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Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Craigbythesea, Jun 8, 2004.
The NIV, how reliable is it for Bible study? A thread for non-KJO’s, PLEASE!
I'm interested in comments here, too. But I can make a forecast based on other discussions
1) People "in the know" will like the NAS better.
2) Not as "word-for-word" accurate as the NAS
3) People will critique its "thought-for-thought" method of translation.
Personally, I like the NIV, and use it when I preach at my church. For sermons in our association or at multi-church functions, I use the KJV.
IMO, much of the NIV is very useful in that it brings the "sense" of the Scripture into the realm of our present time and culture.
OTH, In my limited judgment it often seems to go beyond the boundaries of legitimate dynamic equivalence (DE) into questionable interpretation (QE).
In my view DE must live up to its name. The translation must be both equivalent to the original language but dynamic and understandable to the reader in his time and culture.
Understandably this is easier to say than to do and very subjective.
I think the NIV is a good translation. It is not my favorite for preaching, though I do enjoy reading it. It is, IMO, too loose with some of its translations. It could do a better job in many areas. Having said that however, it can be used with confidence ...
Sometime compare Amos 4:4. In the NIV it does not line up with either the MT of LXX. I believe they have taken interpretation liberties instead of using what is actually written in the text to interpret from.
The NIV, how reliable is it for Bible study?
Studied by itself, without other translations to compare it with? Not particularly reliable. But then again, neither is any other one English version.
However, on those occasions when I have done a detailed parallel study of multiple versions, identified "problem" areas for the translators, researched its background, and consulted commentaries for exegesis, then the NIV usually comes out of it looking pretty good.
What are you complaining about in Amos 4:4? I assume it is the translation of "yamim" as "years" rather than "days." Yamim is the plural of "yom" which means "day." The KJV translates Amos 4:4 essentially the same as the NIV. The others differ.
In Exod 13:10; Joud 11:40; and 1 Same 1:3, the same word is translated as "years." So "years" is an acceptable meaning of "yamim" and either "three days" or "three years" is an interpretive choice. The law dictated certain tithes every three years (Deut 14:28), which would make sense here in calling for a return to the Law. On the other hand, a daily sacrifice was more than the Law required, possibly indicating that the tithing was also to be more than the Law indicated, leading to "three days." In the end, either is possible. There is no great problem here.
The NIV has its "gray areas", same as any other translation. Thus, I do NOT limit myself to using only one translation. If MY LORD isn't thus limited, why should I be?
Being an owner and reader of several translations, including Greek and Hebrew source texts, the NIV is generally a very good translation. You can typically get the author's intent when reading the NIV. Also, the NIV utilizes footnotes abundantly, and as such, their inclusive material is copious. For example, if there is a discrepancy between two source texts, the NIV will tell you what those discrepancies are, in detail. This makes it a very effective tool for layman's bible study.
And the NIV Study Bible is one of the very best resources a person can get. I enjoy the NIV for "easy reading". Most of it is reasonably translated from the Hebrew/Greek and not "evil".
Although Dr. Wallace and I are not in agreement regarding some matters pertaining to the Greek New Testament, I am including in this post some words that he spoke at Lancaster Bible College in March, 2001, about the NIV; but first a further note about Dr. Wallace:
Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level at Dallas Theological Seminary since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater. His Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan, 1996) has become a standard textbook in colleges and seminaries. He is the senior New Testament editor of the NET Bible. His email address is available at www.bible.org/email.asp.
And now his comments about the NIV:
The New International Version (1973, 1978)
Like the NASB, this is another evangelical reaction to the RSV.
• Although 100 scholars from many denominations and three countries worked on it, it is largely an American effort.
• First major American translation not in the KJV tradition.
• Highly readable, but hardly elegant.
• By 1995, outsold KJV. #1 book in the world. Over 100 million sold.
• Readability seems to have been a higher priority than anything else. Creates shorter sentences, but the continuity of thought is often lost. Example: 1 Peter 5.6-7: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” … [explain ‘cast’ is a participle—it explains how to humble ourselves, by casting our cares. Not two separate ideas, but totally connected. To humble yourself before God is not a negative act; you do it positively by giving him your troubles!
• 100 scholars worked on this—that’s too many. Not all well-qualified. I do not know how their opinions were weighed, but with this many scholars it seems that the lowest common denominator could reign in several places. That is, if this was done by a democratic process at all, the translation would often have the least undesirable reading rather than the most desirable to some. Democracy is a great leveler of elegance, exchanging great literature for mundane clarity.
• It is so readable that it has no memorable expressions, nothing that lingers in the mind. This is a serious problem for the NIV that is not always acknowledged.
Source: The History of the English Bible
Part IV: Why So Many Versions?
Daniel B. Wallace, Ph.D.
March 19-21, 2001
Editor’s note: This is the fourth part of a four-part series of lectures that were delivered at Lancaster Bible College in March, 2001, for the Staley Bible Lectureship.
I have a NIV Study Bible and use it fairly often. Like others before me have said, there is no one perfect translation, so a comparison of several is advantageous.
The NIV was the first Bible version I read cover-to-cover. I appreciate its readability. But,
I have to agree with this. I find the formal translations (ie KJV, NASB, ESV, etc) 'force' me to slow down as I read. This is a good thing, for me anyway.
I have 2 questions regarding the NIV Study Bible. I have a plain jane NIV and a Thompsons NIV. I have a couple of KJV study Bible namely the New Scofield & the KJ Study Bible. Now I've used the Scofield for years but have found I like the KJ Study Bible even better to my surprise. Now my question is How much light does the NIV Study Bible lend to the study of the Bible?
Hey, I'm listening to those lectures right now. Indeed, I will be listening to the fourth part, tonight!
As I have said before, I am strongly opposed to the NIV. My reasons though have to do with translation theories and not the underlying text.
Now my question is How much light does the NIV Study Bible lend to the study of the Bible?
A great deal. It's no substitute for a good scholarly commentary, of course, but the notes are extensive, and provide a lot of useful information that sheds light on a casual reading of the Bible.
If you're not a big fan of the NIV, there are editions available for NASB and KJV as well. Perhaps other versions by now.
I dislike both the underlying text and the translational philosophy. But the NIV Study Bible notes are the very best I have ever seen. I was quite pleased when they came out with the KJV Study Bible which included the study notes from the NIV Study Bible. Now I would like to see an NKJV with the same notes. Or even a MKJV.
The problem I have with the NIV, as others have alluded to, can best be summarized by a comment a former pastor friend of mine made when responding to a reading from the NIV at a Bible study: "Is this translation or is it interpretation?"
The problem I have with the NIV is that it's hard for me to know which is which.
The NIV Study Bible (Zondervan) is the most extensive Study Bible made. I considered several, but ended up on the Zondervan. If there are different popular views on interpretations of scripture, they list each of them. It's not like Ryrie or Scofield where only one scholar wrote the notes...
I have both the NIV Study Bible and the NASB Study Bible, which uses the same notes as the NIV Study Bible. Best purchases I've made, by far! The NASB Study Bible is my main Bible.