Translation: NIV & TNIV

Exactly how different is the TNIV from the NIV?

I wondered this for sometime.

And then, because I have Logos Bible Software, I decided to check. I put the two Bibles against each other and the program showed me every place where there is a difference in wording.

Here are the results:


4.2% in variation from the base text.

But this percentage is a bit skewed simply because some books of the Bible are more different than others. For example, 1-2 Chronicles are only 2.1% different from the NIV, but Proverbs is more than 15% different.

In order to both example the books on an individual basis and document the types of changes made, I’ve began a series going through the sections of the Bible noting and discussing the kinds of changes made:

NIV / TNIV – The Pentateuch

NIV / TNIV – The Historical Books

NIV / TNIV – The Poetic Books

NIV / TNIV – The Major Prophets

NIV / TNIV – The Minor Prophets

NIV / TNIV – The Gospels

NIV / TNIV – Paul’s Letters

NIV / TNIV – The General Letters & Revelation

The links will become active as I proceed in the comparison, which will be about once a week. As far as I can tell, the changes seen show the TNIV to be a good improvement on the NIV, making it both more clear, more accurate, and often more formal in many ways.

Update: While for the longest time I have intended on completing this survey, I have finally recognized that it isn’t going to happen. This has been made particularly clear with the release of the NIV2011 which now replaces both the NIV and the TNIV.

23 thoughts on “Translation: NIV & TNIV

  1. USE A REAL BIBLE. The ESV is the actual words of God translated. Are you a real Christian or are you into all this PC TNIV garbage?

    1. I know this comment was made many years ago but, please note that the ESV, just like the TNIV, NIV, and any other translation of the Bible are just different interpretations of the same Word. Who are you to question someone’s belief on the sole basis of their preference in translation? We are Christians, put here for the sole purpose to help others receive the same grace that Christ has bestowed to us; not to judge others based on what type of Bible an individual chooses to read. Not every human being is the same, so not every mind reads the same thing from one passage. This is why we have the blessing of having so many different translations at our fingertips. Just because one translation is more literal than another does not make it better. If you want to base an argument on that you should probably be reading the Word in the original languages it was written. I apologize if any of the above offends you, but I felt it needed to be said; even if its seven years late.

  2. Great response.

    Re: True Christian or TNIV reader?
    As D.A. Carson wrote once:
    “Damn these false antithesis to Hell”
    (Note: Carson does not actually think that false antithesis will face judgment for their sins😉 )

  3. It’s from Carson’s book “Becoming Conversant with the Emergent Church.”

    Here’s the lengthier quote:
    “So which shall we choose? Experience or truth? The left wing of an airplane, or the right? Love or integrity? Study or service? Evangelism or discipleship? The front wheels of a car, or the rear? Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge? Faith or obedience?
    Damn all false antitheses to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in dividing brothers and sisters in Christ. The truth is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all—of the truth and of our experience. The Bible insists that we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. ”

    And I appreciate the help!

  4. While I didn’t like that NIV that much, the TNIV has changed all that. It’s the Bible I read and study and will gladly recommend it.

  5. Thanks for the notes on the TNIV vs. NIV. As most (should) already know, all responsible translations are reliable and should be used in exegesis along with the original languages. Those who say one is the “only” translation are simply not doing sufficient reading/research.

  6. I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  7. Gummby, actually, as I’ve begun working through the NT, the difference isn’t too much greater. Proverbs is still on top with the most change so far.

  8. A helpful change that I found in the NT is the way that the Corinthian slogans are translated in 1 Corinthians. For example:

    1 Cor. 6:12-13a


    “Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be masted by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both.


    “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be masted by anything. You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.”

    The main thing I appreciate about the TNIV is that it makes it more clear that the quoted sections are “slogans” of the Corinthians, which Paul was quoting. The addition of “you say” in both verses makes this much more apparent to the average reader.

    And I also like the extension of the slogan in verse 13. I think it’s a solid interpretive decision.

    For other places where the TNIV modifies its translation of Corinthian slogans, see 1 Cor. 7:1; 8:1, 4; 10:23.

  9. “I have the right to do anything.” Now that sounds like language children use to talk to their mothers!
    I like the TNIV, but I still use the NIV because I can’t stand the font they use with the TNIV. I know that sounds nit-picky, but the font doesn’t look serious to me.
    I hope they have brought the more far out translations more into line with the Greek text. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of sitting in a Bible study wherein a point was made upon a detail of language in the NIV, that simply was not in the Greek text. I can’t remember the exact scripture.
    I can greatly appreciate the fact that both translations are good at avoiding the pseudo-regal blabber in some other versions.

  10. The TNIV; it’s a wonderful bible. I’ve had several bibles over the years and have enjoyed this one the best. It has been about 15 years since I bought my last bible and thought that I wouldn’t need to ever upgrade (I own the KJV, NKJV, NRSV, and now the TNIV). This bible reads so well; I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for an update to his or her bible collection. If you are currently looking for a bible and are unsure of the version to purchase; find a chapter or two that really stands out to you, that makes you want to read more. With those two chapters in mind read several of the versions that are out there, the one that appeals the most to you that’s the one for you. For me it’s the TNIV. Ignore what the naysayers have to say about any version and find the one that you enjoy.

    Peace & Love

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