The NIV 2011: All the Changes

I don’t know if you’ve seen this website, but it incredibly sorts out all differences in the NIV, TNIV, and NIV 2011.

A must-save link


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  • discokvn

    started looking through the genesis changes, and i never understood why the tniv did this either, why is “vault” more comprehensible than “expanse” in the creation account?

    but to your question, i think that’s really helpful…

  • I don’t have the time or for that matter the inclination to try to compare the changes as I did back in 1984. All I might say now is that the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) has don well to try to get this version into a receptor language that is really received and yet true to the original philosophy and goal of the NIV. So all in all, though I myself would wish some TNIV renderings (like “humankind” rather than “mankind”) would have been retained, this is a good and needed move. They wanted to do this years ago for strictly scholarly reasons as well as second thoughts, but the gender issue sidetracked their project. Good to see one NIV again. And in this day of ongoing work and scholarship we need to get used to the reality of ongoing revisions in our Bible translations. Not to mention how English usage changes. Quite a challenge to try to get across the original meaning along with its flavor into any receptor language.

  • AHH

    discokvn #1:
    I suspect it was that “vault” has more of a connotation of solidity to match the Hebrew word, compared to “expanse” which is misleading in sounding like empty space. I wish they had gone with the NRSV “dome” which is clear — but that makes people uncomfortable who want Genesis to be a science text.

  • Jamie

    Hi Scot.

    I have been working on a sermon in 2 Cor 5 and am amazed to see how the NIV2011 has changed v17.

    The NIV formerly translated it as: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
    The new translation is “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

    It would seem that they have taken this verse from a narrow, individual application and created space for it to apply to the entire cosmos! This seems to be an exciting development in helping people understand the breadth of God’s redemptive work.

  • rjs

    I wonder why they changed Gen 2:25 from “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” used in both the NIV 1984 and TNIV to “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”

    Does the Hebrew text really indicate that this is a proper name at this point? If this is the clear consensus – them the change was appropriate. If not it is an editorial decision that will only make it harder to deal with the issues in the lay-church. Big problem.

  • smcknight


    One could translate it: “If anyone is in Christ, New Creation!”

    RJS, that one is definitely disputable. Adam though does refer to a person in the Storyline, the one who was created in Genesis 2.

  • rjs

    Sure adam refers to a person in the story line. I still don’t like making it a proper name when it isn’t clear in the original text. It colors perception of the story.

  • AHH

    William P. Brown in his recent book says categorically:
    ‘Adam in the garden narrative is not a proper name; it most frequently appears with the definite article in Hebrew.
    I guess not everybody agrees with him.
    Brown in making his own translation renders it “the groundling” to reflect the Hebrew wordplay with the word for dirt, dust of the Earth, etc.

    I’m still wondering how they justify “had formed” in Gen. 2:19 when AFAIK the “had” is contrary to Hebrew scholarship but only gets added by those who import the assumption that the order of events can’t appear to disagree with Genesis 1.

    All translation involves interpretation, but it seems like some decisions were made that slant toward a conservative, literalist interpretation of early Genesis. As RJS mentions, this may be an obstacle to constructive science/faith interaction.

    Does anyone know if a commitment to “inerrancy” was a part of the NIV 2011 policy (as I believe it was for the first NIV)?
    I see they kept “virgin” for Isaiah 7:14, but at least they did allow Jesus (Mt. 13:32) to call the mustard “the smallest of all seeds” rather than trying to fudge something scientifically accurate.

  • Greg M

    On 2 Cor 5:17, though I love the recent progress in recognizing the creation-new creation development throughout Scripture, I wonder whether the NIV2011 translation is reading too much into this verse. I think I’d rather make the connection to broader New Creation theology by bringing in other passages and explaining their relevance than by insisting that the broader meaning is present in Paul’s actual argument in the passage.

  • Watchman

    RJS – Adam is Hebrew for “man” so I can see how this can be a proper change.

  • Watchman

    I used to be NIV-positive all of my life, but have recently changed to the scholarly work of the ESV Study Bible. Glad I made the change.

