address to a second person to avoid the word “he” put the alternate translation in the margin. Help us to see through your translation as much as possible to the original text, when we want to.
If a passage is messianic, could be messianic, etc. stay with the male address, but put the alternate translation in the margin.
Think really critically about all of the gender-accurate phrases, make them as accurate as possible, try to be uniform in how you do it, but don’t not include them because a minority of people may not like the choice you made. There are plenty of Bibles out there for those people to read. People may get upset, but ultimately you are translating more accurately when you make the decision to use gender-accurate language, because the receiving language, English, no longer uses third-person pronouns the way it used to.



report abuse
 

John L.

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:10 pm


Also, here’s a radial step…let’s use the TaNaKh order for the Hebrew Scriptures, and go chronologically with the New Testament.



report abuse
 

pds

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:19 pm


RJS, #56
I agree with you. But the NIV is all about being more dynamic and less literal. Perhaps the ESV or RSV is what you want? Are you ok with the ESV?
Scot, Why do you like the NIV over the more literal translations? I think NIV is a good first Bible (for kids and new believers), but for more mature believers, I would go with ESV or RSV. The closer to the original syntax the better, even if it means a little more effort.



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:25 pm


pds,
I read NASB almost exclusively – although I consult others. I expect that this will continue.



report abuse
 

Mark Baker-Wright

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:42 pm


“the new NIV will be 95% like the TNIV.”
I just want to make sure that the new NIV isn’t just the 95% (or whatever the number is) that the TNIV was already the same as the NIV. I want to be assured that the improvements in the TNIV are retained in the new NIV.



report abuse
 

Mark Baker-Wright

posted September 2, 2009 at 2:55 pm


Re: Changing the wording of the divisions of the Bible from the “New Testament” and the “Old Testament” to the “New Covenant” and the “Old Covenant.”
This is an intriguing idea, and I certainly think that there would be a market for this (to say nothing of the appropriateness of the theology and hermeneutic behind it).
Personally, I’m more a fan of the term “Hebrew Scriptures” when referencing the “Old Testament,” because it retains better the idea that those Scriptures are of value to Christians today, and not just something “old” that (it is sometimes inferred) is no longer of relevance. But I have to confess that I haven’t heard an appropriate term for what the “New Testament” would be (I don’t think “Christian Scriptures” works, because it then implies that the pre-first century Scriptures aren’t “Christian”).



report abuse
 

William Birch

posted September 2, 2009 at 3:27 pm


I too was more than slightly wounded, having invested over four years in the TNIV. (I went to Cokesbury today and purchased a nice new NRSV.) If the NIV 2011 reverts back to the male-oriented language (e.g. “brothers”, “he who . . .”, “if a man . . .”) when referring to both men and women, then I will not be interested in it whatsoever.
If, however, the NIV 2011 is a “true” TNIV update (whatever that may look like), then I would be behind it, again, presupposing that it retains gender-accurate language when the audience which is addressed consists of both men and women. (If the author is giving an example of a male and uses “he/him/his” language, I don’t mind that being translated as such. It’s just an example of one male doing such and such.)
But, when the audience is ambiguous, for example in James 5:13, then the translation should honor that ambiguity. SUGGESTION: “Is anyone among you suffering?” asks James. The “anyone” could be male or female contextually. What should “anyone” do? “That person should pray.” In this way, the ambiguity is left intact. It isn’t that “he” should pray, or that “she” should pray. “That person” should pray. If the “singular they” still rubs Americans the wrong way (it obviously doesn’t rub the English the wrong way, cf. Oxford Dictionary), then choose “person” or “one”: “Is anyone among you sick? That one should pray.”
Another example comes from Revelation 5:9. The TNIV nailed it perfectly! The ESV did a fine job as well. ESV: “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed PEOPLE for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Jesus did not merely ranson “men” (NASB, NIV, NKJV), but men and women, or “people” (ESV).
Still, there is no reference to “men” (strictly speaking) in the Greek text. The TNIV presented it faithfully: “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and people and nation.” A literal rendering of the Greek is: “And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy are you to receive the scroll, and to open the seals of it, because you were slain, and purchased for God by the blood of you, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”



