NIV Claims Examined:

A Close Look At Today’s Bestseller

S H Tow

In 1978 Zondervan Publishing House released the New International Version as a “balanced, scholarly, eminently readable Bible, providing the most exact, illuminating rendering of the original languages into English … so faithfully accurate, that it ushers in a new era of Scriptural clarity for Christians around the world.”

The Wall Street Journal of November 16, 1978 announced:

Zondervan Corp believes it has struck a new vein of gold … blessed with a 30-year exclusive contract to publish the New International Version of the Bible, translated and edited by the New York International Bible Society…. Thus Zondervan raised its earnings prediction 10 cents a share …

In twenty years the NIV is said to have some 100 million copies in print, capturing 45 percent of the current Bible market. This newcomer seems to have displaced the King James Version from its almost 400-year supremacy, replacing the time-honoured Holy Bible in countless homes, hotel rooms, pews and pulpits around the world.

The publishers claim that the new version is “balanced, scholarly, eminently readable ….” Is it, truly? We reserve judgment for now.

But we seriously question the claim that the NIV is “most exact” and “faithfully accurate.” Our one concern is: does the text of the NIV do honour to the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ? After all He is the author of the Holy Scripture which, from first to last, is a record of the person and work of our Lord.

If the NIV text proves exact and faithfully accurate in those areas pertaining to the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we may heartily welcome it into our homes and churches. Our task is lightened by Rev Charles Salliby. His incisive analysis of the NIV supplies all the answers to our quest.

If the Foundations be Destroyed

The reader is referred to Salliby’s book—If the Foundations be Destroyed (Fiskdale: Word and Prayer Ministries, 1994). In a “verse by verse” scrutiny of the NIV text, Rev Salliby has demonstrated beyond doubt or question that the NIV harbours within its pages the most “devastating and irreparable” attack upon our Lord Jesus Christ.

A successful attack upon Jesus in the Bible, from which all knowledge of Jesus finds its source, can be more devastating to the eternal hopes of men than one can possibly imagine. Almost as shocking as what is found in these Bibles is how it all passes unnoticed. Most Christians are unaware that the Deity of Jesus, His attributes, character, redemptive work, teachings, etc. have been seriously damaged … (from Salliby’s Introduction).

Salliby has analysed in detail the areas in which the person and work of our Lord are under attack in the NIV. Listed under “Contents” are twenty-eight such areas. For our purpose we shall consider seven: (1) Redemption, (2) Eternal Existence, (3) Deity, (4) Son of God, (5) Virgin Birth, (6) Ascension and Glorification, (7) Return.

NIV Attacks Christ’s Redemption

(NIV doctored words are in bold type).

  1. Luke 9:56, “For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them …” (KJV). Note: In the NIV these words are absent. Why?
  2. Matt 18:11, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost” (KJV). Note: In the NIV these words are absent. Why?
  3. Col 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (KJV). NIV: “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Note: NIV leaves out “through his blood.” Why? Satan hates the precious blood of Christ, for God’s people “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 12:11); and “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb 9:22). “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet 1:18–19). To the redeemed of God, the blood of Christ is precious.
  4. Gal 3:17, “… the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ …” (KJV). NIV: “… the covenant previously established by God ….” Note: “in Christ” is absent. Why?
  5. Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ …” (KJV). NIV: “I am not ashamed of the gospel ….” Note: “of Christ” is absent. Why?
  6. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (KJV). NIV: “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” Note: In the NIV, “on me” (that is “on Christ”) is absent. This one verse of the NIV effectively opens the door of salvation to anyone who believes in any religion! Read it again and ponder its ecumenical thrust: all faiths lead to God. This would conform with the charter of United Religions to be formed in 2000 AD.
  7. Eph 4:6, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (KJV). NIV: “One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Note: The NIV translators, by omitting one vital keywordyou” has opened the way to God the Father to all, believers and unbelievers alike.
  8. Rev 21:24, “And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it …” (KJV). NIV: “The nations will walk by its light ….” Note: By throwing out “of them which are saved” the NIV translators have thrown open their concept of heaven to “the nations,” effectively negating the saving work of Christ our Lord by this verse.
NIV Attacks Christ’s Eternal Existence

The Word of God clearly teaches that our Lord Jesus Christ is eternally pre-existent. To teach otherwise is to reduce Him to a mere man.

