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The New International Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan, in the United Statesmarker it became one of the most popular modern translations made in the twentieth century.


When Evangelical Protestants received the Revised Standard Version, certain texts regarding the virginity of Mary and other Old Testament passages whose Christian interpretation referred to Jesus did not follow traditional Evangelical translation. The New International Version project was started after a meeting in 1965 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinoismarker between the Christian Reformed Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars. The New York Bible Society (now the Colorado Springs-based International Bible Society) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978. It underwent a minor revision in 1984. A major revision and update was announced on September 1, 2009 and is due out in 2011.


The NIV is an explicitly Protestant translation. The deuterocanonical books are not included in the translation. It preserved traditional Evangelical theology on many contested points for which the Revised Standard Version has been criticized. Apart from these theological issues, the manuscript base of the NIV is similar to the RSV, using older Greek New Testament texts rather than the later Textus Receptus.

Translation philosophy

The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars. The translation took ten years and involved a team of up to 100 people from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included over twenty different denominations such as Baptists, Evangelicals, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, and more. The intent of the translators was to produce an accurate and readable translation that would fall between formal and functional equivalence. An emphasis was placed on thought-for-thought, but it was meant to be no freer than necessary to carry the sense of the original.

The text used for the Old Testament was the Biblia Hebraica Masoretic Hebrew Text. Other ancient texts consulted were the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome. The text used in translating the New Testament was the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament. Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding traditionally difficult passages to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.


According to Zondervan, publisher of the NIV, the translation has become the most popular modern English translation of the Bible, having sold more than 215 million copies worldwide. It is especially popular among American Evangelicals. It continues to be one of the top ten selling Bibles.

There are numerous study Bibles available with extensive notes on the text and background information to make the Biblical stories more comprehensible. Among these are the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, the Zondervan published NIV Study Bible, the Wesleyan revision, Reflecting God Study Bible, as well as the Life Application Study Bible.


It is sometimes stated that the NIV works in apologetics to smooth out biblical contradictions, such as between Acts 9:7 and 22:9. Examples given of precise translations in the aforementioned criticism are the King James Version and the NRSV. Defenders of the NIV argue that the New American Standard Bible and the English Standard Version use almost the same wording as the NIV in regards to Acts 9:7 and 22:9.

Bruce M. Metzger criticizes the addition of just into Jeremiah 7:22, which appears to change the meaning.


  1. New International Version #1 in dollar and unit sales
  2. "There are two fatal _discordance_with_scripture.htm|title=In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible}} "The battleground concerning the RSV centered on the translation of Isaiah 7:14, where the RSV dared to render the Hebrew word “young woman” instead of “virgin.”", Peter J. Thuesen, Oxford University Press, 1999, p238.
  4. pg. 4,5
  5. "Although archaeological and linguistic discoveries in this century aid in understanding difficult passages", "As for other proper nouns, the familiar spellings of the King James Version are generally retained" Paragraphs 14 & 17
  6. Feb 2006, New International Version #1 best-seller
  7. Metzger, Bruce: The Bible in Translation (Baker Academic, 2001)
  8. Jeremiah 7:22 (NIV) at

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