NIV (New International Version)

from the NIV website:

“The NIV was created and is maintained with the mandate to accurately and faithfully translate the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic biblical texts into clearly understandable English.

The NIV is the most widely accepted contemporary Bible translation today among evangelicals. More people today buy the NIV Bible than any other English-language translation.”

The NIV, like most English Bible versions, has been revised at various times. The most recent NIV revision was published in 2011.

NIV 2011 reviews

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15 Comments

  1. david frank
    Posted April 4, 2005 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Mark 14:40 “When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.” In English I believe one would normally say that someone’s eyelids were heavy. If the eyelids feel heavy, I have a mental picture of them closing over the eyes, leading to sleep. But I cannot picture what is supposed to happen if one’s eyes are heavy. Do they fall out of their sockets? To be fair, after I found this in the NIV, I found that there was a tradition for this wording in the KJV and the RSV. There are other English translations that avoid such an unnatural usage. I haven’t had occasion to check the TNIV.

  2. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 5, 2005 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Good observation, David. I would consider “their eyes were heavy” to be a collocational clash in English. I don’t think the English versions which translate like this have used a wording which accurately communicates to English speakers the meaning of the original Greek.

  3. Jeremy Pierce
    Posted April 9, 2005 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    So the NIV is too formally equivalent in this case and should have gone with a more dynamic translation? Heh.

  4. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 11, 2005 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Is. 50:1 “Where is your mother’s divorce certificate with which I sent her away?”

    Seems inaccurate to me: “sent her away” is not an accurate English wording to communicate the original Hebrew (figurative) meaning of what is done when divorcing someone.

    Suggested revision: “get rid of her” or, simply, “divorce her”

    The NIV does accurately translate the non-literal meaning of the Greek word apolusai as ‘divorce’ in Matt. 1:19, even though this Greek word has the same literal meaning as that of the Hebrew word in Is. 50:1, namely, ‘to send (someone) away.

    The TNIV has the same wordings as the NIV in Is. 50:1 and Matt. 1:19.

  5. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 13, 2005 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Several days later: I have done a search on Google for “heavy eyes” and found that some people do speaking of having “heavy eyes,” rather than “heavy eyelids.” Perhaps this is a kind of metonymic extension from “heavy eyelids” to “heavy eyes.”

  6. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 16, 2005 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Ps. 119:105 see comment under HCSB

  7. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 16, 2005 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Matt. 21:5 “the Daughter of Zion”

    See comment under NASB.

  8. Wayne Leman
    Posted April 16, 2005 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Luke 24:25 “slow of heart to believe”

    See comment under NET.

  9. Willis
    Posted April 20, 2005 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    John 1:5 The NIV put “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” Such a translation assumes that English speakers commonly think of darkness as being a cognitive person. The footnote put “The darkness has not overcome.” This seems to assume that English speakers think of darkness as a combatant. Neither translation imply that many persons are involved in this statement from John. Both have translated the “not” clause as a denial of a situation that did not happen. This is very strange to the Prologue. It is especially strange, since John has not mentioned hostility before this and he did not enlarge upon it.

  10. Joe Missionary
    Posted July 19, 2005 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Colossians 1:24: “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”

    It seems to me that a good contemporary translation shouldn’t use phrases that absolutely no one uses in this contemporary society. Granted, persecution is not an ordinary discussion topic, but it still seems that this could be clearer.

    I’ve checked most of the other English versions, and these two seem to be the most understandable. Are they the most accurate? Well, I’m no Greek scholar, so I’ll leave that to the pros:

    Amplified says “I am making up whatever is still lacking and remains to be completed [on our part] of Christ’s afflictions…”

    The New Life Version says “In my own body I am doing my share of what has to be done to make Christ’s sufferings complete.”

  11. Mark Clifton
    Posted September 11, 2005 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Heb. 6:1 “repentance from acts that lead to death…”. Other translations read “repentance from dead works.” What sort of works “lead to death?” (Hint: Romans 6:23)

    “Dead works” do not “lead to death” – they simply do not contain life. In the context of Hebrews, “dead works” are the “deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:20).

    The NIV virtually states that the first ‘elementary teaching’ is repentance from sin. This appears to be a glaring mistranslation What have I overlooked?

  12. Jay Carlson
    Posted May 26, 2006 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Isaiah 48:16 “‘Draw near to me, hear this: since the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.’ And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit.”

    In the KJV/NKJV, the quotations are extended to the end of the verse, lending itself as evidence for Trinity. Why does the NIV, along with several other translations, cut the quotation marks short?

  13. quilnigh
    Posted June 27, 2007 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this blog/site. I am surprised how few comments have been posted on NIV, but maybe the real action is at the TNIV site. Mr Carlson has a post on May 26, and I will assume that that is in 2007, though no one has responded. I keep my first 1978 NIV because it has a typo in Psalms, to remind me that only the Lord Jesus Christ is the living Word, infallible. Like Mr Carlson, I have found an awkward statement in Isaiah, which the NIV committee has responded to … when asked, explaining, but not relieving the tension of reading it their way. Though the NIV is highly readable, I would like to begin a discussion on the most glaring mistranslation. Is this the proper forum for doctrinal examination of the text?

  14. Posted February 1, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I believe there are multiple places where the NIV has simply dropped the ball (some violations are more egregious than others):

    http://www.thanks-mucho.com/NIVisms.html

  15. Posted February 2, 2010 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Mark, I have looked at your list of NIVisms and I do not understand what you object to in the NIV translations. Would you please provide more detailed support for your translation preferences. As you may know, the NIV is currently being revised. If there is good support for your suggestions, then one of us can forward them to the NIV committee. It needs to be some kind of support based on the details of the underlying Biblical Hebrew or Greek or something from translation theory or some other discipline which supports your claims. Thanks, Wayne


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  1. By The big project | Meaningful Squiggles on June 29, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    [...] become bogged down already in which translation to choose. The only Bible I currently own is a NIV given to me by a friend at university. I have to credit the gift with getting me back into the [...]

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