Did the NIV Delete 64,575 Words?

, by Christopher D. Hudson

I rarely get involved in debates on Bible translation. In fact, I don’t weigh in a lot of debates, as I believe my mission is to challenge people to simply read, engage, and apply the Bible.

As long as people are reading God’s Word, I’m not concerned about varying opinions on Bible translations, worship styles, church denominations, etc. I’m happy knowing we share a faith in Christ Jesus first and foremost, and I hope to walk with my brothers and sisters as we take one more step in the journey with Jesus.

However, I feel I must speak up when trust in God’s Word is in danger of becoming weakened due to someone’s attacks on certain translations of the Bible. A person who solely promotes the KJV (King James Version) and believes that any modern translation is evil undermines the faith of people who choose to read and study God’s Word in a translation other than the KJV.

As personal background, my degree is in ancient languages (New Testament Greek). I have a love for many Bible translations, as they have been helpful to many people (myself included) in their walk with Christ. I enjoy reading regularly from the KJV, NIV, ESV,  NLT and others.

MY LOVE FOR THE KJV
I absolutely love the King James Version (KJV). In fact, I serve as the editor of a KJV Study Bible. God has used the KJV mightily over the centuries, but it is only a translation of the original Hebrew and Greek Bible.

Ultimately, I firmly believe that God’s Word is infallible. But I don’t want to confuse God’s Word (in the original Greek and Hebrew texts) with human fallible translation efforts. God’s Word is infallible. The NIV is fallible. So is the ESV. So is every translation—even my beloved KJV.

There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that God gave special blessing to Martin Luther’s translation, John Wycliffe’s translation, or to King James’s translation.

I don’t say that to undermine the Bible at all. God is perfect, and the gospel is perfect. His Word is infallible. One of the benefits of having so many translations is that we can do our best to understand the text as it was originally written thousands of years ago.

ZONDERVAN/HARPERCOLLINS
Some who attack the NIV in favor of the KJV openly denounce those who publish and back the NIV. In full disclosure, I am personal friends with the editors at Zondervan who publish the NIV Bible. We e-mail and talk on the phone often. I can assure you they are faith-driven, humble, Jesus-following people. They are actively involved in conservative churches and ministry. I’ve known some of their staff for nearly twenty years; we have challenged each other in our faith and walk with Christ. I have no doubt of their Christian commitment or their passion for preserving God’s Word.

Zondervan is owned by HarperCollins, and HarperCollins is owned by News Corp. As public corporations (headed by Rupert Murdoch), these companies are not “Christian” companies. However, the leaders of the organizations have wisely realized that they will make more money if they allow Zondervan to fulfill its faith-driven, Jesus-centered mission. They know that Christians trust Zondervan, and they’ve intentionally allowed the company to remain staffed with deeply committed, faith-driven, Jesus-centered people. In fact, the head of Zondervan’s Bible publishing efforts has served as a long-term pastor. He and I spoke this week on the phone about our mutual love for Jesus, Christ's teaching, and the truth about the gospel.

Christians have no grounds for criticizing the NIV based on its publishers. Even though the parent company, News Corp, is a secular corporation looking to turn a profit, it doesn’t interfere with the Christian editors who are preserving God’s Word at Zondervan. I believe that God has blessed Zondervan’s efforts so that they are among the most profitable divisions of HarperCollins.

HAS THE NIV REMOVED 64,575 WORDS FROM THE BIBLE?
An accusation has been made that the translators of the NIV removed a remarkably large number of words from the text of the NIV. This may be one of the most ill-informed and unfounded arguments against the NIV I’ve ever heard. I’m guessing the person who made this accusation looked at overall word count of the KJV and the NIV and saw a difference. Or maybe they counted all the “thees” and “thous” that the NIV doesn’t include? Actually, I can’t figure out how they would have come up with that number.

So, did the NIV translators remove words that are in the KJV? Yes. Their goal was to translate the original intent of the biblical writers in fewer words. Did they undermine or take away from the biblical meaning in doing so? No. (Translating between languages is always dynamic and never just word for word. The best translator in any setting can communicate the literal meaning with fewer words.)

Some people have criticized the NIV due to the removal of the term “Holy Ghost.” That’s just silly. NIV translators used “Holy Spirit,” which is essentially the same term. Personally, I believe that “Holy Spirit” is probably a better translation and more accurate for a modern-day reader. (Is it better to tell children that God is a Ghost or that God is a Spirit?) Anyone who uses this change in wording as an argument against the NIV shows they are trying to be inflammatory and not being intellectually honest.

