Τhe History Of The NIV Translation Controversy -- By: William W. Combs

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 017:1 (NA 2012)
Article: Τhe History Of The NIV Translation Controversy
Author: William W. Combs


Τhe History Of The NIV
Translation Controversy

William W. Combs1

In this essay I propose to explain the history of the controversy that has surrounded the New International Version (niv) from its inception in the 1970s until its current 2011 edition (niv11). I will trace the translation history of the niv, including the various disputes that have arisen from time to time. More than most versions, the niv has faced a good deal of criticism since its inception, but, clearly, the recent controversy about gender-inclusive language has only intensified the censures. As I said, this essay will focus on tracing the history of the controversy rather than being a personal critique of the niv11, though I do make some evaluations along the way.2

Translation History Of The NIV3

The impetus for the niv is commonly traced back to the efforts of a Seattle businessman named Howard Long, who in the mid-1950s became frustrated with the archaic language of the kjv as he attempted to evangelize those with whom he came in contact.4 Long believed a new translation was needed, and he enlisted the help of his local Seattle pastor, Peter De Jong, and his local church, which was a member of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), a modest-sized Dutch

Reformed denomination based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The CRC had already looked into the matter of a new translation for their denomination and in 1953 had appointed a committee to study the recently published Revised Standard Version (NT, 1946; OT, 1952) to see if it would meet the denomination’s needs.5

The Revised Standard Version (rsv) itself was a direct descendent of the kjv.6 Though it is not well known, the kjv itself went through several major revisions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The last was the fourth revision of 1769 prepared by Dr. Benjamin Blayney for Oxford University Press, which has become known as the Oxford standard edition.7 By the end of the 19th century, the archaic language problem of the You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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