by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
However, as with most human works, the NIV
is not without its problems. The translation was done at a period of time
when the best available Greek text for the New Testament, as determined
by Biblical scholars
True Christians refused to use these altered
Bibles, but they were loath to destroy the copies since they still contained
much of God’s Word. Instead they retired the books to sealed crypts. Recently,
Scholars have eventually pieced together the puzzle, but not before a few new translations were made using the flawed text, including the NIV.
Gary Colley has published a list of problems
with the NIV that all Bible students should be aware of. Some of these
problems arise from the flawed Greek text that the NIV was based on, but
other problems arise
I would like to give you an expanded version of brother Colley’s list, showing the alteration by comparing it with other translations.
“It mistranslated Psalms 51:5 to teach the false theory of Total Depravity.”
KJV: Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
NAS: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
NKJ: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
NIV: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to tell
that there is a major difference in meaning between the NIV and the other
cited passages. Why did the translators of the NIV change the meaning so
much? I believe they were
“It changes ‘flesh’ in Romans 8 to ‘sinful nature’ teaching the false theory of original sin.”
The word being debated is the Greek word sarx
which means “flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat
of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul
[or spirit], or as the
The English word “flesh” carries a similar
meaning as it too can refer to the edible parts of an animal or to the
physical being of a man. However, “nature” means the inherent character
or basic constitution of a person
In addition, the word “sinful” is adjoined to “nature” even when the original Greek does not mention sinfulness.
The Deity of Christ
“It denies the deity of Christ by removing ‘begotten’ from every text referring to Jesus Christ (cf., John 3:16)”
The NIV refuses to reflect the Greek New Testament
statements that Jesus was born of God. Instead they use phrases such as
“the One and Only” or “I have made you my son.” Consider the difference
ASV: And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.
NKJ: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
NIV: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Greek word being translated is monogenes.
It is a compound word meaning “the only one of a race” or “the only born.”
In literature it is used to refer an only child and it can be seen translated
as such in Luke
The NIV emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ while de-emphasizing the kinship of Christ to God the Father.
A more clear altering is seen in Psalms 2:7, Acts 13:33, and Hebrews 1:5. Consider the following:
NKJ: God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.'
NAS: that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'You are My son; today I have begotten You.'
NIV: he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: "'You are my Son; today I have become your Father. '
The Greek word gennao and the Hebrew word yalad
refers to conceiving and giving birth to a child. The argument for de-emphasizing
the birth is that some have argued that these verses mean Jesus had a
The Eunuch’s Baptism
“It deletes both the statement of Philip on the condition of baptism and the eunuch’s answer (cf. Acts 8:37).”
This is due to the manipulated Greek text that the translation was based upon. If it is any consolation, most copies of the NIV do include verse 37 in the footnotes.
Salvation at the Point of Hearing
“It falsely teaches that sinners are ‘included in Christ’ at the point of hearing (Ephesians 1:13).”
NKJ: In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
ASV: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation,-- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
NIV: And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Nothing in the Greek indicates the idea of being included in Christ, especially at the point of hearing the Gospel.
Salvation at the Point of Faith
“It tampers with the plan of salvation in Romans 10:10, teaching that justification is reached at the point of faith. The same verse teaches that salvation is reached at the point of confession (Romans 10:10).”
NKJ: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
ASV: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
NIV: For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
The Greek behind the phrase “unto righteousness”
indicates a leading up to the point of the justification of character or
leading up to the point of righteousness. However, the NIV leads the reader
to believe the
A similar alteration is made in John 3:16.
NKJ: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
ASV: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
NIV: 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.
Notice the subtle change from the idea that a believer should not perish
to the idea that a believer shall not perish. “Should” indicates that the
believer has no excuse in perishing. “Shall” indicates that a believer
“It changes I Corinthians 1:6 from ‘the testimony of Christ’ (the gospel) to ‘our testimony of Christ’ (testimonialist).”
The Greek word marturion is a neuter word meaning something evidential,
in other words in the general sense, evidence given or in the specific
sense something like the Decalogue (in the sacred Tabernacle). Changing
Salvation Before Baptism
“It makes Peter teach that baptism is ‘the pledge of a good conscience toward God’ advancing the false theory of faith alone (I Peter 3:21).”
The Greek word eperotema, means “an inquiry.” However, the word “pledge” used in the NIV means a promise made to God and not a response to God’s request.
As you can see, the New International Version is not the best version
to use if you are interested in accuracy of translation. I still like it
for easy reading, but for serious study I prefer to use more precise translations,
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