DOES THE NIV USE A STRANGE BIBLE TRANSLATION MODEL?
Not at all. The NIV gets attacked a lot because it is the most popular translation. However, very similar translation philosophies are followed by translators of the ESV and the NLT. If you throw out the NIV, you need to throw out virtually all modern translations that follow similar translation philosophies.

HAS THE NIV REMOVED VERSES FROM THE BIBLE?
Another factor in the debate on Bible translation is the Hebrew and Greek texts these translations came from. I believe that the Greek and Hebrew texts used by modern scholars for recent translations (NIV, NLT, ESV, etc.) are more accurate.

The KJV was published in 1611 from a collection of Greek texts, which has become known as the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus is an excellent collection of manuscripts, and reading from them (or a Bible translated from them) can properly teach people about God, Jesus, and the gospel. However, there is no Bible verse that says the Textus Receptus is inspired. I believe the only inspired versions are the original copies written by the original authors.

The problem lies in that for over a thousand years, people hand copied the Bible word by word. And while these outstanding scribes were 99.99 percent accurate, occasionally they made a mistake. To me, what is remarkable is how accurate these scribes remained while playing a gigantic game of “telephone” (each copying a previous person’s work).

As language scholarship and archaeology has improved, we have been able to get back to manuscripts that seem to more likely resemble the original autographs written right after the time of Christ. As we’ve gotten closer to the original, we have found that there were a handful of problems in the Textus Receptus. While none of these problems really violate the gospel, they offer subtle changes.

As an example, it appears there are about 45 verses that the New Testament writers did not actually include in their original work. Well-meaning scribes seemed to have added them in over the centuries to help clarify a verse or passage in order to help readers understand.

However, none of those 45 verses change any core belief of the gospel. They are almost all clarifications. My faith is solid in God, Jesus, and the atoning work of salvation even if those 45 verses aren’t there (or if they are, it doesn’t change anything). Modern translations (including the NIV) are often criticized for removing the 45 verses. Actually, they have done a better job of maintaining the original Bible text since it looks like the 45 verses were not in the original. (Also, the 45 verses really haven’t been removed from the NIV at all—each of these verses is still present in every copy of the NIV and can be found in the NIV footnotes.)

BIBLE ACCURACY AND MY FAITH
This area of textual criticism is an area I studied extensively. My faith is in God and the God of the Bible. My hope is in Jesus. If I can’t trust the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, I can’t know that my faith is firm. After much, much study, I came to the conclusion that the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts are very accurate. They accurately record Jesus’ words and teaching. As such, my faith is secure.

It’s easy to throw rocks, and I’m afraid those who vehemently oppose and attack the NIV (or any other translation) do so in a way that hurts Christians and their faith. Thankfully, Jesus is bigger than our human attempts to win an argument. I pray he’ll continue to be exalted even while some Christians—perhaps well-meaning ones—continue to tarnish the love and gospel of Christ in their efforts to preserve what they believe is the truth.




22 comments:

  1. Thank you for this lovely well balanced argument on the N.I.V. Bless you for your knowledge and understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brilliant response to those who deliberately choose to mislead and discredit the amazing work of Godly and God-fearing scholars and translators!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Watch "Which Bible Translation Is Best?: Most Reliable B…" on YouTube - Which Bible Translation Is Best?: Most Reliable B…: http://youtu.be/CBvnkdwXtPc


      👆ErikLai, please do view and listen attentively the sharing of a good Biblical teacher, Kenneth COX.

      Shalom.

      Delete
  3. Great article! Who is the head of the Zondervan Bible publishing division that you referred to?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Zondervan is owned by Harper Collins, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, one of the world's leading pornographers. Incidentally, he attends Saddleback Church.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great article except that it did not mention the fact that Harper Collins is the publisher of the satanic and gay bibles.
    That is actually my issue. I can't seem to be comfortable with the Holy Scriptures being published by the same company that publishes the satanic and gay bibles.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you very much! Stay blessed...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great article except that it did not mention the fact that Harper Collins is the publisher of the satanic and gay bibles.
    That is actually my issue. I can't seem to be comfortable with the Holy Scriptures being published by the same company that publishes the satanic and gay bibles.
    Any thoughts?
    Thank you very much! Stay blessed...

    ReplyDelete
  7. So what if HarperCollins (who publishes filth), also owns Zondervan?

    The petrol in your car is owned by Muslims who use sharia law in persecuting believers!

    Consider this: God inspired the New Testament to be written in Koine Greek which was invented by Alexander the Great, a bisexual pagan.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The devil is always in the details fellas.

    For the verses below, do check both KJV and NIV to see the stark differences.

