TNIV – Where have all the bibles gone?

Robert Jimenez has blogged on the latest report on English Bible sales at Christian bookstores:

He wonders where TNIV Bibles can be purchased:

I have gone to 4 major Christian bookstores and have been unsuccessful in finding a TNIV. Only one out of 4 of the Christian bookstores that I went to carried the TNIV. Borders and Barns n’ Noble carried the TNIV, but I was only able to find just one or two copies. NIV is easy to find, as a matter a fact at one Christian bookstore they had 8 shelves of NIV bibles to choose from, in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles. TNIV is a great translation, and most experts will say that it is even better than the NIV. Why is not available at Christian Bookstores?

He adds:

This is disturbing news. Will the TNIV fall away because no one carries it? Or will it survive due to a grassroots movement? Zondervan does not seem to be pushing or properly marketing the TNIV as it’s main bible and continues to offer new and great products for NIV, but not TNIV.

Robert noted two surprises among the sales figures:

The bible that I thought would fade away was the HCSB, but looking at both Dollar/Unit sales it appears to be doing excellent. It is holding both 2, and 3 positions.

The other interesting point was the drop for the ESV bible, down to 6th in both places. Other points of interest were Study or Specialty Bibles.  Wesley Study Bible (NRS) number two spot and it was just released in Feb. 2009?  I thought the ESV Study Bible was the number one best seller it comes in 9th place?  See for yourself who holds the number one spot, yet again another surprise.  For the full reports go to CBA Best Sellers List.

Finally, he asks:

Based on what they say on their website they are only tracking sales at Christ[ia]n Book stores.  So these charts do not give us a proper indication of true Dollars/Units sales.  It does not take into account sales from Amazon, or bookstores such as Borders.  I just wonder how much it would change if it did?

What answer might you give to Robert?

66 thoughts on “TNIV – Where have all the bibles gone?

  1. Jake says:

    My first guess about the HCSB was the study Bibles. The illustrated study bible seems to be marketed a lot by Lifeway right now and it is the cheapest one you can buy of it’s kind. Plus there are two more HCSB study Bibles in the top ten study Bibles you can easily see.

  2. Theophrastus says:

    I argue that extrapolating Bibles sales based on CBA sales figures is flawed, because small bookstore sales are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, the number of CBA stores that have closed in the last twelve months is a bit breathtaking. (Where to buy a TNIV? No problem — Amazon has all the TNIV Bibles you will want. Better buy them now, before it goes out of print, because of lack of support from Zondervan.)

    The TNIV, I suspect, only got into the rating list based on high sales of an interesting audio book called The Bible Experience, which featured an all African-American cast.

    Even the TNIV’s supporters have seemed to have lost energy (notice that the posting frequency on tnivtruth has dropped to almost zero.)

    HCSB, being tied to a major denomination and CBA chain has a natural advantage in these numbers (and I would argue that its position is likely inflated as a result.)

    The real surprise to me is how the NRSV has come back roaring in these charts — it has consistently been in the top 10 for the last few months — it was not that long ago that I would read reader comments in this blog claiming that the NRSV’s time had passed.

  3. Robert Jimenez says:

    Well I am baffled. I know that I can purchase TNIV at Amazon, but I wanted to hold and evaluate the bible which I can’t do at Amazon. I think that it is sad that I Christian Bookstores do not carry the TNIV out here in California.

    There is a chain out here called LightHouse and they were the only ones that had a few. Family Christian Booksstores did not, and neither does Calvary Chapel bookstore (Downey, Ca), nor In Christ Books (but they cater to BIOLA university).

  4. matt morales says:

    I have seen quite few TNIV bibles stocked in our local Family Christian Bookstore (as of a month ago). Of course the NIV blows all the translations away as far as numbers go. Maybe Zondervan simply sees the NIV as their “bread n butter” and are just letting the TNIV run its course (It is nice to know that we live in a time when a “mediating translation” can take first place on the charts). It would be interesting to see marketing and sales history for the NIV when is first came out.

    If I were to answer the question I would not have anything positive to say. I like the TNIV, but it lacks a good reputation with a lot of “big name” people. This trickles down to the local church and it seems that every time I use my TNIV around people I get questioned about its integrity (this is in Nor. California).

