17 February 2012

The MacArthur Study Bible (NIV)

by Phil Johnson

fter more than a year of discussion and analysis, Thomas Nelson Inc. and Zondervan have announced a joint project to publish an edition of The MacArthur Study Bible (MSB) with the New International Version (NIV 2011) text. All 20,000 study notes, plus outlines, articles, and other study aids will be included in the volume. Zondervan will license the NIV text to Nelson, and the Bible will be the latest addition to Nelson's growing line of products featuring the MSB notes.

The NIV is more freely translated than any of the English versions used in previous editions of the MSB. That's because the NIV generally follows a "dynamic equivalence" approach to translation—more of a thought-for-thought rephrasing of the text, rather than staying as close as possible to a word-for-word correspondence with the original.

The NIV has also received criticism from The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) because of how the translation deals with gender-related issues. In Mark 4:25, for example, plural pronouns ("they" and "them") are attached to a singular antecedent ("whoever") in order to avoid the generic use of masculine pronouns: "Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them."

NIV translators increasingly favor egalitarian-friendly translations of texts that limit the role of women in church leadership. One example will suffice: Although the 1984 NIV translated 1 Timothy 2:12 the way it has historically been understood ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent"), the NIV 2011 edition has rendered that verse in a way that allows for an egalitarian interpretation, as if Paul were merely condemning rebellion, and not female headship over men in the church per se ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet"). NIV editors have generally followed contemporary editorial protocols preferring gender-neutral or gender-inclusive terms instead of masculine-sounding expressions—substituting "brothers and sisters" where the text says "brethren," using "humanity" where the text speaks of "men," or translating it "person" where the original word means "man."

John MacArthur's preference for word-by-word exposition is well known. He also shares CBMW's conviction that the gender distinctions in Scripture are precise and deliberate and should be kept intact. Clearly, he would not support any effort to feminize the language of the Bible or adjust it for political correctness.

So was Pastor MacArthur himself in favor of an NIV version of the MSB?

Yes, he was. In his words, "No matter what version of the Bible people are reading, I want to be able to help them understand the meaning fully and accurately. The NIV is the most widely used translation in the world, with millions of users. Some prefer it because they find it easier to read than other translations. All English versions of Scripture have translation problems and ambiguities. That's one of the major benefits of a good study Bible. The notes and other tools built into the volume can highlight and clarify the proper meaning—or at least give a more precise understanding of what the original text actually says. My prayer is that these insights and explanations, together with the acclaimed readability of the translation, will help illuminate the true meaning and unleash the divine power of Scripture for NIV readers."

Those who are using the most inadequate translations obviously need the most help to understand the Scriptures properly. Personally, I would be delighted to see the MSB notes in every commonly-used translation—and in as many languages as possible.1

We submitted to Zondervan's editors a generous sampling of notes adapted to the NIV wording. We purposely chose notes that deal with some of the key problem passages. Zondervan and Nelson both have assured us they want to retain the full integrity of John MacArthur's explanation of the text, and the sample notes were all accepted as submitted. We're excited about the potential of this product for people who are already using the NIV, and we are hopeful that when the finished product is complete, even critics of the NIV will be satisfied with the result.

Phil's signature

1. The MacArthur Study Bible (NIV) will be the fourth English version of the work (following the New King James Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version editions). Counting Spanish, Italian, French, German, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, and several other non-English editions, the MSB-NIV will be the fourteenth translation worldwide to be paired with the MSB notes.


Reforming Baptist said...

Kinda disappointing. But on the upside, hopefully people using the MSB notes will realize they can hardly trust their text and opt for a better version.

Jesse said...

I am thoroughly excited about this. While there are passages in the NIV that are aggravating, as Pastor John said, there are those passages in every translation. I think this is a great move, and am thankful for Zondervan's desire to make it happen. Have fun with those notes Phil!

Ben said...

I use a MacArthur study Bible for my regular print edition, in my case a NKJV. My first reason for this is that it's otherwise difficult to obtain a NKJV without red letters in the Gospels, which I can't abide.

I find the notes on the whole sure-footed, once one has filtered out the eschatological bias.

I gave up the NIV years ago because the casual approach to accurate translation and to grammar was more than I could bear. I'm grateful to be alerted to revisions which have been introduced.

Anonymous said...

It scared me at first But I trust John MacArthur after 30+ years. His notes can only help anyone that chooses the NIV.

Tom Chantry said...

Ben, let's start a crusade! NO RED LETTERS!

The concept is stupid, misleading, and potentially idolatrous. Beyond that it's just hard on the eyes. Post-Lasic I find I cannot read red print without getting a headache.

Is there a reason the MSB NKJV is not in red letters?

Andrew Lindsey said...

So, when will we see The Message with MacArthur notes?

Stephen said...

Andrew, you could make a good case around here that just cutting out the Scripture and carrying around a leaflet of JM's notes would be a better reading 'bible' than the Message.

Fred Butler said...

David Cloud is gonna have a fit.

Marla said...

The NIV (1984) has been my favorite translation for over 20 years. I am excited to hear there will be a MSB in that translation. Yes, the newer version (2011) has its problems, but is still a good translation.

I know there are lots of ESV fans out there, but I tend to think that translation is awkward. (No, I'm not a heretic) ;D

A translation is always going to have trouble since no language can be *exactly* translated in to another. Pastor John's notes are going to be very helpful.

Robert said...

Noestly, I didn't like what I was reading at first because of my problems with the NIV. However, I hope that this will add some depth to the learning of many who use the NIV. And I do like that MacArthur is willing to do this to help bring the truth to areas where the NIV gets mushy.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

The answer to an inferior translation is not better study notes but a better translation.

Robert said...


There are plenty better translations out there, but for those who don't have somebody to direct them to one, maybe this will help drive them to look for one. Or maybe you have a better answer for how to get the truth of the original text to such people? Keep in mind that they are all over the world and you don't have direct access to all of them.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

It's like giving someone vitamin supplements rather than showing them they need to eat better.

Brian @ voiceofthesheep said...

It's like giving someone vitamin supplements for a poor diet rather than teaching and showing them them they need to eat better.

L said...

This decision is so peculiar to me. I'm not sure what to make of John MacArthur's choice to use the 2011 when it's presented so many issues that have polarized evangelicals. I think Dr. MacArthur's notes pair so much better with a translation like the NASB personally and can't see them carrying the same weight in the NIV. If we're going with a newer translation I would've rather seen them paired with the HCSB. I kind of want to forget any updates to the NIV happened after 1984.

Dan Odom said...

I am grateful for MacArthur's years of service and Phil your constant vigilance to be clear and precise. Your combined ministries are a massive blessing and have earned my utmost trust over the 30 plus years I have followed and been blessed by this ministry. My thought is do we really need the MSBNIV11? Do we really think that by slapping a name on the book will correct and solve the issues of this version? This smells far more like a spin job to justify a new untapped marketing source than anything else. Sorry for not buying the "spin." Why didn't you tackle the NIV84 15 years ago?

Dog and Pony Show said...

Very disappointing. Why not use the old NIV? It would have served the same purpose. Downgrade Controversy Part II, coming soon to the USA! I love Dr. M... Pray that he doesn't slide away.

CGrim said...

I love the ESV, and I have a bit of nostalgia for my old NKJV, but I have to roll my eyes at the melodramatic way some people act towards the NIV, as if it's no better than the Book of Mormon or the Qur'an.

Dulas said...

I love this man

Dog and Pony Show said...

(J.C. Ryle, "Holiness, Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots" 1879)...from Gracegems.org

Some professors are always trying to keep in with the world. They are ingenious in discovering reasons for not separating decidedly, and in framing plausible excuses for attending questionable amusements, and keeping up questionable friendships.

One day you are told of their attending a Bible class; the next day perhaps you hear of their going to a ball!

One day they fast, or go to the Lord's table and receive the sacrament; another day they go to the racecourse in the morning, and the opera at night!

One day they are almost in hysterics under the sermon of some sensational preacher; another day they are weeping over some novel!

But . . .
to walk closely with God;
to be really spiritually-minded;
to behave like strangers and pilgrims;
to be distinct from the world in use of time, in life-style, in amusements, in dress;
to bear a faithful witness for Christ in all places;
to leave a fragrance of our Master in every society;
to be prayerful, humble, unselfish, good-tempered, quiet, contented, charitable, patient;
to be jealously afraid of all manner of sin;
to be tremblingly alive to our danger from the world
--these, these are rare things! They are not common among those who are called Christians; and, worst of all, the absence of them is not felt and bewailed as it should be!

I beseech you not to be content with a small measure of grace--not to be satisfied with being a little better than the world!

I solemnly warn you not to attempt doing what never can be done: to serve Christ--and yet keep in with the world. I call upon you and beseech you . . .
to be a whole-hearted Christian,
to follow after eminent holiness,
to aim at a high degree of sanctification,
to live a consecrated life, and
to present your body a "living sacrifice" unto God!

Dog and Pony Show said...

