New International Version

The New International Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan, it became one of the most popular modern translations made in the twentieth century.

When Evangelical Protestants received the Revised Standard Version (RSV), which first appeared in whole in 1952, it was criticized by conservative Evangelicals. Certain texts regarding the virginity of Mary, and other Old Testament passages whose Christian interpretation referred to Jesus did not follow traditional Evangelical translation. The New International Version project was begun after a meeting in 1965 in Palos Heights, Illinois between the Christian Reformed Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars.

The New York Bible Society (now the Colorado Springs-based International Bible Society) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978. It underwent minor revision in 1984.


The NIV is an explicitly Protestant translation. The deuterocanonical books are not included in the translation. It preserved traditional Evangelical theology on many contested points for which the RSV has been criticized. Apart from these theological issues, the manuscript base of the NIV is similar to the RSV, using older Greek New Testament texts rather than the later Textus Receptus.

Translation philosophy

The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars. The translation took ten years and involved a team up to 100 people from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included over twenty different denominations such as Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and more.

The intent of the translators was to produce an accurate and readable translation that would fall between formal equivalence (colloquially known as "literal" or "word-for-word") and dynamic equivalence (colloquially known as "meaning" or "thought-for-thought").

The text used for the Old Testament was the Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text. Other ancient texts consulted were the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. The text used in translating the New Testament was the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding traditionally difficult passages to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.


According to Zondervan, publisher of the NIV, the translation has become the most popular modern English translation of the Bible, having sold more than 215 million copies worldwide. It is especially popular among American Evangelicals. It continues to be one of the top ten selling Bibles.

There are numerous study Bibles available with extensive notes on the text and background information to make the Biblical stories more comprehensible. Among these are the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, the Zondervan published NIV Study Bible, the Wesleyan revision, Reflecting God Study Bible, as well as the Life Application Study Bible.


It is sometimes claimed that the NIV works in apologetics to smooth out apparent biblical contradictions in more precise translations, such as between Acts 9:7 and 22:9. Examples given of precise translations in the aforementioned criticism are the King James Version and the NRSV. Defenders of the NIV argue that the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version use almost the exact same wording as the NIV in regards to Acts 9:7 and 22:9.

Bruce M. Metzger criticizes the addition of just into Jeremiah 7:22, which appears to change the meaning.

King James Only critics criticize the NIV for using eclectic texts instead of the later Textus Receptus.

Some Christians dislike the NIV because they consider it a loose translation that lacks a word-for-word translation style. It also removes over 50,000 words from the King James Version.

See also


External links

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