    It seems that the ESV is maintaining standing…also in my experience the ESV seems to being slowly gaining ground. I imagine this is because of Crossway’s success in marketing the ESV. I originally bought an ESV just because of the reputation it had but after reading it I was struck with the feeling that there was just a little too much hype. I called Crossway a few weeks ago to see if they had be considering an overhaul of the ESV…said there are no plans to drastically change anything in the ESV.

  5. Stan McCullars says:

    Sad. It’s so sad. Zondervan is wimping out. Many Christian bookstores are wimping out.

    I went to a large Christian bookstore (in the Orlando area) looking for a TNIV Reference Bible. They had every imaginable translation but I couldn’t find a TNIV. I inquired of the manager and he told me quietly that they didn’t carry the TNIV but he could order one for me. It felt like I was shopping for porn or something so I left. I haven’t been able to find them at any of the other Christian bookstores around here either.

    The big name anti-TNIV folks aren’t helping either.

  6. danny says:

    I think the HCSB is doing well because it has the backing of one of the largest denominations in America (the SBC). The TNIV isn’t doing as well because the anti-TNIV campaign has been quite successful, unfortunately.

  7. Sue says:

    I notice someone recently commented on my interview with Jim Packer three years ago now, where he said,

    “The scholars of the TNIV are extremely learned men. They are my colleagues here, you know.”

    Around here Fee and Waltke are known as Biblical lgs scholars and Packer is not. I am very disappointed with Packer’s behaviour in this regard.

  8. Louis McBride says:

    As the Bible buyer for our bookstore (Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan)I can testify that we carry virtually everything Zondervan publishes in the TNIV. We also get calls from all over the country for orders that should be filled by local Christian bookstores. When I ask if there isn’t a local store available the answer is almost always the same, “They don’t carry anything I want. And they say they can’t order it.” It’s the last line that always gets me. They can’t order it! Why not? No wonder so many are going out of business. What exactly are they selling? We are proud of our selection of Bibles (over 1500 in stock) and our customers always comment on how nice it is to have what they are looking for (although for some it can be intimidating). I know from talking to people at Zondervan that they are serious about getting behind the TNIV so I wouldn’t give up on them yet.

  9. Daniel says:

    Zondervan have done an absolutely terrible job at marketing the TNIV. All marketing suggests that it is not a translation to be taken seriously. They have made it appear as a translation exclusively for teens or brand new bible readers. Zondervan obviously don’t believe that a great translation has been produced.

  10. R. Mansfield says:

    I’m teaching from the TNIV on Sundays and using the NLT during the week with my college classes. While I often come across someone carrying a copy of the NLT, in three years since I started using the TNIV, I’ve yet to come across anyone in the same physical setting also using it.

    I had hoped that Zondervan would make some changes in their strategies, but with the economy like it is, I doubt they are going to stop promoting the NIV any time soon.

    If the TNIV survives at all (and I really think that’s iffy to be honest), I believe it will have to be relaunched, in a revised form, and perhaps even with a different name.

    And IBS is too closely linked with Zondervan for anything to change, but I believe that the TNIV needs a new primary US distributor.

    The TNIV will go down clearly as the best translation no one read.

  11. R. Mansfield says:

    One more thing…

    Go back and read my “open letter” from two years ago that I wrote to Zondervan and IBS:

    IBS never responded at all. Zondervan actually flew me up to Grand Rapids in response to that letter to meet with marketers and editors. I still have no doubt that the people I met with were truly sincere about their support of the TNIV. But the beancounters seem to have the final say about what gets published and what gets marketed. And my guess is that they aren’t concerned with long term results, but merely this year’s results. Thus, the NIV remains top priority while the TNIV languishes.

    If you take the time to read that open letter, ask yourself how much has changed. Yes, there has been some change (the TNIV Reference Bible as a “professional edition” of the TNIV being one example), but much of the rest of the problems remain.

    My blog is on hiatus mainly because of certain time constraints I’m under right now. But I’d challenge one of you to write a follow up post to my open letter, taking note of where things are today, two years later.

    Zondervan created a really nice website at, but like the last website, the new one is now neglected, too. It has broken links, missing images, and new products that were never added to it.

    If anyone wants to write a two year update to my open letter, you have my blessing.

