In keeping with the translators’ mandate to maintain the NIV so that it remains an accurate, accessible translation of the Bible, the latest edition was published in 2011. Below are common questions and answers relating to the current edition of the NIV.

Q. What are the differences between the NIV 1984 and the updated NIV in 2011?

All the changes in the updated text are attributable to at least one of the following factors: changes in English, progress in scholarship and concern for clarity. About 95% of the text of the updated NIV remains exactly the same as the 1984 text it replaces, based on the number of word changes.

Q. When did the translation process begin?

The CBT was formed in 1965 to create a modern English Bible translation from the oldest and best-attested biblical manuscripts. From its inception in the 1960’s to the emergence of the first complete NIV text in 1978, the NIV translation team has continued to meet, year after year, reviewing developments in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage – revising the translation to ensure that it continues to offer readers an experience that mirrors that of the original audience. The 2011 update is the latest fruit of this process. Learn about the history of the NIV.

Q. Why are there updates made to the NIV?

The original NIV charter requires us to constantly monitor developments in biblical scholarship and changes in English usage and to reflect these changes in periodic updates to the text. Without these periodic updates the NIV would be unable to maintain the priorities that have drawn people to it over the years: providing the optimum blend of transparency to the original text and ease of understanding for a broad audience.

In the latest update in 2011, about 95% of the text remains exactly the same as the 1984 NIV that it replaces, based on the number of word changes.

Q. What materials did the CBT use to translate the NIV?

As a committee, we use what Bible translators call an “eclectic text” drawing on all the major published original texts, but making our own decisions about the textual variants found in those traditions.

For guidance in determining the nature and extent of change in English usage, especially in the area of gender language, the committee initiated a relationship with Collins Dictionaries to use the Collins Bank of English, one of the world’s foremost English language research tools. The Collins Bank of English is a database of more than 4.4 billion English words that provides objective, statistically significant data on the state of written and spoken English at any given point in the history of the language. Working with some of the world’s leading experts in computational linguistics and using cutting-edge techniques developed specifically for the NIV update project, we gained an authoritative, objective and previously unavailable perspective on contemporary linguistic norms.

Please see the Notes from the Committee on Bible Translation for answers to more specific questions about the 2011 edition translation.

Download the report on “The Development and Use of Gender Language in Contemporary English” prepared for the Committee on Bible Translation by Collins Dictionaries.