The NIrV is based on the bestselling NIV and tested for a third-grade reading level. This is among the lowest reading levels of any Bible translation available. Like the NIV, the NIrV achieves great accuracy through rigorous faithfulness to the original languages as well as faithfulness to contemporary language. And it makes the Bible accessible to new readers, and others who struggle with the English language, who are able, perhaps for the first time, to read God’s Word for themselves. The translators’ hope is for the NIrV translation to be the start of a lifelong love of God’s Word and growing relationship with him.
Goals of the NIrV Translation Committee
The New International Reader’s Version will:
- Be based on the NIV and maintain the original intent of the NIV
- Be an accurate, clear, and accessible Bible translation of the earliest and most reliable manuscripts available
- Be written at a third-grade reading level (with readers of all ages in mind)
- Maintain consistency with the NIV
- Carefully review word choice, sentence structure, and length, and avoid idioms and figures of speech for clear and accurate understanding
- Ensure real world usability through field testing from actual early readers
The translators and literary experts involved with the creation of the NIrV used Nehemiah as their guiding verse:
[The Levites] read parts of the Book of the Law of God out loud. They made the Law clear to the people. They told them what it meant. Then the people were able to understand what was being read.
Nehemiah 8:8 (NIrV)
The Translation Process
While the translators used the words of the NIV wherever possible, they constantly referred to original manuscripts for accuracy of meaning. When questions arose, the Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts were consulted to help determine the meaning of the biblical author. All work on the translation went through a final review by two Old Testament scholars, a New Testament scholar, and an expert educator. Field testing by children was also incorporated at the end of the process as a check that the goals of the translation were experienced by actual new readers.
How Do the NIV and NIrV Compare?
The words of the NIV are used by the translators wherever possible, but when the words of the NIV are difficult or have more than one meaning, different words are used that are easier to understand or the sentence is rephrased for clarity. Also, sentence length is adjusted to what is educationally appropriate for an average third-grade reading level.
Genesis 1:26 (NIV)
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Genesis 1:26 (NIrV)
Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
John 3:16 (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 (NIrV)
God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
Galatians 1:6 (NIV)
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—
Galatians 1:6 (NIrV)
I am amazed. You are so quickly deserting the one who chose you. He chose you to live in the grace that Christ has provided. You are turning to a different “good news.”
Acts 2:42-44 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Acts 2:42-44 (NIrV)
The believers studied what the apostles taught. They shared their lives together. They ate and prayed together. Everyone was amazed at what God was doing. They were amazed when the apostles performed many wonders and signs. All the believers were together. They shared everything they had.