  12. Clay Knick says:

    For all the good in the TNIV it has simply not caught on
    with Evangelicals like the NIV did-and continues to do
    so. Many who used the NIV have not found it necessary
    to switch. They are sticking with what they’ve got
    and since it sells and sells Zondervan will not give up
    on it. I also think the TNIV started poorly with awful
    print, tiny print, odd looking covers and editions and
    of course the mess caused by Grudem and company. There is
    hardly an edition I can recommend with enthusiasm. I gave
    my TNIV Ref. Bible to our youth director. It was too
    big, bulky. They need a standard size bible. I doubt
    if we’ll get it. I use the TNIV, but still keep my NIV
    close by. Almost all of my preaching/teaching comes from
    the NRSV, but I keep the NIV/TNIV close by.

  13. BA says:

    not counting sales from amazon and other sources seriously skews the “real” sales figures 🙂

    I am not surprised the HCSB is gaining ground, I personally like it quite a bit.


  14. Theophrastus says:

    Zondervan has always been a for-profit corporation — since it was acquired by the News (Murdoch) empire, pressure has only increased on it. It simply does not have the patience to market something complex like a Bible translation at this point — much less the ability to build a groundswell for a translation. Murdoch has shown amply demonstrated that he is perfectly willing to dismiss employees who cannot deliver sufficiently high profits. Zondervan doesn’t have time or money to market the TNIV at this point — it needs a blockbuster — another Purpose-filled Life.

    And why should Zondervan market the TNIV? There is no other “youth Bible” in the top 10, and the NIV has a lock on a big fraction of Bible sales. Marketing the TNIV probably cannibalizes Zondervan’s profits from the NIV. And, since the IBS bore the costs of the TNIV revision, it really has little to lose by not supporting the translation.

    In contrast, Crossway has been masterly at Internet marketing (pun intended). The ESV translation, which is, in the end, simply a relatively minor translation of the RSV was produced in no time at all and without needing any particular scholarly expertise in Biblical languages (explaining Sue’s paradoxical remark above.) And, by subtly marketing the ESV as the “Reformed” and “Presbyterian” translation, they have a big built-in market.

    Tyndale also “gets it” when it comes to Bible marketing in the Internet age — marketing their work both as “easy-to-read” but also as “respectable and serious.”

    In the end, I think that many Bible readers will want to read a translation that is either used by their local church or by Bible study materials keyed to the work. This is why the vast majority of best-selling translations are keyed to older translations: KJV (1611), RV (1960), NASB (base version 1971), NIV (1978), NKJV (1982), NRSV (1989). Even some of the new translations are not spring chickens: the NLT dates to 1996 and the ESV, as mentioned, is a minor revision of the RSV (base version 1952). And their respective publishers have been active in producing study materials based on the NLT, ESV, and HCSB.

    But not the TNIV. I can count on one hand the scholarly works I know that use the TNIV. I don’t know of a church that actually uses it as a pew Bible. In fact, the only innovative thing I’ve seen done with the TNIV is the African-American-casted audio Bible Experience — and my understanding is that was an independent effort that simply contracted with Zondervan.

    Now, in a sense, this does not matter — after all, we don’t need the books we like to be popular — it is merely sufficient that we have access to the books we like. Popularity is hardly equivalent to excellence. However, I think Rick is right: next time IBS produces a translation, it should look for a new American distributor.

  15. Dan says:

    Zondervan was huge with the NIV because they HAD to be. When IBS ran out of money translating what became the NIV, Zondervan stepped up with major dollars and then marketed it like crazy to recoup their investment. That’s the long and short of it.

    Then, they take the time and effort to update the NIV, but run into the Dobson, Reform machine, and POOF… it’s almost gone. No marketing. No muscle.

    Believe me, Zondervan can use the internet and any other marketing machine available as effectively as Tyndale and Crossway. If they truly wanted to push and have the TNIV gain market share, they would do it.

    Sadly, as a pastor and teacher, my longing has been for a wide margin study Bible in a good translation. The TNIV was winning me over. Now, not so much.

    The NRSV just came out with the Notetaker’s Bible with Apocrypha. While the font is small, the size of the Bible is very nice and those wide margins called out to me. I bit on it and am now using it. While I am still using the TNIV for public reading, when I pick up two classes for teaching in the fall, I will be using my NRSV. Eventually, we will probably drift away from the TNIV for public reading in my church, just as Zondervan has drifted away from it.

