|Recommended by Paul (and me)|
Why? Just take a gander at this mind boggling list of NIV mistranslations.
Now I do understand the difference between literal and dynamic equivalence translations. And yes, I'm no fan at all of wooden word-for-word versions like the NASB. But granted the thorough legitimacy of dynamic equivalence translations on the grounds of approachability, let's be honest; there's a huge theological agenda - you might say sectarian bias - running like a freight train through the NIV's translation choices, as clearly documented by Paul over at Is That In The Bible? If you have a friend or relative who prefers to use the NIV, do send them the link!
Paul favours the NRSV (specifically the excellent New Oxford Annotated Bible) along with the 1966 Jerusalem Bible. Clearly a man of discernment. I'd happily add a couple of further suggestions, but will leave that to another day.
Perhaps more important is to identify the bad eggs in the Biblical egg carton. There are a few rules of thumb, one of which is to simply trot along to your local Christian book store and note down the versions which are most heavily promoted. Those are generally the ones to avoid. They sell for a reason, and it ain't meticulous scholarship or textual honesty. Oh dear, there goes the New Living Translation and the much over-hyped ESV!
Paul provides a wonderful quote from N.T. Wright at the end of his posting. No-one can accuse Wright of being anti-Evangelical, so it makes his statement even more relevant.
When the New International Version was published in 1980, I was one of those who hailed it with delight. I believed its own claim about itself, that it was determined to translate exactly what was there, and inject no extra paraphrasing or interpretative glosses…. Disillusionment set in over the next two years, as I lectured verse by verse through several of Paul’s letters, not least Galatians and Romans. Again and again, with the Greek text in front of me and the NIV beside it, I discovered that the translators had another principle, considerably higher than the stated one: to make sure that Paul should say what the broadly Protestant and evangelical tradition said he said…. [I]f a church only, or mainly, relies on the NIV it will, quite simply, never understand what Paul was talking about. [Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, 2009, pp. 51-52]
This time Wright isn't wrong.