Monday, September 26, 2011

First Things Article on the NIV2011

There is an interesting (and free) article by Leroy Huizenga, director of the Christian Leadership Center and assistant professor of Scripture at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, in the most recent edition of First Things about the new NIV. I find it fascinating to observe this debate in the Evangelical world over the issue of Biblical translation, since it often parallels discussions we have on this blog. Since this year has been an important year for English Bible translations (KJV 400th, NABRE, NIV2011, and CEB), it makes it all the more interesting to compare the decisions made by the NIV translation committee with those of the NABRE team. (Psalm 8 is an example where they differ.) The article is free to read, but below is the opening couple of paragraphs, so be sure to check out the entire article:

With more than 400 million copies in print, the New International Version is the most popular English Bible. First published as a full Protestant Bible by the evangelical Committee on Bible Translation in 1978, the new edition replaces both the slight revision of 1984 and the controversial, gender-inclusive Today’s New International Version of 2005. Roughly 95 percent of the 1984 text remains, but the other 5 percent reveals an evangelicalism married to modernity, and this is a problem for the translation itself.

The most salutary changes are renderings of crucial Pauline phrases where the new NIV sticks closer to the text. In a reflection of the influence that the “new perspective” on Paul and Judaism has exerted in recent decades, no longer does a rigid Protestant orthodoxy centered on a forensic conception of justification push Paul in theologically tendentious directions.

For instance, erga nomou is now “works of the law” instead of “observing the law” (e.g., Romans 3:28 and Galatians 2:16), dikaiosunÄ“ theou is now “righteousness of God” instead of “righteousness from God” (e.g., Romans 1:17), and sarx is now usually “flesh,” not “sinful nature.” No longer do readers encounter a Paul who teaches that the problem with the law is that it is impossible to fulfill and that faith alone causes God to count believers as legally righteous when in point of fact they remain sinners. Rather, the new NIV here makes it possible for English readers to discover a more Catholic or Orthodox or truly Lutheran Paul, one who teaches that the problem with the Jewish law is its ethnic and temporary character and that human salvation concerns our real sacramental participation in divine life, real transformation, and ultimate resurrection.

Problems that plagued the old NIV persist in the new, however, particularly in renderings resulting from the use of lively language at the expense of fidelity to the form of the original.
......continue reading here.


Theophrastus said...

I find it fascinating to observe this debate in the Evangelical world

Leroy Huizenga is Roman Catholic -- I am certain that you know this, Tim, but maybe some of your readers do not and might be confused by this wording.

an important year for English Bible translations (KJV 500th, NABRE, NIV2011)

It is only the 400th anniversary of the KJV. The third major Bible translation to appear this year was the CEB.

Timothy said...


Mistakes corrected! Perhaps I should hire an editor for any future Monday posts!

Leonardo said...


In that article about The Collins Bank Bible the author comments about the translation of the gospel of Matthew, suggesting that according to the gospel writer´s view Jesus orchestrated his passion. Is that a common idea?

I write this because today I read another comment about Jesus saying that he was a member of the Essenes.

Tim Shaw said...

Thanks for posting this News about the NIV Revised 2011 -- this is a valid inquiry that should be done without bias and ideology from those who favor accurate and useful translation of the ancient texts.
God bless you. Timothy.