  16. Billy says:

    FWIW Amazon Sales Rank, unforntunately we don’t know numbers or dollar sales

    The ESV Study Bible is the number 1 selling Bible at #652

    Followed by

    The Life Application Study Bible NIV #1,586

    The Message #4,031

    Zondervan NIV Study Bible: Updated Edition #4,861

    NIV Gift Bible #4,997

    Life Application Study Bible NLT #5,153

    The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language #5,420

    The Chronological Study Bible: New King James Version #5,864

    The Everyday Life Bible: The Power of God’s Word for Everyday Living
    by Joyce Meyer # 6,264 (Amplified Version, Study Bible I Believe)

    Its interesting that most of these are Study Bibles, I don’t know if thats good or bad, i.e., people are interested in studying the the Bible, VS people need someone to tell them what the Bible says. Also, I personally like the idea that two versions of the Message appear on the list.

    I gave up the cut and paste, you can view it for yourself. I did not include Kindle versions in the Ranks but Amazon did. Also FWIW , the TNIV Study Bible was ranked #376,508. I would guess that there is no straight line relationship between these ranks and that one or two sales could make a big difference. The KJV and NIV continue to show up in the ranks and I couldn’t figure out how to adjust for that.

    I don’t know what this means, but I would have to guess the Amazon will continue to have a major impact on book sales in general, especially in light of our “new” “economy”, for example Amazon sells the ESV Study Bible for $31.49 free shipping and no sales tax, here at least, vs a list price of $49.95, that would/could make a difference to many people as to where they buy their Bibles. Many uncouth folks go to their local Barnes and Noble to check out stuff then end up buying from Amazon.

  17. Billy says:

    Jay, I guess I must be slow, I don’t understand your point, so please explain it to me slowly

  18. docdeer says:

    In the spirit of openness, I am not a huge fan of the TNIV. With that said, I think there are a couple of reasons why it hasn’t caught on. For one, many in the more conservative branches of the evangelical community have reservations about it. Some of this may go back to Zondervan’s handling of the translation from the outset. Second, I tend to think that a good portion of the TNIV’s potential audience currently reads the NIV, and they don’t sense the need to change. Third, if current NIV readers do change, it seems like they are heading to the ESV, HCSB or the NLT (depending on which interpretative direction they want to go). Finally, in regard to the HCSB, I wonder how much of its spike has to do with the Fireproof study material (which is B&H Publishing as well).

  19. David Ker says:

    Thanks for a fresh take on this topic. What do you think will be the result of Zondervan’s purchase of Bible Gateway? I assume it isn’t making a profit at this point and that they intend to monetize it in some way.

  20. Sue says:


    Dr. Packer is “the” big name theologian who has signed the statement of concern against the TNIV. My former pastor, who was himself a committed complementarian, was quite aware that technically Packer’s signature on this document was a shame to our congregation, of which Packer is a member.

    Since the pastor himself was unwilling to ask Packer to remove his signature, he asked me if I could do this. In order to find out I interviewed Packer to find out his reason for signing the document.

    Packer’s only reason was that the change in favour of gender accurate terms was a response to culture, and therefore should be protested. Packer ended up saying that he would recommend the NLT over the TNIV, making it clear that he had no foundational basis to disagree with gender accurate language.

    Packer then said,

    “The scholars of the TNIV are extremely learned men. They are my colleagues here, you know.”

    So he had no reason for signing the statement against the TNIV except that it was marketed as responding to culture. This complaint would apply to any translation of the Bible, that it was a response to culture.

    After this I left that church, and the concepts of “church” and “Christian” have both been thrown into doubt for me. Boys in a sandbox. Packer, the minister, the men on the committee who chose a translation for that church. It is an exemplary church.

  21. Jay Wermuth says:

    Unfortunately I found the same thing in my area (Virginia Beach). I went to every major Christian retailer in the area from Lifeway (I knew what I’d find here, but I had to look) to Family Christian Stores and none of them sold the TNIV. I asked the clerk at Lifeway if they had any TNIV bibles and he sternly told me they they don’t sell that translation in their store. I was certainly shocked by the lack of TNIV Bibles at local Christian stores, esp. at Family Christian but fortunately I found what I was looking for at Barnes and Noble. I ended up writing a letter to Lifeway and received the expected response from one of their representatives. Now that I have adopted the TNIV as my primary translation I am worried that I will be alone. I have started my own marketing campaign (woed of mouth)at my seminary to try to get the good word out about this very good translation and I have had some success at changing the minds of some of my classmates, but I hope Zondervan will do the work to back up these efforts.

  22. Robert Jimenez says:

    Jay, I just received my Lifeway catalog, and the main bible being advertise was the NIV. I think I only saw one copy of the HCSB, no TNIV, or ESV for that matter. Go figure.