My point: I love Dr. M. I can't and shouldn't rely on him or any man to be my primary filter for truth. The NIV 2011 is clearly a theology downgrade...much more than the old NIV. Things like this make me look with more discernment. James MacDonald is a good example of this. John Piper too. I love them both and am certain they are brothers. I just have to look harder at what they say (and should have all along...) I just worry that Dr. M. will head the same way. We need him as a leader... Time to pray more regularly for him...

Al said...

How does John MacArthur's note for 1 Timothy 2:12 read in this edition?

Thanks and God bless,

Al sends

Eric said...

There are several facts that seem apparent to me:
1) There are better translations than the NIV.
2) I will not choose the NIV.
3) Many people appreciate and will use the NIV.
4)It is unlikely that fact number 3 will be substantially altered.
5) We should all desire that the people that use the NIV understand Scripture as much as possible.
6) Good study notes will help achieve that knowledge.

Of course all that must be balanced with the question: Will the MacArthur name lend credibility to the translation and make it even more popular? Tough question, and one that I'm sure was grappled with.

One thing that I think should be absolutely avoided: any veiled or not-so-veiled accusation that John MacAuthur is selling out for profit.

Dog and Pony Show said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm detecting a hint of translation McCarthyism.

Eric said...

Dog & Pony,

I don't think you understood what I was saying. I thought I was pretty clear that I don't think profit was at all a motive and I think any such accusation is inappropriate.

Dog and Pony Show said...

@Eric... Oops. Misread it. I agree. He is not, however, infallible. We need to at least keep our Sola Scriptura filters on. I have seem too many stumble in the last few years. McDonald and Piper come to mind. :(

Anonymous said...

MacDonald has certainly left the reservation. But Piper?

Robert said...

Eric hit the nail on the head here, folks. How many of you have ever had a good, fruitful conversation about Bible tranlsations with people who swear allegiance to a particular Bible translation? How much better served will such people be to have notes that show the problems with that parts of that particular translation as they read through it. And it probably won't come off as bludgeoning somebody over the head, but more like coming alongside to help them. Is our goal to make sure we make the right point/win the argument or to bring people to the truth?

It isn't like MacArthur is coming out and saying this is one of the best translations out there. And it isn't like he is putting this to "The Message", the JW version of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Qu'ran.

Tom Chantry said...

Before everyone goes over the cliff on this, let's think it through a bit.

The only legitimate concern is whether MacArthur's agreement on an NIV Study Bible will be perceived as an endorsement of the NIV2011, and whether that endorsement will drive sales to the NIV2011. Right?

Clearly Zondervan thinks it will drive sales, otherwise why would they bother? From the big publisher's perspectives, study Bibles are designed to drive sales into new markets, plain and simple.

To call this an endorsement is incorrect, though. MacArthur is hardly silent on the issue of translations or the NIV. He doesn't endorse the translational philosophy. So why agree to the study Bible?

Phil has told us that it is because MacArthur believes/hopes that the notes will prove helpful to people who already were going to chose the NIV. Presumably he thinks this good will outweigh any potential bad coming from anyone perceiving this as an endorsement.

Now, Phil doesn't talk about his pastor carelessly; we all know that here. Consequently, given that both MacArthur and Phil have reputations for truthfulness, we ought to conclude that this is not an endorsement, and that MacArthur's hope really is that this will do good.

In other words, to compare MacArthur at this point to James MacDonald - who is either a theological dunce (impossible) or an inveterate liar (weekly appearing more and more to be the case) - is simply not a valid comparison. Is MacArthur making a mistake? Possibly, and while I don't know him, I'd bet he would agree with that answer. But is he selling out to a larger publisher for market share, ala MacDonald & co. selling out to heresy for wider popularity? There is simply no evidence of that. I would bet that Zondervan has a lot more to gain from this than John MacArthur.

Motive aside (and resolved charitably, I should hope) what remains is to ask who's right - Zondervan or MacArthur? In other words, will this or won't it drive sales to NIV Bibles?

I'm going to say no. My experience in Christian bookselling is very brief, but I have a strong suspicion which maybe Frank could confirm or deny: One factor so thoroughly outweighs all others in Bible selection that other factors don't really count: What Bible do churches use in worship? Honestly, take out of the discussion all of us who have a stack of Bibles (or, more likely, a disc of Bibles) so that we can compare translations. If you have one Bible, how did you chose it? Isn't it the one your pastor preaches from?

And does anyone really believe that the existence of the MacArthur Study Bible in the NIV is going to lead any churches to select the NIV over - say - the other versions in which a MSB already exists?

It seems to me possible that MacArthur is making a mistake here - but if he is, it's a minor mistake. The motive is good and the negative consequences are likely to be small.

Lynda O said...

"Some prefer it because they find it easier to read than other translations." Years ago, in the early 1990s (the 1984 NIV version), I would have agreed with that statement. The NIV was the first translation I used, and I read it for many years before switching to the ESV. Back then, it was NIV or NASB or NKJV. The ESV has since filled in the void, an accurate translation like NASB but very readable. Yes, ESV uses some wording different than NIV, such as "that first opens the womb" instead of "the first offspring," which takes a little getting used to, but that is still very readable English. I agree with others, I am disappointed about this; the original NIV or the HCSB (though it is actually a less readable translation, though a newer one) would be a better choice.

I also am inclined to think that people who are choosing to read the modern NIV in the first place, are not as likely to read a study Bible, and would be drawn more to the study Bible recommendations of the people who have been recommending to them such a poor translation in the first place. They would not be as likely to buy something from a name they wouldn't know, since they would not be aware of or in agreement with the Reformed / conservative Evangelical worldview -- though certainly Zondervan sees a marketing opportunity and will no doubt make that effort.

Robert said...


I'll go one further and say that the negative consequences MacArthur will be more along the lines of people not following him as much because of their distaste for the NIV and not people choosing the NIV because of his notes being in the NIV Study Bible. You can already sense that vibe in some of the early comments here.

FX Turk said...

OK - Chantry's optimism at say what Phil already said aside, let me say this:

As a person who received the Gospel and repented by reading the book of John in the Good News Bible (which makes the NIV look like a scholarly endeavor), the NIV does not actually screw up the Gospel. Saying it does is catastrophically-stupid.

Letting Dr. MacArthur's notes get to people who are infants reading the NIV is a brilliant way to undermine the weak theology of common evangelicals with something brewed a little stronger. Kudos to GTY and Dr. macArthur for seeing how to reach the people who need better teaching.

Dog and Pony Show said...

I read a variety of translations....and like them each for their own merits. My problem is the downgrade and a man of immense respect lending his name to a downgraded translation. I am not saying it is a false Bible. I am saying we are staring at a new downgrade controversy. It may be political to sooth our consciences to allow us to vote for a lesser evil? It may be an honest desire to "be all things to all people"? Who knows. I just hate to see the slide.

Ian Thompson said...

"While there are passages in the NIV that are aggravating, as Pastor John said, there are those passages in every translation."

This is a poor argument - to equate differences of nuance found in each Bible translation to a consistent bias found in this one is not good logical thinking and shows why the church is increasingly at sea over basic doctrinal issues with a "live and let live" attitude.

Robert said...

I think many of you are discounting the fact that there are many new or immature believers out there who wouldn't know the difference between Bible translations. Especially when you consider how many pastors and churches don't practice any expository preaching and just run through various topics all the time. Not everybody is at the same level of spiritual maturity and one can not deny that this Study Bible will be able to reach more people than any of us will. Should we be trying to reach these people individually? Yes. But maybe these notes will drive people to look to more mature believers in order to learn more and find a better translation.

I think MacArthur sees the need and is actually trying to do something. Meanwhile, people are willing to just shoot down this idea instead of actually presenting something better...at least in a fashion other than analogies that really miss the mark. People complain about the lack of spiritual growth in the churches all the time...and he is actually trying to address that in some fashion. I'd say we should pray that this will be effective in driving people from bad translations and teaching to better ones.

Ben said...

Tom Chantry

I read somewhere (I can't recall where) that MacArthur once met someone who believed the red letter parts were the really inspired bits, and that was enough to convince him the practice was detrimental.

For which I am glad; his opinion counts for rather more than my own in opposing red letter Bibles. They distort the doctrine of inspiration, they are less easy to read and they don't always get it right anyway (e.g. Mark 7:19b)

Anonymous said...

I think this is a good thing.

As MacArthur stated, All English versions of Scripture have translation problems and ambiguities. ALL translations. That includes the ESV and NASB as well.

Some of the recent ESV revisions are near ghastly. The NASB disappointed me with its conversions of measurements in Revelation which loses some of the symbolism.

I have found the NIV 2011 to be a pretty good translation and not much different from the original, particularly if you already speak using gender inclusive pronouns which I, and the circles in which I run, have been for years.

The ESV even uses gender inclusive language both in the text and in the footnotes. It's the way most of us speak and write whether we know it or not. If I come across a text (outside of the Bible) that refers to men I assume the text is referring to males exclusively. In the Bible that is often, but not always, the case. The NIV 2011 tries to refer to men and women when the underlying Greek/Hebrew refers to people in general rather than specifically to men.

