The NIV’s Commitment to Accuracy
Fidelity to Scripture is the first priority of the New International Version (NIV). The NIV translators bring a wealth of experience in the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic languages of the Bible. The result? An accurate, reliable translation of God’s Word you can read and understand.
When it comes to Bible translation, accuracy means getting as close to the original text as is possible in natural, contemporary English. It means translating with precision and clarity. Which is exactly what the NIV Bible does.
Accuracy means honoring the Bible.
The 15 members of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) don’t just translate the Bible. They believe the Bible. They’re united by the conviction that what they translate isn’t just any book; it’s the inspired Word of God.
Every NIV translator affirms this confession of faith from the original CBT charter: “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written.”
The scholarship that produced this version is excellent, both in text and translation decisions.
— Daniel B. Wallace, Dallas Theological Seminary
Accuracy means going back to the original languages.
Together, the NIV translators have hundreds of years’ experience studying, teaching, and translating the ancient languages of the Bible. Their advanced knowledge of biblical languages and linguistics helps them to bring as much meaning as possible from the original into English.
Accuracy means taking it slow.
In our world, speed is king. But not so for Bible translation. Accuracy means taking the time to get it right, because every word counts. The first edition of the NIV Bible took more than a decade to translate. And even though the current edition is 95% the same as it was before, the NIV translators spent six years going over every revision.
Accuracy means safeguarding the translation.
The NIV translation process is one of rigorous checks and balances. The translation team is a self-governing body, which means no publisher or commercial entity can tell them how to translate Scripture. Committee members represent a number of denominations, helping to ensure a translation free from theological bias.
Accuracy shouldn’t mean “difficult to read.”
It’s tempting to think that the more literal a translation is, the more accurate it will be. But that’s not always the case. Consider one example from Spanish: ¿Cómo se llama?
Which is a better translation:
• Option 1: “How is it called?”
• Option 2: “What is your name?”
Option 1 is a literal, word-for-word rendering of the original Spanish. But it’s not a very good translation, because it doesn’t make any sense in English. Option 2 is a far better translation, because it captures for you precisely what the original communicates to a Spanish speaker.
According to the translation philosophy of the NIV, accuracy means paying careful attention to the words of the original, then finding the best possible way to capture their meaning in natural, readable English.