NIV revision suggestions

As Peter noted in the preceding post, the NIV revision committee (CBT) welcomes revision suggestions. Today I converted my TNIV revision suggestions website to an

NIV revision suggestions website

I have been collecting revision suggestions for the TNIV since 2005. The CBT has asked that I forward the collected suggestions to them once per year at the end of the year. So here is you opportunity to join me in helping the CBT make a better English Bible translation. I invite you to submit your suggestions to the website so they can be forwarded as a group to the CBT.

A number of us have noted outdated negative word orders in the ESV. But there are some in the NIV (and TNIV) as well. Here are some I have found so far:

  • Prov. 3:5 lean not on your own understanding > do not lean …
  • Is. 43:1 Fear not, for I have redeemed you > Do not be afraid …
  • Matt. 6:13 And lead us not into temptation > do not lead us …
  • Luke 11:4 And lead us not into temptation > do not lead us …

Do you know of any others?

What other revision suggestions do you have for the NIV?

28 thoughts on “NIV revision suggestions

  1. Michael Nicholls says:

    Titus 2

    v3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine,

    To how much wine should they be addicted?

    v4 and to be subject to their husbands

    These days, to be ‘subject’ to someone fits more with verse 9:

    Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything.

    I’m not suggesting that we change the meaning of the passage, but that the term ‘be subject to’ has connotations today that shouldn’t be there in our translations. There’s a better way to say this. How do we say this in normal language?

    v8 soundness of speech

    I don’t think that that phrase is very clear these days. Let’s find a normal English way to communicate the same thing. We had to scratch our heads in our Bible study for a while to nut out the meaning, and it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s not a deep theological thing here.

    v10 so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive

    Maybe ‘appealing’ would be a better word. Or ‘attractive to others’. Normal English doesn’t like leaving out the referent/beneficiary in this kind of phrase.

  2. Peter Kirk says:

    Is it reasonable to take TNIV rather than NIV (1984) as the basis for any revisions? I think that is how the CBT will be working.

    Michael, I think Wayne wants revision suggestions at the separate site, not here.

  3. Joel says:

    “What other revision suggestions do you have for the NIV?”

    You beat me to it — I was just going to ask that this morning.

    My biggest suggestion is to reevaluate one goal the editors put forth in the introduction: “Concern for clear and natural English […] motivated the translators and consultants.”

    What if the original Greek or Hebrew is not clear and natural? What if the text (like Job) is highly stylized and opaque? Should the translation still be clear and natural? I don’t think so.

  4. Wayne Leman says:

    Michael, I think Wayne wants revision suggestions at the separate site, not here.

    Sorry I wasn’t clearer. For the sake of discussion, I actually intended for specific revision suggestions to be posted here in the Comments. But for the sake of the CBT it would be most helpful if they could also be posted to the website.

  5. Peter Kirk says:

    Qohelet, thank you for the endorsement. I stand by my exegesis of Isaiah 7:14 on the basis of which Claude Mariottini offered this rendering:

    Behold, the young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanu-El.

    But somehow I doubt if the CBT will accept “is pregnant” rather than “will conceive” or “will be pregnant”. And I agree that hinne can be used of the immediate future as well as of the present, so justifying a future tense in English – although not that hinne can be used of an event 600(?) years in the future.

  6. Brad says:

    For 2 Corinthians 5:17 I hope they improve on the TNIV’s translation.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

    This just doesn’t read well for me. And is less accurate as what the NIV previously had as well. I’d prefer something like:

    “Therefore, anyone in Christ is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is here!”

    Or maybe:

    Therefore, in Christ is a new creature; the old has passed away and the new has come.

  7. Brad says:

    Oops, that last line should read:

    “Therefore, anyone in Christ is a new creature; the old has passed away and the new has come.”

  8. Robert Jimenez says:

    1 Timothy 5:1
    …but exhort him…

    The word Exhort is only used once in the TNIV, they should just update it as well. Suggestions:

    NLT / NET: “…but appeal to him…”
    ESV “…but encourage him…”

    Encourage seems to be the consistent use of this word in the TNIV that have similar meaning they can just use that.

  9. Wayne Leman says:

    Good observation, Robert. Please post it on the NIV revision suggestions website, so we can give all the suggestions to the CBT as a collection. I just received confirmation from the CBT chairman a few minutes ago that they continue to want suggestions to come to them as a group, rather than as single verses submitted now and then.

  10. Robert Jimenez says:

    Wayne, will do. I’ll continue to provide those sorts of observations, I really want to contribute. I am not a Greek/Hebrew expert but I can do my small part in this effort.

  11. Wayne Leman says:

    That’s right, Robert.

