Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why You Should NOT Buy an NIV Bible

If it is the new 2010 NIV 'version', you have an impostor in your hands!

I have been using the New International Version copyrighted in1984 since 1999 because it is an accurate and very readable translation. It is a great translation for beginning Bible readers. Several of my seminary professors worked on the original 1984 translation.

However, in my sermon prep a few weeks ago, I went to BibleGateway to copy the text to start my studies, as I have many times. What I got shocked me!

Galatians 3 was different! I had unknowingly copied and pasted the NEW 2010 edition of the New International Version (NIV). There are significant editorial changes that are NOT in the original language nor in the original 1984 translation. This is wrong and misleading! 

For example, the original language says in verse 26, 'You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.' However the new edition for 2010 mistranslates the verse 'You are all children of God...'

Do These Changes Matter? 
Yes! This is a key verse in the doctrine of adoption. The original word choice is not only revealed from heaven, it has significant meaning! In ancient times, only sons received an inheritance. God, through Paul the writer, was making a very radical, pro-female statement in saying that by faith in Christ Jesus all who believe are His sons.

To say we become 'children' of God is just not what the original language or the original translation of the Scripture into English says at all.

(I will withhold my guesses as to any agenda the editors of the NIV2010 are trying to accomplish.)

And for sake of space, I will not offer an exhaustive list. One change of this caliber is enough. If you want more examples, ask for follow-up.

So do NOT buy a new NIV (c)2010.

Misleading to Keep the 'NIV' Label
What really bugs me is this: the NIV 1984 is a great translation and the NIV 2010 is a different editing job of that translation using the same respected label for an inferior work.

Honestly I wonder how the professors who worked so hard to give us the original NIV must feel? Their work now hacked up and changed beyond recognition...

So, Here is Your Christmas List!
Buy an English Standard Version for each reader in your family and circle of friends. That is what we will be using in the Crosspoint English-speaking congregation* beginning in 2011. 

Part of  my calling as your pastor is to protect you from false doctrine. Our Bibles are the starting point. I want you all to be reading and studying a reliable and accurate translation of the original language. The NIV2010 is simply not reliable or accurate. And it is too confusing to try to keep using the 1984 edition.

Time to Make a Change for Our English-speaking Church. 
Get an English Standard Version (ESV). Or if you have an older New American Standard Bible (NASB) you are reading an accurate and reliable translation.

I'll keep you posted if we need to make adjustments for our Spanish-speaking congregation.


Pastor Jim said...

A couple more comments from FB questions.

I will keep reading my NIV1984 and even recommending it verbally to specific people with all these caveats. Problem is that as a pastor I don't have time to explain all of it for new Christians. Too confusing. That is the bummer.

NIV1984 was super popular, super cheap and easier to read than any other translation. And still accurate. At least was accurate...

I used NASB all through college and even at Fellowship (my previous job was Jr Hi Pastor at Fellowship Bible in Roswell GA). Switched to NIV for the church plant to help make it just a little easier for new Christians. NASB is harder to find in a low-cost give away Bible and ESV is solid and a bit more readable than NAS. Plus I can get boxes of ESVs on the cheap.

Broken Pastor Jim

Pastor Jim said...

Another link for the issue of 'gender neutrality'
On "gender neutral" language, see Vern Poythress' discussion: http://www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/1998Gender2How.htm