My husband bought me a Kindle for Mother’s Day, which has been both a blessing and a time-saver for me. Until today, I never used it to read the Bible, as I prefer to read my paper version of the New International Version (NIV) Bible. It was today that I discovered that they rewrote the Bible this year.
While reading the Kindle version of Revelation to my kids this morning, I got the strange feeling that something was wrong. I kept reading and noticed more than once that there were passages in the book that I had never read before. Words were changed around, or changed completely, or just plain didn’t sound right.
By the time I came to Revelation chapter 16, my uneasiness caused me to put the Kindle down and think long and hard about what could be happening. I went back to the book information to make sure I had bought the correct version, the NIV. The version was right, so what was wrong?
What Happened to the NIV Bible?
This is the new NIV Bible, also called the 2011 NIV. This rewritten version of the NIV Bible was published on December 26, 2010, coincidentally the day after Christmas.
The NIV Bible we are all used to reading was published in 1984, also coincidentally the title of George Orwell’s book 1984, which deals with creepy issues of changing written materials to control information. Is anyone else seeing the eeriness of this situation?
Approximately 5% of the Bible’s words have been changed, including familiar verses we’ve memorized over the years or had our children memorize in Sunday school and kids’ church. One example of this change is the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
Here is the new, revised verse:
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23, 2011 NIV
Did you notice that one of the fruits of the spirit is different now? That’s right, patience used to be in the list. It has now been changed to forbearance to more accurately translate the Greek word which meant “patience with people”.
Also, references to people have been changed to be more politically correct, saying “brothers and sisters” where the original version said just “brothers”.
Mixed Feelings About a New Bible
The regular NIV Bible, now referred to as the 1984 NIV, is still available on paper. But how will this revision effect those of us reading our media on electronic devices, like Kindles and Nooks? More importantly, how trustworthy is the new version, or the translators themselves, for that matter?
For me, prayer will be needed for God to show me if this is indeed a more accurate translation of what He is saying to us. How do you feel about the rewriting of the NIV Bible? Let us know in the comments below.