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David Townsend on Facebook asks,
“Dr. Andrews, I think many of the issues folks had originally with the ‘missing’ words was how they were rolled out. For example, many didn’t know a thing about different manuscript variations until they got NIVs with verses missing they were looking for. I don’t see how the differences could have been handled better initially, but that is the impression it would give; my Bible leaves out verses.”
The NIV did not come on the scene until 1973, and we had several translations before that. Beginning with the 20th century, we had the 1901 American Standard Version and the 1952 Revised Standard Version, to just mention two. These would have had the same words, phrases, and sentences missing. But your point is well taken.
In 2012, the top five bestselling translations (based on both dollar and unit sales) were as follows
- New International Version
- King James Version
- New Living Translation
- New King James Version
- English Standard Version
In 2014, the preferred Bible version in America was as follows:
- King James Version (55%)
- New International Version (19%)
- New Revised Standard Version (7%)
- New American Bible (6%)
- The Living Bible (5%)
- All other translations (8%)
Here is who was at fault. Before the internet, scholars did not realize the interest in subjects like apologetics, Bible translation philosophy, and textual studies would be of interest to churchgoers. But to be honest, the churchgoer did not know either. It wasn’t until the churchgoer came outside the church’s bubble and into the worldwide network that they came face to face with atheists, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Skeptics, and liberal Bible scholars.
Oh, they were in for a rude awakening to find out that atheists, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Skeptics knew more about their Bible than they did. After getting their behind handed to them day after day in the most humiliating ways, the demand for these more technical subjects became a cash cow for publishers. We can thank the Agnostic antichrist, Dr. Bart D. Ehrman as well. His popular books woke scholars up to the idea, “Hey dude, we don’t have to use all of those 50-letter words after all.” So, persons like Daniel Wallace, William Lane Craig, the late Larry Hurtado, Philip Comfort, and others started penning book after book.
While we have come a long way, New and Old Testament textual studies, Bible translation philosophy, and other subjects are barely covered in seminaries and Bible colleges. So, pastors lack knowledge of the issues, and the churchgoer is still the least knowledgeable of this subject. The atheist, Bible critic, and Skeptic will use authors like Ehrman and liberal Bible scholars to beat churchgoers up one side and down the other. We still have publishing houses publishing books that are way too expensive for the average churchgoer. We still have scholars who do not have time to educate the next generation unless it is a book, a seminar, a paid lecture, a video, or a college or seminary course. I founded Christian Publishing House with the sole purpose of educating the churchgoer about the book that they carry. Our books are affordable. I have authored over 180 books myself. I have been slaving away on what can be the most trusted Bible, the Updated American Standard Version, for 16 years. I have answered tens of thousands of questions for 16 years now. I have a blog with thousands of FREE articles on 75+ subjects. I have talked hundreds of hours on the phone to people I do not even know, trying to help them overcome their doubts because their diet was too many Ehrman books.
I have created this group, the OT group, the apologetic group, and the Bible translation group to try and put a dent in things. There are groups like mine, but most scholars talk to other scholars, while 7,000 churchgoers never or very rarely participate. There is no educational attempt. The scholars share information about books, manuscripts, seminaries, blogs, conventions, and the like. I try in my groups to post educational information and articles to educate on the subjects.
In the end, you are correct. The NIV has made billions of dollars and has not really done anything to educate the churchgoer that did not involve making more money. The small group of KJVOists was doing all the educating. The only thing is that they were being done by uninformed, uneducated, albeit dedicated Christians who felt they were in a battle for God’s Word. Too bad the NIV people did not feel that way.