The SBC Resolution on the NIV 2011

Messengers gathered in Phoenix, Arizona on June 14–15, 2011 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution rejecting the new revision of the New International Version (NIV), calling it inaccurate because of its translation errors.  The most important reason the messengers rejected the NIV 2011 was because the new NIV incorporates many of the gender neutral translations of the TNIV.

Below is the full text of the resolution:

On The Gender-Neutral 2011 New International Version
June 2011

WHEREAS, Many Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople have trusted and used the 1984 New International Version (NIV) translation to the great benefit of the Kingdom; and

WHEREAS, Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House are publishing an updated version of the New International Version (NIV) which incorporates gender neutral methods of translation; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists repeatedly have affirmed our commitment to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and, in 1997, urged every Bible publisher and translation group to resist “gender-neutral” translation of Scripture; and

WHEREAS, This translation alters the meaning of hundreds of verses, most significantly by erasing gender-specific details which appear in the original language; and

WHEREAS, Although it is possible for Bible scholars to disagree about translation methods or which English words best translate the original languages, the 2011 NIV has gone beyond acceptable translation standards; and

WHEREAS, Seventy-five percent of the inaccurate gender language found in the TNIV is retained in the 2011 NIV; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has passed a similar resolution concerning the TNIV in 2002; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 14-15, 2011 express profound disappointment with Biblica and Zondervan Publishing House for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage pastors to make their congregations aware of the translation errors found in the 2011 NIV; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we respectfully request that LifeWay not make this inaccurate translation available for sale in their bookstores; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we cannot commend the 2011 NIV to Southern Baptists or the larger Christian community.

I have already offered my criticism of the NIV 2011.  My criticism was not based on the gender neutral language of the new version, but on its insistence in mistranslating and reinterpreting an important verse of the Bible.  Unfortunately, when translating 2 Samuel 21:19, the NIV 2011 abandons the translation of the NIV 1984 and follows the incorrect translation of the TNIV.  You can read my criticism of the NIV 2011 by reading the following posts:

The NIV and the TNIV: Two Bibles with Contradictory Views

The Revised NIV: A Step Backward

HT: Suzanne McCarth

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

 

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11 Responses to The SBC Resolution on the NIV 2011

  1. Anthony Chia says:

    Hi

    I too, am inclined to continue with the 1984 NIV version and NOT move on to the latest 2010/2011 version. I have had encounters of the newer version being “making things more palatable”. This is my greatest fear for continual re-translating of Scriptures. Below is one example:

    1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
    2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Ps 62:1-2, NIV84)

    re-translated as:

    1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
    2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Ps 62:1-2, NIV 2011)

    The “alone” is missing from both verses! The KJV/NKJV has at least “alone” in one of the 2 verses. The “alone” is important, in fact, very important. My own “commentary” for these verses explains in more details:

    [David started out this psalm by saying to God his position, his stand, his belief system, his faith.

    David stated that his soul found rest in God alone; his salvation came from Him. God alone was his rock and his salvation; He was his fortress, and He, David would never be shaken knowing that. {I prefer this 1984 edition of the NIV over the latest 2010 version, for the 2010 version had no “alone” in either of the verses. The KJV or NKJV both have at least an “alone” in one of the 2 verses. This, in my view, is important, and must NOT be omitted}

    There are 2 important points to note: One, David’s understanding that his soul would find rest in God, and God was his rock, his salvation, and fortress; and two, such rest could only be found in God ALONE, not in anything else or, in God together with something else; and God ALONE, and no others, was his rock, his salvation, and his fortress. The “ALONE” point is very important, we cannot try to find rest for our soul in God and something else, it must be purely and solely in God. David experience was that there were no others or no other things. That was how he could weathered through the repeated attempts by King Saul whom he served with great loyalty, and the rebellion of his son, Absalom, snatching his throne at Jerusalem. Only one could not fail David, and us, too, and that was and is God; everything else could and can fail. If we want to be able to say that we will NEVER be shaken, then our reliance must be solely on and in God, no one else, nothing else.]

    Those interested on the the full article of this Ps 62, can hop over to read my article: “Psalm 62 – God and only God matters” – http://high-expressions.blogspot.com/2010/11/psalm-62-god-and-only-god-matters.html

    Yes, people with clout in the faith, should speak out on such matters as standard Bible translations, and standard Bible commentaries publications. Prof, I thank you for your laboring in this area.

    Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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    • Anthony,

      I am sorry to disappoint you, but the word “alone” is not in the Hebrew text of Psalm 62:1-2. There is a particle in the Hebrew text that emphasizes a statement and in this case the new NIV has a better translation that the old NIV. A better translation is found in the TNK (the Jewish translation): “Truly my soul waits quietly for God; my deliverance comes from Him”

      Like

      • Anthony Chia says:

        Hi Prof,

        Thank you for taking the trouble to look up on Ps 62:1-2. It meant previous translations, including the KJV/NKJV were NOT quite accurate, too!? Both KJV and NKJV have in verse 2a, as “He ONLY is my rock and my salvation;” The same is also found in Ps 62:5-6.