report abuse
 

dopderbeck

posted September 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm


I’m honestly shocked that this post stirred up so many comments. Every imaginable translation is available on the Internet, as are all the available original language manuscripts. People who care about things like how gender-specific translation might affect exegesis when the original is neutral tend to be passionate enough to look up alternative translations and learn enough of the original languages to understand the general strengths and weaknesses of alternative versions. And on top of all that, in ten or twenty years, will the majority of Christians in the world even be English speakers?
So, I dunno, seems like a temptest in a teapot.
Still: new NIV people, fix the forced harmonization in the translation of Gen. 2:19.



report abuse
 

Matt K

posted September 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm


Ted, the critique of sensationalism comes from the fact that the original post was not at all clear about what “the mistakes” were and the current updated version of the blog post still reads with a tone that Zondervan is scrapping TNIV because the translators were wrong to make some gender neutral changes where the text warranted.
You can see from the comments of the CT Blog that most readers are observing the issue of gender neutrality and have not demonstrated clarity on the issue regarding “process” and transparency.
Its hard not to conclude that controversial topics like Gender will draw more readers than issues of translation/publishing processes.



report abuse
 

Kevin Jackson

posted September 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm


Hi Scot,
Suggestion: I would like to see a footnote for “tasso” in Acts 13:48 – with “disposed” as a alternative translation to “appointed”.



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 4:31 pm


Kevin (or Scot),
Is there ambiguity in the Greek with respect to the usual English translation? If so … how and why?



report abuse
 

Paul

posted September 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm


My input:
Where God clearly intends men and women, then why not say it?
Clearly women are included in Romans 12:1, are they not?



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 4:37 pm


Kevin, I’d think you’d need some good evidence to suggest “disposed.” The point seems to be those who were “ordered” or “arranged” or even “disposed.” But who does the “disposing”? Does this mean those “naturally inclined”? Or they “had the natural inclination”? Or did God do the “disposing”? As I think of “dispose” I think it simply makes divine ordination ambiguous, but doesn’t eliminate it. Is this your intent?



report abuse
 

RJS

posted September 2, 2009 at 4:57 pm


Scot – I don’t know what Kevin was getting at, but I would like to know if the term means appointed as in appointed from above or appointed as in appointed mutually (which was an option in the dictionary I consulted). Is the term ambiguous or is it clearly a potter and clay type reference?



report abuse
 

Bob Smietana

posted September 2, 2009 at 5:09 pm


Scot:
I usually agree with you, but this time, Ted’s right.
The prepared remarks from Keith Danby are pretty clear that the NIVI (and the TNIV, which neither he or Moe Girkins or Doug Moo said a single positive world about)was a mistake.
Here’s Danby’s talking about their mistakes:
“The new 2011 NIV Bible will be the first complete update since 1984. In 1997, IBS announced that it was forgoing all plans to publish an updated NIV following criticism of the NIV inclusive language edition published in the United Kingdom.
Quite frankly, some of the criticism was justified and we need to be brutally honest about the mistakes that we made. We fell short of the trust that was placed in us. We failed to make the case for revisions and we made some important errors in the way we brought the translation to publication. We also underestimated the scale of public affection for the NIV and failed to communicate the rationale for change in a manner that reflected that affection.”
That’s a huge admission. It’s the news in yesterday’s announcement.
I think the chronology is missing a couple steps.
1978- First NIV
1984, Revisions to NIV
1997 NIVI causes huge uproar.Zondervan promises Dobson and company they want do a gender inclusive NIV
2002 Zondervan breaks their promise. Dobson and others are ticked.
2005 Full TNIV comes up. Despite a million dollar marketing campaign and full court press from Zondervan –it’s a train wreck.
2009–Announce that NIV will be revised. TNIV will die.



