So last year in Bible 151, students were required to purchase a New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Study Bible with the Apocrypha. I really loved the notes and essays, but the translation was gritty and awkward. I knew that I wanted a much more dynamically equivalent translation, which means less word-for-word, and more phrase-for phrase. In most cases, this makes it easier to understand the true meaning of original text. I did a little research into all the translations that are available, and what criticism was made about them.
I discovered translations I had never heard before, such as the New Living Translation (NLT), Amplified Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB), and chronological bibles. But none of them compared to the dynamic equivalence of the NIV, which I knew was probably my favorite. As I started looking into the NIV study bible, I found the newest revision of it, called Today’s New International Version (TNIV).
I found a cheap TNIV study bible on amazon, and waited anxiously for it to arrive at my school’s mail room. When it arrived it had slightly hewn edges, but decent shape, and tabs had been taped in to mark the new testament and the references sections. Over the next few weeks I was enthused to scour the pages looking at the impressive study tools that were built into the text.
Maps and charts are littered throughout. A massive concordance in the back is shadowed in comparison to the in-text cross-referencing on the margins of every page. The essays are well written. The notes below are intended only to be referenced when the text is too difficult to understand. The charts are magnificent! The translation itself is both dynamic and scholarly, everything I wanted and more.
Below is the basic layout of a TNIV page, but it is difficult to imagine how it actually appears in a book.
I make my comparisons largely to the NRSV study, as that is my only other study bible. I like the essays a little more in the NRSV because it generally has a more critical, historical approach. Most of the TNIV essays default to traditional authorship of books, and assert strong conservative beliefs. For instance, the TNIV says that Moses was likely the author of the pentateuch, but the NRSV explains that author names were probably not as important to the Jewish reader until the influence of Greek epics such as the Odyssey. In which case, the hero symbolizes one’s nation. The notes are also more extensive in the NRSV, though much of it is merely to compensate for the inadequacies of the translation.
The TNIV fixes most of the complaints that were made about the NIV, such as missing verses due to a use of certain manuscripts. Uses of messiah were changed to Christ where a Jewish audience was not intended. The old testament names are altered to a more phonetic rendering. Many conservatives disapprove of how gender-neutral the TNIV is. The editor responded that all changes were critically examined, and the true meaning of the text is what is best conveyed.
The deeper one looks into the Zondervan (the organization which made the NIV and TNIV) translation process, the more impressive it gets. It has an international and multi-denomenational team of experts and scholars to give the most well-rounded and unbiased translation possible. It’s foremost goal is to convey actual meaning of original texts in modern English.
I highly recommend the TNIV.