Mic 5:2, “… out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (KJV). NIV: “… out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Note: By changing “from everlasting” into “ancient times” the NIV translators have destroyed our Lord’s eternal pre-existence, making Him a mere man. The Hebrew “olam” means “everlasting.” The NIV translators knew it; they correctly translated it “everlasting” in other passages except when it refers to Christ. Why?

NIV Attacks Christ’s Deity

The question is: do the NIV translators acknowledge Christ as God?

  1. 1 Tim 3:16, “… God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit … believed on in the world, received up into glory” (KJV). NIV:He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit … believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” Note: “God” in KJV is changed to “He” in NIV. By falsifying one word the NIV translators in 1 Tim 3:16 effectively destroy the deity of Christ our Lord.
  2. Phil 2:5–6, “… Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (KJV). NIV: “… Christ Jesus, Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Note: NIV translators have clearly done mischief by reversing the meaning of the text: whereas in KJV our Lord is equal with God, in NIV it states the opposite.
  3. Rev 1:8–13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I … heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book … And I turned to see … And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the son of man …” (KJV). NIV: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus…. I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: Write on a scroll what you see … “I turned around to see … And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man ….” Note: In the KJV text the titles and eternal attributes of Christ (in bold emphasis) attest to the fact that He is the Almighty. In the NIV, (1) all these bold texts are removed, (2) “the Son of man” is changed to “a son of man”, an attack on our Lord’s title, (3) in verse 8, the translators have added “God” after “Lord”, making it appear that Christ is not the Almighty.
  4. 1 John 5:7–8, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (KJV). NIV: “For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” Note: This passage in the KJV affirms Christ’s deity. In the NIV the key words, in bold type, are removed, to wipe off a vital central doctrine.
NIV Attacks Christ the Son of God
  1. John 9:35, “… Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (KJV). NIV: “Do you believe in the Son of man?Note: The NIV translators attack Christ’s Sonship: “Son of God” is changed to “Son of man.”
  2. Acts 3:13, “… the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus …” (KJV). NIV: “… the God our our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus ….” Note: The translator’s task is to render “word for word.” He has no authority (except from the father of lies) to change the text and manipulate God’s inspired word. But the NIV translator has changed “Son” to “servant.”
  3. John 6:69, “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (KJV). NIV:“We believe and know that you are the Holy one of God.” Note: At first glance the NIV text appears impressive, but a second close look reveals the deadly subversion of a central truth; the NIV translators have doctored John 6:69, taking away our Lord’s title: “Son of the living God.”
NIV Attacks the Virgin Birth of Christ
  1. Luke 2:33, “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him” (KJV). NIV:“The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him.” Note: In the KJV record of Luke’s Gospel, Joseph is rightly referred to by his name, as he was not our Lord’s father. The NIV translators have subverted the vital central doctrine of the Virgin Birth by calling Joseph the “child’s father” thus denying the Virgin Birth.
  2. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son …” (KJV). NIV: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son ….” Note: The expression “only begotten” (Greek “monogenes”) refers to the eternal Sonship of Christ our Lord; He is “eternally begotten of the Father.” This excludes any human father in His birth.

    The term “only begotten” is found in the KJV in John 1:14,18; 3:16,18; 1 John 4:9. In all five passages of the NIV the translators have removed the key words and substituted “one and only.” This is not translation but manipulation.

    The NIV doctoring of “monogenes” is an attack firstly, on the eternal generation of the Son, and secondly, on His Virgin Birth.

