After twenty years of preparation and research, the New International Version (NIV) Bible was first released in 1978. Why is it that this most recent modern translation of the Holy Bible has become the most read version?
The impact of the Bible on modern society is without parallel. In a recent pole it was estimated that in the United States, around 92 percent of all households own at least one Bible. Zondervan, who publishes the NIV Bible states that they have sold over 215 million copies in its various forms. The New International Version Bible is primarily a Protestant Bible and is particularly favours by American Evangelicals.
Why is the NIV Bible so popular? To answer this question, one must look at the predecessor to the NIV Bible, the King James Version (KJV). The KJV Bible hailed from as far back as the mid 1500’s to the early 1600’s. The KJV text was based on only the six Greek manuscripts from the Erasmus Greek text of the New Testament. This limitation aside, the language is the main stumbling point for the King James Version Bible. It is dated and difficult to understand.
Unlike the KJV Bible, The NIV Bible translation is based on more than 5,000 complete or partial manuscripts and papyri representing the best-available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. A team of over 100 scholars from five English-speaking countries (United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), as well as editors and English language specialists worked on the NIV Bible translation. Scholars representing more than 20 denominations ensured that a truly internationally relevant and simple to understand text was developed.
From the very start of the long process of creating the New International Version, the Committee on Bible Translation established and upheld strict expectations for the New International Version: that it would be an accurate translation, that it would have the clarity of language and be of a literary quality that would ensure that it was suitable for public and private reading, teaching, preaching, memorizing and liturgical use.
Translating a documents such as the original manuscripts and texts is a seemingly never ending task and so the scholars that worked on the NIV Bible have been open to criticism and suggestions. Valid changes have been introduced into subsequent publications thus keeping the New International Version Bible as accurate as possible and true to the original text. This no doubt the most compelling reason why the NIV Bible has been and continues to be the most used Bible Version in print today.
There are various renditions of the NIV Bible. One can find an NIV Pew Bible specifically designed for everyday use by your congregation. The NIV Study Bible is filled with additional background information such as archaeological notes, commentary from different sources, and extensive introductions to each book with notes from translators who worked on the NIV translation add additional clarifying information. More recently, the NIV Bible has been published in the Military Digi Camouflage Bible for use by American service men and women fighting all over the world. The specially designed NIV Worship Edition is found in Pews all over the world.
Zondervan has retained control over the distribution of the New International Version Bible. The various versions of the NIV Bible are available at very reasonable prices through a variety of online affiliates. The texts are ministry-priced in bulk/case quantities and resale is prohibited.
This easy to read and simple to understand Bible translation has found its way into millions of Christian hearts and homes and with the loving attention from the people who have devoted their lives to creating it is sure to remain as popular as it is today, well into the future.
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