The Newest International Version

Print editions of the 2011 NIV will not be available until March of 2011, but you can find the text online now.  On November 1st, Bible Gateway (in my sidebar to the right) and the Biblica website (the new name for International Bible Society) switched to the new NIV 2011 text.  If NIV was your default version on Bible Gateway, it automatically updated your search results to return new NIV verses.  When released in print next spring, the name of the new version will simply be NIV, as opposed to NIV 2011 or some other indicative title.

According to the Biblica website, 95% of the biblical text remains identical to the 1984 version currently in use.  The 5% of verses that are rendered in a new way are not spread out equally, however.  Some Old Testament books are left virtually untouched, but Galatians is over 32% new and improved.  Well, perhaps “improved” is subject to interpretation.  You will have to read, compare, and draw your own conclusions.

The NIV is not my favorite translation, but you could certainly do worse.  I would rather a person read ANY Bible than not read the Bible at all.  I grew up reading KJV and have read the NRSV, which is very similar, in its entirety.  I had planned to make the NIV the next Bible I read through when I was introduced to the ESV.  My preference for the ESV should be clear.  My philosophy on Bible translations is to never rely solely on any one translation.  When I really want to understand a passage, I research the Greek (or Hebrew) words involved, read a few commentaries, and consider multiple translations.  I have studied enough history of the Bible, and am just bi-lingual enough, to know that translation is subject to interpretation.

If the NIV is your favorite, then you have probably known since late summer 2009 that a new one was coming.  Do some online browsing and see what you think.  For everyone else, the new NIV is what people are going to be talking about for the next few months, especially after March.  Before you talk about it, be sure to know something about what you’re talking about.

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