Book Review: Zondervan TNIV Study Bible -- By: Aída Besançon Spencer

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 21:1 (Winter 2007)
Article: Book Review: Zondervan TNIV Study Bible
Author: Aída Besançon Spencer


Book Review: Zondervan TNIV Study Bible

Eds. Kenneth L. Barker et al.

(Zondervan, 2006)

Reviewed by

Aída Besançon Spencer

AÍDA BESANÇON SPENCER (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Seminary) is professor of New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has written on translation issues in Priscilla Papers 11:4 (Autumn 1997):18-19; the Journal of Religious and Theological Information 6:1 (2003):11-23; Review and Expositor 95 (Summer 1998): 383-95; The Christian Century 114 (July 2-9, 1997): 618-19. CBE’s book service sells her books Beyond the Curse, The Goddess Revival, and Joy Through the Night.

I am so thankful Zondervan has decided to publish the TNIV Study Bible. When the Today’s New International Version first was published in the United States, I asked one Zondervan editor if they would ever print the NIV Study Bible with the TNIV text. The answer was, “Maybe. Let’s wait and see.”

Why did I think this updating was necessary? Second Timothy 2:2 and 3:17 are rendered by the New International Version as “entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” and Scripture is intended “so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” whereas the TNIV renders “entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” and Scripture is intended “so that God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The Greek uses the generic anthrōpos. The translation has serious ramifications for the inclusion of women in ministry. In addition, the TNIV has improved the accuracy and orthodoxy of certain renderings, such as Philippians 2:6. Instead of the inconsistent rendering (“Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” [NIV]), the TNIV clarifies that Jesus is always God (“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” [TNIV])—similar to the NRSV, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited.” The incarnation was an act of humility for Jesus, but Jesus was (and remains) always God. That is why the Zondervan TNIV Study Bible is necessary.

I like the notes and the marginal references in the TNIV Study Bible because they include some reference to all data. Every possible question has some helpful information. When it comes to texts more debated by the evangelical community, such as 1 Timothy 2:12, the notes present both sides and leave the r...

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