Have you ever read the Preface to the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible? Recently I picked it up and reread it. There are two quotes that always concern me, and should concern anyone who is honestly seeking the Truth.
The first quote says that the translators of the NIV “were from many denominations—including Anglican, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Christian Reformed, Church of Christ, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Mennonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Wesleyan and other churches” (bold mine, DR), and that this “helped to safeguard the translation from sectarian bias”!
Anyone outside the Lord’s church may wonder why I emphasized what I did from this quote. This wouldn’t surprise me, since those outside the church usually do not understand the nature of Jesus’ one church and the sin of denominationalism. Those inside the church who wonder about the emphases are the ones who concern me.
The church of Christ is not a denomination (cf. 1 Cor. 1:10-13). One might reply that the writers of the NIV’s preface don’t understand this; but apparently the translators from the church of Christ to whom they refer didn’t either! Those men and/or women were supposed to be “distinguished scholars”! Surely they knew that the church of Christ is not a denomination. So why would they allow it to be called one? I have my guesses as to why, but the point is that they did, and that should be enough to cause us to question their scholarship and how they supposedly helped to safeguard this “translation” from sectarian bias!
A second quote that should pique our interest, if not alarm, says, “The first concern of the translators has been the accuracy of the translation and its fidelity to the thought of the biblical writers. They have striven for more than a word-for-word translation” (bold mine, DR). Were these translators claiming to be inspired? Because it seems that this would be required in order to know the “thought of the biblical writers.” How can anyone know the thoughts of another person outside of that person revealing his thoughts in words of speech or writing? And since the biblical writers have been gone for hundreds of years and all we have is their writings, how else can we know their thoughts but by those writings and only by those writings? Is it possible for their thoughts to have been any different than their writing? And does their writing fall short of what they supposedly thought? Let’s not forget the fact that their thoughts should be of no concern to us because the Holy Spirit of God Himself inspired and moved the biblical writers to write (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).
By claiming this pursuit of the writers’ thoughts, these “translators” admit that they really were giving commentary more than actual translation, and would’ve done much better to simply use their scholarship to translate the writers’ words from one language to another than to guess at the thought behind the words. This is the best way to “safeguard from sectarian bias.”
And truth-seeking readers today would do much better to avoid the NIV “translation”.