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Today's New International Version

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Today's New International Version

Today's New International Version
Cover of an TNIV NT, 2002
Full name Today's New International Version
Abbreviation TNIV
NT published 2002
Complete Bible
Translation type Dynamic and Formal Equivalence
Version revision New International Version (NIV)
Publisher Zondervan
Copyright Copyright 2005 Biblica (Formerly International Bible Society)

Today's New International Version (TNIV) is an English translation of the Bible developed by the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT). The CBT also developed the New International Version (NIV) in the 1970s. The TNIV is based on the NIV. It is explicitly Protestant like its predecessor; the deuterocanonical books are not part of the translation. The TNIV New Testament was published March 2002. The complete Bible was published February 2005. The rights to the text are owned by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Zondervan publishes the TNIV in North America. Hodder & Stoughton publish the TNIV in the UK and European Union.

The translation took more than a decade to complete; 13 evangelical scholars worked on the translation: Ronald F. Youngblood, Kenneth L. Barker, John H. Stek, Donald H. Madvig, R. T. France, Gordon Fee, Karen H. Jobes, Walter Liefeld, Douglas J. Moo, Bruce K. Waltke, Larry L. Walker, Herbert M. Wolf and Martin Selman.[1] Forty other scholars, many of them experts on specific books of the Bible, reviewed the translations teams' work. They came from a range of Evangelical denominational backgrounds.[2]

With the 2011 release of an updated version of the NIV, both the TNIV and the 1984 NIV have been discontinued.[3] Keith Danby, president and chief executive officer of Biblica, said that they erred in presenting past updates - failing to convince people that revisions were needed and underestimating readers' loyalty to the 1984 NIV.


  • Translation philosophy 1
  • Differences 2
  • Gender language and the TNIV 3
  • The TNIV and hoi ioudaioi 4
  • Circulation 5
  • Supporters 6
  • Critics 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Translation philosophy

The intent of the TNIV translators was to produce an accurate and readable translation in contemporary English. The Committee on Bible Translation wanted to build a new version on the heritage of the NIV and like its predecessor create a balanced mediating version, one that would fall in-between the most literal translation and the most free;[4] word-for-word (Formal Equivalence)[4] and thought-for-thought (Dynamic Equivalence).[4]

For translation a wide range of manuscripts were reviewed. The Masoretic text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Greek Septuagint or (LXX), the Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, the Latin Vulgate, the Syriac Peshitta, the Aramaic Targums, and for the Psalms the Juxta Hebraica of Jerome were all consulted for the Old Testament. The Dead Sea Scrolls were occasionally followed where the Masoretic Text seemed inconsistent. The United Bible Societies Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament text was used for the New Testament.[5]


There are a number of changes in the TNIV. Craig Blomberg stated in a 2003 paper titled "The Untold Story of a Good Translation" that 70% of the changes in the TNIV move in a "more literal direction three times more often than not." Mark L. Strauss has stated that the majority of changes are "based on advances in biblical scholarship, linguistics, and archaeology".[6]

In Matthew 1:18, where the NIV says that Mary was "with child," the TNIV simply says Mary was "pregnant."

In Luke 12:38, the phrase "second or third watch of the night" employed in the NIV is changed to "middle of the night or toward daybreak" in the TNIV.

The TNIV translators have, at times, opted for more traditional Anglo-Saxon or poetic renderings than those found in the NIV. For example, "the heavens" is sometimes chosen to replace "the sky," as is the case in Isaiah 50:3: "I clothe the heavens with darkness and make sackcloth its covering."

At times the TNIV offers a different or nuanced understanding of a passage. For example, in the NIV, Psalm 26:3 reads, "For your love is ever before me, / and I walk continually in your truth." The TNIV reads, "For I have always been mindful of your unfailing love / and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness." There are a number of changes in this one verse, but of special note is the TNIV's translation of the Hebrew word ’emet. The TNIV translators took this word to mean more than simple honesty in Psalm 26:3, referring more specifically to reliability or trustworthiness.

Examples of other changes are "truly I tell you" becomes "I tell you the truth;" "fellow workers" becomes "coworkers;" "the Jews," particularly in John's Gospel, often becomes "Jewish leaders" when the context makes the statement's real meaning apparent; and "miracles," especially in John, become the more literal "signs," "miraculous signs," or "works." The word for "Spirit," where there is a good chance it means the Holy Spirit, is now capitalized. "Peter" is now rendered "Cephas" when the Greek merely transliterates the Hebrew name.

