The Five Most Intriguing Changes in the Updated NIV
by Ted Cockle
This semester I have the priveledge of taking New Testament Theology with Dr. Douglas Moo. This is a privilege for a number of reasons, the first of which being he is a fantastic professor. He strikes a great balance of lecture and discussion as he guides our class through the significant contemporary discussions/debates in his field of NT Theology. I leave each class with a deeper understanding of the single thread of theological thought within New Testament, and am therefore better able to wrap my mind around the New Testament, and the Bible as a whole.
As you may or may not know, after 26 years (and one TNIV) later, the NIV Bible that has become next to standard to many evangelicals, has been updated. Amongst the scholars who worked on the translation, you guessed it, Dr. Moo. Awesome. The other night in class he had his updated NIV in hand and made frequent references to verses that had been updated. With all this in mind, it won’t surprise you that my interest was piqued by a link to a discussion of the “Five Most Intriguing Changes in the Updated NIV.”
From the article I gained 2 main things.
1) It is important for us to remember that the Bible we read is a translation. This is not to say that we shouldn’t read our Bibles as the word of God; instead, we should seek out multiple translations to help us better determine a word or passage that is difficult to understand.
2) Bible translators have spent a lot of time to “serve the rest of us.” They are working to give us translations that both maintain the original language as best a possible while at the same time helping us to understand what the text is seeking to get across.
Take a look at the article and the 5 revisions to the text. I think they will help you understand the meaning and the context a bit more precisely, as they did for the author of the article. The author states that, “A verse that has baffled me for so long now comes into clearer focus thanks to careful study of the original language in its ancient context.” It appears that in this way the translators are working in a way that encourages readers to think about the context of the passage (ie. the revisions to Phil 4:13, Rom 8:8, and Phil 2:6), and therefore prevent the potential for proof-texting. The revisions to these passages have major theological implications, and are therefore it is very very important to keep them within their context.
All this to say, a huge thanks to Bible scholars who do a lot of work that goes relatively unnoticed. In light of this article I plan on adding the revised NIV to my shelf to aid in my interpretation of scripture.