    “If everybody lit just one little candle, …”

    Sometimes we feel we are inadequate for making suggestions or that they won’t take us seriously. But I think if we have good suggestions, it is always worth trying to make them, especially if we do it graciously. I have been pleased at how open some teams actually are to suggestions. They need to be clear and specific. Sometimes there needs to be a short explanation of the problem with the current wording.

  12. Tim Chesterton says:

    Psalm 46:1 in both NIV and TNIV reads: ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble’. It’s impossible to read that out loud without making it sound like ‘a never-present help in trouble. I can’t believe no one read it aloud during the entire translation process! We eed a better alternative here!

  13. John says:

    2 Chronicles 14:14/Jeremiah 49:32 use the word “booty.” I think something like “plunder” would be a better choice for today.

  14. A.Admin says:

    Luke 5:34

    Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? – TNIV

    Jesus answered, “Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? -NIV

    I think friends or guests here could be also “Sons”? I know sons of a bridegroom is confusing, but “son” is sometimes a title.

    Romans 1:1

    Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God -NIV/TNIV

    Maybe servent could be “slave”. Isn’t that capturing the meaning more?

  15. Michael Nicholls says:

    Behold, the young woman is pregnant and will give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanu-El.

    I think “call him Immanu-El” or “name him Immanu-El” would sound more like normal English. People don’t say, “I heard the Rogers had a boy. What did they call his name?”

  16. Peter Kirk says:

    Admin, “sons of the bridegroom” would clearly imply that the man had been married before, or worse. But I would agree that “slave” should be used more than “servant” for doulos, in distinction from the many other words rendered “servant” such as diakonos and huperetes.

    Michael, I agree with your improvements to Claude’s over-literal rendering. Or perhaps “she will give him the name”.

  17. exegete77 says:

    I would hope that John 20:23 is finally translated accurately.

    NIV/TNIV: “If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

    The second sentence really is not a translation at all (ESV fails on this as well).

    NRSV could provide the proper and readable translation:

    “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

  18. exegete77 says:

    Wayne, this site asks for revisions to the NIV, but the site you set up says revisions to TNIV. Perhaps a re-wording could avoid such confusion…. for us old codgers, at least.

    Rich

  19. A.Admin says:

    John 3:16

    NIV: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    HCSB: “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.

    Maybe an adjustment to this passage similar to what the HCSB has done? On a personal note, I like “whoever” better than “everyone” form some reason.

  20. Doug Phillips says:

    I’m surprised Luke 14:26 in the TNIV hasn’t been mentioned. In order to avoid ‘his’ the TNIV has Jesus saying that would-be disciples must ‘hate father and mother… — yes, even life itself — …” Surely that misconstrues the meaning by losing the link made by the possessive pronoun. To put it another way, hating life is not a condition of discipleship.

  21. Wayne Leman says:

    Doug wrote:

    I’m surprised Luke 14:26 in the TNIV hasn’t been mentioned. In order to avoid ‘his’ the TNIV has Jesus saying that would-be disciples must ‘hate father and mother… — yes, even life itself — …” Surely that misconstrues the meaning by losing the link made by the possessive pronoun. To put it another way, hating life is not a condition of discipleship.

    Good point, Doug. Please enter it on the NIV revision suggestions website so it will get to the NIV revision team.

    Of course, the “his” of the NIV is inaccurate for most English speakers today. For them “his” is masculine in its unmarked (normal) meaning. But that Greek possessive pronoun is referring back to Greek TIS which means ‘anyone’ and is gendered for neither male or female (or neuter) for that matter. So we have a problem for English, the same problem which English speakers have recognized for centuries. One of the solutions English speakers have used for centuries is the indefinite (in this case its meaning is not plural, but, rather indefinite) “they”. Perhaps you have heard this used as in the sentence, “Whoever has brought ____ Bible to church today, please open it to Luke 14:26.” What is the word most English speakers most naturally put in the blank so that the pronoun refers to ‘whoever’ regardless of whether they are male or female?

    So, I agree with you that dropping of a possessive pronoun does miss part of the Greek meaning about whose life is to be “hated.” But then we are faced with the dilemma in contemporary English of what pronoun to use to refer back to the indefinite TIS ‘anyone’ (whether man or woman).

  22. Joel says:

    I’m surprised Luke 14:26 in the TNIV hasn’t been mentioned. In order to avoid `his’ the TNIV has Jesus saying that would-be disciples must “hate father and mother… — yes, even life itself —…” Surely that misconstrues the meaning by losing the link made by the possessive pronoun. To put it another way, hating life is not a condition of discipleship.

    I actually don’t think so. When I read, “Bill hated life itself,” I understand it to mean that Bill hated his life. It’s true that a perfectly literal reading of the line might imply that Bill hated all life: his own, other people’s, animal, plant, etc. But I think to “hate life itself” means “hating one’s own life,” at least in my dialect.

    (The NLT has another nice solution. The whole thing is in second person.)

    Joel

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