With the number of new translations of the Bible that have been published in the past thirty years, I am constantly being asked, “Which is the best version?” What I do when a new translation appears is to use portions of it for private devotional reading, portions for public reading in my classes or chapel messages, and portions for careful critical analysis in my preparation of exegetical lectures or scholarly articles. This article is based on a small sampling of the New International Version (NIV).
TYPOGRAPHY. The page proofs that were supplied to me were at once pleasing to the eye. The type is a modern type-face, clear and sufficiently bold, set in paragraphs (not in verses, like the King James Version or the New American Standard Bible) that occupy the width of the page (not in two columns, like the Revised Standard Version or the Good News Bible), with the poetic portions set in poetic form. Double-column editions are available in the NIV also. The text is divided into sections, with editorial headings set in italics as shoulder-heads before each section. Footnotes are rarely used, and then to explain the meanings of words in the text (e.g. “Lo-Ruhamah means not loved,” Hos. 1:6), or to give variant readings (e.g. “Masoretic Text; Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, and Syriac: ‘He jammed the wheels of their chariots’;” Exod. 14:25), or to indicate conjectural readings or translations (e.g. “angels” in Job 38:7 has a footnote “Hebrew the sons of God”). There are no references to other passages in the side margins (as in the NASB).
READABILITY. Reading the NIV, both silently in my private use and aloud in my classes, I was pleased with the style of the work. It does not have the freshness of the GNB or the high style of ...1
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