The NIV translators sought to communicate clearly to their generation. But English stops for no one. Our language has continued to change, and it has changed much more rapidly during the past hundred years than it did in the seventeenth century. The swirling vortex of technological and social transformation that has surrounded us with increasingly swift winds of change has impacted our language. Our language has changed. Oh, perhaps you speak largely the same way you did in the middle of the twentieth century (at least if you are near my age or older). That is quite possible if you’ve lived in relatively conservative areas of our country or ministered in conservative churches that have long since celebrated their golden anniversary (and perhaps their centennial or even their bicentennial). But English has changed. That is undeniable. (I will return to this subject a bit later in this article.) That is why new translations appear periodically and older ones are revised. Whether we like it or not, we do not live in an era where a translation can reign as sole monarch for several centuries. Perhaps such a time will once again be enjoyed by our heirs should the Lord tarry; but it is not this day, and it does not appear to be tomorrow either.
I’m late to the party, but not too late to link to Rodney Decker’s thorough review of the NIV11 in Themelios.
Particularly informative is his description of a report on English language change based on the Collins Bank of English. I think that using such a data corpus is essential, and hope our other translations are similarly grounded in real language data. He also looks at gender issues in some detail, quite fairly in my opinion.
Thanks Rod for another quality review!