report abuse
 

rebeccat

posted September 2, 2009 at 5:27 pm


dopderbeck, I think that the fact that most people are not the sort who are going to look up multiple translations and such, but are simply going to take what is read to them at face value makes this issue more important than it ought to be. If a translation of scripture which makes it appear that scripture is far more male-oriented than it is is all that the average person hears, that actually makes the matter that more urgent. There is already so much sloppy scholarship which is presented to the average Christian as normal. Translations which are more gender restrictive than is accurate or necessary shouldn’t be allowed to remain one of those things.



report abuse
 

Andrew Gu

posted September 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm


Deanna, #55 Deanna
Mark-Baker Wright, #64
I agree with Mark-Baker Wright that “Old Testament” or “Old Covenant” still gives the impression that it’s not relevant to us anymore.
“Hebrew Scriptures” is better but seems to still imply Jewish scriptures, imho
After taking a class with John Goldingay, I like his designation of “First Testament” and “Second Testament”, since this captures the essence that both are God’s relevation to us and both testaments are connected to each other and relevant for us…
to all
i too was deeply saddened and wounded by this news, although reading through all the comments has helped me process it more…
i did feel betrayed in some sense, since if the TNIV is discontinued after only 9 years, what’s the point of putting it out there in the first place…there seems to have been some big marketing issues…they should have handled it better…
when i give bibles to my youth, it’s the TNIV and after 2011 they will eventually wonder why their bible is “obsolete” and it will unfortunately just point to all this mess…though if NIV 2011 is an updated TNIV that is gender inclusive, that will help…



report abuse
 

Barb

posted September 2, 2009 at 5:54 pm


this year I’m using “The Books of the Bible” for my ‘Read Thru the bible’ exercise.
I love it–it’s the TNIV without headings, chapters or verses. It calls the OT the First Testament, AND it puts the books in a bit of a different order (Samuel-Kings) (Luke-Acts) etc.
If you haven’t checked it out it is only about $8.00 and great for just reading.



report abuse
 

Scot McKnight

posted September 2, 2009 at 6:13 pm


Bob, maybe I’m biased but here’s how I see things:
1. Danby has nothing to do with the context of the NIV, TNIV or NIV 2011. That is in the hands of the CBT, now led by Doug Moo, who was leading it with the TNIV (right?).
2. The “mistake” Danby talks about had to do with the NIVi not the TNIV, right? Isn’t that what Ted apologized for?
3. Moo has clearly said 95% of NIV 2011 will be TNIV, so I’m not sure it is right to say it is tanked or dead or history. The TNIV will be alive and well in the NIV 2011.
I just see that the video is now up. I have to watch it before I comment any more.



report abuse
 

Matt

posted September 2, 2009 at 6:17 pm


I like the NIV’s translation philosophy, but I stopped using it because of their translation of sarx in Paul as “sinful nature.” I wish they would leave it as “flesh” so that preachers from different traditions can talk about the meaning of “flesh” in Paul without having to start by talking about how “sinful nature” is an interpretive decision and not native to Paul. I hate undermining non-Greek-readers’ confidence in their English Bibles.



report abuse
 

Ted M. Gossard

posted September 2, 2009 at 6:21 pm


I have to agree that the title of the CT article is troubling. Is the CBT really saying that there were translation mistakes in the TNIV? There may be a good number of people that will see the title, and not bother to read the article, thinking that even the translators of the TNIV are taking back that translation.
The article brings clarity. I guess I didn’t pay attention to the title, but many people will.
As for me, I wish it would end up being the TNIV with whatever improvements made, which really one can do after surely any translation of Scripture. To be more faithful to the original based on what is now known, and to communicate more clearly, avoiding phrases as much as possible, which we don’t use while keeping such theologically pregnant phrases as “in Christ.”



