The 2011 NIV text update has been released electronically along with the translators’ notes about some of the changes that will be found in this update. I hope to make some comments about the update as time permits over the next year until the print editions arrive in late 2011. I want to highlight one major change in the revised NIV that excites me. This is from the translators’ notes:
Most occurrences of “sinful nature” have become “flesh.” Especially in Paul, sarx can mean either part or all of the human body or the human being under the power of sin. In an effort to capture this latter sense of the word, the original NIV often rendered sarx as “sinful nature.” But this expres- sion can mislead readers into thinking the human person is made up of various compartments, one of which is sarx, whereas the biblical writers’ point is that humans can choose to yield themselves to a variety of influences or powers, one of which is the sin-producing sarx. The updated NIV uses “flesh” as the translation in many places where it is important for readers to decide for themselves from the context whether one or both of these uses of sarx is present.
I am very excited about this change because I believed “sinful nature” was more misleading and confusing than “flesh.” An excellent decision by the committee.