  23. Robert Jimenez says:

    Jay, just one other thing. I am also doing word of mouth. My pastor is preaching out of the TNIV as his primary bible, and I am also teaching from it at our Bible Institute.

  24. Jay Wermuth says:

    Robert, I think the only way the TNIV is going to grow is for those that read it to tell other why. I have been searching for a bible translation that I could enjoy for years, and each one I tried fell far short (especially after I started seminary and took Greek!). The TNIV is the first translation I have read that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and that even when I have disagreed with a translation decision, there is always an explanation that is satisfactory. The other translations I have tried thus far (NIV, NASB, NRSV, ESV among others)have all disappointed me. It brought me great joy when I found this and many other blogs that felt that same way that I do about this translation! I have written Zondervan a few times with suggestions as many have probably done, and to my surprise they actually updated the website and fixed the dead links a couple weeks after my initial e-mail! Now if they would get with the times and start a blog, AN IPHONE VERSION!, a Facebook group – anything that will get peoples attention, we will be in business. I am not giving up on this translation, and I hope that Zondervan won’t either.

  25. Jay Wermuth says:

    BA, this is surely interesting news. I have to admit I bought one when it first came out and it is beautiful, but the translation that surrounded all of the gorgeous maps and interesting notes drove me nuts! I couldn’t take the choppy english and the last straw for me was the “at table” statements in the gospels! At table? I’m sorry, I cant answer my phone right night, I’m at table supping with my kinsfellows…

    Good for the ESV Study Bible team! Not great for sales of the TNIV. I would LOVE if Zondervan would develop a study bible of the quality found in the ESV study bible. I was just reading my TNIV study bible tonight and had to go from footnote to footnote to get an answer. Ugh…

  26. Jim Swindle says:

    I find it interesting that the ads for LifeWay Stores repeatedly push other translations much more than the HCSB, even though both LifeWay and the HSCB are owned by the Southern Baptist Convention. The latest ad shows perhaps 10 or 12 Bibles. It has only one edition of the HCSB: the Apologetics Study Bible. The rest are other translations (mostly NIV). My guess is that the HCSB sales are based on the following:
    1. Over-all, it’s an excellent translation.
    2. It’s used in LifeWay Sunday School literature.
    3. It’s displayed prominently in the LifeWay Stores, which are some of the larger Christian bookstores.

    If the numbers were for Bible sales at Barnes & Noble or Amazon or Wal-Mart, the relative positions of the translations would be different, and the HCSB would surely be lower on the list.

  27. Jay Wermuth says:

    Thanks ElShaddai, I searched for one but could not find it. I was lost but now I am found!

  28. Woody says:

    RE: lack of “big names” supporting the TNIV: Andy Stanley, John Ortberg, Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, Rob Bell…how much bigger should we get? Many key seminary people as well.

  29. Wayne Leman says:

    Although the Christian public is highly influenced by “big name” endorsements, I don’t think that these endorsements are the best indication of the quality of a Bible translation. There are “big name” preachers and some seminary professors who have campaigned against the TNIV. And there are some who endorse the TNIV.

    Many, perhaps most, of those who opposed the TNIV are not Bible scholars. Even John Piper, although a fine preacher, is not a Bible scholar. There is greater support for the TNIV among those who understand Bible translation issues well and approach these issues in a scholarly way, while remaining true to the same conservative theological beliefs they share with the “big name” preachers and theologians.

  30. Theophrastus says:

    I can only presume that Zondervan plans to make it into a Zondervan-advertising based site, along the lines of Crossway’s similar site promoting the ESV. It is a little hard for me to believe that Zondervan will make it a subscription-based site.

    However, I suspect the costs required to maintain the Biblegateway site are quite minimal. Neither do I suspect that it detracts from Bible sales; to the contrary, I think it helps Bible sales.

  31. Trierr says:

    I really wanted to use the TNIV. I bought one because I figured any Bible that the evangelical alpha-males disliked so much had to be good. But just like the NIV, which for some reason I never could get into, the TNIV just didn’t captivate me. It seems that it fits somewhere between NRSV and NLT (my two preferred translations) but offers nothing that they don’t do better. So maybe, TNIV-bashers not withstanding, the translation just doesn’t have a niche. Not as literal as the NRSV and not as good to read outloud as the NLT.

