Monday, November 01, 2010

New NIV replaces old

The updated NIV is now available. Interestingly enough it seems that the old NIV is not. Of course one will be able to find it all over the web, but if you go to you will find the nNIV is now the 'NIV' on offer whereas the oNIV is nowhere to be seen (at least I couldn't find it).

Can anyone do us a nice electronic comparison of the two texts and tell us the story in numbers?

On the back of the news that the SBL GNT got Mark 1:41 wrong, I'm torn between feelings of indignation and pity to see the same decision has been made in the nNIV: 'Jesus was indignant'. Crazy, when the internal arguments are so overwhelmingly against ...


  1. There's a discussion brewing at the Better Bibles Blog:

  2. The translators notes PDF might also be of interest:

  3. No surprises here. Its just the TNIV rebranded, with a few tweaks.

  4. Michael, would you then say that it is actually a TNIV update?

  5. ... would you then say that it is actually a TNIV update?

    It's definitely a revision of the TNIV, and not a "back to the drawing board" revision of the 1984NIV.

  6. Jamie McDonald11/01/2010 9:27 pm now has both the NIV 2011 and NIV 1984. You can compare them on that site.;NIV1984

  7. Thanks for the info, Jamie. That was a quick change, but perhaps also a harbinger of the fact that the 1984 NIV is going to be hard to replace.

    If I can venture on a prediction, I'd predict that Zondervan will reverse their decision to withdraw and replace the 1984 NIV within 6 months (reserve prediction: 12 months).

  8. I agree with Marlowe that the NIV2011 just seems to be the TNIV rebranded. I just blogged about it.

  9. I disagree with the assessment that NIV2011 is just a rebrand of TNIV. I now have a Word file with complete marked up comparisons between TNIV and NIV2011. I think that basically the scholarly decisions remain as TNIV. I don't know of any text-critical deviations from TNIV (though would be interested to learn of some). However, what clearly has been revised to a considerable degree are decisions relating to gendered language.

    NIV2011 seems to show a greater willingness to use some generic terms ('Let us make mankind in our image' in Gen. 1:26 for TNIV's 'Let us make human beings ...') and to draw back from some of the paraphrases that the TNIV introduced to avoid gendered language.

    The differences may be illustrated by renderings of adelphoi Acts 21:17:

    NIV1984: brothers
    NIV2011: brothers and sisters
    TNIV: believers

    This strikes me as a significant step back in the right direction.

    I can imagine having a serious conversation about the relative merits of translating adelphoi as 'brothers' or as 'brothers and sisters'. However, if someone is intellectually intoxicated enough to translate kinship language as the TNIV did then I might well decide to wait for them to sober up before I had the conversation.

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  11. Yes, "brothers and sisters" is much better than "believers."

  12. I disagree with the assessment that NIV2011 is just a rebrand of TNIV.

    I should have said basically a rebrand of the TNIV. Of course there are changes.

    One change I welcome is the restoration of "Son of God" in Mark 1:1. The TNIV had omitted it. And I notice that the new "SBL" text edited by Holmes also omits it. I don't understand why the omission of this phrase has recently become a trend (the supporting evidence being very weak). Maybe someone could enlighten me?

  13. Here is an article from USA Today dated 1 September 2009 that suggests that the NIV2011 is meant to replace both the NIV1984 and the TNIV. Whether they ended up with the blended version that they hoped for is another story.

  14. I thought you and your readers might find it useful to know that I've just put up some pages that show how similar the NIV2011 is to the NIV1984 and the TNIV. My pages also show each verse where the NIV2011 differs from the NIV1984 or the TNIV in an easily read / clear manner.

    The pages are online @

    I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions if anyone has any. Please either email me or leave a comment on my blog post

    Thank you,

  15. They are quite capable of making some intelligent textual decisions, such as retaining the text at Matt. 15:6 (Aleph/B)
    and Matt. 23:4 (Aleph only), but have still slavishly followed the WH/NA text even in cases of homoioteleuton some 60 times.

    Apparently they are still omitting the obvious "agreement in error" (homoioarcton) at Mark 14:68, as well.

    It remains the blundering embarrassment that the Orwellian 1984 version was, for most readings now identified as ht/ha.

    We have updated our chart of 70 such boners here:

  16. Robert,

    Thank you for these very enlightening tables.

