• Editor: John R. Kohlenberger III
• Category: Bibles
• Publisher: Zondervan (2012)
• Format: hardcover
• Page Count: 976
• ISBN#: 9780310495901
• List Price: $52.99
• Rating: Highly Recommended
The NIV Greek and English New Testament is a Greek student’s dream. In one volume both the Greek and English New Testaments are beautifully presented for devotional reading. The 2012 edition, contains the text of the newly updated New International Version (NIV) on one side, and its underlying Greek testament on the other. An introduction to the NIV Greek and English New Testament is included along with the preface to the 2011 NIV. To make the volume complete, at the back is a condensed Greek-English dictionary, edited by William D. Mounce.
The text of this volume is clear and readable, and the margin is nice and wide at 1 inch. It uses a single column format and includes some footnotes, although nothing compared to what one would find in a study Bible or a Greek NT apparatus. The Greek footnotes primarily document differences between the NA27/UBS4 Greek text and the text given which underlies the NIV (600+ differences). They also provide the underlying Greek text for some of the additional variant readings the NIV text footnotes, often involving differences from the text of the King James Bible. The complete English text footnotes are included on the right side of the leaf, where the English text is found. This book is available in imitation leather bound, but works nicely in hardback, as I have it. The pages are thin and lay smooth, yet are of a slightly heavier weight than those found in a typical New Testament. This makes them suitable for the wear and tear of a highlighter and pen, yet still light enough to turn easily for devotional reading.
The presentation of the book is first-rate, but it is not meant to supplant the place of a standard United Bible Societies (UBS) or Nestle-Aland (NA) Greek New Testament. This book came out just as the NA28 hit the presses. But with so few changes in the NA28 from the NA27, this should not harm the value of this study tool. Of course, it would not have provided the NA28 text since the NIV 2011 was not based on it – but it could have included footnotes to the differences between its text and that of the NA28. I am confident that future editions of this resource will do so, provided the NA28 meets the widespread acclaim that its predecessor has.
Another drawback to this work is that it does not footnote all significant differences. Sometimes a significant variant between the KJV and the NIV receives no comment in the English or the Greek footnotes, as in the case of 1 Tim. 3:16 (ος “he who” vs. θεος “God”). In other places, the NIV footnote points out a difference, but the Greek footnotes do not provide the underlying KJV Greek text, as in Jn. 1:18 (μονογενης υιος “only Son” vs. μονογενης θεος “only God”). Sometimes it is unclear if the NIV is referring to an obscure manuscript reading which is not in a published text or not, and the lack of a Greek note makes this more difficult to determine, as at Rom. 8:11 and 1 Cor. 8:2-3. Equally frustrating to someone turning to this resource for help with the Greek text, are places where the NIV mentions textual differences yet the Greek footnote tells the researcher to look up Metzger’s Textual Commentary for the desired information. This is found at Jude 22-23, where it must be noted that plenty of white space exists for the delineation of a few of the textual variants the English footnote alludes to.
Ultimately, however, it is unfair to complain that this tool is not the be-all, end-all resource for textual criticism. It was not designed to be this, after all. It will not replace your Greek testament’s apparatus, but it will make for an easier trip to class or Sunday service. Instead of bringing along a Greek New Testament and your English version of choice, you can tout your NIV Greek and English New Testament and follow along, making a few trips to the dictionary in the back if you get stuck.
Now, not everyone is going to fall in love with the 2011 NIV. Many of us prefer our ESV, or the 1984 NIV, thank you very much! But this tool will meet the needs of some and may warm others up to the fresh NIV translation. Not many translations today provide their underlying Greek, but the NIV does. And in places where you think the new translation gets it wrong, there is plenty of room for jotting your observation down in the margin. This is a fine volume and a useful resource for anyone who is familiar with NT Greek (or hopes to be). I highly recommend it.
John R. Kohlenberger III (MA, Western Seminary) is the author or coeditor of more than three dozen biblical reference books and study Bibles, including The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, NIV Interlinear Hebrew-English Old Testament, NRSV Concordance Unabridged, Greek-English Concordance to the New Testament, Hebrew-English Concordance to the Old Testament, and the Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Abridged Edition. He has taught at Multnomah Bible College and Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by Zondervan. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.