  32. Robert Jimenez says:


    I know that so much of how what we like is based on our opinions. I felt the same way about the NIV, and even felt that way about the TNIV. But I stuck with it and kept reading for a couple of months. Honestly, it won me over. The problem that I find for me personally, is that I am use to how a bible should sound. I think that people can appreciate the NLT because in many ways it is very different, so it that sense I think it is easier to accept. But when the TNIV sort of sounds like the ESV, or NRSV but not the same I think it messes with our mind.

    Anyhow, just thought I would offer my thoughts, and encourage to try again.

  33. Wayne Leman says:

    Piper does have a doctoral degree in New Testament studies, and has taught in seminary. Why isn’t he a scholar?

    I guess I should have been more specific. I don’t think that Dr. Piper has not presented technical papers at conferences about his scholarly research. And, in particular, I am thinking about scholarship which impacts Bible translation issues. I don’t believe he has used his doctorate to do scholarly research on Bible translation issues. I think his gifting is more in the area of preaching, and he is a good preacher. Perhaps he is a homiletical scholar. There have been a few, such as Broadus and one more recently, whose name flees me at the moment.

  34. Tom Schuckman says:

    I write a Christian based Journal and hope that I can get your help so I can receive you blog posts all the time. Could you put me on your mailing list, please. My wife and I are both born again Christians and Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.
    Thank you.

    Tom Schuckman
    Union Grove, WI
    Disabled Vietnam Veteran: 68-70
    Jesus is Lord.

  35. jadambyrd says:

    On a side-note, as a Southern Baptist pastor, I can assure you that not all ministers in the SBC are promoting the HCSB. Our congregation has adopted the ESV due to its relatively modern wording, yet it is very easily read along side the KJV.

  36. Terry Thomas says:

    Well I personally have been using the HCSB for a little over two years now. I will admit to bouncing back and forth between it and a couple others but have finally settled on the HCSB. I had used the NIV since 1980 before moving to the HCSB.

    It is true that Lifeway and Holman have done an absolutely terrible job of marketing this version. The spike in sales is because of an increasing “word of mouth” movement for the translation, it is not their marketing or the fact that their is a major denomination behind it. I attend a fairly large SBC church and only about 4 of us carry the HCSB.

    Al Mohler recently gave the translation a plug when he spoke about study bibles and endorsed both the translation and the Apologetics Study Bible – that may be helping in the spike as well.

    As far as the ESV goes, I know there are a lot of folks who speak of its “readability” but I have to say, there are quit a large number of odd word choices and less than normal sentence structures (Yoda speak)in the ESV that you will not find in the HCSB or NIV/TNIV. Not very readable I think.

    For his glory,

  37. Wayne Leman says:

    Or they could call it NIVu, parallel to NASBU for the updated NASB. I am getting a call from Zondervan today asking for my suggestions for how they can increase sales of the TNIV. One of my suggestions is to re-brand it as NIVu. Another is to re-brand it with a totally different name since the title TNIV is not trusted by so many people now, thanks to the campaign against it.

  38. ElShaddai Edwards says:

    Wayne – I’m glad to hear that Zondervan is open to feedback. I agree completely with your suggestion – the heart of the criticism of the TNIV is that the updates were motivated by the relativism of contemporary culture. Using the “T” in TNIV, e.g “Today’s”, only fueled this criticism. They would have been better served to use the “u” as you mention, call it the NIV 2nd Edition, i.e. the NLT, the “Revised International Version” or even the RNIV. As much as we hate acronym soup, at least we understand it.

    All that said, if they truly just want to sell more TNIVs, then they would remove whatever textual updates are objectionable to their NIV base of pastors, keep the rest, and sell it as the NIVu, removing the older version from the marketplace as much as possible. The last point is the most important.

  39. R. Mansfield says:

    However, it’s not up to Zondervan to change the content of the TNIV. That would be the role of the TNIV Committee on Bible Translation.

    Regardless, I don’t believe that so called “objectionable content” has been what has held the TNIV back. There are other translations with the same kind of content that sell quite well. Besides the political attacks on the TNIV, the TNIV has been held back by a publisher that to this day had been unwilling to properly transition to it as a flagship version and promote it accordingly.

    In the big picture, the problem is not with the TNIV; the problem is with Zondervan.

  40. Jay Davis says:

    As an avid user of the TNIV I think the following is dead on:

    “…held back by a publisher that to this day had been unwilling to properly transition to it as a flagship version and promote it accordingly.

