Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Revised NIV and "sinful nature"

Lots of the blogs (e.g. Better Bibles Blog) are reporting the news of the new version of the NIV (New International Version) to be released in 2011 (announcement here at NIV Bible 2011, including webcast). As far as I can see there is no sign yet of what it will be called, but new Bible translations are always great for demonstrating the folly of calling things "new" since "new" soon becomes not so new, and eventually it becomes old. "New Revised Standard" is one of the best pile-ups of adjectives yet. "Today" has already gone in the previous revision, the TNIV. Perhaps the NIV can be the Revised New International Version? Or NIV 2.0? "NIV Bible 2011" is going to date even more quickly, one would have thought.

As far as the content is concerned, I will be disappointed if they regress to some of the non-gender-inclusive language of the NIV. But there is one thing I will be looking for more than anything else, to see if they finally drop "sinful nature" as a translation of sarx in Paul, which was retained in the TNIV. It makes it unusable as a translation for teaching Paul.

Update (21:14): In comments, Matthew Montonini notes this interesting article (PDF) on the topic by Douglas Moo, who is on the CBT, the board that oversees the NIV translation.

9 comments:

Matthew D. Montonini said...

Hello, Mark.

It is interesting that you bring up the gloss for sarx being rendered as "sinful nature."

Doug Moo has an excellent essay on this very subject you can access here: http://www.djmoophoto.com/articles/fleshinromans.pdf

I think it will be well worth your read.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, Matthew. Very interesting. I've moved it up to the main text in an update.

Dr. Jim said...

"The New Soon to be Replaced by an even more Revised International Version"?

billy v said...

I enjoyed the TNIV but had to cringe every time I read "sinful nature".

Jason A. Staples said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason A. Staples said...

Add me to the group that cringes at "sinful nature," if for no other reason than the fact that sarx is translated "flesh" when referring to Jesus, but not when referring to (other) human beings. Given the importance of the term in 1 John 4:2 (demonstrating the importance of translating it consistently, in my view), one would think this would be a little more carefully handled than that. It's just too loaded a term to interpret in the translation, even in a dynamic equivalence translation.

Doug Chaplin said...

I'm not sure whether we're up to NIV 2.0 or 3.0! I too hate that "sinful nature" – and want to stick to flesh.

goddidntsaythat said...

I have a follow-up here:
http://betterbibles.com/2009/09/03/niv-flesh-or-sinful-nature/#comment-14892 on BBB

goddidntsaythat said...

Oops. Here's a "live" link: http://betterbibles.com/2009/09/03/niv-flesh-or-sinful-nature/#comment-14892