Saturday, November 13, 2010

John Piper against the NIV

It is not quite accurate to state that there is no negative advertising against the NIV. Here we see John Piper doing his best to insinuate that because the translators of the NIV have used a different but entirely valid way to translate the Greek word, γὰρ, they are "troubled." Piper is clearly attempting to undermine people's trust in the NIV.

When Piper says that he needs all the words in the Bible, he is clearly not referring to all the words in the Greek Bible.


Anonymous said...

"When Piper says that he needs all the words in the Bible, he is clearly not referring to all the words in the Greek Bible"


But here we go again...they really think their celebrity is going to carry the day concerning translation choices...and sadly, it probably will.

Donald Johnson said...

What verses are he referring to?

But "not selling anything"?, he is selling the ESV as we see from their website.

EricW said...

John 4:44-45. Hear the entire sermon here:

(Note: The video doesn't work, just the "Listen" option.)

Pick Listen: Full Length, and the clip here begins at -42:51 minutes:seconds from the end. (The audio counts down from -48:03 to 0:00.)

EricW said...

Regarding his skewering of the NIV translators' choices for these verses, is this just bombast on his part?

Blake said...

I thought he was supposed to be on sabbatical the whole rest of the year. Did that end already or what?

EricW said...

Blake: This sermon (and the clip) is from August 16, 2009.

Donald Johnson said...

The Bible that we have is the text in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. All the rest are translations and if a teaching needs to refer to something in the original language to make a point, one simply cannot depend on a translation to show this, it might or might not.

So his whole point is bogus, as Suzanne points out.

EricW said...

So his whole point is bogus, as Suzanne points out.

I know that, and Suzanne knows that, and you know that, and any translator worth her or his salt knows that... but do Piperettes know that?

Mark said...

I disagree, conjunctions are VERY important to make sure we understand the flow of a text and it's argument and purpose.

It is much easier to understand a point if an attempted translation is there. As Piper points out, the NIV simply omits this in verse 25, the 'therefore'. Thus, they have not tranlated, but commented themselves by their ommision. If at least a tranlation is attempted, the preacher can at least have a ground to work from.


Can you explain why you think it is an entirely valid option to traslate 'gar' in verse 24 as 'now' in a parenthesis. Thanks

By extension, this conversation seems to be more 'Piper' bashing than a serious discussion on the translation. Is this a subtle way to slander a follower of Christ?

Both of Pipers points are quite valid and are not realted to the 'gender' debate. So why try ot smeer his name along other lines?


Suzanne McCarthy said...


If you check the BDAG, you will find that gar can be translated by "therefore" "for" and "now."

The BDAG also mentions the parenthetical nature of the conjunction and the ESV includes parentheses.

I do not consider Piper a fellow follower of Christ. He does not practice the law of Christ, to love your neighbour as yourself.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I should add that Piper does not teach the law of Christ, to love others as yourself. I do not think that Piper would like to be hit and forced to tears and snot and bruises all over one's body - even if only for a season. And I do not think that he would like to have to ask permission to go to the bathroom in his own home either, even if it is only when his spouse is home.

I do not think that John Piper would like to have to obey someone else in every little thing that he ever does or says, and have no freedom to speak out loud except from a script.

Imagine how he would like have someone else assert their leadership over him, if he strayed from his script by a few words? Does he realize what the consequences have been in the lives of real women?

We know that women feel that his sermons have visited the worst misery on them, and he chuckles about it, really just chuckles. I wish he could have traded places with me just for even one day, not for a lifetime which is the sentence that many women have. I walked out on my life sentence.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Perhaps you could comment on why you think that "therefore" is better than "now" in John 4:44. You would need to reference the BDAG and a few commentaries. I think you will find more commentary support for "now."

Donald Johnson said...

NIV 2011 John 4:44 (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) 45 When he arrived in Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him. They had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, for they also had been there.

ESV Joh 4:44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)
Joh 4:45 So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast.

NIV translates gar as "Now" and ESV translates gar as "For" and Piper makes his claim that the NIV is missing a word?

EricW said...


I think the missing word Piper is referring to is the omission of "therefore" (oun) in 4:45. This sermon was done in August 2009, and I don't know if the 2010 NIV differs from the 1984 NIV in these verses.

However, I haven't listened to the video for a few days so I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

After listening to the video clip, the words "demagogue" and "buffoon" and "evil" come to mind.

