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New International Version
Cover for a NIV Bible
Full name: New International Version
Abbreviation: NIV
NT published: 1973
OT published: 1978
Complete Bible published: 1978
Textual basis: NT: Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. OT: Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, Latin Vulgate, Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targums, for Psalms Juxta Hebraica of Jerome.
Translation type: Formal & Dynamic Equivalence
Reading level: 7.80[1]
Publisher: Zondervan
Copyright status: Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society

The New International Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan, in the United States it became one of the most popular modern translations made in the twentieth century.[2]



When Evangelical Protestants received the Revised Standard Version, certain texts regarding the virginity of Mary and other Old Testament passages whose Christian interpretation referred to Jesus did not follow traditional Evangelical translation.[3] The New International Version project was started after a meeting in 1965 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois between the Christian Reformed Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars.[4] The New York Bible Society (now named Biblica) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978. It underwent a minor revision in 1984. A major revision and update was announced on September 1, 2009 and is due out in 2011[5].


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 Revised Standard Version 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.[6] The translation took ten years and involved a team of 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.[7] The intent of the translators was to produce an accurate and readable translation that would fall between formal and functional equivalence[8][9]. An emphasis was placed on thought-for-thought, but it was meant to be no freer than necessary to carry the sense of the original.

The text used for the Old Testament was the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia 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 Targum, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. The text used in translating the New Testament was the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament.[10] Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding traditionally difficult passages to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.[11]


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.[2][12]

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 stated[13] that the NIV works in apologetics to smooth out biblical contradictions. For example, Bruce M. Metzger criticizes[14] the addition of just into Jeremiah 7:22, so the verse becomes "For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices", an apparent attempt to harmonise with Exodus 20:24. Metzger also criticizes[14] the addition of your into Matthew 13:32, so it becomes "Though it [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all your seeds", an apparent correction of a botanical error spoken by Jesus.

At Acts 22:9, the NIV has "Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me", whereas a literal translation would be "did not hear",[15] an apparent contradiction with Acts 9:7.[15] However, the NIV is not unique in this: several other Bibles translate this passage in the same way.[16]


  1. ^ "New International Version (Stats & History)". Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  2. ^ a b "August 2009 CBA Best Sellers". Christian Business Association. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  New International Version #1 in dollar and unit sales
  3. ^ "A Critique of the Revised Standard Version".  "There are two fatal _discordance_with_scripture.htm|title=In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible}} "The battleground concerning the RSV centered on the translation of Isaiah 7:14, where the RSV dared to render the Hebrew word “young woman” instead of “virgin.”", Peter J. Thuesen, Oxford University Press, 1999, p238.
  4. ^ " New International Version Information".;. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ - List of NIV translators
  7. ^ "Background of the New International Version (NIV) Bible". 
  8. ^ "New International Version (NIV) Information from Zondervan".  pg. 4,5
  9. ^ "Bible Translation Chart". 
  10. ^ "History of the English Bible by Ben Irwin". 
  11. ^ "Background of the New International Version (NIV) Bible".  "Although archaeological and linguistic discoveries in this century aid in understanding difficult passages", "As for other proper nouns, the familiar spellings of the King James Version are generally retained" Paragraphs 14 & 17
  12. ^ "Best-Selling Bibles".  Feb 2006, New International Version #1 best-seller
  13. ^ e.g. Paul Tobin: Not All Versions Are Created Equal, (online)
  14. ^ a b Metzger BM (2001) The Bible in Translation: Ancient and English Versions. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic. Page 140.
  15. ^ a b NET Bible, notes to Acts 22:9
  16. ^ The NET Bible, English Standard Version, and New American Standard Bible all do.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  1. (Biblical) New International Version


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