That is an honest effort to accurately translate God's Word in a manner that many in today's world will understand it. I assure you many do not properly understand the generic use of male pronouns and nouns.

Anonymous said...

Well said Frank...Thank You!

Anonymous said...

I am reminded of something I have run into several times during Bible study at a homeless shelter.

I have seen a couple of new believers (converted within the last four or five years) treat the section headings as Scripture. This is easy enough to correct if you're sitting next to someone at a Bible study. However, if the person is reading alone they are reading as Scripture something that clearly (at least to most) is not Scripture.

I applaud Crossway's recently released Single Column Legacy Bible which puts the section headings in the margin and leaves the text for... well, the text!

Tyler Wallick said...

Tom - everytime I read your comments, I think "I think the same thing but can never articulate it in a sensible way - man, do I like him". Thanks!

flipstick said...

The Lord has never failed me. Johnny Mac has never led me astray in thirty plus years. Most of those funny verses in the NIV, I already know about, and if I don't, I'll question them extensively,and keep on keeping on. I gave up the drive to filter pepper from sand, and seek the intimacy of the Living God daily in my life. I know this is over-simplifying the point, but let the Word flow to every living creature on the face of the earth.

Steve Talas said...

Unfortunately as is already being hinted at, this will inevitably be used by some as another big stick to bash John MacArthur and his ministry, and I know of some in certain 'Reformed' circles who I can already see are going to take this as a strike against Dr MacArthur's 'Reformed credentials'. That being said they are usually the individuals who have got it in for JMac anyway,and generally believe in the double inspiration of only one particular version, and it ain't the ESV! I hope the good intentions will be worth it and the possibility of a damaging storm blows itself out. Time will tell

Ben said...

"Those who are using the most inadequate translations obviously need the most help to understand the Scriptures properly."

Soooooo . . . does John MacArthur hate the KJVers?

Kidding! Kinda . . .

Kerry James Allen said...

"The men are not yet born who will give us a better rendering either of the Old or New Testament than is to be found in our old English Bibles, and it is my belief that they will never be born." Peter Ruckman? David Cloud? No, Charles Spurgeon. My only concern is that the NIV is a poor "translation" and my love and appreciation for Pastor John aside, this now extends its life further into the future. Sorry, this is lipstick on a pig in my opinion.

The Squirrel said...

I'm wondering how much of the decision to produce an NIV version of the MacArthur Study Bible was really in Dr. MacArthur's hands? Are their factors in the publishing agreement for the MSB that would allow Nelson to go ahead with such a project with or without Dr. MacArthur's support?

I note Phil's always-carefully-chosen words, "After more than a year of discussion and analysis, Thomas Nelson Inc. and Zondervan have announced a joint project to publish an edition of The MacArthur Study Bible (MSB) with the New International Version (NIV 2011) text."

If what I surmise is true, then JMac's only real choice was to be involved and have some hand in shaping the direction of this project, or watching from the sidelines with no input at all.

But this is all guesswork on my part.


James Scott Bell said...

My problem is with study Bibles in general. People (a lot of them, as I've seen this over and over) begin to treat the notes as authoritative. It retards individual study. Where the notes are explanatory of time and manners, okay. But where they start to take theological positions, we run into trouble. Re: Lordship. MacArthur SB v. Ryrie SB, etc. People take sides by citation alone. They become dependent on one man.

Jason Dohm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason Dohm said...

Recommendation for a counter-crusade: ALL RED LETTERS! Every word of Scripture is a word of Christ. What would confound "red letter Christians" more than a Bible in all red?

Tom Chantry said...

Oh Jason, please take pity on my eyes!

Tom Chantry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Philip Decker said...

Great! Period (actually exclamation point). The WORD OF GOD is is going to be published along side the notes of one of the greatest Bible teachers of our time. Would any of us here (aside from the KJV crowd) that the new NIV is not God's Word? Is it the best translation? No. Are people going to buy it anyway? Yes. Will they, in reading the NIV, hear the Word of God as they do so? Yes. In order to adapt the notes to this version, they are going to have to study each passage and will teach the same interepretation as all the other MSBs have. Let's be honest, none of us have written our own study notes for the whole Bible, which means that many of us have been dependent on men like MacArthur to teach us how to study and interpret the Bible consistently. Why not let others experience the same blessing. The Bible was not written by MacArthur, let us not forget that the Words are God's and if He can save you and I and teach us his Word everyday, who are we to say that He is not allowed to do so to the readers of the NIV2011? It's God's Word that has the power to save, not a particular version.

Larry Geiger said...

"NIV translators increasingly favor egalitarian-friendly translations of texts that limit the role of women in church leadership." Is this what you really meant to say? I keep hearing a "no" or "not" somewhere in there. Have I totally missed the point?

Darlene said...

I gave up the NIV years ago because the casual approach to accurate translation and grammar was more than I could bear.

Ben, NIV is written on a middle school level. It is quite telling of our current generation.

I've been reading RSV for years now, yet I pick up the KJV from time to time. At least JM didn't use Good News for Modern Man.

Jim Swindle said...

I don't prefer the NIV 2011, and have doubts about the wisdom of this new edition. Still, I find it troubling that the commenters here seem to assume that the NIV 2011 translators intentionally tried to make a Bible that was more friendly to egalitarian theology. If I remember right, the translators explicitly said they did not do that. They used inclusive language where they thought it more clearly conveyed the original meaning to today's readers.

Robert Warren said...

Why not use the old NIV?

Because Zondervan (or IBS) will not allow it. They won't allow Logos to sell it anymore, either separately or in packages. (They aren't however updating existing users' NIV 84s to 2011s; they're allowing those users to have both.)

Tom Chantry said...

What about the 1984 NIV on my shelf? If at some point they insist on updating Logos 1984s, will they be breaking into my study with white-out and a pencil?

The Squirrel said...

Yes, Tom.

I understand that teams of Ninja-editors are training as we speak.


Robert Warren said...

And Bob Pritchett will use the ninjas to sneak Catholic resources in (from the cloud). :-)

Tom Chantry said...

I KNEW it!

Anonymous said...

It is a well known fact the NIV is near the bottom of translations, close to the Message in my opinion. Despite red letter or no, (many of us love them), and despite the fact that no one said the NIV destroys the Gospels (usual red herring), most of the controversy appears to be along the lines of MacArthur making a mistake in going through with this, and/or a lowering of his high standards.
The first cannot be proven, since his reasoning is sound and his history has zero mistakes. The second is likewise. No one can point to a mistake in his decisions of this nature in the past.
Personally, I wouldn't want an NIV under any other study guide name. But I will say that if the good doctor does a Green Bible I'm jumping ship.

Darlene said...

Would that Bible happen to be the Living Bible that has earned such a notorious reputation? Jim Bakker preferred using that version on the Praise the Lord show.

The Squirrel said...

I'm wondering if too many people think that the NIV 2011 is what Gail Riplinger claimed that the NIV 1984 was?

It isn't...


Jennifer said...

Funny how "Association = Endorsement" only sticks on those outside of your camp. Anyone else did this and Pyro would be calling it unwise or 'a slippery slope' move.

"Well, they're reading it anyway" is an argument that Pyro would normally call a very weak argument.

Really what this shows me is that relationship allows one to know what's really going on. Phil has a relationship with John MacArthur and so knows his heart and can trust his judgement. Pyro and other discernment bloggers do not know the other men they routinely "call out" so they assume and judge without knowing the heart (nor desiring to do so).

James MacDonald reaches out and he's a glory hog ... John MacArthur does it and he's a missionary to the biblically illiterate and liberal translators.

To be true to your arguments I would think that unless MacArthur adds to his notes specifically and boldly where the NIV is inaccurate then he is just as bad as MacDonald and Driscoll for not being more clear with Jakes. Unless Pyro feels that the NIV errors are such a secondary issue that this really doesn't matter ... if that's the case than I am sorry for making a bigger deal of this then need be.

Stuart Brogden said...


Aside from Mac's dispensationalism and insistence that all Calvinists must be pre-trib pre-mill, there is the already noted danger of celebrity worship - no matter if intended or not.

It's a serious enough problem for any one man to put his name on study Bible. Wisdom in a study Bible better comes to the reader with a plurality of contributors - same as in the pulpit week by week.

No matter if he intends it or not, Mac is lending his credibility to the wretched NIV2011. The '84 NIV study Bible is pretty good. There is NO reason for anyone to own the NIV2011 unless to document how wretched it is. With or without Mac's notes.

Carlos said...

So disappointed in brother John that he would stoop to the NIV level hoping his notes will salvadge this perverted bible translation. How will his Study Notes deal with all the mistranslated, paraphrased words and phrases that undermine biblical fidelity and authority? This is not a postive development and will only encourage the continued printing of this horrendous bible version.

Tom Chantry said...

"Reaches out?"

