The NIV Bible Translation Process

Every word choice, every update, every decision made in the New International Version is subject to a rigorous translation process, designed to protect the NIV from bias and to ensure the most accurate translation possible in today’s English.

Before it was published, the NIV Bible went through perhaps the most rigorous translation process in history. The first edition, printed in 1978, was the labor of more than 100 evangelical biblical scholars. This careful attention to detail continues today.

Safeguarding the text

The text of the NIV is entrusted to the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a self-governing body of 15 evangelical Bible scholars. No outside group — no publisher or commercial entity — can decide how the NIV is translated.

In keeping with the original NIV charter, the CBT meets every year to monitor developments in biblical scholarship, as well as changes in English usage. Every year, they solicit (and receive) input from scholars, pastors, missionaries, and laypeople.

A groundbreaking study of the English language

In preparation for the latest update to the NIV, published in 2011, the translators commissioned one of the most comprehensive studies of gender language in English ever done, drawing on the Collins Bank of English — a database of more than 4.4 billion words, taken from publications and spoken-word recordings spanning two decades. Read more about the Collins report here.

A high threshold for change

Every change to the NIV must be thoroughly vetted — and changing the text isn’t easy. In order to become part of the NIV, a change must receive the support of at least 70 percent of the translation team.
Such a high threshold among a denominationally diverse team of scholars helps to protect the NIV from agendas, bias, and outside influence — ensuring that any changes are backed by the very best biblical scholarship.

The result of such a rigorous translation process? A Bible you can trust, now and in the future.