When I was at the SBL meeting in Austin Texas back in November, I had talked to someone at the Zondervan booth and they had given me information on their new translation of the Bible, the TNIV (Today’s New International Version), which is a revision of the NIV. They gave me a book about it and told me they would send me a copy of the Bible when it was available.
Of course, they didn’t do this out of the kindness of their heart, but rather as part of their marketing strategy, since I’m a “person of influence” at least in some small sense, since I’m a professor.
Well, the promised book arrived in the mail yesterday. It is a thinline European leather burgundy and brown copy of the thing, which retails for 30 bucks; it is a very nice copy, with the nice leather smell, fitting comfortably in the hand and much fancier than the paperback I had expected.
Anyhow, I have been reading through bits of it off and on today and I must say I really like it; they’ve fixed several of the problems that I had seen in the NIV. For instance, the passages in Ezekiel that had obscured the explicitly sexual nature of some of his prophesies have been unobscured and made explicit (as, for instance, Ezekiel 16:25). A badly rendered part of Proverbs 30 (30:1) now makes some sense. In Psalm 23 it no longer says “valley of the shadow of death” but instead, the more accurate “darkest valley.” On top of all that, the translation is also in keeping with modern sensibilities when both genders are being addressed. It makes clear that it really is both genders, rather than saying “brothers” or “men” when both were really in view. In most cases I believe the alterations have improved the accuracy of the translation, for instance in Genesis 1 where instead of saying that God created Man in His image, it now says he created “human beings” in the image of God, which I think helps make more obvious what is pretty clear in Hebrew, that it is humanity as a whole that is the image of God, not an individual, any more than the “body of Christ” or “bride of Christ” can be localized in a single person. So far, I think the TNIV is a much improved translation.