Zondervan to publish updated NIV Bible: Will discontinue Today's New International Version

October 6, 2009

The copyright holder of the New International Version of the Bible says that it will phase out the controversial gender-inclusive Today’s New Inter national Version translation once a panel of evangelical scholars completes work on a thoroughly reviewed and updated version of the NIV in 2011.

The NIV, last updated in 1984, has been enormously popular among evangelical Christians, with more than 300 million in print worldwide. Zondervan, the publisher, and the NIV translating team are making adjustments for changes in English usage.

“If we want a Bible that English speakers around the world can understand, we have to listen to, and respect, the vocabulary they are using today,” said Keith Danby, CEO of Biblica, the copyright holder and translation sponsor of the NIV.

Douglas Moo, a New Testament professor at Wheaton College, who chairs the translation committee, said in a news conference September 1 that the new edition will include a “complete review of every gender-related change since the publication of the 1984 edition.”

He added that he is sure there will be pressure on translators to include or exclude certain language. “We recognize that not everyone will be happy with all the decisions that we make,” he said, speaking at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois.

Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, posted recollections on his blog of the “heated and uncomfortable” battle over the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) that erupted when it was first released in 2002.

The TNIV application of “gender accuracy”—for example, replacing masculine terms with inclusive references if more than males were meant—drew “alarm and deep concern” from Mohler and like-minded critics.

The president of Christians for Biblical Equality, Mimi Haddad, said September 4 that the phasing out of the gender-inclusive TNIV will be “a sad day in evangelical history.”

“Many of us believe the TNIV is biblically correct,” Haddad said. But because it is so divisive among evangelicals, “the best path forward is to revise the NIV,” she said in a statement.

Zondervan president and CEO Moe Girkins said that she hoped the new version’s publication, timed to the 400th anniversary of the King James Version, will boost interest and sales.

“We want to extend the reach of the English Bible, and we believe that this update will meet the needs of a broader audience,” said Girkins, who expects that publication of previous versions of the NIV will be phased out after the new edition is completed.