When John MacArthur embraces heretics as brothers and goes on the radio to lie about it, come talk to us about how unfair we were to James MacDonald. You're making a category error here. A lot of us concede that this might be a mistake. It just doesn't add up to the sort of pastoral malfeasance that is commonplace among mega-pastors today.

trogdor said...

From the reaction you'd think he announced the MacArthur Study Qu'ran. I get that it's a flawed translation, but y'all are acting as if it's not actually a Bible at all.

Stuart Brogden said...

trog - it's a wretched translation. It is the TNIV with new name.

Rubin O. Wits said...

Over the years I've learned a lot from listening to Mac but being he's a Dispensationalist and possibly doesn't understand Calvinism correctly, I gotta aks, can't we all just get along...I mean can't we all just read the same translation?

He also doesn't seem to have a problem with the Foursquare denomination; which I find strange.

And why would anyone want their name on a bible?

Jennifer said...


I have a very high view of Scripture so IMHO what JohnMacArthur is doing is a very big deal ... yes, even malfeasant ... (unless he is clear in his notes in calling out the translation errors).

As a mega pastor he is putting his name on a Bible as endorsement of that Bible. Love the guy but it's a very bad move. And is one that Pyro would be blogging about and tweeting about if it was the James MacDonald Study Bible or the John Piper Study Bible.

Also, could you provide a link or a quote for the lie that MacDonald spoke on radio ... that is a new accusation I hadn't heard yet.

David A. Carlson said...

Forget complaining about the NIV. How could he pair up with the King James, surely one of the most wretched translations available today?

Chris Poe said...


Thanks for this post. I had planned on blogging about this, and this clears up some questions.

In your post we find:

"Those who are using the most inadequate translations obviously need the most help to understand the Scriptures properly. Personally, I would be delighted to see the MSB notes in every commonly-used translation—and in as many languages as possible."

So does this mean that we can expect to see a MSB in the KJV in the near future? It's certainly a commonly used translation by any definition. The KJVO's won't like it regardless, but it might be helpful for those who read the KJV by default or who simply prefer it.

Or to go at it from the other direction, a great many people use the NLT. In the CBA bestsellers list it's pretty consistently #4, outselling the ESV, at least for now. Wouldn't they need even more help than NIV users? ;)

Tom Chantry wrote:

"And does anyone really believe that the existence of the MacArthur Study Bible in the NIV is going to lead any churches to select the NIV over - say - the other versions in which a MSB already exists?"

No, but it's possible that some may stick with it that otherwise might not have. I do think many will see this as a tacit endorsement, especially at a time when even some rather loosey-goosey evanjellyfish ministries have dumped the NIV in favor of the ESV due to the excessive gender neutral changes in the 2011 revision. But if the notes adequately correct the problems with the NIV 2011 (and with the dynamic approach in general) some may be led to switch anyway. Perhaps that is the hope.

Squirrel wrote:

I'm wondering how much of the decision to produce an NIV version of the MacArthur Study Bible was really in Dr. MacArthur's hands? Are their factors in the publishing agreement for the MSB that would allow Nelson to go ahead with such a project with or without Dr. MacArthur's support?

If what I surmise is true, then JMac's only real choice was to be involved and have some hand in shaping the direction of this project, or watching from the sidelines with no input at all.

But this is all guesswork on my part.

I had done some of the same guesswork based on the recent aquisition of Nelson by Harper Collins and Zondervan and Nelson now being under the same umbrella, perhaps clearing a big hurdle that would have been there otherwise.

Kerry James Allen said...

Perhaps many of you are too young too remember, or of different persuasions, but I'm surprised no one (at least I didn't notice) has until now mentioned the name "Scofield." There was quite a hubbub years back over the "old" Scofield and the "new" Scofield. So there. You have those nasty Darby dispensationalists to blame for the start of the popularity of all this "study" Bible stuff!

Tom Chantry said...

I heard the radio interview about a third of the way through this podcast.

MacDonald claims that all the criticisms are based on summaries of the Elephant Room and that there are no transcripts. In fact, by denigrating “summaries” he’s throwing Trevin Wax under the bus after approving Trevin to live-blog the conference. But beyond that, there are at least two transcripts of the discussion on the web, and most of the critiques link to one or the other of them. James White’s critique relied on actual audio of the event. To claim that people are working off of summaries rather than transcripts is a lie. It’s also disingenuous, given that MacDonald initially said that he would post a transcript himself so that people wouldn’t have to rely on summaries. He then changed his mind, citing an incomprehensible reason, and is now criticizing critics for using the summaries that he left them with (which they aren’t doing.) This is a lie wrapped in a bundle of deceptions, all intended to pretend that no one knows what Jakes actually said. However, the quote he then gives - the one supposedly no one knows about from summaries - is in Trevin’s summary.

Then there’s the race issue. Two days before the Elephant Room Harvest Fellowship sent out an email blaming MacDonald’s resignation from the gospel coalition on black pastors who are resentful and angry. Then, the week after the conference, he posted a video in which he and three young black pastors asserted that the critics of Jakes from among the black churches are sell-outs to their race. Later in this interview, when a caller tries to ask about the impact Jakes has had in black churches, MacDonald has the audacity to deliver himself of a sanctimonious and hypocritical lecture on how wrong it is to inject race into this discussion, as though he has not worked tirelessly to accomplish exactly that!

He’s so far gone in his sinful embrace of heresy that he’s deceiving people every time he talks about it, and he’s told an outright lie about transcripts at least once.

At this point, nothing could be more offensive than to link such behavior to MacArthur’s decision to allow this study Bible to go forward - no matter whether MacArthur’s decision is flawed or not.

Tom Chantry said...

Chris Poe,

No, but it's possible that some may stick with it that otherwise might not have.

That's an interesting point. I would hope that pastors making such an important decision would not be so easily swayed, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Kerry James Allen said...

Not sure how you call a KJV "wretched." Archaic maybe, but "wretched?" Dictionary: "Extremely or deplorably bad." We exist in a very narrow window of time, and I'm guessing that the tens of millions who were converted and taught out of the KJV for several hundred years would view it differently. Do we need new, good translations? Certainly. I was brought to faith through the use of the KJV so I suppose I'm biased. I can't call that which brought me to birth anything other than a blessing. Some of us also remember when every new Bible coming out had the Imprimatur of Billy Graham on it. Seems like they all got better to him. Course, he no longer believes Hell is literal fire or that you have to hear the name of Jesus to go to Heaven. We need accurate translations and insightful commentary. I think with this Bible you are only getting one of those.

The Squirrel said...

Tom Chantry said...

"I would hope that pastors making such an important decision would not be so easily swayed, but perhaps I'm wrong."

My Mom's pastor, who has preached from the old NIV for years, is in the process of switching to the ESV, because he knows, as Tom stated earlier, that most folks buy what their pastor preaches out of.

Now, I'm no fan on the NIV. It is not high on my list of preferred translations -- in fact, the NLT probably ranks as more preferred in my mind... while I would guess I prefer the NIV 2011 to The Message... But I do think words like "wretched" & "perverted" are a bit over the top, if not downright Riplingeresque...


Anonymous said...

Translation Apartheid

Tom Chantry said...

It's been pointed out to me that I wrote the this above: He’s so far gone in his sinful embrace of heresy...

That was meant to read, "...in his sinful embrace of heretics..."

There is a difference. The embrace of heretics (as brothers) is still sinful in a pastor, but it is short of embracing heresy oneself.

Robert said...


You should realize that every English translation has some problems. So are you basically calling out every pastor who has written commentaries or study Bibles (part or whole) for not doing the same with the other translations? I think you really need to think about what you are saying here. And think about whether or not you've learned Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic and whether you can be sure if you read your Bible to others, you're not allowing for any mistakes.

Then take those thoughts and try to see if the MacDonald/Driscoll comparison still applies. I think if you really think about it, you'll see the difference.

Darlene said...

...there is the already noted danger of celebrity worship.

Manfred, so very true. And Evangelicalism wonders why there is an existing ethos of celebrity worship within its camps. The problem is systemic - an Evangelical self-replication. Evangelicalism's worst enemy is itself, in this regard.

Forgive me if I offend. After all, each Christian camp has its own set of problems. Hero worship and celebrity status just happen to be endemic to Evangelicalism.

Kerry James Allen said...

Tom, I mentioned Graham earlier, and he is prima facie evidence that the embracing of heretics led him to the emmbracing of heresy. As the old evangelist used to say, "You lay down with the dogs and you get up with the fleas."Or as Spurgeon would say, much better than I can: "It is exceedingly difficult in these times to preserve one's fidelity before God and one's fraternity among men. Should not the former be preferred to the latter if both cannot be maintained? We think so."

Norn Iron Sharpens Iron said...

An interesting question might be on what grounds John MacArthur should refuse his notes (or anyone else with study bible notes) to be associated with any translation.

Obviously I couldn't see them packaged with the New World Translation because of heresy but what other factors should be considered?

Unknown said...

Isn't any translation a "downgrade" from the original languages? And is it not an "upgrade" to have these study notes because it does bring the reader closer to those original languages?

