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The Death of the TNIV

I found this to be shocking news to begin the month of September. The TNIV has been officially discontinued.

Official news here and here.

It is a strange to say that I am shocked but not surprised. I am not surprised because the lack of new editions of the TNIV indicated that Zondervan was unwilling to support the translation. But I am shocked that they just killed the TNIV all together and will not publish it any longer. I figured Zondervan would continue printing the editions they currently support like the TNIV Renaissance Bible, but no longer throw their dollars into marketing the TNIV. Instead, the TNIV took the guillotine and its printing will stop.

“So as we launch this new NIV, we will discontinue putting out new products.” Zondervan had already done that. Further, “It will be several years before you won’t be able to buy a TNIV off a bookshelf.” But this means that there will be a point that one will not be able to purchase a TNIV, probably not long after the new NIV arrives.

I have written a number of posts about why the TNIV was not successful (just search for TNIV in this blog and you will find my remarks). The blame does not belong to those who mischaracterized the TNIV. The blame falls primarily on Zondervan and on the CBT for the NIV. As many have written in other places along with myself, Zondervan seemed to treat the TNIV as something to be only touched with a 10 foot pole. The NIV was getting all the new editions and styles while the TNIV had about five leather editions to choose from. The TNIV fixed many, not all, of the NIV’s translation problems. But no one brought attention to this point. The CBT made a large mistake in my opinion when it released the TNIV New Testament around 2002 which had some radical readings that thankfully did not make it to the final publication. But this tainted the translation for many people including myself. I think this is how the TNIV began to be mischaracterized. I checked out the TNIV New Testament and saw dramatic revisions and extreme use of gender-inclusiveness and began to oppose the translation. I never suspected that when the TNIV was completed in 2005 that the New Testament I had from a couple years earlier was very different than the final product. Only in 2008 did I give the TNIV another look and found it to be better than the pre-released New Testament and in a number of ways better than the NIV. But these mistakes by Zondervan and the CBT appear to be have been too great to overcome.

The other news is that the NIV is going to be revised. Apparently, some of the important revisions that the TNIV had will be introduced to the NIV. This is a good thing. The NIV should never have become frozen in translation like the NRSV. It is frustrating when a translation does not come back and refine the wording to make the translation even better. The NIV is now going to be revised and the revision will be released in 2011. I don’t think it will be called the RNIV since that would lead to easy confusion with the NIrV (a translation for young readers). Right now it is being called NIV Bible 2011. I hope they do not call the revision by that clunky name. I think the NIV should follow the NASB. In 1995 the NASB released an update to the NASB simply called the ’95 update. But after a few years the old NASB was phased away and the updated NASB is called the NASB or the NASB update. This would be a wise course for the NIV. Call it an update, phase out the old NIV, and then the revision will retain the name NIV or NIV update. If the CBT calls it anything else, people will reject it in favor of their beloved NIV. Just call it an update, don’t make an over the top celebration about it, and Zondervan will find minimal resistance to the changes. If they set this revision apart from the NIV, calling it the RNIV or something else, then expect the TNIV disaster all over again.

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