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Bible Articles and Lessons: B

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Bible, NIV

More than 100 scholars from six English-speaking countries, as well as editors and English stylists, worked on the New International Version. The scholars represent more than 20 denominations.

In the 17th century, King James's translators worked from the Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament. Erasmus had six Greek manuscripts from which to work. NIV translators work from more than 5,000 complete or partial manuscripts and papyri.

It took ten years to complete the NIV translation. The process started in 1968 and finished in 1978. This does not include more than 10 years of planning before 1968.

The system for editing each book is one of the distinctive features of the NIV. The procedure was as follows:

The NIV was created and is maintained with the mandate to translate, accurately and faithfully, the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic Biblical texts into clearly understandable English.

The NIV is the most widely accepted contemporary Bible translation today. More people today buy the NIV Bible than any other English-language translation.

Caveat: In the New Testament, the NIV does have some unfortunate choices, from more obscure ancient manuscripts, that reflect a "trinitarian" bias on the part of the translators. These erroneous translations should be noted and replaced, in most cases, with the alternative renderings from the margin.

This naturally raises the question: "If there is such a problem with the NIV, why use it in the first place?" The answer is: these "problem" passages are easily identified, and can be remedied (as above). On the other hand, the NIV provides what many other versions (especially the KJV) do not, that is: (1) scholarly work of the highest standard, which takes into account all the linguistic discoveries and advances of the past 400 years; and (2) modern renderings that avoid all the archaic words and expressions of older versions (see Lesson, AV difficult words -- for examples of this).

(Also see Lesson, NIV, background.)

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