  • I invested the time to go through the eleven pages of translator notes to get a feel for the thinking of the Committee. What I found in a few cases, especially in the section “What Happened to Some of the Most Famous Texts on Gender Roles?”, that there remains a leaning toward an anachristic approach to these texts. I have read extensively much of the scholarship on these passages in recent years. What I find is an over-focus on one or two words, dissected to the point that one cannot tell where one began – then reinjected into the text and ignoring the greater context.

    I understand the Committee’s stated purpose: “The chief goal of every revision to the NIV text is to bring the translation into line both with contemporary biblical
    scholarship and with shifts in English idiom and usage.” In reading through their notes, it seems that the latter has taken precedence over the former. English idiom, with its associate postmodern mentality and worldview, has been given greater priority than the contemporary scholarship.

    Just my opinion, of course. I have long had mixed feelings about the NIV. It was a wonderful tool to me when I first became a Christian and began to read the Bible for the first time. But as my own education and understaning of the original texts grew, I became disheartened by many of the choices made by the Translation Committees over the years.

    Let me give one other example: The NIV repositions the word “God” in Ephesians 2:4, and completely changes the emphasis (and, hence, the meaning): “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy.” The original has ὁ δὲ Θεὸς – “But God”, and the emphasis, I believe, is there for a reason. The NIV has subtly shifted the focus and Paul’s overriding message of the entire passage is at the very least greatly diluted.

  • rjs


    Of course adam is Hebrew for man – hence the use of “The man” in the NIV 1984 and the TNIV – it was translated rather than transliterated.

    When adam is transliterated into English instead of translated into English the translation committee has decided that the bulk of the evidence places the usage as a proper name. I think this is a questionable and unfortunate call in Gen. 2:25.

  • smcknight

    Warren G, do you mean “anachronistic” or “anachristic” (this word I’ve not seen).

  • Randy Gabrielse

    I am greatly disappointed to see the Deuteronomy 6:21 passage in the Shema changed from inclusive to masculine. I will stick with the TNIV as I have used it for years.
    Randy Gabrielse

  • I’d like to know why the change in Genesis 2:25 was made as well. But by and by in the narrative it becomes clear that man is Adam– in Genesis 4:25. The rest of scripture certainly takes man here to refer to a person, Adam. So that I’m not sure what difference this really makes.

    It is interesting that the Adam/man has sexual relations with Eve and bears Cain, and later Adam (no definite article) has relations with her again and they have a child to replace Cain in Eve’s mind.

    So for me I really don’t see how that affects the debate over origins in Genesis. There is no question that an actual man and woman are in the story, whether it is symbolic or not.

  • MattR

    For me, I honestly didn’t get what all the push back was on the TNIV. It’s not necessarily a matter of being ‘PC’ as much as how people actually use language… and it’s moving towards a more gender inclusive reality. And why leave anyone out when the text does not necessitate it? I want the congregation I serve to hear that the Bible applies to both men and women!

    Seemed more like a mishandling on how the publisher introduced it.

    So for me, I use TNIV, like it, and probably will continue as long as I can with it… at least until Zondervan completely erases all memory of that translation 🙂

    Just from the little I’ve seen of the even newer NIV… some of the choices seem random. Either go with the direction of the old NIV, or go forward with the TNIV. Splitting the difference?… not sure if it will totally please anybody at this point.

    So… it might eventually be on to NRSV or something else down the road.

  • Randy Gabrielse

    You hit the nail on the head.
    I can only conclude marketing drove this too.
    Randy Gabrielse

  • MattR @ 17 – I am very much appreciating the new Common English Bible translation sponsored by six mainline denominations but involving translators and consultants from many evangelical circles. The NT came out this fall, and the entire Bible is scheduled for 2011. The CEB has excellent scholarship, is geared for reading aloud, and is gender inclusive. See at

    Scot, any chance of a post on the CEB? As a completely new – from scratch – translation I find it superior to the NIV, ESV or NRSV.

  • Mark, I was open to the CEB as I like some of its renderings and translation philosophy. But after looking at it further, I have some issues with some of its renderings. Sometimes the wording just doesn’t seem to hit the meaning and communication of that meaning right. But I do intend to refer to it. And it can be revised. (Get rid of “Happy” in the Beatitudes, for a start.)

  • Ron Newberry

    Rick Mansfield was right: TNIV best translation no one read.
    Ted #20–I agree with you on CEB. It already needs revision.