Bill Mounce

For an Informed Love of God

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is the NIV liberal?

I was asked this today.

[On your Twitter account] it indicates you are working on the NIV. I thought the NIV was complete. ??? I have used the NIV for a long time. A couple years ago I started using the ESV. But now there is a new NIV. But my wife and one of my grown sons are convinced that the new NIV is evil for some reason. Something about watering down the truth, or trying to be politically correct at the expense of the truth. Could you comment on this?

Here is my response.

All Bible translations are constantly being updated. English changes. New research teaches us new things.

I can tell you that there is absolutely no watering down to the truth in the NIV. The NIV and ESV have different translation philosophies; and depending on where you are in life and ministry, you may find one more helpful than the other. But on both committees I never for a second saw the slightest urge to be liberal or politically correct. People who make these charges should read what the translators have written elserwhere, and you will see there is not an ounce of truth to the charges.



Would you please inform me when the NIV translation that you are working on becomes available to the public? I keep the committee in my prayers.

I started working the year before the 2011 came out, so what you get now is the one I have some small part in.

Generally speaking the history of the NIV has been great. Having a word-for-word/thought-for-thought translation brings momentum where other translations can only reflect one or the other. I grew up on the NIV 1984, however was unhappy with NIV 2011's transition to gender neutral language. It's especially clear with the Hebrews 2 passage, where I feel undue liberties were taken. It's a Messianic interpretation of Psalm 8 - which the NIV 2011 reinterprets for gender appropriate language, and appears to lose its Messianic emphasis. (Heb. 2:5-9). There is no 'them' in the Koine(among other translation biases). It appears forced in to fit in with the translation philosophy. Otherwise, the NIV 2011 is a fine translation except for the forced worldview which isn't apparent in the original languages (or manuscript copies). Just my 2 cents. Thanks.