More than 100 scholars from six English-speaking countries, as
well as editors and English stylists, worked on the New International Version.
The scholars represent more than 20 denominations.
In the 17th century, King James's translators worked from the
Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament. Erasmus had six Greek manuscripts from
which to work. NIV translators work from more than 5,000 complete or partial
manuscripts and papyri.
It took ten years to complete the NIV translation. The process
started in 1968 and finished in 1978. This does not include more than 10 years
of planning before 1968.
The system for editing each book is one of the distinctive
features of the NIV. The procedure was as follows:
The NIV was created and is maintained with the mandate to
translate, accurately and faithfully, the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic
Biblical texts into clearly understandable English.
- Initial Translation
- Intermediate Editorial
- General Editorial
- Stylist and
- Executive Committee (or Committee on
- Final Stylistic
- Executive's Committee's Final
The NIV is the most widely accepted contemporary Bible
translation today. More people today buy the NIV Bible than any other
Caveat: In the New Testament, the NIV does have some
unfortunate choices, from more obscure ancient manuscripts, that reflect a
"trinitarian" bias on the part of the translators. These erroneous translations
should be noted and replaced, in most cases, with the alternative renderings
from the margin.
This naturally raises the question: "If there is such a
problem with the NIV, why use it in the first place?" The answer is: these
"problem" passages are easily identified, and can be remedied (as above). On the
other hand, the NIV provides what many other versions (especially the KJV) do
not, that is: (1) scholarly work of the highest standard, which takes into
account all the linguistic discoveries and advances of the past 400 years; and
(2) modern renderings that avoid all the archaic words and expressions of older
versions (see Lesson, AV difficult words --
for examples of this).
(Also see Lesson, NIV, background.)