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What is the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)?

New International Reader’s Version, NIrV audio

The New International Reader’s Version (NIrV) was a new Bible version developed to enable early readers to understand God’s message. Begun in 1992 and co-sponsored by the International Bible Society and Zondervan Publishing House, the New International Reader’s Version is a simplification of the New International Version (NIV), today’s most popular translation of the Bible. The NIrV was designed to make the Bible clear and understandable to early readers and can be read by a typical fourth grader. For this reason, it is also of value to the millions for whom English is a second language.

New International Reader’s Version - Translation method
According to the publishers, the New International Reader’s Version intends to be distinguished by five fundamental characteristics—readability, understandability, compatibility with the NIV, reliability, and trustworthiness. It serves as a natural stepping stone to the NIV when the time is right. The translation method is the same as the NIV, dynamic equivalence (thought for thought as opposed to word for word). The New International Reader’s Version translates the Bible from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts, but in the process, lowers the reading level by simplifying the words and shortening the sentence length. The result is an accurate translation that is readable and understandable by more people, regardless of their English proficiency.

New International Reader’s Version - Pros and Cons
The greatest strength of the New International Reader’s Version is its understandability. Most Bible translation scholars rate the NIrV as the easiest-to-understand English Bible translation. Sadly, the fact that the NIrV is designed for those of a low reading level has prevented many people from adopting it because they do not want others to know that their reading ability is below average. This should not be. Especially with reading the Bible, pride should never get in the way of understanding. A weakness of the NIrV is the freedom it often takes in how words and phrases are rendered. In going for understandability and simplicity, the text sometimes interprets instead of translates.

New International Reader’s Version - Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning, the Word was already there. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the one and only Son. He came from the Father. And he was full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 - "God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”

John 8:58 - "What I’m about to tell you is true," Jesus answered. "Before Abraham was born, I am!"

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.”

Titus 2:13 – “That’s how we should live as we wait for the blessed hope God has given us. We are waiting for Jesus Christ to appear in all his glory. He is our great God and Savior.”

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What is the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV)?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022