Would someone please offer a bacon and "fill in the blank" recipe and de-rail this discussion already?

John Notestein said...

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan are now owned by the same company, Harper Collins. That may have played a part in the initial idea to marry the MSB to the NIV.

Rachael Starke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachael Starke said...

Wait a minute. There's an entirely different and very serious problem that everyone is missing.

When I was single, it was a well known fact that you could tell a lot about a single guy by what kind of Bible he used (or at least showed up to church with).

A guy with an MSB was ranked either top tier or bottom tier husband potential, depending on your impression of young admirers of The Big Mac (as he was and is lovingly known). Same with the NIV - in some circles it communicated wet/flaky noodle, in others approachable and down to earth.

And now they're going to be carrying both indicators in same Bible?? That kind of category confusion is going to wreak havoc on women's ability to appropriately screen bad husband candidates.

Nothing good can come of this.

DJP said...

Velvet brick?

Or, er, bricky... velvet... head?

Darlene said...


Are you serious? You're concerned about the apparent status of a potential husband by the particular Bible he is seen carrying to church?

This must be humorous. I can't understand it any other way, unless I've misunderstood what you've said in the first place. As for detecting humor, I'm rather obtuse most of the time.

Rachael Starke said...


Totally kidding, Darlene.

Well, no. That's a lie.

Mostly kidding. This is not a sanctioned method of husband candidate filtering.

Darlene said...


The only acceptable Bible for any husband, potential or in actuality, is the Revised Standard Version complete with the Deuterocanonicals.


Stephen said...

Well in my parts, you generally pick your friends based on whether they are one of the "Elect Standard" or a "Hard Core Southern Baptist." If someone only has a Message or a Voice or even some 'Good News', well you aren't really worth talking to.

Susan said...

Trogdor said: From the reaction you'd think he announced the MacArthur Study Qu'ran.

LOL!! :D

And Robert's comment at 6:59 a.m. reminded me of an episode I had with an old friend. I had bought him a MSB ESV (because I personally like ESV), thinking it would help him spiritually, but he rejected my purchase and reminded me that he already had the NIV. When I told him I no longer like the NIV, he let out a long "ooooOOOOOOOhhh" and looked at me as if I drank tea with a raised pinky. Who knows--I just may get him the MSB NIV 2011 so that I can come back down to earth again! O_o

Unknown said...

Well at least the 2011 version of the NIV gets the clarifies the homosexuality verses. The verses in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:26-27, Leviticus 18:22 and 1Timothy 1:10 will all be corrected to be clearer. Many homosexuals have used the NIV as a scapegoat to say that because of how it was worded it didn't 100% condemn homosexuality, but instead it condemned certain homosexual acts. I want to make it clear, I am not trying to make homosexuality a bigger issue than other sin, just saying that with the way the world looks at homosexuality now adays and how accepted it is, it's good to see that there are changing those verses.

I think the biggest question that needs to be asked is this. Has the NIV translated things to the point that it doesn't accurately depict the original intent of God's Word? I don't think so. I think if it did that than Dr. MacArthur would not be doing this. In Dr. MacArthur you have a man who has stood for biblical integrity for many years. He always goes back to the original language when explaining hard to understand texts or to make clarification. I think that if the integrity of the Bible, either in part or as a whole, was compromised in any way than MacArthur wouldn't do this. Does it have things we might not agree with? Of course. Are those things enough to be branded heretical? Absolutely not. I think this will end up being a great thing and with that said, Soli Deo Gloria!

J Ken said...

DA carson, who RC Sproul refers to as the world's leading New Testament scholar, prefers the NIV to the ESV.

Calm down peoples.

Personally, I use the HCSB now as I got too confused about the ESV/NIV debate... there's my middle ground.

Right on.

Jesse said...

Didn't bother reading the rest of the posts before I posted but to anyone who has Johnny Mac's ear...


Some of us still prefer it without being necessarily insane.

David A. Carlson said...

I will stand by my words KJA - which were more precisely "surely one of the most wretched translations available today"

In its time the KJ was a decent rewrite of earlier bibles (Latin Vulgate, Tyndale, Rhiems, Geneva etc). Some consider it really just the 5th edition of the Tyndale Bible. Clear some of the changes were done to support the monarchy. It is clearly a larger rewrite of earlier translations than the ESV is, which changed only about 10% of the RSV.

Having said that, it heavily influenced by sources which are not original manuscripts, uses words whose meaning has changed over the years so that they give completely the wrong understanding of the verse, and as I have said, translation choices were made for political, not accuracy reasons.

As literature it is required to have and read. It's prose is unsurpassed in it's beauty.

As an accurate translation - I will stick with wretched.

Deb said...

The 2011 NIV has been a huge disappointment to me, just as others have mentioned and I'm reminded of this regularly when I use Biblegateway, since the website defaults to the 2011 NIV translation. I also find that the ESV is not all that it was cracked up to be. I even here my pastor caveat almost every sermon with "The ______(fill in other translation here) does a better job of tranlating this word/phrase".

My favorite approach to scripture reading is often to use the 1984 NIV side by side with the NASB. This helps because the NASB takes a word-for-word approach and is often misconstrued because of grammatical issues (misplaced modifiers, verb-subject clarity, etc.)
But I rarely consult the 2011 NIV for any purpose. Therefore, I don't think I'd buy a copy, even with Dr. MacArthur's study notes for my own use.

Deb said...

J Ken:
Thank you for the heads up on the HCSB! I will be sure to check that one out further. -Did a spot check on several of the verses that I find to be interesting in terms of translation choice.

Here is one example that I believe is SPOT ONE:
John 3:16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."

So far, this is the first translation that I've seen that actually nails that verse! Thanks.

rom623rom828 said...

I wish we could plaster MacArthur's notes all over the TV screen when one of those Word Of Faith/Prosperity preachers is on. So as people watch and listen to Jakes, Osteen, Hinn, Copeland, Meyer, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum -- they could as least READ some truth about whatever verse (or part of verse) that is being otherwise mangled by the TV preacher.

Come to think of it, it would sometimes be nice to have those MacArthur notes on the big screens at my Mega Church in Chicago land. My pastor uses the ESV I think but some would say its his own JMV when he comes up with terms like "spiritually disabled" in an effort not to offend the lost.

You are loved!

Unknown said...

Doesn't this appear like JM is using a pragmatic approach "Gotta do this because it will reach so many" that he heartily condemns in so many others on so many different levels?

Maybe he could have some Christian rapper perform at his service because he is in LA and it would reach sooo many.

Tom Chantry said...

@rom623rom828 ,

This jumps out at me for a particular reason, but this is at least the second time you have closed a post with, "You are loved!" Is there a reason for that that perhaps is not obvious to every commenter here? I'm just curious. If you don't want to talk about it here, would you be willing to email me? (address available at profile) I think you know I'd never breach your anonymity with anyone.


Stephen said...

dac, I don't buy your conspiracy political theory too much, but I think this is reason enough for basically 98% of people not to use KJV: "uses words whose meaning has changed over the years so that they give completely the wrong understanding of the verse"

Someone can say they prefer the manuscript tradition of the KJV and not be a loony (I've met real, legit textual critics who don't buy the critical text theory in common use), but as you say even in that case the KJV was not pulling on a sufficient number of texts compared to the number we have today. There's the NKJV (a fine translation for what it is) and I believe the new WEB version if someone wants to use the 'majority text.'

donsands said...

"Doesn't this appear like JM is using a pragmatic approach" -Jospeh


Pastor John is very very balanced in his example as a disciple of Christ, and as one of the finest expositors of the Word of God in our day, and throughout the history of the Church.

"My prayer is that these insights and explanations, together with the acclaimed readability of the translation, will help illuminate the true meaning and unleash the divine power of Scripture for NIV readers."-Pastor John, from Dan's post

Have a wonderful Lord's Day, in His Spirit and truth as you worship our Father.

Nathan W said...

Sounds like you're saying NIV 2011 will render I Tim 2:12 as "I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet". Looks like instead of "have" they say "assume". Can you or someone please expound upon what you said about that (such as how that makes it different than the correct rendering)? I am not at all disagreeing with you; I would just like to better understand how that changes the true meaning, etc. Thank you.

Carlos said...

What? The KJV "one of the most wretched translations"..that would be laughable if it weren't so ignorant. So let's see, God's providence, preservation, and stewardship over His word using the KJV exclusively, from 1611 to the late 1800's, when Westcott and Fort came out with their perverted Alexandrian, Vaticanus, Sinaiticus Greek text, (upon which all "modern" translations are now based, except the Textus Receptus based, NKJV, up to 2012 where the KJV still is the standard by which all Bibles are compared, is now being called "wretched"?? Educate thyself!

rom623rom828 said...

@Tom Chantry:

Regarding my "You are loved!" at the end of some of my posts ...

The short answer is: that is how my Mega Church ends it worship services -- usually either the Sr Pastor or the campus pastor makes some closing remarks and ends with "You are Loved". Kind of like a church motto.

