Is The NIV Purposefully “Removing” Words From The Bible?

In the never-ending battle keep the KJVO movement in check there is an immediate need to address a claim that I was just recently made aware of. A friend of mine who (for reasons unknown) follows Steven Anderson and his KJV heresy, recently tried to slander the NIV by stating that the translators purposefully removed certain words from the Bible. The list was copied from a popular KJVO website and was quite easily explained.

It removes 64,576 words as compared to KJV. The word Godhead is not found, nor is regeneration, mercyseat, calvary, remission, Jehovah, omnipotent, comforter, holy ghost, quickened, etc. Of course the word “sodomite” is gone, probably because the publishers were a bunch of sodomites. The NIV removes the name JESUS in 38 places. Don’t tell me that it didn’t belong there and that thanks to the demonic Alexandrian manuscripts we now have an accurate English translation; It’s of the Devil.
(Stated by a friend that will go unnamed but copied a number of KJVO websites)

While many of us can see the obvious flaws in the accusations, mainly that matching any two English Bibles word for word is impossible, I will still go on to explain the issues stated. However, I want to first make a quick note that none of the KJV Bibles match word count either. So by their same accusations they failed the test. The same is true for the claim that the NIV removed the name of Jesus. The NIV uses the name of Jesus hundreds of times more than the KJV. It’s of no consequence that 38 times the NIV used the proper pronoun for Jesus (he/him) rather than his name.

Words NOT found in the NIV

Godhead – This word or combination of words does not exist in Greek or Hebrew. The actual Greek word in question is θεότης which a combination of two pieces of grammar. The first piece is the generic word for god ( θεός ) the second part is definite article being used in the genitive case ( της ). When this type of conjugation is done the word becomes an abstract noun. An abstract noun is a noun that usually gets used like an adjective. It becomes descriptive. So it literally means “of god” or more literally “of the god.” But the idiomatic use basically just means god-like or divine. It’s ued in other Greek literature as well to mean something of divine nature or something god-like.

Regeneration – Some (not all) of the newer translations use the word “renew” instead of regenerate. They are practically the same word. Not really sure why it matters which one you use.

Mercyseat – This word also does not appear in either Greek or Hebrew. The idea of a mercy seat (or seat of grace) actually comes from Tyndale who lifted the translation from German. Martin Luther referred to the top part of the Ark as the “Gnadenstuhl”. Consequently, since much of the KJV, which was carried over from the Tyndale and Coverdale Bibles, the phraseology stuck. However, in nearly ALL Hebrew lexicons and resources nowhere does ( הַכַּפֹּֽרֶת ) get translated as any kind of seat. The reason is because the word refers to a cover or various types of coverings, depending on the conjugation. Mercyseat is a terrible translation of the word which is why the English word eventually died a quick death. The English rendering of Mercyseat also leaves out any context as to how the word Gnadenstuhl was understood in it’s own language. Even the Masoretic scholars who helped the KJV translators preferred a different translation which is still reflected in the JPS English translations today.

Calvary – This name also does not appear in the NT Greek. It does appear in Latin though. When the Vulgate was translated they used the translated name of the Greek name, Calvariæ, and not the transliterated name. Thus “Γολγοθᾶ ” (place of a skull) became Calvariæ which was a Latin translation of the same name (of a skull). But we are not Latin, we are English. As such, modern translators have abandoned the Latin word and transliterated (not the same as translated) the actual Greek name of the location which read Golgotha.

Remission – This word is virtually identical to forgiveness. We could discuss the differences between the two but it would be a waste of time.

Jehovah – The word Jehovah is nowhere in the Bible… anywhere. In fact, there is no J sound in Hebrew. I could spend a bunch of time explaining how it ended up in the KJV Bible or you could just read the article I already wrote on the subject (Hebrew has no J sound).

Omnipotent – This English rendering of (παντοδύναμος) to omnipotent is just silly for today’s readers, even though it is an accurate translation. The Greek word means almighty or all powerful, which is what the new translations read. The Greek is the combination of παντο which means all and δύναμος which means power(ful). It can also mean all mighty. The word omnipotent just another way of saying the same thing as all-powerful. Omni = all & potent = power. Omni-potent.

Comforter – The underlying Greek word is (Παρακλήτου) “Paraclete”. This was someone “called” ( κλήτο) “close-by” ( Παρα). It has a wide semantic range from helper to advocate to counselor. It can mean comforter but in the biblical context it wouldn’t make sense. Most often it is used to refer to someone who is called to make a legal defense for someone else or defend someone.

Holy Ghost – Ghost and Spirit have very different meanings today. Ghost today is universally known today as the spirit of someone that is deceased. I am sure the translators of the Medieval period used it differently but English has changed since then. It’s not that anything is necessarily wrong with the word ghost, it’s just that we use it differently today than when the KJV was made. The word Spirit better represents the idea that the scriptures is trying to convey, whereas ghost is more commonly known as a haunting spirit of sorts.

