A Baptist’s Take on NIV2011

Here is a link to Dr. Rodney Decker’s review of the updated New International Version of the Bible (NIV2011) that was presented at the Bible Faculty Summit held last July at Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa.  As you read it–and I hope you will–it’s important to keep in mind the setting: This is a conservative, evangelical, complementarian Baptist New Testament scholar presenting to a room full of like-minded Bible faculty.

This thoughtful, even-handed (and ultimately positive) review of this updated translation is definitely worth reading, even at 50 pages.  It deals as much with the NIV2011 as it does with translation issues, period.  And thankfully, Dr. Decker deals with issues and translation philosophy, rather than just rattling off the verses he disagrees with.

Perhaps the most surprising component of the paper is his pushback against the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s (CBMW) and the Southern Baptist Convention‘s condemnation of the NIV2011.

Unfortunately, single-issue groups [he’s talking about CBMW here], as helpful and necessary as they sometimes are, run the risk of becoming myopic, one-string fiddle players who view everything through a narrow window of priority. The results can include blindness to legitimate concerns in related areas, misrepresentation of other positions, rhetoric, and invalid arguments. (p. 31)

Ouch.  And he agrees with their position!

Also surprising is his concession regarding proof-texts about women in church and domestic leadership.  Responding to the NIV2011’s translation of 1 Timothy 2:12a (“I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man”), Decker makes this astounding admission:

Those who want to proof-text certain positions (positions which may well be valid) will not be happy [that is, with the NIV2011’s treatment of 1 Timothy 2:12], but we must be honest with the text and acknowledge that this is an issue [that is, women’s roles in the church and home] that must be resolved on a much broader exegetical and theological basis. (p. 28)


Definitely worth the read for anyone interested in biblical translation in general or the NIV2011 in particular.


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