Category Archives: Resources

50th Anniversary of the NIV Bible

50th Anniversary Celebration of the NIV Commissioning Continues with "Made to Share" Quarterly Theme (PRNewsFoto/Zondervan)

Yesterday I talked about the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible edited by D.A. Carson, T.D. Alexander, Richard Hess, Doug Moo, and Andy Naselli. This NIVZST comes out just 50 years after the “initial cross-denominational gathering of evangelical scholars who met outside Chicago in 1965 and agreed to start work on what is now known as the New International Version” (read about the anniversary here). It’s easy to think of Bible translators as sitting in their ivory tower, drinking their frappe lattes, and talking about which way a verse sounds better. It’s as if they say, “We pray over it and say amen, but at the end of the day we just flip a coin.”

That sounds quite terrible, actually. Thankfully with the NIV that is not the case. I can tell you just from my small exposure to learning Norwegian, translating the bible is actually much more difficult than that. Try reading every word, sentence, and paragraph Genesis, Acts, or Isaiah over, and over, and over again. You’re parsing the Greek, the Hebrew, or the Aramaic to know what is being said. You then not only have to bring it over into the English language, but into the proper, most widely used colloquial terms. What good is it to translate God’s word into English is the average person on the street can’t understand it? One thing we shouldn’t forget is that the translators of the NIV are also teachers, scholars, authors, pastors, husbands, and wives, etc. They have lives beyond sitting around a table for endless hours trying to choose the perfect word. Yet they take their job seriously so that you can understand the Bible that sits in front of you. 

Making a Translation

Bill Mounce, an expert in Greek who posts about biblical Greek in a series called Mondays with Mounce, said, ”You have to make the translation reflect the actual nature of the author. Paul has a really good command of Greek, and the beauty of that needs to come through in our translation.” And Karen Jobes, commentator on Esther and 1 Peter and the first woman to join the Committee of Bible Translation (CBT), agrees that “We don’t want it to be our voice. We really do want it to be accurate and clear, and that involves facing hard issues.”

The people who work on translating Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts into a coherent and understandable English translation are evangelical Christians who want to spread God’s word in the most understandable way possible. They know that not every Christian will learn Greek and Hebrew, nor will every Christian spend the required hours to dig through the smorgasbord of manuscripts to find the best reading.

As the translators of the King James Version, 1611, said, “But how shall men meditate in that, which they cannot understand? How shall they understand that which is kept close in an unknown tongue?” The NIV Made to Read link reminds us, “Modern people should be able to learn about God’s power, love and redemption from a Bible in up-to-date language.” 

Language Efforts

Language is not static. Life and culture change, as do tastes, likes and dislikes. Metaphors come into being, and words exhale their last breath.

For us English speakers who don’t read Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic, we don’t understand the great effort it takes to translate these languages into English. (I’ve quickly learned this fact when it comes to learning Norwegian). Doug Moo, a Pauline and New Testament expert, spent years studying and talking to other experts on the best way to translate the Greek word sarx, which is translated as “flesh.”

In this link Karen Jobes talks about translating Ps 23. Most Christians have Psalm 23 memorized, and the NIV translators didn’t want to make any unnecessary changes. But Psalm 23.4 doesn’t actually refer to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It refers to darkness. “Jobes believes the translators have helped to make the verse more precise than ever before.

‘We may feel we’re in the valley of darkness in lots of different ways other than with impending death,’ Jobes said…. ‘Accuracy and clarity have to trump tradition,’ CBT member Karen Jobes said. ‘Sometimes we ‘ruin’ our own favorite verses for the sake of accuracy and clarity.’

The translators seek to make the NIV relevant, not to people-please, but so more people can pick up the Bible and understand what it is saying.

Gender-Inclusive Language

The Made For You link lets you read about the issues on the use of masculine nouns and pronouns no longer being universally accepted as referring to both men and women. The CBT “commissioned a study by Collins Dictionaries to study the Collins Bank of English, a database of more than 4.4 billion words taken from recordings and publications throughout the English-speaking world.”

