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slightly newer international version

NIV Study Bible

I recently bought this NIV Study Bible. I already own the 1983 revision of the 1978 NIV Study Bible.

The New International Version (NIV) is an eccentric translation.

Other versions, each time there is a revision, appropriately rename the translation: The Revised Version, the American Standard Version, (revision of the Authorised Version); The Revised Standard Version; The New Revised Standard Version…

The NIV is weird. There isn’t one version – it is actually an ever-changing translation. You cannot say how a particular text is found in the NIV because the text may be different in the 1973, 1978, 1984, or 2011 edition of NIV!

This 2011 version is intended to be more conscious about gender issues.

Genesis 1:26-27 in NIV 2011:

Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind [אָדָם ‘adam single individual; previous NIV “man” – no footnote about this collective noun substitution] in our image, in our likeness, so that they [וְיִרְדּוּ plural in the original] may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind [see above] in his own image, in the image of God he created them [זָכָר Heb is “him” – NIV2011 does not footnote the alteration]; male and female he created them.

Psalm 8:4-5 in NIV 2011:

What is mankind [מָֽה־אֱנֹושׁ collective noun for “man”; the NIV2011 this time has a footnote giving the impression that this translation is an alternative translation or a different Hebrew textual tradition, rather than that the Hebrew is singular: “Or what is a human being that you are mindful of him, a son of man that you care for him?] that you are mindful of them [Heb. has “him” – footnote gives impression that this text is an alternative translation, rather than a reworking of the original], Human beings [וּבֶן־אָדָם – Heb. literally “son of man”] that you care for them [Heb: “him”]? You have made them [Heb: “him”; footnote again “Or him“] a little lower than the angels and crowned them [Heb: “him”] with glory and honor.

cf. the messianic usage of this Ps 8 text from LXX in Heb 2:6-8; 1 Co 15:27

The pre-2011 NIV, without any qualms, pretended that Isaiah 7:14 conforms to Matthew’s quoting. At least the 2011 NIV has added the footnote “Or young woman” to the text of “virgin”.

ἱλασμός (hilasmos) can be translated as “expiation” or “propitiation”. NIV2011 translates this as “the atoning sacrifice (ἱλασμός) for our sins” 1 John 2:2.

Having allowed for an expiation and a propitiation understanding, The Study Bible, however, allows for no alternatives in interpretation:

God’s holiness demands punishment for human sin. God therefore, out of love, sent his Son to make a substitutionary atonement for the believer’s sin. In this way the Father’s wrath is satisfied; his wrath against the Christian’s sin has been turned away and directed toward Christ.” (p.2126 footnone to 1  Jn 2:2)

I prefer the interpretation that the cross is not about God’s rage taken out on an innocent human, but about human rage taken out on an innocent God. There are different theories of salvation (soteriology). Christians, thankfully, do not believe (trust, have faith in) a theory of salvation, but in a saviour. A good study bible should make this clear.

Colloquially, I have encountered the third person plural (they, their, theirs) used as an inclusive singular. This is the first time I have found it formally in a Bible translation:

I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, an they with me. (Rev 3:20)

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7 thoughts on “slightly newer international version”

  1. Perhaps slightly off topic
    I’ve often used the NIV but I’m finding it to be more and more frustrating when trying to understand some of the more difficult passages. What bible translation would you recommend for teens Bosco?

    1. Really good question, Richard. I took a variety of quality Bible translations to several literacy experts. You may be surprised by their unprompted response. I was. The Bible is so alien to contemporary teenage culture, there was nothing in it.

      I give each one a hardcover NRSV. We use it in Chapel and classroom. There are some places, of course, that I would have translated slightly differently, but it is an accurate, scholarly translation, and strongly ecumenical. They read it aloud, and to themselves, whatever their reading ability. Blessings.

  2. If they were being mindfull of gender, why not humankind, as opposed to mankind?

    I read somewhere 20 or so years ago that one is in good company using singular they, the Bard used it!

  3. “Christians, thankfully, do not believe (trust, have faith in) a theory of salvation, but in a saviour.”

    Thank God it is so! A study Bible that tends to push readers into putting their trust in a soteriology rather than the Saviour is failing its readers.

    Thank God that doctrinal error is not the unforgivable sin. I still hold to an Anselmian understanding of the atonement, but regardless of who is right, our common faith in Christ unites us before the throne of God.

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