spacer     spacer     spacer     spacer  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

History - New International Version NIV

The New International Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by Zondervan in the United States and by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK, it has become one of the most popular modern translations in history.

The New International Version project was started after a meeting in 1965 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, between the Christian Reformed Church, National Association of Evangelicals, and a group of international scholars. The New York Bible Society (now Biblica) was selected to do the translation. The New Testament was released in 1973 and the full Bible in 1978. There are a couple of very rare 1973 editions which are signed by a few of the translating committee members which were released before the other 1973 and 1978 editions. It underwent a minor revision in 1984. A planned 1997 edition was discontinued over inclusive language. A revised edition titled Today's New International Version released a New Testament in March 2002 with the complete Bible was published February 2005.

Keith Danby, president and chief executive officer of Biblica, once known as the International Bible Society, said they erred in presenting past updates, failed to convince people revisions were needed and "underestimated" readers' loyalty to the 1984 NIV. A new revision was released 2011.

The core translation group consisted of fifteen Biblical scholars. The translation took ten years and involved a team of up to 100 scholars from the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The range of those participating included many different denominations such as Anglicans, Assemblies of God, Baptist, Christian Reformed, Lutheran and Presbyterian.

The translation is a balance between word-for-word and thought-for-thought. Recent archaeological and linguistic discoveries helped in understanding traditionally difficult passages to translate. Familiar spellings of traditional translations were generally retained.

According to the Christian Business Association, the New International Version has become the most popular selling English translation of the Bible, having sold more than 215 million copies worldwide.

N. T. Wright has written: "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."

In 1973, they [International Bible Society] published the New International Version New Testament. Translation costs were nearly double the initial estimate. They sold their New York City building, and board members mortgaged their homes to finance the translation. Despite sacrificial giving from staff, board, and donors, they ran out of funding. In 1975, Zondervan agreed to sponsor the remaining work in return for commercial rights to sell the NIV Bible. NIV royalty income has enabled Biblica to expand its Scripture distribution worldwide and has provided millions of people with free or highly subsidized Scriptures.

- wikipedia

Zondervan went public in 1976, issuing stock on the NASDAQ. Following the success of the NIV Bible, the company began to acquire other businesses. In 1980 religious music publisher John T. Benson Company was purchased, making Zondervan the second largest producer of religious recordings in the United States. In the early 1980s other acquisitions included religious publishers Chosen Books, Francis Asbury Press, and Fleming H. Revell Company, and a specialty bindery, Tapley-Rutter Company.

Zondervan's business, while based on the apparently steady and predictable religious book market, was actually more tenuous than it appeared. In 1979 there were difficulties related to the bookstore chain, resulting in unexpected losses. Though sales and profits more than doubled within the next five years, with annual revenues in 1983 of $93 million, in 1984 accounting irregularities hid losses of several million dollars. These were ultimately attributed to poor inventory control and unanticipated expenses such as unrecoverable publishing advances, but the company's chief financial officer was dismissed and Zondervan was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission. A lawsuit from a disgruntled New Jersey investor followed, eventually settled out of court for $3.6 million in 1989.

Just before the discovery of its financial problems, Zondervan had chosen James Buick as its chief executive, replacing Pat Zondervan's successor, Peter Kladder, who had been with the company since 1956. Buick, a former executive of Brunswick Corporation, immediately had his hands full. Zondervan posted losses for the next several years following the bookkeeping debacle, and in 1986 a hostile takeover attempt was organized by British financier Christopher Moran. After months of wheeling and dealing, including a visit from Moran to Pat Zondervan and an emergency prayer session held by employees, the company's board reached an agreement with its stockholders to seek a third-party buyer. Not long afterwards, Moran began quietly selling off his shares. The stock price, which had been driven up by the takeover attempt, plummeted when Moran's selloff was discovered. Many investors were angry and when the company was finally sold over a year later for $56.7 million to Harper & Row, other lawsuits were initiated on behalf of investors who felt the board had accepted an unfairly low price. During the course of the takeover attempt, Zondervan had also sold off its Revell and Chosen Books subsidiaries, and had closed a Grand Rapids-based printing operation.

Harper & Row (which soon merged with British religious book company Collins Publishing to become HarperCollins) was owned by News Corporation Ltd., headed by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch's other interests included the Fox film and television studios and several tabloid news publications. Zondervan employees and the company's chairman emeritus expressed concerns that the publisher's traditional religious, evangelic focus would be changed as part of a more aggressive pursuit of profits, much as they had also worried about Moran's intentions several years earlier.

