THE TRUTH ABOUT NIV

The New International Version (NIV) is the most widely read Bible translation in contemporary English with more than 450 million copies distributed. That’s because the NIV delivers the very best combination of accuracy and readability. It’s true to God’s Word and true to the reader.

Over time, some “special interests” have launched baseless social media diatribes against the New International Version (NIV) translation. They claim that the NIV has deleted sections of the Bible and link it to various satanic publications and unfortunately, these claims are being spread by well-meaning but ignorant Christians. These posts are patently untrue and should be taken down. Here’s the real story:

Who has “written” the NIV Bible?

Biblica is the worldwide publisher and copyright holder of the NIV. Through licenses, Biblica works with carefully selected commercial partners around the world, like Zondervan and Hodder Faith, which are reputable Christian publishing companies.

As worldwide publisher, Biblica sponsors the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), who are the scholars solely responsible for the translation and the only ones who can make changes. The CBT is an independent, self-governing team of Bible scholars. No publisher, commercial or otherwise, can tell them how to translate God’s Word. The translators come from dozens of denominations and churches, and they can only make changes to the text if 70% of the committee agrees – safeguarding against theological bias.

There are no missing words

The NIV Bible is accurate. According to the translation philosophy of the NIV, accuracy means paying careful attention to the words of the original, then finding the best possible way to capture their meaning in natural, readable English. Biblica’s translation philosophy balances transparency to the original with clarity of meaning. Fidelity to Scripture is the first priority of the New International Version (NIV). It therefore remains true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the Bible while being true to the reader — capturing the Bible’s original meaning in natural, everyday English. That’s what sets the NIV Bible apart. It doesn’t sacrifice precision for clarity or the other way around. It delivers both, all in a Bible translation you’ll love to read.

 There are no “missing” verses

Scripture was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). All other languages, including English, are translations derived primarily from these two languages. The original texts were hand written in single manuscripts, then hand-copied for distribution over hundreds or even thousands of years.

The King James Version contains additional verses that are generally agreed among scholars not to have been in the most original manuscripts. When the KJV was being translated in the 17th century, there had been few Scripture manuscripts available for use by scholars.

However, older, more reliable manuscripts (including those from the Dead Sea Scrolls) were discovered later, and it is from these that the NIV was translated. Instead of just updating an existing translation like the KJV, they chose to start from scratch, using the very best manuscripts available in the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the Bible. These older manuscripts are much closer to the original text than what the KJV translators had available to them. However in recognition of work done by earlier scholars; the NIV puts all these verses in its footnotes.

Why doesn’t the NIV capitalize pronouns referring to God?

The NIV and some other contemporary translations do not capitalize these pronouns for a very good reason: they are not capitalized in the original. The Greek does not use upper case in employing these pronouns, and Hebrew uses only capital letters and has no lowercase letters.

The translators had to face a difficult issue and thought about it long and hard. On the one hand was the practice of showing reverence for God in keeping with the common English usage, and on the other hand was their commitment to providing a precise rendering of the original with no bowing to what was not in the original text. In the end they decided that fidelity to the original was their highest criterion.

While we may not like the absence of those uppercase letters, we can respect their total commitment to the precise rendering of the original.

About God’s name: JEHOVAH

Jehovah is the Greek version of Yahweh YHWH, the Hebrew ACTUAL name of God. Because of this, the Jews have considered the name too sacred to use, the same way many of us would find it difficult to call our fathers by their actual names. That is why the newer English versions of the Bible do not use Jehovah or Yahweh. Instead they use “the LORD” (in caps). This is what is used in NIV and even New King James Version.

Important note

By attacking the NIV – the world’s most popular translation, the ultimate end of these falsehoods being circulated is to discredit not just the NIV, but God’s Word as a whole. Christians need to watch out lest they fall prey to interest groups who would use you for their own selfish ends. Many Christians are being deceptively sucked into the so-called “battle of the Bibles” and they are in turn deceiving others because they don’t know the truth.

As Christians we must not let “non-issues” cast doubt on the integrity of the Word of God and cause us to be divided. That is satan’s ultimate aim. In 1 John 4:1 the Bible tells us to “…test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” so it is important to get to the heart of the matter and verify the facts to avoid spreading baseless fabrications. There are plenty of things to wrestle with in the Bible. Your translation shouldn’t be one of them.

Endorsements 

Many reputable church leaders and scholars have endorsed the NIV, conveying an important measure of legitimacy, integrity and validity to the NIV translation.

“I wish to state without fear of contradiction that the NIV Bible is the most outstanding study Bible. It is the most commonly used version in Kenya, specifically in our secondary schools. It is a shame that those who hate Christ and the proclamation of the gospel, make unfounded allegations to condemn this very worthy version. We urge all well-meaning people to ignore those who are maliciously condemning the NIV Bible.” Rev. Dr. Geoffrey K. Njuguna, Deliverance Church Lang’ata

“The New International Version follows in the same tradition as the King James Version, although it is tailor-made for the way English is spoken around the world today. The NIV is the most popular translation today because it remains faithful to the original Scriptures while being easy for people to understand.”  Charles Stanley, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church in Atlanta and Founder, InTouch Ministries

About Biblica

Celebrating more than 200 years in ministry, Biblica provides God’s Word to people through Bible translation, Bible publishing, and Bible engagement.  Biblica’s ministry extends worldwide, with outreach in Africa, East Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and South Asia.  Biblica has translated the Bible in more than 100 languages and is the translation sponsor and publisher of the New International Version® (NIV®) Bible, the world’s leading contemporary English translation. Easier to understand, engaging you with the rich meaning of the original text.  Most read.  Most trusted.  Through its worldwide reach, Biblica engages people with God’s Word so that their lives are transformed through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Bible Versions Controversy

Theological Response to Attacks on the NIV 2011

More about the NIV

Biblica remains committed to the truth and will continue to inform, educate and engage the public on areas of concern. Family Media hosted the NIV discussion, the first of its kind, on their weekly program Cross Talk and this is how it went down: