It is a few weeks since I discussed here the announcement of the NIV Bible 2011 update. Now the consortium responsible for the update has released a set of FAQ answers, at least based on questions submitted at their website. Thanks to Joel and Suzanne for the tip.
I am pleased to see some kind of confirmation of my general understanding of the revision process. The independence of the Committee on Bible Translation is affirmed. The team clarifies that
The CBT has not “caved” in to any interest group in this decision. Indeed to do so would fundamentally betray their mandate which is simply and solely to monitor developments in English usage and biblical scholarship and reflect them in the text. (Q1)
Members of the CBT are charged with the responsibility of monitoring developments in English usage and biblical scholarship and reflecting these developments in improvements to the text. This mandate leaves no room for following an external agenda … (Q29)
So, while they will not commit themselves on any specifics, they will not change the text because of external pressures:
If they see compelling new data on the state of contemporary English usage, or if a compelling exegetical argument is made – whether it involves moving backward or forward – the CBT will make the changes that are necessary. (Q7)
The update will be based on TNIV rather than directly on the 1984 NIV:
The CBT works with its “existing text,” which is the latest form of the translation that first appeared in the NIV and then later in the TNIV. They make revisions to this text based on their best understanding of the underlying Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. (Q27)
Presumably this implies that the TNIV text, with the minor updates already published, is the starting point for
no change to the text can be ratified without a 70 percent majority vote. (Q19)
The CBT are certainly not going to retreat to follow the Colorado Springs guidelines, with which they respectfully disagree:
The Colorado Springs Guidelines, however, do not reflect the range of opinions that was represented by the signatories to the original NIV charter, and it does not represent an accurate summation of the NIV translation philosophy. (Q13)
In the light of this post of mine I was interested to note that they accepted and answered this question:
Q17: If you’re going to do this, at least donate $10 of every Bible sold to Wycliffe so people who still need one Bible in their own language can get one.
Since the inception, with each NIV Bible sold, Zondervan pays a royalty to Biblica so that it can continue to get the Bible, free-of-charge or at a very low cost, into the hands of less fortunate people around the world.
By the way, the person who asked for $10 from each Bible obviously doesn’t realise that many Bibles are sold for less than that in total!
Some people will be disappointed to read that
The Committee on Bible Translation has no plans at the present to produce a translation of the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical books. (Q21)
But to the evangelicals who make up the target audience of NIV these books are simply off the radar.
This question and answer sums up the aims of the team:
Q25: Are you going to make this version as gender inclusive as possible so that a whole generation of young believers can know that they are all included in God’s love and Word, not just a few?
CBT’s mandate under the NIV charter is to maintain the NIV as an articulation of God’s unchanging word in contemporary English. To the extent, therefore, that gender inclusive language is an established part of contemporary English and that its use enhances comprehension for readers, it will be an important factor in the decisions made by the translators.
The NIV is, and always has been, conceived as a Bible for the whole church. Our aim is to create a Bible which allows diverse groups of people to get together and read it without any one having preferential access to the text whether they are young or old, whether they are well-educated or less-well educated, whether they are an experienced Bible-handler or an interested newcomer. So we won’t be trying to create a Bible that favors the needs of young believers over the needs of other groups, but neither will be creating a Bible that favors the needs of other groups over the needs of the young. We will be seeking to create a Bible that offers unobstructed access to the unchanging truths of God’s love and Word for all.
A laudable goal. We need to hope and pray that they can reach it.