“With that data,” said Doug Moo, “we were then able as translators to say, ‘Despite our own personal preferences, this is the English that most people are speaking, and that’s what we need to use in our translation.’”

This data made it impossible to accuse the CBT of bias.

Why can’t the CBT leave the NIV text alone?”

But the answer was obvious: because the text is only as accurate as it is understood. “If we were to use in those contexts, ‘He who takes up his cross, follow me,’” said CBT chair Doug Moo, “it would communicate to a contemporary English audience a masculine sense that the original text did not have in mind at all.”

The translation needed to reflect the English that people were actually speaking. The goal was not to be trendy. The goal was good translation.


Here you can read endorsements from Christian leaders like Philip Yancey,

Pastors like Max Lucado and Rick Warren, 

Biblical Scholars like Darrell Bock, D. A. Carson, Jason DeRouchie, George Guthrie, and more.

The NIV Bible has been around for 50 years, and I hope it will be around for at least another 50. The scholars put in both the time and the effort to make this the best translation it can be for the English-speaking world, and they will never stop seeking to continually refine it as long as it means more people can understand God’s Word.

NIV Timeline



NIV Products Page

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

  • Hardcover: 2912 pages
  • Contributors: 60+
  • Articles: 25+
  • Maps: 90+
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Har/Psc edition (August 25, 2015)


Buy it on AmazonZondervan, or from Logos!

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NIV Zondervan Study Bible


Growing up I was a NKJV kid. Not that I read it that often, but all of the Bible I ever owned, used in school, and brought to church were NKJV. In Bible college I moved to a single column ESV with a good amount of space for notes. I didn’t even have a study Bible until I married Mari. Though I regret not having a study Bible sooner, I honestly doubt I would have used it (there was a long period of time where I didn’t read if I didn’t have to, and even if I did!)

However, in case you haven’t heard, Zondervan has produced the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible. It’s similar to the ESV Bible in that there are plenty of maps, pictures, and helpful introductions. Unlike the ESV Study Bible which is geared toward Systematic Theology (what the entire Bible says about a particular topic), the Zondervan NIV Study Bible (NIVZST) is geared toward Biblical Theology. This means that the editors and contributors seek to understand each book on it’s own and how it adds to the canon of Scripture (not to say that the ESVSB didn’t, but this has a different spin).

How did the knowledge of God progress from Genesis to Revelation? What is the storyline of the Bible? Questions we might ask about Moses and his writings would be, “What did Moses know about God and his purposes?” or “What didn’t Moses know because it hadn’t been revealed yet?” Ezra knew more about God’s purposes than David who knew more than Moses who knew more than Adam. It’s a story in progress, and the NIVZST helps its readers know what that story is and how it develops.

Managing editor Andy Naselli said this Study Bible “repeatedly makes organic, salvation-historical connections, especially regarding how the Old and New Testaments integrate.”


Thanks to Andra Kee for the picture!

“Charts, maps and photographs also invite readers to visualize the world of the Bible. At the end of the study Bible, 28 articles on everything from creation to justice to worship provide a comprehensive examination of theology from a conservative viewpoint.”

9780310438335_int_06a_rom_2thess_NIV_ZSB_cs6_FIRST PROOFS.indd


9780310438335_int_06a_rom_2thess_NIV_ZSB_cs6_FIRST PROOFS.indd


You can find the full list of contributors here, but I’ll provide the biblically alphabetical list.