How does someone with this kind of blatant ignorance and/or malice achieve such notoriety or prominence among Evangelicals?

believer333 said...

What's with all the advertising by comps for the ESV. Almost sounds like they're getting paid in some way. I don't think I've ever heard a lot of preachers make a show of praising one Bible translation before.

EricW said...

What's with all the advertising by comps for the ESV. Almost sounds like they're getting paid in some way. I don't think I've ever heard a lot of preachers make a show of praising one Bible translation before.

"Follow the money."

Just sayin'....

Donald Johnson said...

ESV - by comps, for comps!

If you can get believers to use a comp bible, you are MORE than halfwalf to getting them to be comp.

Wout said...

Piper also goes on about parentheses, and yet it appears to be ok in the ESV, but evil in the NIV.

Anonymous said...

Ironic isn't it...

Piper doesn't practice the law of Christ (apparently) yet this comment section feels free to do that very thing they accuse him of not doing.

Did not Christ also tell your enemies.

Blatant hypocrisy, c'mon guys.

EricW said...

Regardless of whether Piper practices the love of Christ or not, he's practicing the law of ignorance or disingenuousness as far as his remarks in this clip are concerned. He either knows better or should know better, considering his position and education and the authority with which he speaks and with which his followers credit him.

Donald Johnson said...

FWIIW, I do not consider Piper an enemy, I consider him a fellow believer in error and deceived on the gender debate.

He is a public teacher and believers are supposed to hold him to account and test what he teaches.

Anonymous said...


How deeply you must be hurting to have such a horrendously skewed impression/interpretation of what Pastor Piper believes and preaches.

Any of his sermons or books could nourish your soul beyond measure if only you let it ~


Suzanne McCarthy said...


Why do you think that Piper attacks the NIV?

Anonymous said...

I've never paid much attention to Piper, heard the name, but thats about it. From what I've seen and heard from his documented comments about Bible translations (TNIV, NIV 2011, etc) I am sorry for him. As pastor-teachers are held to a higher standard...and if he causes someone to stray....

The best hope: Saved but singed.

Anonymous said...

So you walked out; good for you. Why did you stay so long?
You know, many people have been abused and gone on with their lives. Apparently you want to keep dragging yours around with you. And you think it gives you some right to be disobedient to God and man and judgmental and hostile to anyone who doesn't share your scripture twisting view.
Someone being abusive to you in no way justifies your disobedience to God.
Lots of groups want to change the Word to suit their particular area of disobedience. Many say the correct translation for homosexual in the New Testament is actually male cult prostitute so it's okay to perform homosexual acts with someone of the same gender if you are really committed. There are actually entire homosexual "Christian" churches. And they have to change/minimize/mistranslate far fewer passages than feminists to escape obedience to God.
I don't know much about Piper but I can't think of any GOOD reason someone would want to dynamic equivalence themselves away from what God says.

Retha said...

Huh, Anonymous 5:59 PM? Where, in this thread, does she talk of someone abusing her?

Your "so you walked out ... someone being abusive to you ..." demonstrate your reading comprehension.

On the topic of accurate or masculist or feminist Bible translation, I'd guess that your reading comprehension lags far behind Suzanne's too.

Gran said...

Have you ever been abused? Do you know what it’s like to bear that burden? Or do you just know what it feels like to criticize it?

Apparently, you believe that shooting our wounded is Christ-like care. Apparently, you need to review a few of the things Jesus said in your preferred translation.
I urge you to start with Mark 12:28 “Love your neighbor as yourself;” 1Thes. 5 “encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” And Galatians 6:2 - “Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Next time you start to read Ephesians 5, apparently, it would serve you well to read Ch. 4 first: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” And “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Apparently, you may have overlooked Romans 12 “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” And “Honor one another above yourselves.”
Maybe you have overlooked “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Gal. 5:13).

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (Ja 5)
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Heb.10) and “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices” (Col. 3:9).

diamondnell said...

"Misreading No. 15: The Obvious Fallacy

Interpretations of some biblical texts require great study. Even then, honest scholars are uncertain and disagree with each other. Yet we frequently find cult writers drawing conclusions with great ease and expecting us to follow their lead. The impression the interpreter wants to give is that the case is closed. His view is the obvious one." (James W. Sire, "Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible," p. 99)

Let us not, in our zeal to "protect" God's Word from misuse, resort to tactics in our own houses of worship which we criticize in cults.