Lee Strobel on the NIV

Congratulations to the Committee on Bible Translation—50 years since you began the work that resulted in the New International Version of the Bible. What a monumental work. It’s been so important in my own devotional life, in my preaching life, and in my research. I use it every single day. It’s scholarly, it’s accessible, and I congratulate you on a job well done. I spent most of my life as an atheist and two years investigating the evidence for Jesus Christ as the unique Son of God, and I remember coming to the decision, on November 8, 1981, that in light of the avalanche of evidence that points so powerfully to the truth of Christianity, it would have required more faith for me to maintain my atheism, than to become a Christian.

And then I didn’t know what to do, but I opened my NIV Bible to John 1:12, a verse that someone had pointed out to me earlier. That verse forms the equation of what it means to become a child of God. Essentially when you take out the key words it says Believe, plus Receive, equals Become. That was the last verse I read before I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and became a child of God.

I use the NIV in a variety of different ways every day. I use it in my personal devotional time, as I read God’s word every morning, and then I sit and hold hands with my wife Leslie and we pray together. I think what a change from my years as an atheist and her years as an agnostic. God has changed our lives through his Scripture, through his word, that’s what he’s done. But I use it in my ministry all the time as well. I do a lot of research in Scripture, I do a lot of preaching outside of Scripture, and I find that the NIV is not only scholarly in its approach, but it’s also accessible in its language. The phraseology is something that resonates with people in the pew; it resonates with me. It uses language that we all understand, it puts a biblical concept into terms that we can all relate to, and it is easy for memorization, easy for sharing with others. I use it all the time, and I recommend that others use it as well.

—Lee Strobel, Pastor, Author, and Apologist