Old Testament

  • T.D. Alexander — Genesis
  • Richard S. Hess — Genesis
  • Paul R. Williamson — Exodus
  • Richard E. Averbeck — Leviticus
  • Jay A. Sklar — Numbers
  • Stephen G. Dempster — Deuteronomy
  • Richard S. Hess — Joshua
  • K. Lawson Younger, Jr. — Judges
  • Robert L. Hubbard — Ruth
  • John D. Currid — 1-2 Samuel
  • Robert L. Hubbard — 1 Kings
  • Todd Bolen — 2 Kings
  • Frederick J. Mabie — 1-2 Chronicles
  • Robert S. Fyall — Ezra, Nehemiah
  • Karen H. Jobes — Esther
  • C. Hassell Bullock — Job
  • David M., Jr. Howard — Psalms
  • Michael K. Snearly — Psalms
  • Christopher B. Ansberry — Proverbs
  • Bruce K. Waltke — Proverbs
  • Craig C. Bartholomew — Ecclesiastes
  • Richard S. Hess — Song of Songs
  • John N. Oswalt — Isaiah
  • Iain M. Duguid — Jeremiah
  • David J. Reimer — Lamentations
  • Donna Lee Petter — Ezekiel
  • Tremper Longman III — Daniel
  • Douglas K. Stuart — Hosea
  • David W. Baker — Joel
  • M. Daniel Caroll R. — Amos
  • David W. Baker — Obadiah
  • T.D. Alexander — Jonah
  • Bruce K. Waltke — Micah
  • V. Philips Long — Nahum
  • Elmer A. Martens — Habakkuk
  • Jason S. DeRouchie — Zephaniah
  • Anthony R. Petterson — Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah
  • Andrew E. Hill — Malachi

New Testament

  • Craig L. Blomberg — Matthew
  • Rikk E. Watts — Mark
  • David W. Pao — Luke
  • D.A. Carson — John
  • Andrew David Naselli — John
  • Mark L. Strauss — Acts
  • Douglas J. Moo — Romans
  • Eckhard J. Schnabel — 1 Corinthians
  • Murray J. Harris — 2 Corinthians
  • Stephen Westerholm — Galatians
  • Te-Li Lau — Ephesians
  • Simon J. Gathercole — Philippians
  • David E. Garland — Colossians
  • Jeffrey A.D.  Weima — 1-2 Thessalonians
  • Robert W. Yarbrough — 1-2 Timothy, Titus
  • David E. Garland — Philemon
  • Buist M. Fanning — Hebrews
  • Douglas J. Moo — James
  • Karen H. Jobes — 1 Peter
  • Douglas J. Moo — 2 Peter
  • Andrew David Naselli — 2 Peter
  • Colin G. Kruse — 1-2 John
  • Douglas J. Moo — Jude
  • Andrew David Naselli — Jude
  • Brian J. Tabb — Revelation


  • D.A. Carson — A Biblical-Theological Overview of the Bible
    •  — The Bible and Theology
    •  — Sonship
  • T.D. Alexander — The City of God
    •  — The Kingdom of God
    •  — Law
    •  — Temple
  • Douglas J. Moo — The Consummation
  • Paul R. Williamson — Covenant
  • Henri Blocher — Creation
  • Philip S. Johnston — Death and Resurrection
  • Thomas R. Wood — Exile and Exodus
  • James M. Hamilton Jr. — The Glory of God
  • Greg D. Gilbert — The Gospel
  • Andrew David Naselli — Holiness
  • Brian S. Rosner — Justice
  • Graham A. Cole — Love and Grace
  • Andreas J. Köstenberger — Mission
  • Dana M. Harris — Priest
  • Moisés Silva — People of God
  • Sam Storms — Prophets and Prophecy
  • Jay A. Sklar — Sacrifice
  • Timothy Keller — Shalom
    •  —The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus Is Central
  • Kevin DeYoung — Sin
  • Daniel J. Estes —Wisdom
  • Christopher W. Morgan — Wrath
  • David G. Peterson — Worship


There are a few sections to this share-able page.

    • 8 almost-tweetable summaries of a few of the articles in the NIVZSB.
    • 12 pictures of different tables with content such as “Major Old Testament Offerings and Sacrifices,” “Major Covenants in the Old Testament,” “Contrasts of Levitical Priesthood and Jesus’ Priesthood in Hebrews,” and more.
    • 8 videos about the NIVZSB, including the scholar team behind the NIVZSB, interviews, and more.