Other notable changes are that "Christ" has regularly been rendered as "Messiah," and "saints" has often been replaced with terms such as "God's people" or "believers."

Gender language and the TNIV

Among other differences from the NIV, the TNIV uses gender-neutral language to refer to people. Confessional terms for this kind of language are such as gender-inclusive. Two examples of this kind of translation decision are found in Genesis and Matthew:

Genesis 1:27 reads, "So God created human beings in his own image." Older translations use the word "man" to translate the word ’adam employed in the Hebrew language, the same word used as the proper name of the first man married to the first woman, Eve.

Matthew 5:9 reads: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."[7] Here, the Greek word huioi is translated "children" rather than "sons" as found in other modern English translations such as the New American Standard Bible[8] and the Amplified Bible.[9]

However, the 1611 Authorized King James Version also renders this passage as "children" rather than "sons."[10] Masculine references to God, such as "Father" and "Son," are not modified from the literal translation in the TNIV.

Opponents of this approach point out that many of the terms in question carry male denotations and connotations in the original Hebrew and Greek. Some Bible translators argue that even if there are passages in the text that lend themselves to inclusive language, other changes are unfaithful to the original Hebrew and Greek. Critics of inclusive language claim that inclusive language can provide incorrect translations in various instances. Three examples of the kind of observations made by the critics come from Psalm 1, the Gospel of John, and Revelation.

The original Hebrew of Psalm 1:1 has the word ’ish (man). This is translated in the TNIV, "Blessed are those who do not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers." The singular in the original highlights the struggle of the individual against the wicked masses. The TNIV renders Revelation 3:20, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me."

The use of them and they in the TNIV appears to be plural to some English readers. John 6:44 in the TNIV reads, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." The masculine singular in the original depicts the Father and the Son drawing and raising each individual personally, rather than dealing with people as a group.

The two main arguments in favor of inclusive language are the following:

  • Some believe that male nuances are not attached to words in various passages; therefore, translations like the TNIV could be more accurately communicate the meaning of the text. For example, words like adelphoi, often translated "brothers," was understood in some Greek contexts in a gender-inclusive way. With the shift of time and customs, "brothers" in English is thought by many to be an inappropriate word to denote a mixed-sex group. On this view, a large number of passages would be better using "brothers and sisters" to avoid miscommunication.[11]
  • Traditional forms of English, in which words like man and he applied to both genders, are falling out of everyday use and are likely to be misinterpreted, especially by younger readers. Also, it is argued that use of what is termed the "singular" they does not obscure the individual application of passages like Revelation 3:20, because such use is increasingly common in the English language and is understood by most readers.

Less than 30% of the changes in the TNIV involve the use of inclusive language.[12] The TNIV's approach to gender inclusive language is similar to the New International Version Inclusive Language Edition,[13] New Revised Standard Version, the New Living Translation, the New Century Version, and the Contemporary English Version.

The TNIV and hoi ioudaioi

In the TNIV some original Greek text references to hoi ioudaioi (literally, the Jews), are changed from the original English translation of "the Jews" to "Jewish leaders" or simply "they" (such as in John 18:36). This change has been called for by Jewish leaders as a way of avoiding misunderstanding in the Gospel of John.

A number of evangelical scholars agree with this change.[14][15] The TNIV is not alone among English Bible versions in following recent biblical scholarship on this matter.[16]


  • In 2002, Zondervan published the TNIV New Testament.
  • In 2005, the TNIV New Testament Audio Bible was published by Hodder & Stoughton. It features an Anglicised Version of the Today's New International Version read by a cast including Tyler Butterworth, Susan Sheridan, Joan Walker, Daniel Philpott and Anna Bentinck. Available in CD and MP3 format. A downloadable MP3 format can also be found at [1].
  • In 2005, Zondervan planned to advertise the TNIV in Rolling Stone as part of its campaign to launch the full TNIV Bible to "spiritually intrigued 18 to 34 year olds." Just weeks before the ad's scheduled run date, Rolling Stone pulled the ad, citing a policy against religious advertisements in its magazine. Beginning with a story in USA Today, media frenzy ensued and two weeks later, Rolling Stone reversed its position and published the ad.[17]
  • In 2006, Zondervan announced the production of The Bible Experience, an audio recording of the TNIV featuring performances by Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., Blair Underwood, Denzel Washington, and several other leading celebrities. The Bible Experience New Testament was released in October 2006. It has since become a best-seller.[18]
  • In 2006, Zondervan launched the TNIV Study Bible with study notes and a 700 page topical index.
  • In 2007, the International Bible Society released The Books of the Bible, which makes several changes in formatting the text. The TNIV text is used without chapter and verse divisions. Section headings are removed and footnotes are moved to the end of each book. The books are presented in an alternate order, and longer works that were divided over time are restored to their original unity. (For example, 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings were originally a single book. They are recombined in The Books of the Bible as Samuel-Kings.)[19]
  • Also in 2007, a manga version of the TNIV was released. It was created by British/Nigerian artist Ajibayo Akinsiku who goes by the pseudonym Siku.[20]
  • In 2008, Zondervan released the TNIV Reference Bible. University teacher Rick Mansfield stated in an online review of a preview copy that it is "the edition of the TNIV I wish I had been using from the very beginning."[21]


