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The New International Version

The most recent of the major contemporary Bibles is the New International Version (NIV). The NIV translation of the NT was published in 1973, the OT in 1978.

The NIV is a completely new translation made directly from the original languages of the Bible, and was the result of several years of exploratory study by Evangelicals from a number of different churches beginning in the early 1950s, before the flood of modern translations began.

The New International Version is perhaps the best, most accurate, and readable of the translations of the Bible into modern English. While there are several available alternatives, some of them have language that is too informal, regional, or colloquial to be suitable for use in a church. Others use language that is artificial or wooden. Some are freely translated, lacking adherence to the original text. Still others are one-man translations that have not been subjected to the checks and balances of a larger, organizational group.

The NIV is called an international version because it was produced by a committee consisting of Bible scholars from such English-speaking countries as Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the United States. English has become a truly international language, and the translators of the NIV avoided the use both of Americanisms and Anglicisms. Although a British edition was published in 1974, the changes were to adopt British spelling rather than to make changes in vocabulary.

The translators came from several denominations, including Baptist, Brethren, Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Christian Reformed, and others. Effective steps were taken to safeguard against sectarianism.

The mechanical features of the New International Version are effective. The type is clear and easy to read. The text is arranged in paragraphs, with verse numbers printed in inconspicuous type. Poetic passages are printed in poetic rather than in prose form. The NIV provides sectional headings printed in italics, with a preface disclaimer cautioning that they are not to be considered a part of the text.

The NIV includes footnotes of various types, providing cross references, alternative translations, or explanatory notes.

The New International Version is accurate and clear. It rivals, if not surpasses the KJV in its use among Christians in the English-speaking world. The NIV is my favorite Bible for general reading.

    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. -- Genesis 1:1

    Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. -- Genesis 1:2

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. -- John 3:16



Overview of Bible Study