This is not “just another study Bible.” The list of scholars here are top notch. They not only put in the effort to know the Scriptures, but they love the church and want all to grow in the knowledge of God and in his revelation through Christ. This would make for a good Christmas present, but also a good study companion. This is a book I wish I would have had in high school. And college. And Bible college. And now.


  • Hardcover: 2912 pages
  • Contributors: 60+
  • Articles: 25+
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Har/Psc edition (August 25, 2015)


Buy it on AmazonZondervan, or from Logos!


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Review: Onward


In his newest book Onward, Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, believes we should embrace the change that is coming to America. He doesn’t mean that we should accept it, but we should see it for what it is: it reveals to us how strange the gospel sounds to the non-traditional ears and causes us to focus on the resurrected and returning Christ rather than believing in the strength of our own quasi-Christian culture.


Chapter One; the Bible Belt of America has been unloosed. And that’s not a bad thing. Rather than trust in our cultural Judeo-Christian values where all are “good people,” we’ll trust in the Gospel that saves.

In Chapter Two Moore explains that Christians are no longer a moral majority. We are a prophetic minority. We are not only a minority tempted to hide in isolation, but we are not a triumphal majority laying down the law on how people should live exactly as we say. But as the church, we have a message that saves lives (35). Chapter Three helps us remember that our hope in the future kingdom is not found in our country, but it is found in the eternal kingdom of God.

Chapter Four confronts us with culture, how to live in it, and how to change it. We “love” Mark 10.45 but we don’t really want to live by it. All Christians will rule and reign with God and Christ in the new creation. Even the awkward, the disabled, the fat, and the ugly. What if we presented them to the world as those “who bear a mantle of spiritual maturity?” (84).

Chapter Five gives us our mission. We expose sin not in order to mock others, but to reconcile them to Christ and each other. Chapter Six brings up human dignity. Pro-life means more than keeping unborn babies alive. It means lifting up all those the world think of as worthless, from foreigners, to the elderly; the disabled to the immigrant. And even our spouses.

With religious liberty in Chapter Seven, the state currently gives the church some measure of religious freedom, but the state does not bear the keys to the kingdom. The world is hurdling toward a servant-led kingdom, one led by Jesus Christ. Moore argues that we should let all religions have their liberty, because “[o]ne cannot coerce faith into being, or out of being, regardless of whether one is a theocratic ayatollah or a secularist parliament” (145).

Chapter Eight argues for facility stability that is seen only in the Bible, and only because it is a picture of Jesus and his bride, the Father with his Son and children. Chapter Nine gives us our marching orders: “Convictional Kindness.” Kindness is a spiritual weapon. We know we are on the winning side. So why be anything but kind and loving to our enemies?

Chapter Ten reminds us that Christianity still has a future in this country. “The next Mother Teresa might be a heroin-addicted porn star right now. The next Augustine of Hippo might be a sexually promiscuous cult member right now, just like, come to think of it, the first Augustine of Hippo was” (215).

The Spoiled Milk

Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I’m glad I asked for it. I have a few minor quibbles though.

Usually Moore’s parallels work really well. When talking about the difficulties progressive liberals have with swallowing the Bible miracles, Moore reminds us that even the Messiah’s earthly father had the same trouble.

“First-century peoples, and their forebears in ancient Israel, might not have known how the planets orbit, but they knew how children were conceived. That’s why Joseph’s reaction to Mary’s pregnancy was not ‘Well, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’ He assumed she had cheated on him, and this assumption was entirely reasonable because he knew how women get pregnant” (4-5).

