Douglas Moo, the Updated NIV and Jesus' Sense of Humor

Last September it was announced that the rather poorly received TNIV translation would be discontinued and that work would begin on an update of the widely regarded NIV translation for release in 2011. As of November 1, 2010, the updated NIV text has been made available online at

Dr. Douglas Moo, the head of the translation committee for the New International Version, introduces the updated translation in the following video:

The press release follows:

The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) is the body of scholars with responsibility for overseeing the text of the New International Version of the Bible.

The Committee was established in 1965, and we continue to meet every year, under the terms of the NIV charter, to monitor developments in biblical scholarship and English usage and to reflect these developments in periodic updates to the text.

The Committee is made up of leading evangelical Bible scholars drawn from various denominations and from some of the finest academic institutions in the world. We are passionate in our pursuit of the NIV’s core philosophy – the desire to mirror, as closely as possible, the reading experience of the original Bible audience. When the books of the Bible were first written, they let people hear exactly what God wanted to say in language that was natural and easy for them to understand. Standing with our predecessors in the work of translating the NIV, this is the experience we strive to reproduce for the Bible readers of our time.

Over at his blog, Darryl Dash had the opportunity to interview Dr. Moo about the updated NIV. Here’s an excerpt:

What are some challenges to being on a Bible Translation committee of which those who have never done it would not be aware?

First, I should say that I consider it to be a tremendous privilege to be on the CBT: my work on the committee is the ministry that I have most enjoyed in the course of my life. Imagine sitting around a table with 14 other scholars talking about the Bible and what it means and how to say it! There are, of course challenges. We don’t always agree and, because we are all passionate about our work and the text, our disagreements can be strong. But in the midst of these debates, there is at base a sense of unity around our common passion and common task.

I’ve been checking out the update and for the most part, it’s very close to the 1984 edition; sadly, they kept one of the TNIV translation decisions that winds up masking Jesus’ sense of humor in Matt 4:19:

ESV: And he said to them [Peter and Andrew, who were fishermen], “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

NIV 2010: “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

It’s a minor thing (bordering on irrelevant), but it’s kind of fun to see Jesus make a pun. :)

That said, I hope that the update will be a blessing to all its readers.


What translation are you using?

If you’re an NIV reader, will you be getting a copy of the updated text?

Sunday Shorts (09/06)

Dr. Albert Mohler on the TNIV Announcement


Dr. Albert Mohler responds to the recently announced discontinuation of the TNIV translation of the Bible:

The controversy over the TNIV divided the evangelical community. Regrettably, in many cases the controversy produced more heat than light. Nevertheless, this was not always the case. This controversy brought strategic attention to crucial questions related, not only to the NIV family of translations, but to the entire project of translating the Bible into the English language. Furthermore, the controversy was directed to very real disagreements about the meaning of gender and language. These are issues of great theological, biblical, pastoral, and moral importance.

Read the full article here.

American Vice: Mapping the 7 Deadly Sins

Just when you thought you’d seen everything, the folks over at Wired actually mapped out the hot spots of the “7 deadly sins.”

It’s actually pretty neat, so check it out.

New Book from Desiring God: The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

From Desiring God:

John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Mark Driscoll, and other leaders from Desiring God’s 2008 national conference examine the life-altering power of our words and their impact in sharing the gospel.

Words carry immeasurable significance: The universe was created with a word; Jesus healed and cast out demons with a word; rulers have risen and fallen by their words; Christians have worshiped through words of song, confession, and preaching. Even in our technological age, politics, education, business, and relationships center on words. Since the tongue is such a powerful force—for good or evil—we are wise to ask: What would homes, churches, schools, even the public square be like if we used words with Christian intentionality and eloquence?

The Power of Words and the Wonder of Godseeks to answer this difficult question. In these chapters, derived from Desiring God’s 2008 national conference, John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, and Mark Driscoll team with worship pastor Bob Kauflin, counselor Paul Tripp, and literature professor Daniel Taylor to help readers harness their tongues and appropriately command their silences for the glory of God and the ministry of the gospel.

