At their annual summer convention, the Southern Baptists passed a resolution expressing “profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House” for publishing the 2011 New International Version, concluding that “we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.”
The resolution strikes us as divisive, shortsighted, and something that brings us, and no doubt the majority of the Christian community, profound disappointment.
To be fair, the resolution was not brought to the convention by the resolution committee, which wisely determined that the convention did not need to comment on the new translation. The resolution was the work of a single delegate, and only one other person spoke on its behalf. But no one on the convention floor spoke against it, and eyewitnesses say that up to 90 percent of the delegates raised their ballots to signal their approval….
No single translation method can possibly convey with complete accuracy the biblical text. An Italian proverb sums it up well: Traduttore traditore, “The translator is a traitor.” There is, indeed, always something lost in translation. So we need both formal and functional equivalence biblical translations. Formal equivalence translations highlight what the text literally said. Functional equivalent translations highlight how that text was originally heard. Only when we employ these together can we begin to approximate Scripture’s deepest and broadest meaning.
We are convinced that the Southern Baptists want to grasp the deepest and broadest meaning of Scripture. Thus, we strongly encourage them to rethink the resolution and make room for a variety of translations….
Our advice: Don’t do as the Southern Baptists say at their conventions. Do as they do in their bookstores.