Other times, I found his manner of speaking hard to follow. In chapter two, where Christians are no longer the moral majority, but can now be the prophetic minority, Moore says,

I can also understand the reluctance of some with the word prophetic when they see how it has been sometimes used by the Religious Left in this country. For some, the endless position papers on every issue from economic boycotts of Israel to minimum fuel efficiency standards are labeled “prophetic.” Sometimes they are, in the sense that they are rooted in the biblical witness and are courageous in speaking the truth to power. But, more often than not, prophetic is simply another word for a bureaucratic action that is unpopular with the people in the pews who pay the bills for such advocacy. For some, on the Left and on the Right, prophetic is just another way to say “consistent with every aspect of my political agenda, whatever it is” (37-38).

If you understood this phrase, then you’ll be fine. I’m not someone who’s yet spent the time investing himself in the political arena, so I have trouble wrapping my head around metaphors like these. However, metaphors like this second example occur in the first two or three chapters. After that Moore moves away from some of the political language, and the book became easier to read.

Remembering Where We Came From

There’s little surprise then that the Jerusalem Council, while not placing the burden of the Mosaic ceremonial law on the new Gentile believers, did decree that the new believers must flee sexual immorality (Acts 15:20). In a world of concubines and temple prostitutes, a Christian sexual ethic was just as freakish and countercultural in the first- century Roman Empire as it is today, if not more so” (170).

People will now hear how Christians believe in this dead guy who walked on water and rose from the grave. Christianity will no longer be popular. It will be strange just as it was in the first century AD. And people were saved then too. People will be saved now. We shouldn’t put our identity in being a “good, American Christian,” but in the resurrected Christ. It’s not enough to chime in with your neighborhood choir and sing “God bless America” together. You have to show it.


Buy this book on Amazon or at B&H Publishing

[Special thanks to Chris at B&H Academic for allowing me to review this book! I was not obligated to provide a positive review in exchange for this book.]

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A Big Thanks To….

Louis at Baker Book House Church Connection for his book give-away this week. He was giving away Peter Leithart’s newest book Traces of the Trinity. Louis also posted about it here. John Frame (author of The Doctrine of God and other excellent works) even said, “This is the most delightful book I have read in a long time,” which makes this sound pretty exciting for me. I’ve really only read one book on the Trinity that I can think of, and that was Michael Reeves’ spectacular Delighting in the Trinity (his ‘sequel’ to arrive out soon, Rejoicing in Christ).

That all said, I will surely be reviewing this book, and, when I get it, probably Reeves’ book too. For now, I only have 6 books left in my review pile to move through, and 2/3’s of them are currently being worked through. Gotta finish all that I can before seminary…

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D. A. Carson Audio sermons and lectures – Free MP3’s from around the Web

Here is an excellent source of many of D. A. Carson’s sermons and teachings. Most of these files can be downloaded and listened to. If you’ve heard of Carson, you’re going to want these lectures. If you haven’t heard of him, then try one out (Try Section 2 #’s 7, 8, 9, 10, 18, 19, 26, 41, or any other ones that may stand out to you). I don’t know what you like, so you may not find interest in all of these, but I’m sure that whatever you do listen to will be good, enlightening, and encouraging. Carson is a man who loves God and really strives to get to the heart of the text. Enjoy.

I now blog at

Advertisement: Support this site by visiting Westminster Books. Even just clicking and visiting helps! It’s an excellent site for good Christian books.

Note: SECTION 2, #115 was added on 5/18/10.
D. A. Carson is one of my favorite preachers. I listen to him for his depth, his piercing application, his good exegesis, his biblical theological connections, and his centrality on Christ and the gospel. He has written many articles and books that I’ve found edifying and informative. This picture was taken at the time Don Carson visited Torrance, CA in January 2007.

You can get all D.A. Carson audio that is available on the web at The Gospel Coalition website.The reason I’ll keep updating this page is because the way it is categorized there is topical and textual, not by the occasion where he spoke it.  It is hard to find certain series to listen to…

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Toothpaste For Dinner

I also like these guys.

Hoarders Hoarder

Toothpaste For Dinner

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