Friday, September 23, 2011

The New New International Version (will our grandchildren read the NNNNIV, I wonder?)

Thanks to the NIV 2011 team for sending me a copy of a jazzed up, mapped out, Anglicised, cross-referenced and concordanced success.

The NIV was the first bible I read. I found its prose to be very smooth. And I like the 2011 NIV even more, at least in what I see as its improvements on Paul (so well done to Douglas Moo and the team).

No more crummy distinctions between ‘justice’ and ‘righteousness’ in Romans 3:21ff

The ‘faithfulness of Christ’ translation of the infamous pistis Christou is at least footnoted, which is grand (I tend towards this option by a process of elimination. Sorry Matlock, Dunn and Watson – despite your very helpful arguments for the ‘objective’).

However, the translation team did not go far enough on this, in my view. For example, Paul writes in Galatians 3:5 (new NIV)
“So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?”
This is an improvement, I think, on the original:
“Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”
Okay, but ἐξ ἀκοῆς πίστεως as ‘believing what you heard’ - without a footnote telling you of an equally if not more plausible option - slants the reader to an objective genitive reading. 

Such translation agendas are hard to iron out entirely, and too many footnotes becomes clumsy. But why footnote the ‘faithfulness of Christ’ option elsewhere, and not ‘the proclamation of fidelity’ or some such option here? (Cf. Paul’s other uses of the word ἀκοῆς [e.g., Rom 10] for that which is heard, rather than ‘hearing’)

These are minor specifics and goodness, if I were to try and translate the NT it would be a disaster. The 2011 NIV is a very good bible translation.

For an infuriating and rather silly alternative perspective on the NIV2011, see here!


At 9/23/2011 3:50 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

Thanks for the link to the site that warns us of the evil perpetrated by the NIV11 translators--it's a great way to start the day!

At 9/23/2011 4:43 PM, Blogger Terry Wright said...

I am convinced by this page especially:

At 10/03/2011 9:20 PM, Anonymous Margo, Children's Ministry Academy said...

I'm so glad that you decided to take some time to talk about the 2011 version of the New International Version of the Bible. I haven't purchased it yet, but after reading this blog post, I think it will be a good addition to my bookshelf. I laughed hysterically when I read the "Beware NIV 2011" webpage you linked to. Some people are just hilarious!

At 11/29/2011 10:55 AM, Blogger Rev Tony B said...

But do they still translate "Yahweh-sabaoth" as "Almighty God"? That is one clanger which as far as I'm concerned renders the NIV OT useless as a serious study text - it confuses and obscures two distinct theological traditions. Yes, I've read the intro which explains why they did it - allegedly nobody understands what 'Lord of hosts' means. Sure. But the NIV team need to make up their mind whether they want it to be like the RSV or the GNB - sometimes they do one, sometimes the other, and it falls between the two stools.

At 11/29/2011 12:23 PM, Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Thanks Tony, great point. Doesn't hosts refer to the heavenly court, the hosts of "gods" etc.?

At 11/30/2011 3:12 PM, Blogger Mike Gantt said...

I love the NASB for its literalness. I've always felt the NIV gave up too much.

Nonetheless, any version of the Bible that's read and heeded will bring a blessing.


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