Frequently Asked Questions About the NIV

Who is responsible for maintaining the NIV text?
A self-governed team of independent evangelical Biblical scholars, the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), is responsible for the translation of the NIV Bible. No publisher—either Biblica or any of its licensed publishing partners around the world commercial or otherwise–can tell the CBT how to translate God’s Word. The NIV is trustworthy because the NIV Bible translators all firmly believe that the original manuscripts are the inspired Word of God and completely free from error, being the work of authors who were directed by the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 3:16). The translators come from many different denominations and they only make changes to the English translated text if 70 percent or more of the committee agrees, safeguarding the NIV translation against theological and ideological bias. Read more >

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How are gender-related issues handled in the NIV?
Our mandate under the NIV charter is to maintain the NIV as an articulation of God’s unchanging Word in contemporary English. To the extent that gender-inclusive language is an established part of contemporary English and that its use enhances comprehension for readers, it clearly was an important factor in the decisions we made.

In addition to considering feedback from scholars, pastors and laypeople, the committee also initiated a relationship with Collins Dictionaries to use the Collins Bank of English, one of the world’s foremost English language research tools, to conduct a major new study of changes in gender language. 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. All gender decisions in the NIV were subjected to rigorous scrutiny in the light of this data to ensure that the words chosen maximize comprehension of the original meaning. Read more about this topic >

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Why are 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.

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