report abuse
 

Paul Berry

posted September 2, 2009 at 6:23 pm


A late thought regarding the CT piece:
If the point of the blog was that “Biblica, Zondervan, and CBT now say they made mistakes in releasing the TNIV (and the NIVi)”, then why did the tweet from @CTMagazine read
“TNIV creators say the gender-inclusive translation was a mistake. Zondervan/Biblica to release a new version (link to post)”
This is clearly pointing at the translation philosophy as the mistake, not the release of the TNIV.



report abuse
 

Kevin Jackson

posted September 2, 2009 at 6:41 pm


Hi Scot,
RE: Acts 13:48, “Disposed” gives a better parallel to the group of Jews who rejected the message in v46. Joseph Benson makes that point in his commentary on the passage.
“Disposed” is more ambiguous than “appointed” or “ordained”. It does not carry as strong of a sense of Calvinistic predestination, while still allowing for that possibility. One could also say that “all whom God disposed for eternal life believed.” This clarifies that the source is God. “Naturally inclined” does not seem to fit either.
Benson on Acts 13:48 http://www.arminianchronicles.com/2009/08/friday-files-benson-on-acts-1348.html



report abuse
 

Ted M. Gossard

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm


I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But I have confidence that the CBT will make good decisions.
I will want to know their rationale if they at least mainly drop the gender changes the TNIV made, or for any such changes made. It will make me want to again take another hard look at the NLT and wish for a better NRSV. Don’t know what I’d do if NIV 20011 reverts back largely to the current NIV gender usage.



report abuse
 

Ted M. Gossard

posted September 2, 2009 at 8:07 pm


…probably what ends up happening is they may try to steer a course which will make it acceptable enough to most everyone. Not the course I would prefer as far as pure translating goes, but maybe the best course.
But again I’m guessing, and confident that it will all turn out better, and for the good overall, in the end.



report abuse
 

John L.

posted September 2, 2009 at 11:13 pm


Bob Smietna,
Your chronology seems to be missing some key facts as well.
The promise to not make a G.I. Bible was done at the Colorado Springs meeting between the Zondervan, the CBT, representatives of the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Dobson. The president of Zondervan and the CBT at the time signed the Colorado Spring Guidelines laid out there, but did not mean to imply this would limit them from making a G.I. Bible. Later as the CSG was reevaluated they removed their support for it.
Also, the TNIV was not fully backed by Zondervan. Very few editions of it were produced, and the continued to produce different editions of the NIV alongside the release of the TNIV. If Zondervan would have discontinued production of the NIV, and have produced a larger variety of the TNIV for sale, then I could say they fully supported it. But they did not, and instead produced two competing Bibles, and eventually the TNIV lost because of their lack of support for it.



report abuse
 

J.R.

posted September 3, 2009 at 12:08 am


At first blush, it’s difficult to read “Bible translation” and “mistakes” in the same sentence, let alone the same paragraph. I’m quite taken back by the article.
After years of reluctance, I did a considerable amount of research on the translation differences and sought out an acquaintance who was a Wycliff bible translator to talk to him about the issue in depth. I finally switched to the TNIV.
Now I’m feeling a bit perplexed, unsure how to proceed:
-Do I continue to use the TNIV, but wrestle with the admission of some “mistakes” and, practically speaking, having a hard time finding others who will have a TNIV seeing that they are going out of print?
-Or do I painstakingly research more and switch to another ‘accurate’ translation?
Would love to hear more from others. And, of course, from you, Scot ;)



report abuse
 

Mike Clawson

posted September 3, 2009 at 1:28 am


I wonder, will the new NIV revision also take out the word “homosexual” (from 1 Cor 6:9, and 1 Tim 1:10), since, as I understand it, that word is not actually in the text, and is wholly an interpretive decision?



