Stephen Wiggins

           The New Testament of the New International Version (NIV) made its debut in 1973. The completedBible, including both the Old and New Testaments, was issued in 1978. Another edition of this entire translation with some changes was published in 1984.

 One change between these two editions is found in Acts 2:38.  Here the inspired apostle Peter is telling those on the day of Pentecost what they must do in order to be saved. The original NIV has Peter saying: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven.”

Notice carefully that the Bible here teaches they were to repent and be immersed“so that” they wouldreceive the remission of sins. The phrase so that is a purpose statement. This is a good translation of the Greek preposition eis. It relates the reason why one is to repent and be baptized. It clearly indicates thatone does not receive the forgiveness of sins until they have exercised their faith by repenting and being baptized.

When the second edition of the NIV was published the “so that” was replaced with the term “for.” Why do you suppose this change was made? Read the explanation offered by brother Hugo McCord:

The English word “for” in the phrase “for the remission of sins” (Ac 2:38, KJV, NKJV) is ambiguous. It can mean “because of” (Mt 25:8, NRSV; Re 16:10, ASV), or “in order to” (Mt 26:12; Ac 27:34, NRSV). The translators of the 1973 NIV in Ac 2:38 have “so that your sins may be forgiven.” However, “many letters from pastors and professors” caused the 1984 NIV to return to the ambiguous “for the forgiveness of your sins,” concerning which Dr. Ken Barker, of the translation committee, wrote, “I believe we translated it correctly the first time.” (Quoted from the appendix of the 4th edition of his translation, The Everlasting Gospel, p. 718).

The original NIV too plainly taught the necessity of baptism in gospel obedience. Denominational theologians who teach salvation by “faith only” were not happy. A change to the more ambiguous “for” now allows these preachers more ease in teaching their false doctrine of salvation by faith alone. They can now more easily persuade people that baptism is “because of” remission of sins and not an essential part of gospel obedience. This equals a blatant denial of God’s word.

The lesson learned here is that the science translating the Bible is a human, uninspired effort.  It is often done with ulterior motives by those who are biased in their presentation of God’s word.  Instead of making their theology harmonize with the word of God they often manipulate the Bible to fit their own preconceived doctrines. One must always exercise caution knowing that the devil is out to deceive.