In case you missed it

Here  are a few of this week’s notable posts:

Defending Organized Religion: Reviewing Why We Love the ChurchA review of Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck’s latest collaboration, Why We Love the Church

Act Like Men A brief look at Paul’s admonishment to men in 1 Corinthians 16:13, and a stern warning to little boys who wear man-pants

Reading Different TeamsWhy blogger review programs are extremely helpful for developing a more “diverse” palette in reading.

The Surprise End of the TNIV


If you’ve been following the Christian circles of the blogosphere, you’ve no doubt heard that Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society), copyright holders of the NIV and TNIV translations, would discontinue the publication of the TNIV Bible. The TNIV, an update of the bestselling NIV, has been at the center of controversy since it’s release in 2002, for it’s use of gender-inclusive language, among other issues.

Recently, in an article on Christianity Today, Biblica CEO Keith Danby offered the following statements:

“In 1997, IBS announced that it was forgoing all plans to publish an updated NIV following criticism of the NIV inclusive language edition (NIVi) published in the United Kingdom. Quite frankly, some of the criticism was justified and we need to be brutally honest about the mistakes that were made,” Danby said. “We fell short of the trust that was placed in us. We failed to make the case for revisions and we made some important errors in the way we brought the translation to publication. We also underestimated the scale of the public affection for the NIV and failed to communicate the rationale for change in a manner that reflected that affection.”

Douglas Moo, chairman of the Committee for Bible Translation (the body responsible for both the NIV and TNIV), offered some additional comments:

“We felt certainly at the time it was the right thing to do, that the language was moving in that direction,” Moo said. “All that is back on the table as we reevaluate things this year. This has been a time over the last 15 to 20 years in which the issue of the way to handle gender in English has been very much in flux, in process, in development. And things are changing quickly and so we are going to look at all of that again as we produce the 2011 NIV.”

I’ll admit, I was actually quite surprised at this announcement. As I wrote about a couple weeks ago, I used to use the TNIV before switching to the ESV, and I still occasionally refer back to it (and the NIV) when I want to compare against the ESV. I’ve known about some of the controversy surrounding the translation, but I honestly didn’t think it would ever come to the point where the entire thing was scrapped (phased out over the next several years, of course).

What I greatly appreciate about how this debate has concluded is the tremendous amount of humility exhibited.

Both Danby and Moo have admitted that there are important errors in the translation, and therefore it needs to be reevaluated. Danby’s comments, in particular, greatly impressed me. Frankly, if it were me in his position, I don’t know if I have the character it requires to be as forthright as he has been in the short comment above.

It takes a great deal of humility to say, “We made a mistake.”

I think that’s an important lesson for a guy like me.

Second, from what I’ve seen from those who are opposed to the TNIV so far, there’s also a tremendous amount of humility being exhibited in their responses. I have yet to see something with a feel of “We won!” and for that I am truly grateful.

Just as it takes a great deal of humility to admit a mistake, it also requires a great deal to not lord it over those who’ve done so.

So what are your thoughts on this?

Does this announcement come as a surprise?

Does it affect you or your church?

Are you excited/curious to see what the next iteration of the NIV will be?

A Bible with All the Words: How I Learned to Love the ESV

This video caught my attention yesterday and it made me smile.

Piper is a man who is passionate about the Bible. You can tell, if nothing else from the fact that he spent two minutes of his sermon last week, that he really, really loves the words of Scripture. They’re really important. And because every single word is important, it can be argued that we do ourselves a disservice when we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to read them all.

Let me tell you a story about a man named… me.

The first Bible I read for myself was The Message paraphrase (sorry if you just spit something at your monitor). I bought this at the Christian bookstore that is now a board shop down the street from my house in London. And, y’know what? It was really helpful for me. God, in His mercy, saved me through the text of that paraphrase. Neat, huh?

But, I quickly became dillusioned with The Message. Certainly not because it was horrible and evil, but because as I read it, something seemed to be missing. And in September/October of 2005, just a few months after becoming a Christian, I bought… The TNIV. [Read more…]