What is the Bible?
The Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), the team of translators responsible for the New International Version (NIV) Bible, is composed of world-class scholars and leaders in their respective fields. Their goal is to accurately translate the Word of God in a way that enables readers and listeners to hear the Bible as it was originally written, and understand the Bible as it was originally intended.
From the beginning, the translators have been committed to getting the words right. That means being true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the Bible while at the same time capturing the Bible’s original meaning in natural, everyday English. Each NIV translator believes that the Bible is God’s inspired Word. That conviction, along with their years of studying biblical languages, has helped them capture the depth of meaning in the Bible in a way that is accurate, clear, and trustworthy.
When comparing the NIV with the King James Version (KJV), it would seem that there are some verses “missing” in the NIV (and other trusted translations such as the CEV, CSB, ESV, GNB, HCSB, NET, NLT, etc.). Actually, that is not the case. In 1611, the translators of the KJV used the best resources available to them at that time. For their day, the King James translation was a monumental achievement. However, one of its shortcomings is that the KJV translation committee of 50 scholars drew heavily on William Tyndale’s New Testament. As much as 80% of Tyndale’s translation is reused in the King James version. Tyndale used several sources in his translation of the Old and New Testaments. For the New Testament, he referred to the third edition (1522) of Desiderius Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, often referred to as the Textus Receptus (“Received Text”).
In the years since 1611, many older manuscripts have been discovered and carefully evaluated by scholars. Their conclusion is that the older manuscripts are more reliable. This has given modern translators unprecedented access to manuscripts much closer in time to the original documents. Therefore, translations such as the NIV actually reflect better Bible scholarship than was available in 1611 when the KJV was published.
The verses or phrases that appeared in the KJV, but have been “omitted” in most trusted translations today, are not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Modern translators include or reference them in footnotes. These footnotes are intended to help the reader understand that certain perceived differences in the text are due to improved biblical scholarship. The treatment of these verses has not changed recently and reflects a consensus among the majority of Bible scholars.
It is important and comforting to note that no doctrines of the Christian faith are affected by differences between the KJV and translations such as the NIV that follow more reliable sources.
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