report abuse
 

Calvin C

posted September 3, 2009 at 1:58 am


I’m very concerned that the CBT has shot itself in the foot here. I’m a fan of the TNIV and what it represents — a dynamic equivalence, gender-accurate, updated translation. Not the best Bible translation for every use and I’m a bit wary of some of their plural nouns, but a great everyday reading and pew Bible. The fact neither mainline liberals nor conservative evangelicals will come near this translation is, to me, a hint that the CBT must have really gotten things right! Unfortunately, the conservative evangelical, often complementarian and neoreformed establishment has rallied around the ESV as their translation for the future.
It seems to me that the CBT and Zondervan can’t decide whether they’re merely trying to rebrand the TNIV or if they want to recreate the impact of the original NIV which became the standard translation for evangelical use. In either case they are hamstrung in a “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” dilemma. If they capitulate to the demands of the conservative complementarians and remove most gender-inclusive language, they’ll have sacrificed a lot of their integrity and still won’t be able to dislodge the ESV as the new preferred neoreformed translation. Likewise, if they’re simply rebranding the TNIV, not only will the entire translation be immediately rejected by the establishment — but the NIV will permanently lose its place of prominence as the standard evangelical translation and become a niche translation used, for the most part, only by egalitarian evangelicals. I’m sure Crossway and ESV advocates are licking their chops.
That said — Zondervan’s approach of simultaneously marketing both the NIV and TNIV was simply not sustainable for the long term. I wish they had perhaps maintained the NIV and TNIV as separate brands for at least a while longer, but it would have been difficult for the CBT to continue updating the NIV with integrity while keeping it distinct enough from the TNIV.
Scot, I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether it is possible for evangelicals to discuss Bible translation philosophy apart from gender theology. Division over Bible translations at this point is so hopelessly politicized along egalitarian/complementarian lines — the only prominent complementarian, reformed evangelical I can think of who has “crossed the aisle” is DA Carson. I imagine the list of ESV endorsers is similarly devoid of egalitarians.



report abuse
 

Tim Chesterton

posted September 3, 2009 at 2:21 am


I have three suggestions for the revisers:
1. Give us a Bible that includes the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Books, as the original KJV did, as the Revised Version, the RSV, and the NEB did, and as the TEV, REB and NRSV do. I’m an Anglican and I love the TNIV, but my lectionary includes readings from the Apocrypha. So do a TNIV translation of the Apocrypha too and make some editions available with it included.
2. Psalm 46:1: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an eve-present help in trouble’. Read it out loud; it’s almost impossible to read it without it sounding like ‘a never-present help in trouble’. Some other wording is needed here.
3. This is a style issue and so for the publishers rather than the translators. When the NIV first came out in 1978 it was available in a substantially-sized, single column text edition. That was one of the most attractive, easy-to-read Bible editions ever published, in my view. For the most part, what we got with the TNIV were editions in strange colours and bindings with text too small for many of the over-forty crowd (I’m 50 and have trouble with it in poor light – for instance, in the early-morning men’s Bible study we have in a coffee shop where the lights are mainly shaded table lamps). For goodness’ sake give us a standard text edition with decent sized print, and make a single-column edition available.



report abuse
 

Kevin Hargaden

posted September 3, 2009 at 7:21 am


To respond to Scot’s initial post about suggestions with regards the new NIV translation:
Is there any chance that CBT might make the TNIV open source in 2011?
It would be a terrific asset for Biblical outreach if we could freely use the text for software or other packages within some kind of Creative Commons licence that allows Zondervan, CBT and other stakeholders to maintain some control. If this was a good idea, how could it be proposed to CBT?



report abuse
 

cas

posted September 3, 2009 at 9:47 am


It always cracks me up when authors, pastors, etc. complain about what journalists do until they want publicity for their pet product or project. Then we can’t sensationalize enough.
I’m not saying you do that Scot, but I’ve interviewed enough Christian leaders to have little sympathy for such complaints.