    Can you explain what you meant by:
    "NIV2011 / verse missing / 79 / 0.3%"?

    This sounds to me text-critical, and yet I would be surprised if there really were 79 missing verses (relative to NIV1984) in NIV2011.

    Have I misunderstood something?
    Can you give an example?

  17. PJ,

    Would you be able to share your Word Document with comparisons from NIV to TNIV?

    In my reading of the executive summary of the new NIV, I was quite pleased. Many of the translation changes seem to bring it more in line with a similar philosophy manifested in the ESV. I love the fact they get rid of "sinful nature" and that they are adding in more "for"s in significant places. They are also trying to be more transparent to the text and lean more to ambiguity than certainty when interpretative choices need to be made. And the gender neutrality decisions parallel the ESV or come closer to it than to the TNIV, from what I can see.

    Does anyone else have a similar sentiment, or is everyone just disappointed?

  18. "NIV2011 / verse missing / 79 / 0.3%" is not text-critical. It means that my program which tries to load the NIV2011 failed to do so on 79 verses. This does not mean that the verses do not exist, but rather that my program has a bug in it. You should just ignore that bit of information for the moment. Hopefully over the next few days I will be able to fix the problem with the program and load those verses.

    I'm intending to add some other statistical measures - such as one which indicates something like how many 'word changes' there are rather than the number of verse changes. There are also quite a few bugs to squash, those 79 verses are not loaded correctly, and sometimes the graphical highlighted view of which words are added and removed does not display properly.

  19. Sorry, I should say - RobHu and Robert Slowley are both me :-)

  20. Biblegateway still has all three versions of the NIV available.

    The old NIV is called NIV1984 now. You can compare them in columns here.

  21. There were other versions of the NIV: two of the NT only, and the 1978 whole Bible.

  22. I've significantly updated my NIV2011 comparison pages. I've improved the wording, fixed the colouring in of changes (and made it clearer), made some of the tables clearer, fixed some mistakes that made some of my numbers slightly off, and have added more explanatory text.

    Perhaps the biggest additions though are these two new pages:

    Top 250 added / removed words:

    Top 250 most changed verses:

    You can also look at the details of the changes within a book (this was always there, but some people didn't realise), e.g.

    The start page itself can be found @

    It's also worth knowing that John Dyer has made a series of similar (excellent) pages:


  23. Robert Slowley,

    There's a flaw in the computer-generated comparison: some of the most drastic changes which are presented as changes in the content of verses are, instead, changes in verse-numbering. Their inclusion will wreak havoc with your calculations of percentages of changes.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  24. I've just updated it again. The measure used for how different a verse is has been improved, and you can now see every instance of when a word has been added / removed.

    For instance here is the list of every time the word 'humankind' has been added or removed when going from the TNIV to the NIV2011:

    The full list of changed words can be found here:


  25. Hi James,

    Thanks for your comment. I'm aware of that issue, but I believe it only affects a very small number of the verses so I have focussed on other fixes up until now. I should get those mistakes fixed by tomorrow.


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  27. (try again with the right reference)

    Here's a good example to show that it was not the 1984 NIV that was revised, but the 2005 TNIV:

    Luke 12:45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the men and women servants and to eat and drink and get drunk.

    Luke 12:45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and womanservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.

    Luke 12:45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.

    TNIV, 2011
    Luke 12:45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk.

  28. My computer generated comparison of the NIV2011 with the TNIV and NIV1984 has had many major updates:

    1. Greek text - now includes the SBLGNT with apparatus

    2. Hebrew text - HBS text included (experimental)

    3. Most changed verses list compared with both TNIV and NIV1984:

    4. List of (possible) proper noun changes:

    5. List of word changes relevant to the gender language debate:

    6. List of all words in text (warning: page is very large)

    Plus many many bug fixes, improvements in presentation, and other minor fixes.


  29. The NIV2011 is very close to the TNIV - but it's not the same thing. There's a very informative chart I found on a blog that compares the new NIV to the TNIV and the 1984NIV. It shows that the New Testament is an average of 1.55% different from the TNIV. It's not much, but it's definitely different. I can't imagine there would be much change from 2004 to 2011, (or whenever the TNIV came out).

    That said, both the TNIV and the NIV 1984 are still on - they are just at the bottom of the English section of the list.