So I'm just borrowing it to end my post. Now with 13,000 sheep hearing that across 6 campuses, with perhaps 90% or more of the sheep never having had a significant personal conversation with either the sr pastor or the campus pastor, it comes across to me as somewhat as a nice but meaningless phrase.

I do think they would minister to our family needs if we made them aware of some need so I don't want to be unfairly critical.

Terry T said...

There is really some brilliance in having the MSB in the NIV2011. I for one agree that the NIV2011 may have moved more towards the NLT in some specific renderings, but it also adopts many of the alternate readings indicated in the ESV! Also, since the whole 84 vs. 2011 debate is "inside baseball", most believers in pews are unaware of it, having the MSB in that translation with notes that can "correct" the text where it is weak is not a bad idea at all.
Final thought, this would probably have happened with or without JMac's involvement due to copyright issues. That he participated allowed him to make those changes which helps the readers know when there is a weakness in the 2011 text.

Terry T said...

Hey Phil - can we now get a MSB with the HCSB translation? Given that it is the one translation that gets the translation of "dulous"/slave correct throughout the NT - it should be a great fit.

I prefer that translation by the way and from a marketing standpoint - i think it is still outselling the NASB.

Just a few thoughts

Musa said...

I'll remember to ask those Indonesian Christians suffering for their faith in Jesus which version of the Bible made the understanding of the Gospel more truthful,bearable and even palatable...I'm guessing the ones that read the NIV got hit with a two by four and kicked on the gut repeatedly whereas those who read the ESV, NASB or any other "superior" only got a punch in the face...

Tom Chantry said...

@ Musa,

So, uh, if an issue doesn't affect the plight of the persecuted church abroad, it isn't important?

Wow, that makes life so much easier. Let's all go rob a bank, have an affair, or get an abortion!

It's astounding what passes for argument these days.

Tom Chantry said...

@ rom623rom828

Thanks much, that clarifies it. I've been wondering for months why those words were appended to a comment addressed to me. (not by you, btw)

DJP said...

Tom, you aren't really trying to follow Musa's argument. Maybe this will help.

Tom Chantry said...


My dear wife will not thank you for showing me pictures like that. MY first thought is, "It would take a few years, but I could do that."

mike said...

Dan didn't have time to post a "Hither and Thither" so he's providing a downscaled version in the meta.

Suzanne said...

The way 1 Tim. 2:12 has historically been understood is as follows,

1) Jerome - dominari, as in 1 Peter 5:3, very negative and something no man should do either

2) Luther - herr sein, be the lord of, something no man does either

3) Calvin- auctoritatem sumere, translated into English as "assume authority" in the Calvin Bible in 1855, this is the exact antecedent for the NIV 2011

4) KJV - usurp authority, Lancelot Andrewes was the editor of the KJV and for him a usurper was someone who trespassed against the crown and was worthy of death

Please reflect the history of this translation when referring to the NIV 2011

5) For Chrysostom, authentein meant to act the tyrant, something no man should do to his wife.

Musa said...

@Tom Chantry

You are very right. The persecuted church is by no means a barometer of what is important. However, that was also the point that I was trying to highlight (and from the looks of it poorly :)

What I meant to highlight was what in my humblest opinion arguments surrounding bible translation that are made to be more important than they should be. Not that it is unimportant...please don't get me wrong. It is important to have a translation that accurately portray the truth and Spirit of Gods Word.
Yet at the end of the day, differences in how the Word is translated again IMHO do not trump what the Word was meant to do..to be applied. As Christians are we living out and being obedient to what God says in His Word?

Gender inclusions/exclusions are debatable (I will leave that to you), but at the end of the day, ALL translations (and I'm yet to see one) regardless of the slight difference in wording, convey the message of Gospel and Jesus crucified, which in the end is what Word from Genesis and Revelation points to.

With the ferociousness and heated passion of some of these posts, you would think that the misinterpretation of a Greek word is more important (again not unimportant) carried more eternal weight than whether someone knows Jesus and is obeying the Word and doing what is says by grace and the power of the Holy Spirit.

We can go over the nuances and differences and what translation is closest to the original Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic. But when we stand before God, I will not be judged about the specifics of the Bible I carried, but whether I was able to obey what it says.

Like I said, I did not in any way mean that this issue is unimportant....I just don't think that its as immensely important as being portrayed on here. I think its great that John MacArthur is putting his study notes on the NIV 2011. Does the translation have flaws? Sure, just like any other translation. Being bilingual, there are just some words and meanings in my native language of swahili that just cannot be carried over to English.

There are semantics used in the English translation that cannot be carried over to Swahili, even more so because of different language structures, use of syntax and even syllables. But there believers in my native Kenya who read and receive Gods word with joy. The Holy Spirit opens their eyes and gives them the grace and understanding to know and apply the Word and thereby growing in grace and in the knowledge of who God is and knowing Christ in the power of the Gospel.

I say all this to say that as Christians lets have healthy discussion on these issues. By all means. Lets just not throw our toys out of the baby stroller because other translations happen to be read over our beloved translation. And I say that in the spirit of jest :) in order to re-iterate that its an important discussion, just not to the hurt feelings and dogmatism that I see.

Tom Chantry said...

Sorry, Musa, maybe I read too much into your comment. I happen to think, as I've said, that MacArthur might be making a mistake, but it is a small one at best, so perhaps we're not that far apart.

I do think that how we translate the Bible is of tremendous importance, but yes, some of the rhetoric surrounding the question does get over-heated.

Musa said...

NP Tom. I should have followed it up adequately. Thats just my style in some cases and it can be polarizing lol. I actually agree with a lot of what you and others were saying...but like I said it just seemed to be way too heated, and I admit that I may also be reading too much into a lot of them too :)

Anonymous said...

One of the blessings that we enjoy as English speakers is that we have such a plethora of Bible translations.

When people ask me what sort of translation they should use, I tend to suggest that people use a Bible that slides moré 'Word for Word'rather than 'thought for thought'.

Of course when it comes to translations one always has to navigate between the two ends of the spectrum. For exameple; How much readability to I want to sacrifice for accuracy? And vice versa.

Born and raised in Sydney, the church I came to faith at (an Anglican Church) switch from the AV to the NIV. So most of my Christian life the NIV was simply what I knew. As I got older I started to use the NASB, and when the ESV came out, there was quite a lot of excitement amongst ministers, "Finally a Bible that has the readability of the NIV with the accuracy of the NASB without being wooden and clunky".

What I love about the ESV over the NIV is that I think on the whole it tends to translate rather than interpret. The NIV I found notorious for omitting conjunctions.

I am not familiar with the MSB having never read it, though if this is being published with the NIV and those who have an affinity with the NIV read the MSB as a result, then surely this is a good thing?

Jim Swindle said...

Musa, thank you for bringing this discussion back to balance. There are a few really bad translations. (I think of the New World Translation and the Clear Word Bible.) There are also some that are far less literal than I think is wise. (The Message, the old Living Bible.) Yet you're right, the vast majority of English Bibles at a book store are quite adequate for coming to know the Lord. We should thank God for that.

donsands said...

"The Message"-Jim

I had that version. And it was way too modern for me. Though I did read it, and compare it with other versions.
Eugene Peterson, the author:

"When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can't imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek --- a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians."

Have a Spirit-filled Lord's Day one and all! This is the Day our Lord has made, let's rejoice and be glad in it! Let rivers of living waters flow from our bellies in His grace and truth and most of all love.

Matt said...

One thing that has stuck with me about Dr. MacArthur was a statement he said about which conferences he would speak at. He said that he would speak just about anywhere if it would give him an opportunity to speak the truth. I think this philosophy could be said for the NIV. Millions of people read it. Millions are not going to change translation. So why not bring truth to those who may need it?

Anonymous said...

We used to have a running joke when I was at BIOLA, "Have you seen the New Ryrie Red Letter Edition...the words of Ryrie are in Red!"

As our joke implied, we understood and celebrated the difference between an author's commentary (in notes) and Sola Scriptura.

It was the Geneva Bible's Calvinist marginal notes that provoked King James to commission the KJV.

MacArthur's running commentary notes serve as a much-needed improvement over the older Scofield and Ryrie Study Bibles (and even the "New" Geneva Bible).

Since, unfortunately, marginal notes can also introduce heresy (e.g., Dake's), we should all be carefully praying JM's marginal notes to have a positive pedagogical impact on the NIV reader's. Maybe some will be introduced to Sola Gratia as some of us were in the NKJV and NASB versions

APM said...

I have worked in Christian publishing/bookselling for the past 15 years.

Here are some random facts and observations:

1) Zondervan (NIV owner) and Thomas Nelson (NKJV owner) are both owned by Harper Collins. They are for-profit businesses.

2) Choosing a publisher is often deciding what the best option is to get your book into the marketplace. From a distribution standpoint, Zondervan and Nelson are the best companies to work with.

3) The NIV has been the best-selling Bible translation for the past 25 years (approx).

