New International Version

New International Version
New International Version
Cover for a NIV Bible
Full name: New International Version
Abbreviation: NIV
OT published: 1978
NT published: 1973
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: Mixed formal & dynamic equivalence
Reading level: 7.80[1]
Publisher: Zondervan and others
Copyright status: Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 (Biblica) [2]
Religious affiliation: Protestant
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The New International Version (NIV) is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan in the United States and by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, it has become one of the most popular modern translations in history.[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 Biblica) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978. There are a couple of very rare 1973 editions which are signed by a few of the translating committee members which were released before the other 1973 and 1978 editions. It underwent a minor revision in 1984. A planned 1997 edition was discontinued over inclusive language.[5]A revised edition titled Today's New International Version released a New Testament in March 2002 with the complete Bible was published February 2005.

Keith Danby, president and chief executive officer of Biblica, once known as the International Bible Society, said they erred in presenting past updates, failed to convince people revisions were needed and "underestimated" readers' loyalty to the 1984 NIV.[5] In 2011 an updated version was released. This update incorporates a majority of the gender language of the TNIV and also many of its other changes. Some translational issues with Paul's letters were also addressed. [6][7]


The manuscript base 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.[8] The manuscript base of the NIV was the Koine Greek language editions of the United Bible Societies and of Nestle-Aland for the New Testament.[9] The deuterocanonical books are not included in the translation.

Translation philosophy

The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars. [10] The translation took ten years and involved a team of up to 100 scholars[11] from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included many different denominations such as Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Lutheran and Presbyterian.[12]

The translation is a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought.[13][14][8] Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding traditionally difficult passages to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.[15]


According to the Christian Business Association, the New International Version has become the most popular selling English translation of the Bible, having sold more than 215 million copies worldwide. [3][16]

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.


Bruce M. Metzger criticizes[17] 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." Metzger also criticizes[17] the addition of your into Matthew 13:32,, so it becomes "Though it [the mustard seed] is the smallest of all your seeds", avoiding any impression of Jesus's speaking a botanical untruth. The your has been removed in the 2011 NIV revision.

N. T. Wright has written: "When the New International Version was published in 1980, I was one of those who hailed it with delight. I believed its own claim about itself, that it was determined to translate exactly what was there, and inject no extra paraphrasing or interpretative glosses…. Disillusionment set in over the next two years, as I lectured verse by verse through several of Paul's letters, not least Galatians and Romans. Again and again, with the Greek text in front of me and the NIV beside it, I discovered that the translators had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said. …[I]f a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about."[18]

Professor of New Testament Studies Daniel B. Wallace[19]has stated, " is a well-thought out translation, with checks and balances through rigorous testing, overlapping committees to ensure consistency and accuracy..."[20]


  1. ^ "New International Version (Stats & History)". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  2. ^ "New International Version :: Official Site". Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  3. ^ a b "August 2009 CBA Best Sellers". Christian Business Association. Retrieved 2011-02-09.  New International Version #1 in dollar and unit sales
  4. ^ "New International Version Information".;. 
  5. ^ a b "Update of popular 'NIV' Bible due in 2011". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Updated NIV Text Available for Online Viewing November 1". Zondervan. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  7. ^ World’s most popular Bible to be revised,, 9/1/2009,, retrieved 2011-02-19 
  8. ^ a b Irwin, Ben (2002). History of the English Bible. Zondervan. p. 61. 
  9. ^ Barker, Kenneth L. (1991). The NIV The Making of a Contemporary Translation. International Bible Society. p. 54. 
  10. ^ "The NIV Committee on Bible Translation". Bible Research. Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  11. ^ "History of the New International Version". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  12. ^ Irwin, Ben (2002). History of the English Bible. Zondervan. p. 60. 
  13. ^ "Bible Translation Chart". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Bible Translation Chart". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 
  15. ^ "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
  16. ^ "Best-Selling Bibles". Archived from the original on 2007-02-08.  Feb 2006, New International Version #1 best-seller
  17. ^ a b Metzger, Bruce M. (2001). The Bible in Translation : Ancient and English Versions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-8010-2282-1. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  18. ^ Wright, N. T. (2009). Justification : God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic. pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0-8308-3863-9. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  19. ^ "DTS faculty". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  20. ^ Wallace, Dan. "A Review of the New International Version 2011". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 

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