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Longtime readers will know that I have used the New International Version (NIV) translations in the past for my scriptural posts.  No longer, not after having read about the translation modernisations and knowing that dubious ancient texts have been used to give the Bible more of, among other things, a Roman Catholic flavour and interpretation.  However, that will be another post for the future, as I am still gathering information on it.

What I can tell you is that Bible Gateway says on its site that they will begin offering Today’s New International Version — TNIV — beginning in 2011.  Wow. I would advise you to avoid it.  No doubt most of my regular, confessional readers adhere to the KJV or the ESV for the most part.  However, casual readers may think the TNIV a readable and reliable version to use.

Here are three short videos about it.

First, the translators and theologians who worked on it are from a primarily evangelical background.  Given the state of today’s evangelicalism and its penchant for a one-world church, I am suspicious.  The TNIV contains expressions such as ‘common good’ and ‘community’ (see the second video below).  And the Bible is not about communitarianism.  Anyone who is familiar with the pre-1970s translations will know that.

Yet, this video from the TNIV site attempts to reassure us that all is well.  Don’t be duped by the years of experience about which you hear — they are but honeyed words:

This second video should sound alarm bells.  TNIV is endorsed by none other than Rob Bell.  Listen to his enthusiasm for the use of ‘a new humanity’ and ‘common good’.  Watch how lightly he treats the Word of God near the end of the video.  This appears to have been made by Zondervan — which promotes Rob Bell’s products — in association with TNIV.  Note how Rob Bell touches — as emergents do — on divisiveness by saying this is a great, courageous translation and it was time for something new with regard to Scripture.  If Rob Bell is promoting this, that should be your surest sign to avoid it!

Finally, we have John MacArthur’s views on TNIV.  He says that translation — particularly of the Bible — relies on finding the word which most closely and accurately approximates what the original term meant.  It does not involve tweaking or altering or omitting texts in order to fit in with present-day cultural demands. Enough said.

Please make sure that your children are aware of the translation tweaks in TNIV.  It is all too easy for people who don’t know the Bible that well to assume that every translation says the same thing, only in simpler language.  That is not necessarily the case.  Bible scholars and translators have their own agenda, and you can see from the Rob Bell video that the TNIV suits the emergent church to a tee.

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