4) Many popular translations take this gender-neutral approach: the NLT, NCV, NIrV, NRSV, the Message, and others.

5) The NIV2011 is 60% the same as the 1984, 30% the same as the TNIV, and 10% original (all approx). In a nutshell, the new NIV2011 and the controversial TNIV are more than 90% the same translation.

6) The majority of the changes in the NIV2011 & TNIV have to do with the gender issue. According to the CBMW there are over 2,500 inaccurate gender-neutral translations in the new NIV2011. (Hopefully, Mac will deal with many of these in the notes!)

7) John MacArthur signed the 2002 statement: “Over 100 Christian Leaders Claim that the TNIV Bible is Not Trustworthy” in the CBMW Journal.

Overall- this decision makes me wince. Partnerships are a potentially dangerous thing as your level of responsibility increases. However, if I could choose anyone in the world to address this issue it would probably be John MacArthur and his trusty editor.

To John and Phil: there are few men that I have trusted and respected in the business more than you two. There are so many in this world who need the truth and so few who are willing to proclaim it faithfully. Even on this sensitive issue I pray that you will be a voice in the wilderness, as you have always been.

Tim Bayly said...

You guys are kidding, right? Tell me it's April Fools Day. Study notes trump Scripture? Seriously? This is simple pragmatism. God warns about those who add or delete words from His Word and the MSB says, what--let God deal with it? Meanwhile we want our excellent study notes to be available so those being led away from the Words of God will have good food to graze in the margins.


Strong Tower said...


You're touching God's annointed... stop it!

Amish Ambush said...

Dr. MacArthur has been instrumental in my early development as a christian. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and his ministry. But this is Elephant Roomesque .

GotToBTru said...

"...and we are hopeful that when the finished product is complete, even critics of the NIV will be satisfied with the result."

Um, only if they suddenly become irrational. You see, their objections to the NIV do not consist of "MacArthur hasn't added his study notes yet." All their objections remain in force.

"All English versions of Scripture have translation problems and ambiguities." Yes, going from Hebrew/Greek to English is not going to be perfect. You CANNOT compare that to the deliberate changing of words to meet an agenda! I am ashamed of Pastor MacArthur.

I think he will come to regret this.

donsands said...

"Study notes trump Scripture? Seriously?"-Tim

Absolutely. Pastor John stands firmly on that premise.

I suppose I shouldn't use sarcasm, but it seems like the best way to make a truthful point.

Darlene said...


You said, God warns about those who add or delete words from His Word...

I believe that this "adding" and "deleting" are referred to in Revelation and apply to that book in particular. Furthermore, I would suggest that the meaning is far deeper than some warning about lexicons, morphemes, and the like. Otherwise, we'd all better be reading only one, and the same translation. None of this is to say, btw, that the NIV in any of its forms is a skilled translation.

Here is the Scripture in Revelation: I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

Sandy M. said...

I can't believe he would do this. I would understand an older version of the NIV but certainly not the gender neutral new (2011) version. I am a MacArthur fan but I vehemently disagree on this one. Someone commented about doing the Message next? It is a legitimate question considering the ridiculous so called "translation" of the current NIV. I wonder if most people even know that all NIVs being printed now are the new gender neutral edition. MacArthur gives it credibility now and with that I am strongly in disagreement.

Darlene said...
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Darlene said...

All your protests are in vain at this juncture, I would think. Observing the unfavorable reaction on this blog leads me to inquire if Pastor MacArthur sought counsel from others, and considered the possible outcry that might ensue on going ahead with this project.

Freida said...

It would be a sign of humility and wisdom for Pastor MacArthur to listen to the counsel of fellow believers and prayerfully reconsider this decision.

Family Blogs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Family Blogs said...

This seems to me to be great news. I love the NIV1984 and am working my through (with real blessing) the NIV2011.

My only regret in this comment thread is that there seems to be a train of thought that the NIV2011 is less than the word of God, or can somehow be immediately dismissed.

Before folks start to speak in patronising terms about the new MSB helping those who are lacking discernment and who 'don't know any better' than reading the NIV a pause should be given to consider some simple facts. Individuals like Don Carson and Douglas Moo endorse and were instrumental in translating the NIV respectively.

I'd tend to trust their considered opinion (and linguistic abilities)more than the collective wisdom of the blogosphere frankly.

donsands said...

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 NIV

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. .....Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them." John 3:16-18;36 NIV

Annemarie said...

Those who are using the most inadequate translations obviously need the most help to understand the Scriptures properly.

I completely agree. At first I was shocked, but this statement was helpful in shedding light on the arguement in favor of a MSB NIV.


John said...

I don't have a huge problem with Dr. MacArthur providing his study notes for the NIV, for some of the same reasons offered here. However, I can't help but wonder if many of those defending Dr. MacArthur would be singing a different tune if it were, say, Mark Driscoll offering to provide study notes for the new NIV. I can't help but wonder if John MacArthur is getting a pass from many here simply because he's John MacArthur.

Would those defending Dr. MacArthur here offer the same reasoning to defend, say, an otherwise good teacher broadcasting his programs on TBN? It's hard to imagine a scenario in which many of Dr. MacArthur's defenders here wouldn't chastise that teacher for succumbing to pragmatism.

~Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Mark said...

I wasn't big on the idea of using the 2011 NIV, but if the notes go in essentially unaltered as to content, and (as stated in the post) the passages in which the NIV takes too much leeway are directly corrected, then I'm glad it's happening.

It's like having a Pyro Post on ever other page! ;-)

(To be upfront, I wouldn't buy one or encourage folks to buy one, however, I think it could be a great assist for those who do.(

Aaron Snell said...

However, I can't help but wonder if many of those defending Dr. MacArthur would be singing a different tune if it were, say, Mark Driscoll offering to provide study notes for the new NIV. I can't help but wonder if John MacArthur is getting a pass from many here simply because he's John MacArthur.

I think the answer is yes, but that's a good thing, if properly understood. See, I think it should be phrased more like this: John MacArthur is (and should be) given the beenfit of the doubt because of his track record. There is everything right and good in considering a man's history when evaluating a decision like this. To compare that to Mark Driscoll and HIS history is to set up an immediate contrast, not an equivalency.

What saddens me is the sentiments emerging here and on the Bayly blog that are willing to discount the decades of trustworthiness in ministry demonstrated by MacArthur and Phil, and a) go beyond voicing disagreement with the wisdom of the decision (which is a legitimate move) to seeing this as the first step in a slide away from solid doctrine, and b) assign motives to these men that they have flatly denied.

Eric Rasmusen said...

"There is everything right and good in considering a man's history when evaluating a decision like this."

The man's history is why this has attrcted so much attention. That history will persuade many people that the NIV2011 must be okay, since John MacArthur has endorsed it by selling it with his notes.

"What saddens me is the sentiments emerging here and on the Bayly blog that ... assign motives to these men that they have flatly denied."

What has dismayed me most in the blogosphere is the lack of and hostility to the most basic discernment. What does it matter that somebody denies a motive? Why should we believe him, or believe that he even knows his own motives?

It is better to look to actions-- such as the refusal of anyone to reveal exactly how much money pastor MacArthur or his organizations are being paid to lend his name to the NIV. What possible good motive can there be for refusing to say how much he is being paid? Why would he fail to quell our doubts by simply telling us the dollar amount? Why, even aside from this particular issue, do Christian leaders keep their incomes secret?

Anonymous said...

Oh for the days before busybodies starting assuming a right to know other people's incomes...

Carlos said...

Any widely recognized Christian leader, regardless of how well he may be thought of (God is no respector of persons) must be totally transparent in his finances and ministry based income sources. Why would we expect otherwise from a "man of God"? As much as I admire brother John MacArthur, he is being put on a pedestal that borders on an idol's altar. There can be absolutely no justification for compromising his good name and decades' long honorable and respected study notes by attaching them to such a poorly translated, gender-pleasing, infamous, gospel impediment that the NIV represents. This shows a clear lapse of judgment by brother John and brother Phil who as his top advisor, should be guarding John's back, instead of defending the indefensible and allowing him to fall into this pit of avoidable controversey. This is not good. It can still be undone. It is not too late to repair the great damage that this announcment has caused. First John Piper compromises his pulpit with endorsement/invitations of nefarious heretics and now, John MacArthur compromises the Word of God for mammon. Sad.

threegirldad said...

I can't help but wonder if John MacArthur is getting a pass from many here simply because he's John MacArthur.

I don't think that's what is happening. I think this is what is happening:

For myself, I'd nuance the option I'd take if I disagreed in this situation to this: "I don't get this decision, I don't like it; but it doesn't change my respect for MacArthur, and that also means there's likely to be some positive aspects I'm just not seeing."

We call this "the benefit of the doubt." Someone who has earned it should get it.

And if MacArthur hasn't earned it, then all leaders need to give up, go home, and crank up the video games
. --DJP

Jim Swindle said...

