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What is the Today’s New International Version (TNIV)?

Today’s New International Version, TNIV audio

The Today’s New International Version was published in 2005 by Zondervan, while the rights to it are held by Biblica, a non-profit that uses revenue gained from Bible sales to translate and distribute Bibles in indigenous languages all over the world. Today’s New International Version was designed to reflect the New International Version, while clarifying and updating passages and words to provide a more timely, contemporary English rendition for a new generation of Bible readers. The TNIV is the work of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a group of thirteen evangelical scholars who also translated the NIV. In September 2009, it was announced that the TNIV would be discontinued and that it will be replaced by a future revision of the NIV text. That future version, the 2011 New International Version, was released to the public in March 2011 and received much of the same criticism regarding its “gender neutral” language as the TNIV. The 2011 NIV has replaced the 1984 NIV, which has been used and loved by Christians the world over for over 25 years, but which will no longer be available.

Today’s New International Version - Translation method
While adhering to the translation method known as dynamic equivalence (thought-for-thought as opposed to word-for-word), the Today’s New International Version also attempted to incorporate improvements that reflect contemporary English terms. For example, the "sixth hour" is accurately translated as "noon" in the modern understanding of time (Mark 15:33). Generally, the TNIV retains gender-accurate, masculine terminology for references to God. There are passages in the TNIV, however, in which the contemporary English rendition used to refer to men and women has been translated to accurately reflect the original language, context, and understanding. Where the NIV previously used "he," "man," or "men" to indicate all people, the TNIV, in many cases, renders these passages as "person," "people," or other terminology that reflects the meaning of the original language. The CBT felt that these updates do not impose upon or change the doctrinal impact of Scripture. So, for example, in Paul’s letter to Titus, referring to God’s saving grace, the TNIV renders 2:11 this way: "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people."

Other passages rendered gender-neutral, however, have been the cause of concern among evangelical leaders. One example is found in Hebrews 2:17 - “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest ...”(NIV), while the Today’s New International Version translates “brothers” as “brothers and sisters.” A “Statement of Concern” over the TNIV, outlining misgivings of over 100 evangelical leaders, includes the following comment on this verse:

Did Jesus have to become like his sisters "in every way" in order to become a "high priest in service to God"? All the Old Testament priests were men, and surely the high priest was a man. This text does not quite proclaim an androgynous Jesus (who was both male and female), but it surely leaves open a wide door for misunderstanding, and almost invites misunderstanding. Meditate on that phrase "in every way" and see if you can trust the TNIV.

Other notable changes are that “Christ” has regularly been rendered as “Messiah,” and “saints” has often been replaced with terms such as “God’s people” or “believers.” Other textual updates in the Today’s New International Version reflect simple revisions in punctuation, copy-editing details, and treatment of footnotes.

Today’s New International Version - Pros and Cons
Like the NIV, the biggest strength of the TNIV is its readability. The original Hebrew and Greek are rendered in modern, understandable, and natural-sounding English. The most significant weakness of the Today’s New International Version is its gender-inclusivity. While, despite what the conspiracy theorists claim, the TNIV is not an attempt to de-masculinize God; often, the TNIV’s gender-inclusive renderings are not necessary. In fact, sometimes they are misleading. While we do not question the motives of the TNIV translation committee, we have serious reservations about some of their decisions. It is likely best that the TNIV was discontinued.

Today’s New International Version - Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14– “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only [Son], who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 8:58 – “’Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’"

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Titus 2:13 – “while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

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