This issue looks at the problems with the new NIV Bible.
SINCE YOU ASKED
As I have been taking a course in bibliology through Search the Scriptures, I have been shocked by what I have learned. For example, I have learned that Zondervan, the publisher of the NIV (New International Version) of the Bible is coming out with an “updated” version this year that contains some dangerous “changes.” The changes were supposedly made to make the NIV more relevant to more young people. The publisher believed that one of the best ways to do this was to make the Bible more gender neutral. It tried this tactic in a previous version called the TNIV (Today’s New International Version), which was met with much resistance. In fact, prior to the release of the TNIV, a group of conservative evangelicals had met and come came up with a set of guidelines for biblical interpretation relating to gender. Zondervan agreed (in writing) to abide by the guidelines, but when the TNIV came out, it was clear that everything in the guidelines had been ignored. Why would Zondervan do this? I believe the main reason is that the new CEO is not a believer and is more interested in selling Bibles that in maintaining biblical accuracy.
Since the TNIV had become tainted by all the criticism, the publisher moved to a new tactic. It would simply come out with a new release of the NIV, the most popular version worldwide. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it is what is called a “dynamic equivalent translation” which stresses readability over accuracy. “Fluid equivalent translations,” such as the NASB (New American Standard Bible) or the KJB (King James Bible) or the NKJB (New King James Bible) stress accuracy over readability. These are the versions used by most expository Bible Teachers who teach by going through books of the Bible, interpreting each verse by looking at the meaning as written in the original language. These teachers have studied Hebrew (the original language of the Old Testament) and Greek (the original language of the New Testament). The Greek language is the most expressive language in history. It has different words for every little nuance. This is likely why God chose to have the New Testament written in Greek. Every word is important. If God wrote “he” or “him,” He did so for a reason. We must avoid tampering with His inspired words.
AS I SEE IT
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against the current version of the NIV. It’s a matter of what’s more important to you, readability or accuracy. The fact that the NIV is the most popular version tells us that most Bible readers (including pastors) prefer readability. (This says a lot about our culture, but that’s another issue.)
The whole gender neutral approach reflects back to feminist movement of the 70s when “chairman” became “chairperson” etc. A family friend joked that he feared he would be forced to change his name from Ockerman to Ockerperson. Well, the nonsense has returned.
Here’s an example of how the TNIV changed Hebrews 2:17:
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God…(NASB)
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God… (TNIV).
You can see how the TNIV changes the meaning and invites confusion. In what sense was the Lord Jesus made like His sisters? Look at how the TNIV changes the meaning of Psalm 8:4:
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him? (NASB)
What are mere mortals, that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them? (TNIV)
Changing “man” to “mere mortals” removes the sense of unity of the human race. Changing “son of man” (one of the “names” of Jesus, like “son of God” and “son of David”) to “human beings” completely changes the meaning of the passage.
As I have stated in previous articles, periodic changes in Bible versions are necessary as new words come into usage while some words fall out of usage. This is required to make sure the readers understand the passage. However, no modification can be made if it changes the meaning of the passage. The bottom line is that when the new version of the NIV comes out sometime this year, beware. Its gender neutrality will have significantly changed the meaning of many key passages. If those reading the Bible for the first time are using this version, they will get a perverted version of the gospel.
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Regardless of which translation you use, you don’t want to miss the main message of the Bible. Check out HOW TO KNOW YOU’RE HEAVEN BOUND.
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older. Then it dawned on me… They”re cramming for the final exam.