It's sad that the great majority of comments on this post seem to assume that the translators of the NIV 2011 were intentionally pushing a feminist agenda. That's a serious charge, and I've found no evidence that it's true. Maybe Pastor MacArthur is wise enough to realize that the charge is probably bogus. Many, many authors and speakers today who are NOT feminists use gender-neutral language in most public speaking. I think many do it unconsciously, because it's the way the people around them speak today.

I don't like gender-neutral language. I don't plan on using the NIV 2011 much, if at all. Still, as someone who makes his living with words, I can see that the NIV 2011 translators were trying to make a faithful translation of the Bible into the kind of English that follows the grammar rules of MS Word and of most public universities.

Some people were just as upset when Bibles stopped using thee and thou and thy for singular and ye and you and your for plural. The Greek and the Hebrew distinguish between 2nd-person-singular and 2nd-person-plural. You're losing meaning if you use you to translate both singular and plural--but every modern English Bible does it, because thee and thou and thy don't communicate much of anything these days.

Strong Tower said...

"Maybe Pastor MacArthur is wise enough to realize that the charge is probably bogus."

Even though it was J Mac who called it an attack? Not to say that he's changed his mind. It would seem odd if he did seeing that faithful translation was such a large part of the issue in Truth War and he called out the gender neutered NIV specifically in Assorted Attacks On The Bible.

Freida said...

Perhaps this part of the post was overlooked:

" He also shares CBMW's conviction that the gender distinctions in Scripture are precise and deliberate and should be kept intact. Clearly, he would not support any effort to feminize the language of the Bible or adjust it for political correctness."

CBMW's condemnation:




John said...

The problem with the "benefit of the doubt" and "track record" arguments is that they seem to be quite inconsistently applied in this neck of the woods. I agree with that approach, but I didn't see it extended much to, say, John Piper when he invited Rick Warren to his national conference. I haven't seen it extended to James MacDonald much in this space either. (And I'm among those who believe MacDonald has been deeply mistaken in his approach to the Jakes thing.) In those cases and a number of others, the firing squads lined up here pretty quickly, only casting a quick glance toward "decades of faithful ministry."

I'm for biblical discernment. I'm for proper criticism. But I'm against inconsistency, and as a regular (and longtime) visitor here, I just don't see MacArthur being held to the same standard as other also-proven men.

DJP said...

I'll speak for me, John. Find where I have announced the intents of MacDonald's or Piper's heart, rather than focusing on their words and actions.

John said...

I wasn't directing my comments specifically at you, Dan, but now that you mention it....

I'm not talking about discerning matters of Dr. MacArthur's heart. I'm talking about evaluating his action here. I have no doubt his motives are good. That's not the issue.

My point is that the "track record" argument has been used to defend Dr. MacArthur's attaching his notes to the new, gender-neutral NIV, but other faithful leaders have not been given the same consideration.

One of the comments attributed to you was, "For myself, I'd nuance the option I'd take if I disagreed in this situation to this: I don't like it; but it doesn't change my respect for MacArthur, and that also means there's likely to be some positive aspects I'm just not seeing."

This is clearly NOT the standard you applied to Dr. Piper back in April 2010. In fact, you were pretty quick to scoff when anyone suggested there might be some positive aspects you just weren't seeing.

Instead, you jumped on Piper for legitimizing Warren via association. In fact, you said at the time, "It is an association from which Warren gains much, and Piper loses."

Many here are saying the same thing about MacArthur's new relationship with the politically-corrected NIV. But now your response is that we should simply trust MacArthur. He's got a good track record, and maybe there's more to it than meets the eye.

So what gives? I suspect if this blog didn't have a strongly-established tie to MacArthur, the reaction here would be much different, based on numerous pieces of history.

Carlos said...

The NIV bible is one of the worst translations published. It is owned by the pornographer and satanic bible publisher, Rupert Murdoch via Harper Collins Publishers via News Corp via Zondervan. Murdoch says his pastor is Rick Warren, another false teacher who merchandizes the gospel.

God would not have any man to have exclusive copyrights to His Word. The Word of God is free for all people. Unlike the modern translations, the King James Version is public domain. Anyone who wants to publish it is free to publish as many copies as he wish & never have to ask permission for doing so. These new Bible versions are owned and copyrighted by men, not God and are linked to filthy lucre that the NT speaks of in the merchandising of God's Word.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for putting your cards on the table.

Carlos said...

To clarify my commenet about "satanic bible publisher"...that was a reference to the actual Anton Levey "Satanic Bible" not a characterzation of the NIV as THE satanic bible. Having clarified that, my opinion of the NIV is that it's satanic publisher/ownership also qualifies it as a lower case "satanic" bible. If it distorts, mistranslates, omits, or questions the inerrancy of our NT Greek manuscripts, it's satanic in my book....and I quote Satan: (Gen 3:1 KJV)"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" Indeed, the NIV is one of those poisonous trees in the garden of good and evil that Satan uses to mislead and confuse people about God revelation to mankind.

donsands said...

"Unlike the modern translations, the King James Version is public domain."-Carlos

King James, who funded the Bible, was a homosexual himself, as I have heard it. He wasn't quite the exceptional King of England let us say. yet the KJV is a fine Bible.
The NIV is a good translation for the Body of Christ I think.
And so I commend John MacArthur again as I already have.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:1-5 NIV

Anonymous said...

Carlos, you should read up on public domain law. More importantly you should refrain from maligning the character of godly men and women who were involved in translating the NIV.

Disagree with some of their translation decisions if you will but calling the NIV satanic is completely out of bounds.

Cel and Shon said...

While we go back and forth about this topic, the publishing folks are getting their bank accounts bigger with profits from this latest translation. Let us stop buying bibles for our shelves, and let us start reading the ones we have. When we do buy the latest version, let us give it away as a gift. What do you say? MSB is a wonderful version BTW.

Carlos said...

NIV Reader and Dr. MacArthur: Do you have enough confidence in the NIV to... tell God that these verses do not belong in the Bible?

Part 1 of 2:

The following WHOLE verses have been removed in the NIV--whether in the text or footnotes.. here is but an example but there are over 40 IN ALL!!! The NIV also is a verse-deletion collaborator with the JWB or Jehovah's Witness "Bible".

Matthew 12:47 -- removed in the footnotes

Matthew 17:21 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."

Matthew 18:11 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."

Matthew 21:44 -- removed in the footnotes

Matthew 23:14 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."

Mark 7:16 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."

Mark 9:44 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
"Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Mark 9:46 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Mark 11:26 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."

Mark 15:28 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors."

Mark 16:9-20 (all 12 verses) -- There is a line separating the last 12 verses of Mark from the main text. Right under the line it says: [The two most reliable early manuscripts do not have Mark 16:9-20] (NIV, 1978 ed.) The Jehovah's Witness "Bible" also places the last 12 verses of Mark as an appendix of sorts.

Carlos said...

Part 2 of NIV verse deletions:

Luke 17:36 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

Luke 22:44 -- removed in the footnotes

Luke 22:43 -- removed in the footnotes

Luke 23:17 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)"

John 5:4 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had."

John 7:53-8:11 -- removed in the footnotes

Acts 8:37 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. It's deletion makes one think that people can be baptized and saved without believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds Catholic. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Acts 15:34 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still."

Acts 24:7 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands,"

Acts 28:29 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves."

Romans 16:24 -- COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. What are you NIV readers missing?
KJV: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."

I John 5:7 -- Vitally important phrase COMPLETELY removed [also deleted from the Jehovah's Witness "Bible"]. In the NIV it says,
"For there are three that testify:"
Compare the NIV reading with the following Jehovah's Witness reading--
"For there are three witness bearers,"
What are you NIV readers missing? What does the real Bible say?
KJV: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one."

This is one of the GREATEST verses testifying of the trinity. That is why the Jehovah's Witnesses leave it out. They do not believe in the trinity and they do not believe that Jesus is God. Why does the NIV leave it out...? Whole books have been written on the manuscript evidence that supports inclusion of this verse in the Bible. Reader, do you believe in the triunity of God? If so, then this deletion should offend you. People are playing around with the Bible and it ain't funny.

Jennifer said...


You may not have spoken of MacDonald's and Piper's hearts and only their actions ... the question I have is why have you not done the same in this case?

Here Team Pyro has skipped past the action to say, "But his heart is in the right place!".

MacArthur has said that the new NIV is a horrible translation ... has said in his Truth Wars that bad translations are a tool of the Devil. Now he jumps on board to join up with the NIV.

Judge the actions and what do you get?

James Snapp Jr said...

Interesting discussion. And it's interesting that a man who rejected the TNIV from the pulpit in the past can now place his study-notes side-by-side the 2011 NIV, which, let's face it, is essentially the TNIV with some adjustments.

I wonder what Dr. MacArthur's notes will look like at passages such as Mark 1:41, where the 2011 NIV reads very differently from the 1984 NIV. Does he plan to write different notes for each version at all the places where they mean different things? Which would be worse: doing that, or placing /the same/ notes beside statements in the text that mean two different things?

Yours in Christ,

James Snapp, Jr.