Denominations supportive of the TNIV include the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), which officially endorsed the TNIV as an acceptable translation for use, the Evangelical Covenant Church and the Free Methodist Church of North America. Scholars from the Free Methodist Church of North America had a varied response from it "constitutes no threat" to "most accurate ever."[22]

Evangelical scholars and pastoral leaders supporting the project include Mark L. Strauss, Tremper Longman, John Ortberg, Adam Hamilton, Craig Blomberg, Darrell Bock, Don Carson, Peter Furler, Bill Hybels, Ben Witherington III, Lee Strobel, John Stott, Philip Yancey, Dan Kimball, Terri Blackstock, Erwin McManus, Ted Haggard and others.[23][24]


In June 2002, over 100 evangelical leaders signed a 'Statement of Concern' opposing the TNIV.[25] The Presbyterian Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention passed resolutions opposing the TNIV and other inclusive-language translations.[26][27]

Evangelical scholars and pastoral leaders critical of inclusive language translations include John F. MacArthur, J. I. Packer, Jack T. Chick, Gail Riplinger, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Texe Marrs, Wayne Grudem, Peter Ruckman, D. James Kennedy, Josh McDowell, R. Albert Mohler, Jr., John Piper, Pat Robertson, R.C. Sproul, and Joni Eareckson Tada.[28]


  1. ^ "The Committee on Bible Translation". 
  2. ^ "Preface to the TNIV Bible". 
  3. ^ "TNIV discontinued". USA Today. 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  4. ^ a b c Barker, Kenneth L. "The Balance Translation Philosophy of the TNIV". Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Preface to Today's New International Version Bible". 
  6. ^ "TNIV Debate between Wayne Grudem and Mark Strauss at Concordia University". Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  7. ^ Matthew 5:9 from Today's New International Version
  8. ^ Matthew 5:9 from the New American Standard Bible
  9. ^ Matthew 5:9 from the Amplified Bible
  10. ^ Matthew 5:9 from the Authorized King James Version
  11. ^ "Literal Is Not More Accurate If It's Unintelligible". 2007. 
  12. ^ "Today's New International Version: The Untold Story Of A Good Translation". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. 
  13. ^ Comparing the Three NIVs, Christianity Today, January 2002
  14. ^ Selected Bibliography for the Gospel of John
  15. ^ "Johannine Passion Narrative Issues".  
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Ad for a Bible doesn't fit". USA Today. 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  18. ^ "Audio Bible a Surprise Christmas Best-Seller". HCJB Global. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  19. ^ "The Books of the Bible". 
  20. ^ Akinsiku, Ajibayo. "Manga Bible Home". Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  21. ^ "TNIV Reference Bible: Hands-On Review". THIS LAMP...and that's all I need. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  22. ^ "The TNIV Debate: A Studied Response". 
  23. ^ "Positive Reviews of Today's New International Version Bible". 
  24. ^ Dart, John (February 13–20, 2002). "TNIV Bible Braves Gender-Inclusive World". The Christian Century: 10–11. 
  25. ^ Wayne Grudem, "A Brief Summary of Concerns About the TNIV", Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood 7 (2002): 6–8. "We cannot endorse the TNIV as sufficiently trustworthy to commend to the church." Names are documented online at Over 100 Christian Leaders Agree the TNIV Bible is not Trustworthy.
  26. ^ "Presbyterian Church in America Rejects the TNIV". 2002-06-20. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  27. ^ "Southern Baptist Convention Rejects the TNIV". Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  28. ^ "Statement of Concern by Evangelical Leaders". 

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