New International Version


FD Scale (formal-dynamic factor): 3 (in the middle)

To me, the NIV is somewhere in between a formal and a dynamic translation. On the one hand, it doesn't alter the sentence structure of things much or give "brothers and sisters" for "brothers." But largely because of the drift factor below, it does give its own dynamic rendition at a number of points. For example, it has "It is good for a man not to marry" where the Greek has "It is good for a man not to touch a woman" (1 Cor. 7:1).

OC Scale (original-“catholic” text): 2 (in the middle)

Actually, the NIV follows modern canons of deriving the original historical text. It is thus far more original in its wording than the "catholic" text of the KJV. But since the NIV did not yet take into account developments in our knowledge of the OT text that came from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, I'll put it in the middle.

Drift (degree to which theology affects translation): 4 (theology affects translation significantly)
A 4 probably isn't fair, since most of the time theology doesn't affect the translation. However, the evangelical theology of the NIV translators is so evident in so many places that the 4 is meant to communicate that fact.

Here are some examples of this theological drift in addition to the example I gave above. In 1 Cor. 7:27-28, later in the same chapter, we have "Are you unmarried, do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned..." The Greek reads, "Are you loosed from a wife, do not seek a wife, but if you do you have not sinned..."

Then we have Isaiah 7:14, "The virgin will conceive..." The Hebrew almost certainly meant, "A young woman will conceive..." The NIV of Philippians 2:6 reads, "Who, being in very nature God" where the Greek reads, "Who being in the form of God." The NIV of Colossians 1:15 reads, "firstborn over all creation," the Greek could mean that, but reads less interpretively "firstborn of all creation..."

Youth Scale (readability): 3 (in the middle)
While the NIV was a massive improvement in readability over the KJV, teenagers today still find it difficult to understand at times. Part of this is the fact that the Bible was written to address ancient situations in ancient categories, so that's no surprise. In other words, the more a translation tries to render the original meaning, the more foreign it is bound to seem.

The NIV is clearly not one of my favorite translations, even if it is the evangelical baby. In my opinion, the TNIV is a vast improvement in many ways.