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Liberated from the confusion November 2, 2010

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.

Around the English speaking world there must be great rejoicing! Millions of Christians who struggle to read the NIV in the English of 1984 can now access God’s word in the language of 2011.

At last the Bible will be clear to them!

As of Nov 2010 the text of the updated NIV is available on the excellent BibleGateway.com along with translations in many other languages.

There are several interesting links on the site:

English speakers are among the 4.7 billion people who can read any passage of Scripture that they like in their first language. Some of the 457 languages in which the complete Bible is available have a few less versions available in them and a few may be in greater need of revision than the NIV. (These were the latest figures were from Nov 2010. Click here for newer Bible translation stats?)

Meanwhile a couple of billion people still have a harder time. If they can access a whole Bible then it is always in a second language – a far greater challenge than faced by most NIV readers. Some do have at least the New Testament or a few portions of scripture available in their language and many are fortunate enough to have ongoing Bible translation work in progress but as readers of this blog will know there are still way to many people for whom no work has yet started.

Revising translations is important, languages do change over time and new scholarship can continue to clarify the meaning of the original texts. Read the New NIV and the explanations behind it online and come to your own conclusions as to how much it needed changing.

The fact that 95% of the text is the same should be encouraging. The old version contains the same truths and the same call to love God and love our local and global neighbours – whether they can read the Bible for themselves or not.


1. Jessica Harmon - November 3, 2010

Thank you for posting this!

We get so caught up in our arguments about whether our Bibles should say “man” or “human” (to oversimplify the issue) that we forget about all the people who can’t have that discussion at all. Half the blogs I read this week have been talking about the changes in the NIV, but you’re the first to even mention all the people with one or fewer Bibles.

I’m sure the revision to the NIV was worthwhile, as frozen translations tend to lose meaning, but really, we should be more worried about the people who have no Bible at all. A non-existent Bible communicates a whole lot less than even a 400 year old one.


2. Bible War? The Sequel… « John 20:21 - November 17, 2010

[…] after posting Bible War? How sad… yesterday, I read the opening lines from colleague Peter Brassington‘s post on the latest NIV version entitled Liberated from the […]


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