Bible - New International Version


I know that the NIV is a Protestant translation but is it valid at at all as an accurate translation in the eyes of the Catholic Church. I have said to an Anglican friend that I thought the NIV was questionable in the Catholic Church’s eyes, with the RSV being the closest thing we have to an ecumenical translation. I hope I am right. My view was based on the Anglican NT Wright’s criticism of the NIV which would apply more strongly I would think from a Catholic perspective:


I don’t think the Church comments on individual Protestant translations like the NIV, but to say overall that most Protestant translations are missing 7 books that are considered canonical to the Catholic Church.


As CalCatholic said, I don’t think the Church makes any official comments on individual Protestant translations. But the NIV certainly has a strong anti-Catholic bias:


The NIV is a simplified Bible that has been dumbed down quite a bit I find. It was great when I was 14 years old.

The ESV is becoming pretty standard for Protestants because of how literal it is while being able to understand, without changing the meaning of the original Greek.


I have some NT-scholar friends who refer to the NIV as the “not inspired version”…

On the whole, I think the NRSV is the best all-round translation, despite some well-intentioned but misguided gender-inclusive language.


I am not too fond of the ESV… (Although it is in the ?SV family, which I like - although I really prefer the NKJV over the ?SV’s - it would be great if they made a DC translation).

Their rendering for 1 Timothy 3:15 (1 John 5:7-8 and others I can’t recall now) is appalling. Even the NLT and NIV say the Church is “the” pillar of the truth.

Reformed theology at its worse…

(Although it retains the funny translation of Amos 4:6 in all the ?SV’s
I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,…

It makes God sound like a dentist :smiley:

But that’s just me nit-picking :wink:

For easy readability, it’s really hard to beat the NIV though… Just make sure you have a marker to fix the traditions and works oopsies :smiley:


You know, I have to admit that I have been very prejudicial about the NRSV because of the inclusive language and have not given it a fair read.


A few years ago Catholic Book Publishing Co. published the NIV Psalms with notes! It was approved by the USCCB for reading and study. I think its out of print.


Like many others, I actually began getting into the Bible through the NIV - it was the first Bible translation that I read through from cover to cover. Having said that, for all its readability, it is somewhat dumbed down.

My vote goes to the RSV.


As a protestant I liked the NIV. I was impressed by how much work went into it and how it was a very eclectic text in which all the ancient versions were consulted. But now that I am a Catholic I have absolutely no need or desire for any protestant version.


Years ago, I attended a “coffee break” bible study group at a local Christian Reformed Church which used the NIV.

I splurged and got the NIV study bible. I liked it for the easy, modernized translation.

The Catholic Church recommends that at a certain number of priest study the ancient languages so that the Church does not lose touch with the original versions, which, after all, are the only TRULY inspired versions.

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (c.1992) quoted an early 20th century document of the Vatican that authorized Catholics (probably referring most to scholars) to read non-Catholic versions (including the Jewish Publication Society 1985 translation of the Hebrew Bible). That said, the Vatican was clear that it advised against reading any anti-Catholic versions.

I can’t find my copy of it right now (that’s two books I’m hunting for).

For the reason in the OP, I’d like to have the Catholic version of Strong’s exhaustive concordance. Failing that, I use strong’s to dig into the original language of texts.

**BUT NOTE: ** ya know, “traditions” are, in a very large sense, “teachings.” But, I see your point, that translators play games with their biases.

But, let’s look at the MOST controversial verse in scripture, Is 7:14. The masoretic text is alleged to say “a young woman shall conceive and bear a son.” But, the much older but Greek Septuagint says “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” What’s the saying? We’re between a rock and a hard spot (?). These variations don’t prove anything, really. The oldest Masoretic text is from around 900 AD. That gives PLENTY of time for Jewish scribes to have altered the Hebrew text, in a polemical way, against the Christian view of Mary’s perpetual virginity.

The Jews, themselves, translated Is 7:14 into Greek as “virgin” – and I happen to think that they knew what they were saying. Don’t take this the wrong way, but this is “Jewish scribe versus Jewish scribe.” AND, AND, AND, those versions were finalized LONG before the birth of Christ, when there was no ax to grind over the “virgin” question.

There were CENTURIES to correct the Septuagint, if it had a bad translation of Is 7:14.

And, I’ll point out for maybe the 11-teenth time on this website, that English translations of scripture are troubled by the legal requirement against plagiarism – so these various versions and editions virtually HAVE TO come out sounding differently, to avoid lawsuits against plagiarism and copyright violation.( All the more reasons I should have studied the ancient languages when I was young.)

When you catch somebody red-handed, like doing this in the NIV, it’s good to point it out, and often, until everybody knows. please see my next post.


my previous post, continued:

I’ve been reading the early church fathers in a series of commentaries called the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture from Intervarsity Press.

These devoted Christians wrote EXPLICITLY against the heretics of their time, such as Arius, Marcion, and all the others.

What’s missing on this website are at least two things:

  1. There are some really good posts that explain things well and should have been put into what I call a gallery of good topical discussion. Because there really are good posts that explain things.
  2. There should be something beyond even #1, in an apologetic archive, which names names like this thread does, to build up an archive of issues against our modern heretics. Yes we’re probably prohibited by forum rules to avoid that word, but I tell you, the early church fathers used that word “when the shoe fit” and I think this website should do the same, following in their heroic footsteps.


I think it’s worth a few more words on the text of Is 7:14 in one of my two previous posts.

I looked up the comment in The Jerusalem Bible on this verse, and what they say is consistent with what I said. They say that the use of the word “virgin” by the evangelists gives a lot of credence to the meaning of this verse by those Jewish scholars who produced the Septuagint. These Jewish scholars thought the meaning of the verse referred to a virgin, not a maiden or young woman ( which could include a recently married woman or even a virgin).

They translated it into Greek as “virgin” and this was not an error that was corrected although there were centuries to do so.

As I have read through a whole shelf worth of Jewish Commentaries, I can assure you that this is not the only controversy in the Hebrew scriptures.

About a year ago, I obtained a copy of The Jewish Study Bible from Oxford Univ. Press. In the 21st Century, these scholars say that they don’t even know what Is 7:14 means. The interpretation of the verse as referring to a virgin hinges today more on anti-Christian polemical grounds – the rejection that such a miracle could even occur (which objection itself smacks of modern historical criticism)

So, the issue raised in this thread is CENTURIES old.


I am very much an RSV person and only becoming more entrenched in the RSV with age. I really cannot understand anyone opting for any other Bible.


In fact, there was a version of the NIV psalter that received imprimatur from the USCCB in 1996. You can read more about it here.


Oh my - hopefully this has all been tightened up now. I know some like the Jerusalem Bible but I have never really found it as wonderful as adherents have made out.

This is a great new post by the Catholic Bible guy:


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