Wednesday, February 01, 2012

NIV 1984, NIV 2011, ESV, or NASB?

I have been giving some consideration to changing to version of the Bible from which I preach on Sundays. When I entered the ministry in 1987, I preached exclusively from the NASB. My Bible College professors had drilled into my head that it was the most literal and accurate English translation. I suppose I will always be partial to the NASB, but when I moved to a different congregation in 1991, I switched to the NIV because nearly everyone in the church used it, and the Pew Bibles were NIV. I have preached from it ever since. (Once, in a campmeeting I reverted to the NASB and I stumbled over my words – they do not exactly roll off one’s tongue – the NASB is syntactically clunky).

Last year, Zondervan introduced an updated NIV (NIV 2011). It is quite a bit different from the previous version, primarily due to the “chickification” of the text (okay, the politically correct term is “gender neutral”).  For example, I’m preaching from James 1 this week – the old NIV renders verse James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy my brothers…”; the update says, “Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters…”. There are many such changes in James 1 alone. (I will save the debate on gender neutrality for another time, but I have to wonder if at its core, the driving force is about gaining greater market share). Since there is such a difference between NIV 1984 and NIV 2011, is now the time to change my primary preaching version? Some church members have the old version and some have the new one. I have been enjoying the English Standard Version (ESV). It lands halfway between the NIV and NASB; better accuracy without the awkward syntax.
I was just about ready to take the plunge and go with the ESV, but I think for now I will stick with NIV 1984. However, I think this provides me with a good opportunity to explain to the church about the different translations. I’m not as concerned about the particular version that they are reading as I am about the fact that they are reading.

7 comments:

David H. Willis said...

I am right with you. It seems I just can find a version I'm totally comfortable with. Ironically I wasn't totally comfortable with the NIV 84 I used for 2 decades! The benefit of such regular use was that I became familiar with the potholes in the NIV 84. I'm using the ESV right now (a trail run), but not sure if it's the long term answer yet.

David H. Willis said...

Make that "can't find a version". :)

Soren said...

Maybe I'll break out Alexander Campbell's Living Oracles and stun everybody.

Joe Thompson said...

I was going to comment the same that you ended with. I think it's a great chance to educate folks that there are different translations. I know in the youth ministry world that most don't know why there are different translations and what they have to offer.

For me as a youth minister, one of my favorite translations is the Contemporary English Version. Espcially since it's on a 4th grade reading level...for me.

alanincanton said...

Have you tried the HCSB, Holman Christian Standard bible,

Bill (cycleguy) said...

I use the ESV exclusively. have been using since about a year after it came out. No complaints whatsoever.

Bill (cycleguy) said...

I use ESV almost exclusively and have since about a year after it came out. No complaints.