New International Version

What is the Church’s position on the NIV translation ? I remember reading on Wikipedia once that one of the main motivations for that translation was countering Catholic teachings on Our Lady. There is now no mention of this on that site any more though. The Catholic New Jerome Biblical Commentary does not seem to criticise the NIV. I own a copy of the NIV which was given to me by the Gideon Society when I was at school but I no longer use it. My mom also has a copy and I have encouraged her not to use it because I am dubious as to whether it is friendly to Our Lady and perhaps Catholicism in general. I would be grateful if anyone can shed any light.

I think a Catholic version of the NIV exists, but I wouldn’t wager on it.


No, there isn’t. The NIV is thoroughly Protestant, to the point of being unfaithful in some places.

I used to enjoy the NIV because it’s easy to read. But now that I know better, I realize how biased it is against Catholicism. Every time in the New Testament, when the apostles speak highly of tradition, (“Hold on to the traditions we have taught you”), The NIV translates the Greek as “teachings”. But whenever the NT author speaks disparagingly of tradition (“the traditions of men”) the NIV reads (correctly) “tradition”. The word in the original Greek is the same in both cases: “paradosin”, which means “tradition”. The word for “teaching” is “didiscalia”. The NIV deliberately mistranslates “paradosin” as “teachings” because they don’t want to admit the apostles spoke highly of Tradition.

I seem to recall there is something else about the NIV that makes it a bad translation but I don’t remember what it is! :confused: Maybe someone else would know.

NIV is missing some books, as I suppose Protestant Bibles do.

Thanks for the info in this post about the translation of teachings vs tradition. I read some daily quotes I receive online that are from the NIV and I’ll keep this in mind.


The NIV incorrectly uses “teachings” instead of “traditions” where tradition is spoken of as a good thing here:

2 Thess 2:15 “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the -]traditions/-] teachings (paradoseis) that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours.”

2 Thess 3:6 “We instruct you, brothers, in the name of [our] Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the -]tradition/-] teachings (paradosin). they received from us.”

But they cover their behinds by using a footnote that says, “or traditions.”

Meanwhile, they use the correct word “tradition” where the NT talks disparagingly about the “traditions of men”: Mark 7:1-13… "You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition (paradosin) that you have handed on. And you do many such things.” And Matthew 15:1-6, Galatians 1:13-14, Colossians 2:8, etc.

Don’t bother with it. The NABRE reads about the same, language wise, and is a faithful Catholic translation. I have an NIV (somewhere around here I think) and never use it. There are too many good Catholic Bibles to bother with n-C ones… :shrug:

The NIV is an extremely poor translation. It is just inaccurate.

The motivations behind producing it or whether it is faithful to Catholic doctrine are not relevant.

It really doesn’t matter what religion you are. The NIV is just a bad Bible.


Thanks for the replies, they are very informative. I was unaware that they deliberately mistranslated “tradition” as “teachings”…

It is a pity the NIV does this as it is very small and handy (at least the NT only edition). I haven’t used it for years though and won’t do so in the future unless it is for purposes of comparative theology or apologetics.

it’s not an attack on tradition , they just used another word that means tradition .

It is subtle attack - they use ‘teachings’ whenever the word is stated positively, and ‘tradition’ whenever it’s condemned negatively, as if the Greek is differentiating, when it isn’t.

It’s not an attack , they are just attempting to differentiate good and false tradition, I would like them to render both as tradition, however.

They do the same with the word “love”, they leave it vague when many times the better translation is “charity” - because they don’t want to seem to promote “good works” aka charity.

Nope , they use love , because charity is rarely used as agape love in modern English, the word love expresses the meaning accurately ( although it can mean other words as philos , Eros and storge ) , so that’s the one they used , it’s not an attack , what they are aiming for is clarity.

And seriously, we do support good works , (Edited) .

The interpretation of faith alone is that faith alone saves. Meaning a person can do any cud and still be saved.


That is NOT what it means , yes faith alone saves , but at that moment the Holy Spirit comes inside us , changes our desires so that we want to obey him , and faith is living , it MUST produce works as evidence of conversion , God commands it for the Christianlife , however they do not justify, necessary works are for the Christian life , not to become a Christian.

The NIV is a paraphrased translation, so you supposedly get the sense of what the scripture says, but it is not literal. That’s not all bad, since it’s hard to make sense when translating one language to another – it’s built into the process of translation that it cannot be done exactly.

The best result occurs when the translator has a deep working knowledge of both languages he/she is working with.

Admission: I used it for four years at a nearby Protestant church, until a guy started arguing with me. I keep it around, because it is the NIV Study Bible, which has some nice features. But, I have lowered by expectations of it.

The New Jerome Biblical Commentary mentions it in reference to the Bibles which the Church permits Catholics to read. For about a century now, the Church has allowed Catholics to read other translations, such as this, but advises against Bibles that are explicitly anti-Catholic.

As the preceding posts have indicated, there are problems with the text that should make you think twice about using it.

It’s still unfaithful, because by trying to “differentiate” they imply that all tradition is bad (a foundational principle of sola scriptura). Paradosis does not mean “teaching”; it means “that which is handed down”. Teaching is only one of those, but tradition, “that which is handed down” includes other stuff, including practices, ceremonies, mores and values. “Teaching” is didaskalia, didache.

If anything, the Greek of this verse supports paradosis:tradition as binding on Christians, and therefore, tradition should be maintained in this verse.

The problem is, that is exactly what sola fide means. But its not scriptural.

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