report abuse
 

Donner Tan

posted September 3, 2009 at 10:00 am


The task of translation often has to straddle or negotiate between theological divides: OPP vs NPP (eg ‘pistis christou’ as a subjective/objective genitive), gender hierarchichalism vs egalitarianism (eg ‘anthropos’ as a generic or gender specific reference in some texts) , determinist vs free-will theism..etc. We are probably aware which side of the divide the NIV leans towards.. so I wonder if the newer translation will continue in the same line of interpretation, given the more recent shift in critical scholarship in a seemingly different direction? I hope it will be updated to reflect the broader scholarly consensus. If not, it has no staying power. Yes, I share the same sentiment that frequent revision is not quite helpful to the collective formation of the church unless it is done for very solid reasons and that it will stay around for a good long time.



report abuse
 

dopderbeck

posted September 3, 2009 at 10:05 am


Kevin’s (#89) reference to “open source” captures something that I find encouraging about this thread. The fact is that the Bible already is “open source.” No one can copyright the original language manuscripts, which are readily available online and in hardcopy. It’s true that ten years ago, never mind twenty or fifty, it simply was not possible to have this kind of public discussion about Bible translations. Today, in the West at least, not only is the average believer better educated generally, but we have open source forums such as this blog in which issues like this can be discussed in detail. I understand Rebbecat’s (#74)concerns, but still I think the days in which one translation could truly dominate theological discourse are over.
Maybe what I’m suggesting is, if there is a problem, is it in what Zondervan does or doesn’t do, or is it more in the need to educate local church pastors, leaders and lay people about the limitations of all translations?



report abuse
 

Ted

posted September 3, 2009 at 10:09 am


I imagine that the upcoming changes to the NIV and TNIV are partly motivated by the huge marketing success of the ESV and the increasing market share it’s gained.



report abuse
 

Scott W

posted September 3, 2009 at 10:35 am


Per the intent of this thread, eminent Evangelical scholar NT Wright has registered his misgivings about the fitness of the NIV in its handling of Paul. He says that the NIV has a decidely Protestant Evanglical bias in its translation of the Pauline corpus. See the link below:
http://www.christianmonthlystandard.com/index.php/nt-wright-slams-the-niv/



report abuse
 

pds

posted September 3, 2009 at 11:26 am


peelingdragonskin.wordpress.com
Interview with Doug Moo here:
http://www.dashhouse.com/2009/09/interview-with-douglas-moo-on-the-2011-niv/
Ted #93
I think you are right about the ESV. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.
dop #92
I agree. I have a pipe dream that learning basic NT Greek will someday be standard for well-educated Christians. My hope is based on:
1. The ease of use of Internet tools, especially to consult a Greek lexicon.
2. The growth of classical Christian education. A lot more kids are learning Latin now. Why not teach them Greek as well as, or instead of, Latin?
3. The opening of the Evangelical mind generally.



report abuse
 

Nick Mackison

posted September 3, 2009 at 11:32 am


I was surprised at the climb-down by Biblica, Zondervan and the CBT. I thought the “we fell short of the trust that was placed in us” comment by the Biblica CEO was very sad and unnecessary.
When the Zondervan president described the TNIV as ‘divisive’ I was disappointed too. It was evangelical leaders who were divisive, not the translation itself (BTW these evangelical leaders are men whom I count as spiritual fathers in other matters).
To oppose the TNIV is to oppose God’s words being translated for the common people. It’s astonishing that Protestant ministers are behind such resistance. Let’s pray that when the NIV2011 is released our witness before the watching world won’t be soured again by silly battles that resemble the fights over the abandonment of ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ about 50 years ago.



report abuse
 

mom of 6

posted September 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm


i have alot of different versions of the bible but i will not buy the niv starting in 2011.i don’t think that it right to change it now. my kids have a niv,kjv,nlt,nkjv.i’m going to check out the message but the new niv will not be in my books.my kids have some verses memorized from the niv.i will not teach them the new niv way.that is why i tell people i know to buy the nivs now instead of 2011.they don’t need to change it now.i have no problem with how the kjv is.i still like it.read the words and do the thinking your self.



