Rick Warren on the NIV

Here is why I continue to use the New International Version of the Bible as we approach the 50th anniversary of the commissioning of the NIV. What we know as the NIV was commissioned in 1965, and the complete translation was first published in 1978. Since this time, literally dozens of Bible translations have come out in English. Yet I continue to use the NIV for three reasons. For its accuracy, its simplicity, and its popularity.

Let me just say a word about each of these. First, it is accurate. When you look at the list of scholars who have worked on New International Version in the past and who continue to work on it today, it’s really a who’s who in biblical scholarship. I trust the NIV because it represents no single method of theology, no single strain of Christianity. It has a broad base, broad appeal, and isn’t trying to promote any particular agenda. That means a lot to me. Let the text teach itself. There are translations coming out today that are basically being built to protect and promote a particular view of theology. Well, they’ve got it backwards. That is letting your theology dictate the Bible, rather than letting the Bible dictate your theology. The NIV is an accurate translation.

The second reason is it’s simple. It’s easy to read. It’s understandable and people can use it. I never find it hard to use because it’s self-explanatory. In fact, a lot of times, you don’t have to interpret anything because the Scripture just speaks for itself. The NIV makes the meaning plain. I understand why some people like to use the King James Version because it gives them something to explain. But when you use the New International Version, you spend less time on interpretation and more time on application, because the text speaks for itself.

And then I continue to use it because of its popularity. It is, by far, the most popular Bible translation, so I know that when I quote from it, more people are going to resonate with that translation than with a less popular translation.

I want to say congratulations to the Committee on Bible Translation, Biblica, the other Bible publishers, and all who had a part in the New International Version in the commemoration of this 50th year since the commissioning of the NIV.

—Rick Warren, Author, Pastor, Saddleback Church