Quickened – I don’t even know how this word made the list except out of desperation. I could bother looking it up in the Bible and finding the Greek and Hebrew references but honestly nothing important or theological hinges on this word. Moreover, dozens of variations exist for synonyms of quickened. This is merely grasping at straws at this point.

One can easily see that nothing nefarious has happened in the NIV translation. These changes were made out of common sense and the result of changes to the English language. Unfortunately, some are even a result of bad translation on part of the KJV translators.


19 thoughts on “Is The NIV Purposefully “Removing” Words From The Bible?”

  1. Iesus was pronounced “G” or “Je” sus or “G” Zeus. I’m not sure on that last part of the pronunciation. And, I personally wouldn’t want to be a false witness stating anything like that, especially like if I was supposed to be an expert talking about important issues of the Bible. But my own personal truth is, that the name Jesus does have magical power. Even on Facebook, we witness miracles every day, because of His Name! So there obviously was a J sound or a G sound if you would rather call it that.

    • You’re confusing Greek with Hebrew. Iesous was a Greek name just like Zeus. Jesus was Hebrew though. His name would have been given in Hebrew not Greek….. Though it would be common to answer to both the Hebrew and Greek name in the first century. Just like in Mexico my name, Justin, is pronounced Hustino. I know I’m being addressed in Spanish. I can answer to both.

  2. You know saying there was no J sound in Hebrew is false information or disinformation, right? It is, if you mean ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. ‘I AM’ would have been pronounced ‘G’ or “Je” a shortened version of the name Jesus, who said He came IN HIS FATHER’S NAME! YOU KNOW THE FATHER WHO TOLD MOSES TO TELL THE ISRAELITES HE IS THE I AM. (TELL THEM MY NAME IS JE OR G, IN OTHER WORDS). THAT’S WHY THE PEOPLE DIDN’T LIKE IT WHEN JESUS KEPT SAYING I AM THIS AND I AM THAT BECAUSE THEY WERE THINKING HE WAS SAYING I AM THE I AM. WHICH HE PROBABLY WAS.

    • Oh boy…. Modern Hebrew has a J sound which is from a combination of the gimel and the yod. However, it was added to the language fairly recent in history and only because other languages like English, Latin, and French used it so much. The J sound was not found in the ancient semitic languages.

      The only reason why the yod got changed to a J in middle English is because of developments in English. Originally the Greeks used I for the yod and Latin adopted the same process. However, Latin used the I with more diversity and it was hard to determine in English if it was a hard I (j) or a soft one. So English eventually used a variant of I to represent the hard pronunciation. If you go back to the 1611 KJV you will see this to be true. The J is an I for all occurrences

      And Iacob called the name of the place Peniel……

      But this development of the hard I sound into a J had nothing to do with Hebrew. It was because English needed to fix the problem of Latin not transliterating and translating into English properly as well as the confusion of the I letter in English pronunciation.

      The name is Jesus was not a longer version of YHWH or Ya. Jesus was the Latin version of Iesous which was the Greek version of Yeshua…… Yehoshua directly translated into English would be Joshua. In Hebrew in means YHWH is savior. The shortened version Yeshua is how we get Joshua in English which just means savior.

  3. As one who first discovered the NIV before I found Christ, and was amazed at how it was so easily readable compared to the black leather KJV my mother had in the house bookcase, thank you for defending it.

    Having been to Bible college and learnt Greek and Hebrew, I myself knew a fair few things about translations. Later getting a degree, and recently a Master’s, in Linguistics, it is languages that always fascinate me. Some of the words above I did not know in as much detail as you explained. Thank you for the extra knowledge.

    I’m starting a YouTube channel on theology with my own name right now, and I think I’ll do a Bible version overview one at some point, so I’ll be bookmarking this for reference.

  4. I see you conveniently skip over sodomite. I am in no way a KJVO person, but I have huge problems with the NIV for nothing else, then for not using sodomite.

    • The NIV condemns homosexuality in both the OT and the NT. The removal of the specific word “sodomite” is only 4 verses, all found in 1&2 Kings. In all 4 verses the narrative is clearly referring to temple prostitutes. The Hebrew word is קָדֵשׁ which refers to a temple prostitute. The root word is derived from QDSH which is the root for holy or a holy place…. like a temple.

      The Hebew word for Sodomite is סְדוֹמַאִי but does not show up in kings.

      The issue isn’t that the NIV removed a word… it’s that the KJV added one where it did not belong.