report abuse
 

MattR

posted September 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm


I use, both personally and teach/preach, from the TNIV. Have used the NIV for years…
I think if the new NIV addition is just a revised version of TNIV that’s a good thing… TNIV maybe should have just been called NIV to begin with.
I hope too, as Scott W (#94) mentioned that they address Paul in a fairer, less specifically Lutheran/Reformed way… From my use of TNIV I saw a little movement in that area.
My question… why is ESV so popular?
In the little that I have read and heard it aloud, it seems a bit weak as a modern translation… and DEFINITELY has an agenda… more than TNIV could ever be accused of.



report abuse
 

Patrick

posted September 3, 2009 at 7:58 pm


I’m late to this discussion, but Scot, could you tell us what’s the status of the Common English Bible project, and whate its prospects for wide acceptance are?



report abuse
 

Baggas

posted September 4, 2009 at 2:30 am


Just ordered my TNIV cross-reference bible so at least I have a copy for perpetuity… Oh and I spotted a Doctor’s Study Bible (HCSB) – couldn’t believe they produced a study Bible just for doctors so couldn’t resist getting that one as well :)
Personally I favour a combination of NLT-SE (which is the translation our pastor uses in church) and NRSV for my personal reading. I’ve tried the ESV but in terms of readability and clarity it seems a backward step. An improved and undivided TNIV/NIV will be a good thing, hopefully sitting right in the middle of these other versions. As long as they don’t back-pedal on gender etc I’m looking forward to checking it out in 2011.



report abuse
 

Rick in Texas

posted September 4, 2009 at 4:49 am


Bob #73 quoted the confession, apology etc from Danby. It would be nice, it would be gracious, for those who were on the alternate side to acknowledge that they too handled their side of the disagreement imperfectly, and for both sides to agree to play nicely.



report abuse
 

Megan Hoak

posted September 4, 2009 at 7:59 am


“For those of you who are TNIV and NIV readers and users, please speak up now because the editors and translating folks are busy at work making changes. Speak up for what you like, what you’d like see changed, etc.. ”
Quite frankly, I find this entire statement offensive. It shouldn’t be about what we like/dislike, etc – that’s what resulted in this debacle in the first place. Scriptures shouldn’t be subject to popularity: they should be subject to authentic translation that is in line with the original intent of the Scriptures. If you leave it open to opinon, then you have the current situation: the supression of the truth because others cry out in protest (Dobson et al). That’s why the discontinuation of the TNIV is so tragic. There is a vast difference between “man” and “human”. If we are translating words honestly and in their original contexts, it shouldn’t matter whether we “like it” or not.
I sincerely hope that this “new” translation of the NIV uses accurate and gender inclusive language. If not, I and those I know will be boycotting the edition in favor of a more authentic and honest translation.



report abuse
 

daveterpstra

posted September 4, 2009 at 10:21 am


Adding the number 2011 behind the title makes me think we are going to have arguments about which year NIV we use. “Our church uses the NIV 2011″. Well ours only uses the “1970”.



report abuse
 

James

posted September 4, 2009 at 10:35 am


For those who have posted here admitting a certain amount of either “I don’t know why people are so up in arms about gender inclusive language” or “what is the agenda of bible translation X”, I could recommend a few fairly easy to read books to round out your knowledge here.
Frankly, there’s a lot of “preference” inserted into language about “clear context” or “plain meaning” that displays a lack of real knowledge on bible translation issues. IMO, if you’ve come to the table thinking Translation X is good and Translation Y is garbage, then you’ve missed the boat. ESV, NIV, TNIV, NRSV, NLT, Message, etc each sets out with a clearly stated translation procedure, making choices that are valid along a continuum.
I’d recommend the following:
Fee, Gordon How to Choose a Bible Translation for All Its Worth
Carson, D.A. The Inclusive-Language Debate: A Plea for Reason
Strauss, Mark L. Distorting Scripture?: The Challenge of Bible Translation & Gender Accuracy
Those hit the same issue from a few different angles, and should help to illuminate the multiple contentious issues involved, choices made in translation, and ultimately (I hope) draw a line to the really important issues at play.
Enjoy.



