When did the Bible first start becoming important to you personally?
As an 8-year-old boy, when I accepted Jesus as my Savior. My first memory of those early days is when I began reading the Gospel of John at the suggestion of my pastor. Believe it or not, when I arrived at John 3:3 -- "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" -- I asked my pastor if I was really a Christian. Could women and boys and girls be saved as well as men? He laughed and said, "Yes, because 'a man' in that verse means 'anybody' " (which was true in older English usage). Ironically, I was interested in gender precision in translation even in my boyhood days, although I was not even aware of it! (In this case, of course, a Greek word for "man" doesn't even appear in the original text of John 3:3.)
What has been your role in the production of the NIV and TNIV?
I began working on the early stages of the NIV in 1969-1970, starting out on a 3-man team that produced rough-draft translations of Ruth, Ecclesiastes, and Malachi. From there I was made chair of several intermediate editorial committees, eventually being coopted onto the executive Committee on Bible Translation as a temporary member before becoming a full member in 1979. Over the years I have worked as a translator/editor on most of the OT books and many of the NT books. As a CBT member I worked on TNIV from the beginning (1989).
What are one or two revisions during the translation process that you
When at my suggestion we changed John 3:3 in the 1978 NIV to read "No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" (1983 revision, published in 1984), and then, also at my suggestion, when we changed John 3:3 for the TNIV NT to read "No one can see the kingdom of God without being born again."
How would you like people to pray for the ministry of the NIV and TNIV?
If you had asked any CBT member in 1978 whether they thought the NIV would become the most popular English-language Bible in the world, all of us would have immediately responded in the negative. We praise the Lord that upwards of two million copies are now in circulation and that the NIV has proven to be a blessing to so many. I would simply ask that people pray for the continued widespread distribution of the Bible in whatever translation -- NIV, TNIV, NLT, NASB, ESV, NKJV, HCSB, etc. -- so that people everywhere might come to meet and love the same Lord Jesus whom I placed my faith in 65 years ago.
Categories: Bible translation, Bible translator, TNIV, NIV