        Nonetheless, I stand by my exposition on the Psalm, that emphasis correctly needs to be put on our reliance solely on God.

        Sure, we heard of jokes along the line of a pastor or servant of God in calamity like a flood, etc, and various forms of help (eg. boat came along) came to the servant, but the servant just insisted that God would save him, and declined men’s offer of help, but inevitably, such story ends with “it was God who had sent the help via men in those various forms”. If our trust and reliance is NOT solely on God, but particular men or objects, we can be sure such can fail, and we can be devastated with disappointment, even bitterness. Additionally, the Word spoke about God is faithful beyond measure: “if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself. (2 Tim 2:13).

        I remember researching on expositions of Bible scholars on the text, when writing my article, and many argued for the understanding that “alone” or “only” or “solely” was present in the text. As an example, here are 2 such expositions:

        1. From: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-62-1.html

        “Verse 1. Truly, or verily, or only. The last is probably the most prominent sense here. That faith alone is true which rests on God alone, that confidence which relies but partly on the Lord is vain confidence. If we Anglicized the word by our word verily, as some do, we should have here a striking reminder of our blessed Lord’s frequent use of that adverb.

        2. From: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/psalms-62-1.html

        “In the use of means, for answers of prayer, for performance of promises, and for deliverance from enemies, and out of every trouble: or “is silent” F5, as the Targum; not as to prayer, but as to murmuring; patiently and quietly waiting for salvation until the Lord’s time come to give it; being “subject” to him, as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions; resigned to his will, and patient under his afflicting hand: it denotes a quiet, patient, waiting on the Lord, and not merely bodily exercise in outward ordinances; but an inward frame of spirit, a soul waiting on the Lord, and that in truth and reality, in opposition to mere form and show; and with constancy “waiteth”, and “only” F6 on him, as the same particle is rendered in ( Psalms 62:2 Psalms 62:6 ) ; and so Aben Ezra here;

        FOOTNOTES:

        F5 (hymwd) “silet”, Pagninus, Munster, Cocceius; “silens”, Montanus, Tigurine version; so the Targum.
        F6 (Ka) “tantum”, Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus; “tantummodo”, Junius & Tremellius, Schmidt. ”

        Prof, this is NOT to impress you or to insist that I cannot be wrong, but it just that readers may know that indeed the call to rely on God alone is the correct posture of the faith, and such can be reasonably be discerned from the life and writings of David.

        Again thank you for taking the time, I appreciate it.

        Anthony Chia

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      • Anthony,

        I also believe that God alone is the one who can save us and the one who can deliver us. The translation seeks to emphasize that, and I am in complete agreement with the emphasis. I was not trying to say that you were wrong. I was just trying to say what the verse says in Hebrew. By the way, here is how the first part of verse 1 reads in Hebrew: “Truly, unto God the silence of my soul.” As you can see, the translations struggle with the verse.

        Claude Mariottini

        Like

  2. Mike Aubrey says:

    Claude, I think you’re right on about 2 Sam 21:19, but do you think the SBC’s approach is over the top? I mean, seriously, how many translations get every verse right every time?

    Like

    • MIke,

      I think so. There are some passages in the Bible where an inclusive language may be adequate. In other places, however, we must remain with the original. See for instance what I wrote in Psalm 127:3: Sons or Children?.

      My problem with the new NIV is that at times they allow theological views to influence the way a text is translated.

      Thank you for your comment.

      Claude Mariottini

      Like

      • Robert says:

        That’s right. Dr. If we will let this translation spread over the land, one day we will surprise gays and lesbians are already preaching in the pulpit and leading churches (am i over reacting :-)). This is critical, we really need to be careful of everything now. A lot of misleading and deceiving things now in this world.

        Like

      • Robert,

        In many cases the inclusive language is an acceptable translation of certain texts. My problem with the NIV 2011 is that they allow theological presuppositions affect their translation. Read my post on Genesis 2:19, published on July 5, 2011.

        Claude Mariottini

        Like

  3. John says:

    Since we seem to be getting either a new translation or update every year or so, what would you say is the best all around modern translation to use; one that is accurate, easy to read, and sounds good when read aloud in church? Or is there one that fits the bill?

    Like

    • John,

      It is difficult to answer your question. I tell my students that all versions, with a few exceptions, are good and all versions have problems in translating the text. This is what I recommend to my students: For public reading use the NRSV, the ESV, or the NIV. For a study Bible use the RSV or the NRSV or the New Jerusalem Bible or even the Holman Christian Standard Bible. I tell my students that when studying the Bible to teach or to preach always consult two or three versions and compare how they handle the text. When the translations have major differences, consult a commentary that explains the Hebrew or the Greek behind the translation.

      I hope this information will help you. Thank you for visiting my blog.

      Claude Mariottini

      Like

  4. Pingback: Updated: Biblical Studies Carnival for July 2011 – Targuman

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