Today’s New International Version


FD Scale (formal or dynamic): 3 (half and half)
I wrestled a little with this one. On the one hand, I gave the NIV a 3 because of a number of places where its translators (and they would deny it, by the way) let their theology interfere with their translation. The TNIV does correct a few of these (see "Drift" below).

But at the same time that the TNIV gets just a little more formal at some points, it becomes just a little more dynamic in others with its "gender accurate" approach. On the one hand, in some cases this move actually makes it more formal! For example, the Greek word anthropos actually refers more to a person than a male. In this sense, a translation that translates this word as "person" is becoming more accurate. When the TNIV says, "the Sabbath was made for people," it is being more accurate than the NIV's "The Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27).

However, the TNIV at other points goes dynamic in this regard. To translate "brothers" as "brothers and sisters" captures Paul's meaning dynamically--it is legitimate for a dynamic equivalence translation. However, it is a move away from formal equivalence. The same applies to translating "fathers" as "parents." Perhaps “parents” is really what Paul means, but this is a move toward dynamic equivalence.

So I leave the TNIV at 3. Let me say, however, that this is a 3 with much more integrity and intentionality than the 3 of the NIV!

OC Scale (original text or “catholic” text): 2
While the TNIV is aware of insights gained from the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the few prominent instances I looked at, it has not incorporated them into its rendition of the text. By the way, this fact alone is ironic and perhaps even reflective of a conservative orientation to this translation. This is ironic because the NIV got lambasted when it came out for the way it followed the original text and deviated from the KJV, "catholic" tradition. Now it is following a reactionary stance toward the textual criticism of the Old Testament.

I assume it does this so it won't draw any more fire from conservative groups than it already has. So it continues to translate Deuteronomy 32:8 as "according to the number of the sons of Israel," when the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint both have the much more likely "according to the number of the sons of God." It relegates to a footnote the very helpful transition text that originally appeared between 1 Samuel 10 and 11.

Turn to 1 Samuel 10; read the last few verses; and see if this addition makes the train of thought easier to follow:

[current 1 Samuel 10 ends] "Now Nahash king of the Ammonites oppressed the Gadites and Reubenites severely. He gouged out all their right eyes and struck terror and dread in Israel. Not a man remained among the Israelites beyond the Jordan whose right eye was not gouged out by Nahash king of the Ammonites, except that seven thousand men fled from the Ammonites and entered Jabesh Gilead. About a month later [begin 1 Samuel 11] Nahash the Ammonite..."

Drift: 3 (noticeable drift)
I'll give it a slight improvement over the NIV for drift. So 1 Cor. 7:1 now reads "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman." Notice that this is still a somewhat dynamic rendering of "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." But it is the right dynamic equivalent this time, as opposed to the misleading NIV rendition: "It is good for a man not to marry."

And the TNIV at least improves 7:27: "Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife." It's still a cop-out, since Paul is talking about someone who's divorced, but it's a lot more accurate than "Are you unmarried..."

Nevertheless, the TNIV doesn't tamper with Christology and monotheism. Philippians 2:6 and Colossians 1:15 remain evangelical/orthodox, as does Deuteronomy 32:8 and Isaiah 7:14. In all these cases, the TNIV sticks with a translation that does not raise any questions about whether the text was pre-orthodox, as many of you know I believe it was.

Youth Scale (readability): 2
It really isn't that much different than the NIV on this one (I gave it a 3), but I'm going to stake a claim here. The next generation, especially the women, notices and will increasingly notice language that is gender one-sided. When you say "man" these days, it means men, not men and women any more. Brothers means just the guys, not the guys and the girls.

I know that the biblical world was male-preoccupied. That means that even when they included women, it was usually an afterthought. Paul, did you mean to include the sisters here where you just said brothers? "Oh yes, that included the women too." Versions like the TNIV, NRSV, and NLT give us God's perspective in their translation of these instances. It is accurate to what the original author's ultimate reference, even if it is slightly more dynamic. I would claim it makes these versions more readable to that extent.

So while the TNIV is less formal in its use of "brothers and sisters," it is at the same time, more readable and, in a very real way, more true to the Christian message.