In January 2005 Zondervan was once again in the news with its TNIV after initiating a $1 million advertising campaign and approaching Rolling Stone magazine with an ad for the "hip" bible. Rolling Stone, long the bastion for free speech and often outrageous content, refused the ad, believing its audience would not appreciate a Bible advertisement. News of the refusal sent shockwaves throughout the magazine's readership and beyond. As Rolling Stone faced angry readers and advertisers, Zondervan benefited from numerous publications clamoring to show their political correctness and carry ads for the TNIV. In the end, Rolling Stone caved and Zondervan had a plethora of media outlets for the controversial TNIV. Other Zondervan hits during the year included a glossy, new edition of the NIV for women that looked more like an issue of Glamour or Vogue, and Rick Warren's still popular The Purpose-Driven Life, which remained on both the Christian and mainstream bestseller lists.


Zondervan Corp., once a respected Christian publishing firm, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became a public company via a big initial public stock offering some 15 years ago. This was about the same time the NIV Bible was published by an outfit in New York called the International Bible Society, which financed the project. They then gave Zondervan Corp. the exclusive rights to the publication of the NIV version of the Bible.

After the initial offering, the stock's price rose moderately but later the price fell sharply and many investors lost money. In 1985, a New Jersey investor filed a lawsuit which said he was induced to buy Zondervan stock because of false statements the company made to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In 1989 it was widely reported in the press: "Zondervan Corp. of Grand Rapids, Michigan, reached a $3.57 million out-of-court settlement with investors who contend they lost money when irregularities were found in the religious publisher's financial records."

By 1988, Zondervan, suffering from declining sales, was in financial trouble as a result of expanding too fast in the early 1980's. In July 1985, the Wall Street Journal reported, "In 1978, the company introduced the New International Version of the Bible, which is the market leader in Bible sales--in the past two years several investors have bought and sold stakes in Zondervan, sparking speculation that the company had found a buyer. In May an investor group had made a $10.50 a share offer, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement."

Then, aggressive media magnate Rupert Murdoch bought Zondervan for $56.7 million or $13.50 per share. Zondervan's stock jumped $4.25 per share on the announcement. Murdoch, an international world citizen who started in Australia, was building a media empire via his company, News Corp. The following month, the tycoon Murdoch gobbled up the nation's largest circulation magazine, TV Guide, also Seventeen, and Good Food magazines plus the Daily Racing Form on a $3 billion cash binge which was the second largest media deal ever. The seller was Walter Annenberg, 80-year-old Jewish publishing partriarch, who privately owned Triangle Publications whose lucrative national magazine distribution business takes not only their magazines to newsstands but also many others including Reader's Digest."

In recent years Murdoch has built a media empire worldwide with revenues over $10 billion (64 percent in U.S.A., 19 percent in United Kingdom and 17 percent in Australia and the Pacific Basin). Holdings include Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox Television Stations, Inc., Harper-Collins, TV Guide, and FSI (multi-page free standing inserts each week in 390 local Sunday newspapers). Also owned in the United Kingdom are The Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Sun and News of the World. These account for one-third of all national newspapers sold in the U.K. market with the latter two having the largest daily and Sunday circulations respectively in the English-speaking world. Also 50 percent owned is British Sky Broadcasting Ltd., the leading U.K. direct-to-home satellite television broadcasting service. News Corp. is also the largest newspaper publisher in Australia.

This year expansion into Asia commenced with purchase of 66 percent interest in Star Television, the Hong Kong satellite TV company that broadcasts to 38 nations, mostly in the Middle and Far East. Also purchased were Chinese newspapers. Recently News Corp. signed six cable channels that will carry News Corp's programming beginning around mid-1994, enabling the company to reach 25 percent of all U.S.households.

In October 1992, News Corp. sold $850 million notes and bonds plus $313 million common stock (over $1 billion total) with $25.5 million in underwriting fees to the offering syndicate headed by Merril Lynch, including Allen and Co., Citicorp Securities, Donaldson, Lufkin, and J.P. Morgan Securities.

A News Corp.'s division active in the United States is Harper-Collins engaged in the educational texts markets via its Scott, Foresman School Division which publishes educational programs for school grades kindergarten through twelve, and the Harper-Collins College Division which publishes in most major disciplines in the college curriculum from the introductory level through graduate courses. The subsidiary directed at the Christian evangelical market is Zondervan Corp., holder of the valuable exclusive rights to the NIV-Bible. In the U.K., Harper-Collins' religious division publishes the Good News Bible, hymnals, and liturgical works. News Corp., American Depository Receipts (ADR's), listed on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol NWS, had a low this year of $36 per share, a high of $63 and is currently trading around $52. The Co. has long-term debt of $7 billion (about 63 percent of capital) and is ranked by Value Line as "below average" for safety....

- Jay Klopfenstein (The Christian News)