  5. How do the Dead Sea scrolls compare to the KJV and the NIV? When studying the Scrolls it was found that they verified the grammatical assumptions of the KJV. Furthermore the KJV translators were made up of a variety of people, both Christian and non Christian. This was done by King James to make sure that the “religious leaders” could not change the words or meaning to suit their wills. As time changes I understand words mean different things today. For example. The original texts say suffer the children to come to me. Ouch, suffer, why? Earlier texts show that the word suffer translated to let. So suffer the children to come unto me was changed to let the children come unto me. Other words that change however seem to be less meaningful such as the word meditate in Joshua 1:8. This verse now reads is some translationslike the NLV (not the NIV) “Think about it day and night,”. To me these are two vastly different words. I don’t meditate on dinner, I think about it. To meditate requires devotion and a spiritual hunger. The Hebrew word used in Joshua 1:8 (Hagar) is a rhetorical sound for what a lion makes when looking for food. The Hebrew language is very much so poetic. In this case the word meditate does not mean a quite reflection as one may think. It means so much more. This hagah means to be hungry for gods wordday and night. Think does not compare in this instance. Perhaps the translation would be better to actually say to hunger for Gods word. The point I am making is that many time the translations are de-emphasizing the meaning of the Hebrew language for readability purposes. I am much more concerned about the closest translation to the original manuscripts so I am not going against Duet 4:2 “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God.” For this reason I am studying and learning about the dates Dead Sea scrolls. I consider myself to be very open minded and I am not saying that the NIV is a bad translation. Some of the other “claimed” bibles such as the NLB are not translations at all but paraphrases. These are what I consider to be dangerous because they are titled as a bible but are not a bible at all. This I believe goes against duet 4:2.

    • The dead sea scrolls dont really confirm the NIV or the KJV. However, they generally agree with the septuagint more often than the Masoretic text. I am not sure what you mean by grammatical assumptions but given that the DSS were mostly in Hebrew, it’s remarkable that they more closely match the Septuagint which was Greek.

      But the Septuagint and the DSS were from the same relative time period so they likely had similar sources.

      In the way of translations…. I used to be a strict 1:1 die hard (where possible). That was before I spent a lot of time in textual criticism. Just the act of translations takes a certain level of interpretation. Before a translator can even begin translating they must decide which critical textual apparatus to use. Every apparatus includes additional decisions about which manuscripts best represent the original. So, before the pen even hits the paper, hundreds of people have worked behind the scenes too narrow many thousands of texts into cohesive text. The there is no official Greek or Hebrew manuscript that people are working from. Even when the KJV was translated, they worked with the best of what was available, knowing that their manuscript discrepancies would be an issue. Were also lacking Greek manuscripts for a bunch of chapters in the NT and had to back-translate the Latin texts into.

      I say all this just to simply make a point that their is no perfect translation in English… Or any other language. If you really want to study the Bible critically then use the NASB or the NKJV. They are faithful translations that are close to 1:1. The new NIV is good too but know that they take some of the difficult phrases and idioms out for readability. The NLT does the same thing but at a higher degree. The message is just trash though lol.

  6. I think your wrong about the J sound. English is not the criterion. The J sound in hebrew sounds as the You in english. You write it down as Jehovah but the pronuncuation is like Yehovah. The J sounds is the same as the J in Dutch or German. Thus.. the J sound does exist in Hebrew.

    • The J sound as it is in English doesn’t exist. The topic is about en English translation of Hebrew. It’s implied that the English J sound is the target.

  7. I appreciate using the NIV at times, although I had the KJV to read after salvation as a teen some 65+ years ago. That translation speaks more forcefully to my spirit that do any of the other translations. My son and I found omissions in other translations as we read and compared them daily with the KJV in our devotions. We thought at the time that it was a shame that even a whole chapter was omitted in one. It did seem as though some words that we thought “meat” were left out completely in others. I prefer the KJV, but like to read others for further enlightenment.

    • Thanks for reading the article with an open mind. I am glad that you see the value in comparative studies. My father was the same way. He preferred the KJV because it was what he memorized as a young Christian.

      One of my nieces also noticed the missing phrases and verses when she began reading the Bible as a teenager. She was a bit alarmed but she eventually got over it. The first time I learned of the “omitted” verses I was very alarmed. I had just turned 17 and I assumed all Bibles came from the same Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. I was very concerned for about a day or two until I realized that the KJV translators had so few manuscripts to translate from and that so many of them were only as old as 1000 after Christ rose from the grave.

      Having the tools now as an adult to read the original languages and knowing where all the various manuscripts are from I actually prefer the KJV the least…… excepting the Message. The Message is not a real Bible translation. However, the NKJV is a great translations that takes into account the updated English and tries to preserve much of the KJV traditional passages.

      Blessings on your continued studies. Never stop learning and always look up original sources. Don’t believe what others tell you to…. not even me :)

      • It seems as though the Lord speaks to me directly through the KJV. I’d underlined so many verses or sentences, that when I happen to read upon opening the Bible, I find that God speaks through them today! I’m presently reading the Contemporary English Version, and finding it enlightening, and helping me understand Jeremiah better. It definitely flows better, but doesn’t give me special words to “chew on”, if you know what I mean.

        • I definitely know what you mean. I was a little saddened by the translation restrictions that the publisher of the CEV put on the translators but I still like a lot of it.

          One of my friends who translated one of the NT books was very frustrated by the limited bounds they gave him.

          • When we were staring our newest church plant in Canton, NY, we were able to secure permission to use the 7th Day Adventist Church. When I was walking through the pews, I noticed a copy of the CEV and upon reading a little, was impressed. I ordered one on line for a penny +postage. It’s interesting to actually be reading it, though I’m aware of it’s not being what I remember in the KJV.

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