November 6, 2015 | 1 p.m.
By Michelle Westlund, Communications Specialist
Fifty years ago, the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible was commissioned, and the NIV went on to become the world’s most-read modern-English Bible. In August, an all-new study Bible available exclusively in the NIV—the NIV Zondervan Study Bible—was released, adding to the current family of study Bibles supporting the NIV translation. The NIV Zondervan Study Bible enlisted the expert help of more than 60 scholars to craft all-new study notes, book and section introductions, a library of articles, and other study tools. Three Bethel Seminary faculty members contributed to this new work in some capacity, and have also made significant contributions to biblical translation and scholarship in general:
Jeannine Brown, professor of New Testament, has served since 2009 as a member of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a standing committee for the ongoing translation work for the NIV. The significance of this committee’s work has been highlighted by Zondervan’s year-long NIV anniversary celebration marking the 1965 convening of the CBT, which produced the original New International Version of the Bible. “Thanks to the committee’s continued work,” says Zondervan, “the NIV is the most trusted modern-English Bible in existence.”
Brown also serves on a subcommittee of the CBT charged with overseeing the updating of the New International Reader’s Version in line with the NIV. She has consulted on the books of Matthew and Mark for the New Century Bible and the book of 1 Peter for the Common English Bible. “For me,” says Brown, “efforts in translation are deeply significant, as we as translators seek to help people read and understand Scripture in their own language and contemporary idiom.”
University Professor of New Testament Mark Strauss has served on the CBT since 2005, and is now the committee’s vice chair. He wrote the study notes on the book of Acts for the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible, and also served as an associate editor for the NIV Study Bible. He was part of the executive committee for the 2005 revision of the New Century Version and New Testament editor and contributor to the Expanded Bible. Strauss has written a number of books on Bible translation, most recently How to Choose a Translation for All It’s Worth with Gordon D. Fee, and various articles, and has lectured extensively on the topic. “The vast majority of Bible readers access the Scriptures in a translation, rather than in the original languages,” says Strauss, “making the task of translation enormously important for the church.”
David M. Howard Jr., professor of Old Testament, contributed the study notes for the book of Psalms to the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. He wrote notes on the book of Judges, as well as an essay on the Old Testament historical books, for the English Standard Version Study Bible, and notes on the books of Joshua and Judges for the New King James Study Bible. Howard has also been involved in translation or revision projects for the New Living Translation, the English Standard Version, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible, and has taught exegesis and translation workshops to teams of translators internationally. “The work of Bible translators has made the Bible accessible to entire new groups of people over the centuries,” says Howard. “It is certainly a miracle of sorts that words written 2,000 to 3,000 or more years ago are now accessible to people all over the world in their own languages, and that these words remain as living and vital as they were when first written.”
The significant contributions of these Bethel Seminary faculty members continue a long tradition of Bethel faculty involvement in Bible translation and scholarship, including the work of Ronald F. Youngblood, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew emeritus, who died in 2014. Youngblood was a renowned biblical scholar who served on the CBT and on the translation teams for the NIV, a major revision of the NIV, and Today’s New International Version of the Bible. He was executive editor of the New International Reader’s Version of the Bible and associate editor of the NIV Study Bible.