    NIV attacks Christ's Work of Redemption.
    Matt 18:11
    Luke 9:56
    - Removal of blood of Christ in col 1:14
    - Destroys uniqueness of salvation in Christ in john 6:47
    - Attacks Christ's eternal Pre-existence in Micah 5:2
    - attacks Christ's deity in 1 Tim 3:16, phil 2:5,6
    - attacks Christ's sonship of God in john 9:35, acts 3:13
    - attacks virgin birth of Christ in luke 2:33, john 3:16
    - attacks Christ's resurrection in Mark 16:19-20
    - attacks ascension of our Lord in John 16:16, 17:5
    - attacks the Lord's return in Matt 25:13

    ReplyDelete
  9. Final observation: NIV's pro-gay bias

    In 5 OT passages the words "sodomite" or "sodomites" are replaced by "shrine prostitute" or "male shrine prostitutes". Deut 23:17, 1 kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46, 2 kings 23:7

    The niv wrestling of scripture (2 peter 3:16) justifies homosexuals in their abominable practices and makes the version gay-friendly and acceptable to the gay community.

    Conclusion:

    The few verses, selected from a great number available, are ample proof of the NIV's extreme doctrinal corruption.
    The ecumenical composition of the translators which included protestant, catholic, jewish, atheistic scholars, pre-determined an ecumenical agenda for the translation process.

    Therefore it is no surprise the NIV, in these and other verses, presents
    - a humanized Jesus born of natural parents
    - a man Jesus, one savior among many,
    - a heaven open to all, Christian and others.

    NIV is a corrupt version.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you Jesus for grace and mercy.
    Thank you for your love and what you did at the cross for me.
    Thank you biblica and the NIV for making it enjoyable to read the word.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The attacks on the NIV neglect to mention that the NKJV is published by Thomas Nelson, another subsidiary of HarperCollins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The NKJV has nothing in common with the AKJV,in fact the NKJV is a very different book to the King James bible.
      What most people are ignorant of is that the new bible versions such as the NIV come from a different line than the AKJV.The test used to translate the modern versions are from Egypt (Alexandrea) wheras the KJV texts are from Antioch Syria.God hated Egypt he even pulled his people out of there,nothing godly came from Egypt and this is reflected in these new bibles.Do some research on bible versions you will find the KJV comes from a line of seven bibles, psalms 12:6.

      Delete
    2. Please do some research on the New king james version,it's a fraud and is as opposing to the AKJV as the NIV is.

      Delete
  12. just don't know what to say, but why should NIV spring up all these confusion in the first place? it's really a huge mistake right there, after reading these blog i couldn't even find an epitome of pure truth...

    ReplyDelete
  13. The difference between King James bible believing christians and other christians is that we believe that we have Gods inspired and preserved word in the AKJV while the new age bible defenders believe Gods inspired word is only in the original texts, which by the way don't exist and that their bibles a full of mistakes effectively calling the LORD a liar.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Lets not kid ourselves either,these bible versions do not all say the same thing.There are people and churches out there who use maybe half a dozen different versions at times,giving them the ability to wrest scripture and find a version that fits their opinion.
    We now have a NIV out (2011) I believe which neuters God by removing ''HE''.Make no bones about it there is a clear agenda behind these modern bibles,they are offensive babel best avoided.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elysian, thanks for your comments. I disagree with your comment that the NIV removes HE for God. I don't believe that to be true nor can I find any instance of that. God is firmly referred to as masculine in the NIV. He is called "our father" and the NIV often uses pronouns Him, He, and His when referring to God. The NIV never, ever uses feminine pronouns when referring to God.

      Delete
  15. The authorized King James bible has a crown copyright on it which means it cannot be tampered with or altered as long as there exists a monarchy in England.The Catholic church tried very hard to stop this bible which was translated by fifty four godly men who trembled with every word written.These men also reviewed everything they wrote using a peer system of checking one others work.
    All of the great revivals came about using with book and since it's decline we have not see one revival.
    The article above is woeful and if that is all you new agers have got then you better start looking for AKJV bibles.

    A man with one watch always knows the time but a man with two watches never knows the time.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yet another problem with the new age bibles is the removal of the thou and thy etc.... basically rendering them paraphrases.
    The holy bible is a legal document between God and mankind and any lawyer will tell you a legal document needs precise wording which gives clarity, prevents twisting and misinterpretation.
    Heck the internet is full of websites that will tell you how bad these new age versions are,that's how obvious the problem is and people whose eyes God has opened are waking up to this every day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for a well addressed article Christopher.

    ReplyDelete