    In the big picture, the problem is not with the TNIV; the problem is with Zondervan.”

  41. ElShaddai Edwards says:

    First, thank you for the correction on Zondervan vs. CBT.

    I guess I was looking at the issue from the perspective of “church authority” in generating Bible sales vs. individual choice. I was trying to think about what it would take for churches like mine, which have standardized on the NIV and have a fairly conservative position on things like gender roles, to move from the NIV to a “NIVu”. If the church were to endorse and standardize on the “NIVu”, it would generate sales – however, I don’t know if the church would endorse the TNIV “as is”.

    Maybe the “upgrade” sales of individual churches wouldn’t amount to much, but I’d have to think that collectively they’d add up to the type of numbers that Zondervan is interested in.

  42. Robert Jimenez says:

    Wayne, if they want video interviews from pastors, I know that the senior pastor of our church would be more than happy to endorse it. He is not famous, and we are not a mega church our attendance is around 300. But we are using it.

    Another suggestion is offer better bible options, thinline, pocket, compact, and even offer the full line of Renaissance Bibles that they currently offer for the NIV. Keep the TNIV website current, improve the relations with Christian book stores and better educate them on it’s translation philosophy and why it is a better choice than the NIV. Get those endorsements out in the face of the public.

    But again, no matter what effort they try they may just have to re-brand it.

  43. Sue says:

    In all seriousness, I would honestly suggest asking Dr. Packer to endorse the TNIV. Although he has not removed his signature from the statement of concern I doubt that he would refuse to endorse the TNIV. I do know that the pastor of his church David Short has said that he likes the TNIV very much on first reading for Bible Studies, etc.

    I think that if the endorsement were worded carefully, in light of Dr. Packer’s original statement to me, which he knew was taperorded, that he would agree. He said,

    “The scholars of the TNIV are extremely learned men. They are my colleagues.”

    I think he would agree to this statement and possibly an expansion on it, being used as an endorsement.

  44. Peter Kirk says:

    I would strongly object to any suggestion of removing “whatever textual updates are objectionable” and taking off the market the version which has these “updates”. That smacks of censorship, of allowing certain people with theological axes to grind as well as little knowledge of Bible translation to censor an excellent Bible version.

  45. ElShaddai Edwards says:

    As would I, Peter – I was simply conjecturing on Wayne’s original question in this sub-thread, which was “how can we sell more”. When quantity of sales is the primary objective, quality of product is rarely the primary measure…

  46. Theophrastus says:

    removing “whatever textual updates are objectionable” and taking off the market the version which has these “updates”. That smacks of censorship, of allowing certain people with theological axes to grind as well as little knowledge of Bible translation to censor an excellent Bible version.

    You are playing Jeopardy, right? And the question matching your “answer” is: What is the English Standard Version.

    What did I win? (I hope it is not a copy of the ESV).

  47. Sue says:

    How about this citation from Kostenberger used as an endorsement,

    It may be concluded that Carson and Strauss have established — at least to my own satisfaction — that a gender-inclusive approach to Bible translation stands in no necessary conflict with the effort to preserve Biblical fidelity

    From his review.

    BTW, if anyone is so minded, I would appreciate a gander at my post responding to John’s perpetuation of the term “gender-neutered” translations. Some people can’t seem to get this particular implication off their mind. Thankfully Kostenberger has retrenched from his original position on that as any honest scholar should.

  48. Michael Nicholls says:


    RE: lack of “big names” supporting the TNIV: Andy Stanley, John Ortberg, Rick Warren, David Jeremiah, Rob Bell…how much bigger should we get? Many key seminary people as well.

    Coincidentally, David Jeremiah’s church is my home church. The NLT is sometimes promoted (I think through Josh McDowell’s influence), and The Message is frequently read from the pulpit.

  49. sdonahue says:

    Not meaning to offend, but I have never been any type of fan of the TNIV (or the NIV either; just can’t warm to it). So, if it departs, as we say in Brooklyn, ‘Bon Verge.’

  50. Robert Jimenez says:

    sdonahue, have you ever read the New Testament in the TNIV? I would think that if you have not at least read it the a few NT books cover to cover in the TNIV, or any other translation for that matter I would think that is not a fair assessment. I use to feel the same way about the NIV, but I never gave it a fair shake. This is coming from someone that has read the NKJV for over 20 years.

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