Question for TNIV Readers

I’ve never read the TNIV and the be honest I have no intention on ever reading it.  My question for readers of the TNIV is: is it really that much better than the NIV?  What is it about the TNIV that you find appealing?  I’ve read Mike Aubrey’s comparison results and I don’t really see enough of a difference to warrant actually spending the money on one.  I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of people like it for the gender inclusive language which isn’t something that I find all that necessary.  So do tell… what’s the big deal about the TNIV?



14 thoughts on “Question for TNIV Readers

  1. I have a copy of the TNIV sitting on my bookshelf. Zondervan donated several cases of them to the graduate school when I was at Wheaton College, so we all got a free copy if we were interested. To be honest with you, I’ve never even cracked it open. I also received a little book titled: Perspectives on the TNIV from Leading Scholars & Pastors when I attended the 2005 ETS confereence in Valley Forge, PA. You can get the full book in PDF here.


  2. Well, if you’re a regular user of the NIV, you should be interested in the TNIV simply because it corrects many of the more perplexing (read, wrong-headed) textual and translational decisions of the older NIV. As such, then, it is really more accurate at several turns than the NIV, even if the changes appear to be few statistically. Also, from the perspective of English style, a number of unfortunate renderings have been corrected–for instance, one that made its way to the t-shirts of several girls dorms in many Christian colleges: Psalm 56:1 (“Be merciful to me, O God, for men hotly pursue me”). :-)

    But if you’re not an NIV user, then there’s no pressing need for you to run out and get a TNIV. You do have, after all, better translations already at hand.

  3. Brian and Shaun seem to be saying that it’s worth the price of purchase as long as it’s free. Are you suggesting that one should spend money on this gender-sensitive translation? :-P

  4. i have no idea how extensive the differences are between the two, but like Brian and Shaun, i got a nice, wide margin hardback for free, so for now, that’s my bible. i really am that easy.

  5. Nick,
    I guess it depends on what you like a Bible for. I have actually bought 2 of them even after receiving one for free. It’s readable and a nice balance between formal and functional equivalence. The gender-“accurate” translation is not that big of a deal either. By that I mean I don’t notice it that much and I wouldn’t buy it if that’s were all it had going for it after all I could get that from the NRSV.

    But as Esteban mentioned if you already use and like the NIV then it makes sense that you would want the next version that improves upon it.

    My two cents.

  6. I just finished reading through the TNIV, after having it on my shelf for two years. I had used the NIV since I got a leather copy 25 years ago for $10.00. I think I will be making the TNIV my standard English bible. As other posters have noted, it is a nice balance between formal and functional equivalence. Besides, if I am really concerned about a rendering, I always consult the original anyway : )

    The gender issue is overblown, to put it mildly. In the ancient world, if there were 500 women and one man in a group, the masculine was used. Period. End of discussion. In our world, we use they (neuter), and the use of they as a singular has a long history, going back to, I believe, the 1500s; check your OED for details.


  7. Hi Nick:
    I enjoy multiple translations: NIV, NAS, and even The Message (which some call a paraphrase and NavPress now promotes as a translation). But the NIV and NAS were my main reading and studying translations until I took a challenge two years ago to read the TNIV in 90 days. I got about 30 days into the exercise and ran out of steam but in that thirty days I came to love the TNIV for it’s readability (the “cadence” was incredible) and for how fresh and user friendly it was. Honestly, the gender thing is a bonus in my mind and not the main attraction for me. And let’s face it, the NIV translation is 30 years old and so many language discoveries have been made that sometimes reading the NIV now seems like reading the KJV. So…from an average Joe…that is my reason for the TNIV. I’d love a TNIV/NAS parallel if anyone at the publisher is listening…

  8. Personally I think the NIV sucks, so my take is pretty much the same on TNIV. On just about any translation choice of any importance, NIV chooses the one I am most certain is the incorrect one. It is totally biased towards mainstream evangelicalism in all sorts of irritating little ways.

    N.T.Wright talks about students bringing their NIVs to class when it first came out and when he would make some exegetical point, they would say, “But the text doesn’t say that,” and then he would have to bring them back to the Greek and show that that, yes, the text does say that. As far as I can tell, it’s just par for the course for NIV.

    To put it bluntly, the NIV is the Wayne Grudem of bible translations.

    (I’m not sure to whom I should compare the TNIV.)

  9. Well, the kind of stuff Ryan is talking about is going to happen in not a few translations.

    Even so, Nick, literal isn’t always better. It actually takes a more thorough solid understanding of how biblical languages work to get a dynamic style translation (eg. TNIV, REB, etc) than it is to get some more literal supposed word for word translation like the NAS or KJV.

  10. What rtjones said. The NIV is an untrustworthy translation and owes it success largely to its marketing campaign.

    I have no interest in or experience with the TNIV, so I’ll stop here.

  11. I highly recommend purchasing the TNIV version published as The Books of The Bible from the International Bible Society. It has been formatted for ease of reading and I’m currently using it as my daily reading version. When I study I use a variety of translations and lexicons, but I’ve really enjoyed this bible. It’s only $9 US directly from IBS and you can find out more about it from their website:

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