Friday, November 15, 2013

Things that make me angry about the removal of NIV 1984 from websites

(This post is a rant)

Here is Biblica on why there is no NIV 1984 edition.

And this is what makes me angry.

1. The 2-year transition

Sure, you can run a 2-year transition for your corporation to phase in a new translation across the board. But churches don't run on this kind of timeline. They don't buy pew bibles that often, most of them that have 1984 NIVs aren't going to roll out 2011 NIVs anytime soon. Which means you rolled out a new version and cut off support for an old version.

2. The whole name thing

"There is only one NIV". Except there isn't. Or there wasn't. Comparing this to the '78 to '84 change isn't very useful, it's disingenous. The '84 existed for 18 years before they tried to update it with the tNIV, which they very clearly labelled as the tNIV. It didn't float because people (a) were entrenched with the '84 NIV, and (b) were unhappy with the changes. It was clear to everyone in 2002 that the tNIV was significantly different, and deserved a different name.

Fast forward to 2011, and the new NIV comes on the scene, except apart from a brief time at the start, there's no name difference. So we have immediate confusion. And it is a different version, it's a different translation.

Stats on differences:
31.27% of NIV 2011 verses adopts a tNIV reading
7.85% of NIV 2011 verses adopt an entirely new reading

So you're telling me that a book in which 40% of the text has had some kind of change in it is the same version? Sure, you could call it the same book (oh, wait, we already did that, it's the Bible), but please don't act like calling it the same version is anything but a trick. It's a trick.

3. Citing statistics that are not relevant

"God's favor continues to rest..." begins a paragraph that rattles of a number of statistics on use and adoption of the NIV. Except that you refused to brand this NIV as a different version which makes lets you use stats related to the 84 NIV, not the 2011 NIV, which significantly weakens the claim people like and support the new NIV and certainly, to me, casts doubt on any claim to 'God's favor'. 11 million to 450 million doesn't sound like ringing endorsement.

Further down they state the current version is the most popular version on the Biblica website. Is this because it's the default? Or because they removed the '84? Or because the other 2 versions are Spanish version and one aimed at a lower reading level?

4. Why not just keep offering it online?

Behind the answer that they should focus on the newest and the best is disingenuity, at best. Is it really technically and resource-wise difficult for them to continue to host a legacy version? Would doing so somehow impede their ability to make available the most recent?

Neither is comparison with other versions reliable. The changes in the ESV are not that great. I can't comment on the 7 versions of the Message, but it's so far down the paraphrase end of the spectrum I'm not sure it's necessary. Again, 40% of verses have differences in the NIV 2011, that is not a minor set of updates.

5. Conclusion

The whole thing smacks of trickery. It's not honest. It doesn't serve churches. If I was them I couldn't write this kind of nonsense without feeling bad about myself.

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