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New International Version (NIV)

  • Reader Level: Grade 7-8
  • First Published: 1978

The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) has completed their work to update the New International Version of the Bible. The CBT was formed in 1965 to create a modern English Bible translation from the oldest and best-available biblical manuscripts. Since the most recent NIV update in 1984, the CBT has continued to meet every year in accordance with the NIV charter, which demands constant monitoring of developments in Biblical scholarship and English usage and the reflection of these developments in periodic updates to the text.

The 2011 update to the NIV is the latest fruit of this process. By working with input from pastors and Bible scholars, by grappling with the latest discoveries about biblical languages and the biblical world, and by using cutting-edge research on English usage, the Committee on Bible Translation has updated the text to ensure that the New International Version of the Bible remains faithful to Howard Long’s original inspiration.

As a mediating translation, the NIV ranks midway between a literal/formal equivalent translation and a paraphrase/functional equivalent translation.

The New International Version (NIV) is a translation made by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. It was conceived in 1965 when, after several years of study by committees from the Christian Reformed Church and the National Association of Evangelicals, a trans-denominational and international group of scholars met at Palos Heights, Illinois, and agreed on the need for a new translation in contemporary English. Their conclusion was endorsed by a large number of church leaders who met in Chicago in 1966. Responsibility for the version was delegated to a self-governing body of fifteen Biblical scholars, the Committee on Bible Translation; and in 1967, the New York Bible Society (now International Bible Society) generously undertook the financial sponsorship of the project. The translation of each book was assigned to a team of scholars, and the work was thoroughly reviewed and revised at various stages by three separate committees. The Committee submitted the developing version to stylistic consultants who made invaluable suggestions. Samples of the translation were tested for clarity and ease of reading by various groups of people. In short, perhaps no other translation has been made by a more thorough process of review and revision.

The Committee held to certain goals for the NIV: that it be an Accurate, Beautiful, Clear, and Dignified translation suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing, and liturgical use. The translators were united in their commitment to the authority and infallibility of the Bible as God's Word in written form. They agreed that faithful communication of the meaning of the original writers demands frequent modifications in sentence structure (resulting in a "thought-for-thought" translation) and constant regard for the contextual meanings of words.

In 1973 the New Testament was published. The Committee carefully reviewed suggestions for revisions and adopted a number of them, which they incorporated into the first printing of the entire Bible in 1978. Additional changes were made in 1983. A major update to the NIV was released in 2011. Read about about this update in Updating the New International Version of the Bible (PDF).