Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

23 Feb 2012

John MacArthur and the NIV 2011

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Since its introduction last year, the 2011 update of the New International Version has been, to say the least, the subject of quite a bit of controversy. Many folks were surprised at the recent announcement that the MacArthur Study Bible with its 20,000 notes will be available in the NIV for the first time. The publisher, Thomas Nelson, is partnering with Zondervan, which is licensing the NIV 2011 translation to Nelson. The Bible is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2013. According to the press release, MacArthur says, “I’m delighted that the MacArthur Study Bible notes will now be easily accessible to NIV readers. My prayer is that these insights and explanations, together with the acclaimed readability of the translation, will help illuminate the true meaning and unleash the divine power of Scripture for NIV readers.”

Sensing that some would not be happy with this decision, MacArthur’s associate Phil Johnson has written a post explaining and defending the decision. It did not take long for the naysayers to come out swinging, as, for example, this post by David Bayly. Phil Johnson quickly responded in the comments section (2nd comment), and I think you will see that Phil was not too happy.

The NIV 2011 made news this past summer when the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution condemning it. The resolutions committee, chaired by Russell Moore, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, rejected a resolution submitted to it condemning the new NIV. However, when the resolution was brought up from the floor, it passed overwhelming. But now the SBC has decided to continue selling the new NIV in its 165 Christian bookstores. Spokesman Adam Greenway said, “Messengers to the 2011 SBC annual meeting were encouraged to vote for the resolution based on incorrect information.”  According to Greenway, the 2011 NIV “follows translation methodologies that are embraced by the overwhelming majority of Bible translators in the world.”

2 Responses

  1. This is a hot issue right now for many theological reasons, but remember…..

    This NIV is selling – Zondervan knows how to get Bibles in people’s hands. Therefore many will be reading texts in that Bible translated with a feminist slant for sure. But who will explain what the passage is saying?

    With the MacArthur Study Bible’s notes people will be instructed on what those texts do mean. And that unambiguously.

    That’s a good thing and we should all be glad for it.

  2. Celestine

    I don’t read the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. I should but I don’t. I probably would read it, if it’s written with a modern language slant. I would read it and perhaps recommend it, because it’s written in my cultural tongue. When it’s time to dig into it, I’ll take out the original version. I think this is similar to this NIV version. Use it, because it readable. When it’s time to dig into it, get the word for word translation, as well as the Greek and Hebrew versions out. The point is do everything to get into the Word! As the Bible Answer Man would say, “Get into the Word, and the Word will get into you.”