NIV Attacks the Ascension and Glorification of Christ
  1. John 16:16, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (KJV). NIV: “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” Note: The Ascension is recorded in the KJV accurately and faithfully as a fact leading to our Lord’s glorification with the Father. The NIV translators have removed the words “because I go to the Father” in what would appear to be part of their agenda to “wrest Scripture” (2 Pet 3:16), denying what Jesus had said of His own ascension.
  2. John 17:5, “… O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self” (KJV). NIV: “… Father, glorify me in your presence ….” Note: All sinners, saved by grace, will one day be glorified in God’s presence, but Jesus only could ever be glorified with God Himself. The NIV translators’ object is to detract from Christ’s deity and glorification, which followed His ascension to the Father.
  3. Matt 25:31, “… then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory” (KJV). NIV: “… he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. Note: Observe the subtle and deadly attack on the Glorified Christ. He shall sit upon the throne of His glory, not the glory of the created heavens, as the NIV text implies.
NIV Attacks the Lord’s Return
  1. Matt 25:13, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh” (KJV). NIV: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Note: The NIV translators have removed six vital words (wherein the Son of man cometh), thus denying a crucial promise made by our Lord Himself. The unwarranted and reckless handling of Scripture by the NIV translators has rendered this verse meaningless.
  2. Rev 11:17, “… we give thee thanks, O Lord God almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come …” (KJV). NIV: “… we give thanks to you, Lord God almighty, the One who is and who was ….” Note: The NIV translators have removed those words which speak of our Lord’s promised Return, a prospect which they seek to deny.
  3. John 8.35, “… the son abideth ever” (KJV). NIV:a son belongs to it forever.” Note: While this verse does not refer to our Lord’s return, nevertheless it affirms His eternal existence in the future, thus assuring us of His Return. The NIV translators reduce “the Son” to “a son” which has no relevance to our Lord Jesus. Read by itself the NIV rendition is meaningless altogether.
  4. Rev 1:11, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” (KJV). NIV omits this sentence altogether. Note: This KJV verse implies that our Lord, the “Alpha and Omega” will come again as Judge, a prospect offensive to the NIV translators, hence the omission of the verse.
Concluding Observations

This brief examination of the NIV text alongside the KJV touching on the person and work of Christ our Lord in seven key areas is presented to the reader for objective and honest appraisal. The Holy Spirit alone is able to guide into all truth, for He is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). May He be your Guide.

We have identified more than ample evidence to arrive at this one sure conclusion: The NIV translators have subtly doctored portions of the text to effectively undermine the person and work of Christ our Lord.

Focusing on certain doctored portions of the NIV text the reader may reasonably conclude that:

  1. Jesus was merely a man born of natural parents, for Luke 2:33 in the NIV records that He had a human father; and John 3:16 affirms that He was the “one and only Son,” not the “only begotten Son” of God.
  2. Jesus is not the only way of salvation, for in John 6:47 of the NIV Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.” In this verse the NIV has opened salvation’s door to anyone who believes any religion, or anything at all.
  3. Heaven’s promise is not exclusive to “them which are saved” (Rev 21:24, KJV) but to all people, for the NIV says that in heaven, “The nations will walk by its light” (Rev 21:24). What need is there now for anyone to be saved to enter heaven?

These passages and other doctored portions of the NIV provide sufficient ground for the founding of a new “Evangelical Christianity” acceptable to all religions, a “Faith among Faiths,” a new Christendom for the new millennium.

This is the realisation of the ecumenical plan; a dream come true. Does this come as a surprise to you? Not to the Trinitarian Bible Society of England. Their reviewer in 1981 wrote:

The NIV … is not a denominational Bible, but is presented as a truly ecumenical project…. Two of the news releases also stated that criticism would be invited from outside scholars—“By no means will these be confined to Protestant scholars. Jewish and Roman Catholic scholars and even atheistic experts will be invited to give us their criticisms.”

Now the ecumenical plot unfolds: the Master Planners from the beginning had determined that the proposed NIV should be an interdenominational and interfaith project. The translators have complied. The new version has turned out to be a “most exact” and “faithfully accurate” translation of that Master Plan.

And who is behind the Plan but the father of lies, the master of deception. See his unseen hand behind the translators’ pens: chopping and changing, manipulating and mutilating the Word of God according to a deadly hidden agenda.

The final product is a doctored version which comfortably accommodates truth with falsehood, light with darkness, God’s Word with Satan’s. Words of life are mixed with messages of death, issuing forth from the one mouth, like the serpent’s forked tongue.

Meanwhile the sales roll on, pouring millions into the coffers of the copyright owners, the Master Planners of the International Bible Society of New York.

But to us who are saved, we cleave to the Good Book, the KJV, on which our beloved Bible-Presbyterian Church was founded. Over these five decades it has been our one faithful unfailing guide, lamp to our feet, light to our path.

To faithful Bible believing Christians everywhere, we send a message from the pen of the Apostle Paul: “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or by our epistle” (2 Thess 2:15).

Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, our soon coming King. When He appears may He find you faithful. Amen.

Dr S H Tow is senior pastor of Calvary Bible-Presbyterian Church, Singapore.

Published in The Burning Bush, Volume 4 Number 1, January 1998.