report abuse
 

Clay Knick

posted September 4, 2009 at 10:58 am


Patrick-
You asked Scot, but I’ve been told that the CEB will be out next year in the NT and the entire bible in 2011. In the next few months they will publish St. Matthew to give us a sample of the CEB.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted September 4, 2009 at 11:15 am


Patrick
September 3, 2009 7:58 PM
I’m late to this discussion, but Scot, could you tell us what’s the status of the Common English Bible project, and whate its prospects for wide acceptance are?
Patrick-
The following link, esp. the comment section may address where the project is at the moment.
http://www.wesleyreport.com/2009/08/get-ready-for-the-common-english-bible.html



report abuse
 

Basil

posted September 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm


To daveterpstra I had to laugh your comment. That’s all we need are some NIV onlyites out there. ” The NIV, If it was good enough for Paul it’s good enough for me”



report abuse
 

John Harris

posted September 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm


I think it’s funny (and not so much “funny ha ha” but more like “funny sad”) the reasons some people give why the like one translation or another. For me, it seems so silly to choose a translation based on the font, text layout, graphics, binding, cover color, shape of the Bible etc. I mean, WOW, talk about missing the point! Most of my bible reading is on a computer anyway, I mean it is the 21st century, right? I would think that the most important reason for the choice that you make in what your primary Bible version is has to do with what best communicates God’s originally intended message into your contewtextual vernacular. I’m always shocked when someone objects to how some new version omits or changes the wording from prior versions. I’m shocked because when I ask why the object, it’s never a reasoned response detailing why the former is a more faithful representative of the original, but it’s just “well they changed it…” It’s sad to me when I come across people who’ve read the Bible all their life and somehow think that 1611 was when God spoke the Bible into existence, or even worse the day when they happened to read a Bible for the first time.
Wow, my wife is right, I do tend to ramble.
All translations stink, some less than others.



report abuse
 

Pingback: Goodbye to a good translation… : JulieGlavic.com

Pingback: Society of Evangelical Arminians | Interesting Links – 9/6/09

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Jesus Creed. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Red Letters with Tom Davis Recent prayer post on Prayables Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading!  

posted 11:15:58am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Our Common Prayerbook 30 - 3
Psalm 30 thanks God (vv. 1-3, 11-12) and exhorts others to thank God (vv. 4-5). Both emerge from the concrete reality of David's own experience. Here is what that experience looks like:Step one: David was set on high and was flourishing at the hand of God's bounty (v. 7a).Step two: David became too

posted 12:15:30pm Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Theology After Darwin 1 (RJS)
One of the more important and more difficult pieces of the puzzle as we feel our way forward at the interface of science and faith is the theological implications of discoveries in modern science. A comment on my post Evolution in the Key of D: Deity or Deism noted: ...this reminds me of why I get a

posted 6:01:52am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Almost Christian 4
Who does well when it comes to passing on the faith to the youth? Studies show two groups do really well: conservative Protestants and Mormons; two groups that don't do well are mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. Kenda Dean's new book is called Almost Christian: What the Faith of Ou

posted 12:01:53am Aug. 31, 2010 | read full post »

Let's Get Neanderthal!
The Cave Man Diet, or Paleo Diet, is getting attention. (Nothing is said about Culver's at all.) The big omission, I have to admit, is that those folks were hunters -- using spears or smacking some rabbit upside the conk or grabbing a fish or two with their hands ... but that's what makes this diet

posted 2:05:48pm Aug. 30, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.