I’m perplexed – the Bible version I’ve known and loved for years is now going out of print. My first leather Bible as a student was the New International Version 1978. My parents gave me a copy on Christmas 1980. When the NIV 1984 came out, I quickly grabbed a copy of the update. This is the version I’ve used nearly my entire pastoral ministry. I preach, teach, read, and study from this version. Sure, I use other versions (translations and paraphrases) for devotional reads like the NASB, ESV, NLT, NKJV, and the Message. But, I’m particularly fond of the NIV 1984.
Zondervan and Biblica released an updated version of the New International Version – the NIV 2011. Unfortunately, there are some significant challenges with this new version. The NIV 2011 is not a revision of the NIV 1984, but more of a revision of the discontinued TNIV – Zondervan’s initial attempt at a gender-neutral Bible (widely hailed a flop). The gender inclusiveness of the NIV 2011 is a challenge for many. I don’t think we need to run from, hide, or cover up gender identity in Scripture. God made them both – male and female. Eliminating or tampering with the masculine or feminine identity in Scripture jeopardizes the meaning or intent – compromising the interpretation. This is not the only interpretation concern with the NIV 2011, but there are numerous others. While I appreciate Zondervan’s attempt to create a modern day translation, one must be cautious in the pursuit of perceived relevance while negotiating with the beast of political correctness or cultural acceptance. You must be very careful not to add or subtract from God’s word – that’s a command from Him. What’s next in the pursuit of cultural relevance? Do we remove unpopular doctrines – perhaps an eternal hell from its pages?
Here’s the challenge for me. I’ve been a faithful reader and expositor utilizing the NIV 1984 that is discontinued and yet I cannot recommend one of the 1.9 million published copies of the NIV 2011 to others. What to do? I’ve got to start shopping for a new translation. If you have a favorite translation, let me know what and why. It’s a big move and one not to be taken lightly. I wish they’d keep publishing the NIV 1984 – that would be an easy solve for me.