Was the original NIV anti-Roman Catholic...

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In response to my post, No, Virginia, the Bible is not politically correct..., Joel Martin comments:

I'm completely unsurprised by this. The Neutered International Version has always been a vehicle for an Evangelical, zeitgeistian agenda. It's an attempt to eliminate the glaring theological problems of Evangelical Protestantism by erasing them from Scripture. The rationale is obvious: if Evangelicalism doesn't match the Bible, make the Bible match Evangelicalism. So why are we surprised to find it once again retranslated to further an unBiblical agenda?

This line (from your post, No, Virginia...) struck me: "At the time, the NIV was the Bible translation standard of the Bible-believing, English-speaking world, so it was the efforts to modernize this particular translation that were our focus."

Making the NIV the standard for the "Bible-believing, English-speaking world" is right up there with making the New World (JW) "translation" the standard. The NWT eliminates the Trinity and other un-JW-like doctrines by retranslating, and hoping the reader won't ever check the Greek. The NIV does the same with concepts from Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox and other Traditional churches, to make it appear that the popular Evangelical Protestantism is really the Christianity of the Bible. It's written in order to make Catholicism, et. al. irrelevant. This way, those Christians can be dismissed as not "Bible-believing." After all, if it's in the NIV, it's in the Bible. Which is why the first line was a trigger for me. There are more Bible-believers who use the NAB (the standard English Catholic translation) than the NIV. But the NIV mentality makes it easier to draw a boundary between us and the "real" Bible-believers, because we don't believe in the "real" NIV Bible.

Okay, being a Papist, I'm more sensitive about the NIV than most. But the NIV's popularity has the effect of stifling inquiry into what the Bible means. It prevents the reader from asking troublesome questions about teachings like Sola Scriptura, the primacy of Peter, sacramental theology, and the like. Most Protestants don't agree with me on these questions; so be it. But we should all be afraid of a Bible translation surreptitiously reworded to interpret itself according to an agenda. Once that became acceptable, it was a short step to gender-inclusiveness and other false interpretations. Here we go down the slippery slope.

First, I largely concur with your estimation of the merits of the NIV itself--and not simply the NIVI and its progeny. Until I got involved in this battle I was not aware of the NIV's inaccuracies. As time went on, though, I found that I could no longer use the NIV because my eyes were opened to the exact thing you mention: namely, that the sex-neutering of the NIVI is only the logical extension of a translation philosophy (dynamic equivalence) that had already gone far down the road of corrupting any number of texts in the NIV itself.

As to whether the NIV is specifically anti-Roman Catholic, I have no doubt there are places where it is, although I question your mention of the Protestant/Roman Catholic division over sola scriptura and the primacy of Peter as examples of such.

On the other hand, I know the NIV is biased concerning the Sacraments, and not in an anti-Roman Catholic direction, either. I'm a presbyterian holding to infant baptism and some time back there was an interesting article...

...published in the Westminster Theological Journal detailing how the NIV handled the accounts of household baptisms in the book of Acts in such a way as to make it appear that every single person who was baptized in those households believed in Jesus Christ prior to their baptism. This is clearly contrary to the original Greek, although it's very much in harmony with the baptistic prejudice that owns evangelical hearts and minds. Here's an excerpt from the article:

According to the NIV, everyone in these two households professed faith before being baptized. In its original edition (NT, 1973) the NIV at Acts 16:34 related that the Philippian jailer's "whole family was filled with joy, because they had come to believe in God" before being baptized. This was subsequently reworded (in the 1983 edition) to "he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God-he and his whole family." [Note from KepttheFaith.org: Here is the TNIV's translation: "The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God--he and his whole household" (Acts 16:34).] In either version we are told that everyone in the household believed.3 The NIV at 18:8 similarly credits an entire household with faith (prior to baptism): "Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and his entire household believed in the Lord." [Note from KepttheFaith.org: Here is the TNIV's translation: "Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household believed in the Lord; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul believed and were baptized." (Acts 18:8).]

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But once again the biblical support for infant baptism is obscured in the NIV, which translates Acts 2:39 in this fashion: "The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call." By not repeating "for" before "your children," the NIV does link children with their parents, but the dash before the qualifying clause and its introduction with "for" suggest that both "you and your children" and "all who are far off" are modified by it. Without a comma after "children," it is unnatural to limit the qualification to "all who are far off." And by translating "call" (with most English translations) instead of "summon," the impression is given that the gospel call to those old enough to understand it is exclusively in view. Thus, the NIV follows the baptistic interpretation of this passage. [Note from KepttheFaith.org; Here is how the TNIV translates this text: The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:39).]

"Dynamic Equivalence and Some Theological Problems in the NIV," by J. W. Scott, in Westminster Theological Journal 48 (Fall, 1986): 363-372.

So you see, we all take our lumps from the --not just Roman Catholics and Orthodox.

Since having my eyes opened to the harm done to the text of Sacred Scripture by the dynamic equivalence style of translation, I've switched to what I consider to be the most accurate (if often woodenly literal) version of Scripture, the updated 1995 edition of the New American Standard Bible. It's been hard to change, having preaching from (and read) the NIV for twenty-five years or so, but I like knowing that the translators of the English text I use are trying, at least, to give me an English version of what the original authors wrote.

When asked by people in our congregation what Bible they should use, I include the NIV in the list of basically accurate Bibles while recommending either the New King James, the English Standard Version, or the New American Standard Bible. But then I conclude by saying we preach from the NASB, and that's the version I myself use and trust.