Why You Can’t Copy and Paste The NIV from Biblegateway Anymore

You might have noticed this already if you use the NIV with your youth group or church. If you haven’t there’s a good chance you will. Two years ago a new edition of the NIV was published with lots of fairly minor (and a couple of bigger) changes to the text. That happens with Bible translations occasionally, as language changes and as people reflect on how they translated it previously. So if you’ve bought an NIV in the last couple of years, there’s a good chance it uses the new NIV 2011 text. There’s actually such a slight difference that there’s a good chance you wouldn’t notice (I preached on John 17:6-19 this Sunday, and the text in the old NIV and the new NIV are identical).

For the last two years, Biblegateway and other online bible sites have given you the option of using either format. You could have selected NIV 2011 or NIV 1984 (that’s the year the familiar NIV text was published). Last week, all online support for the NIV 1984 was dropped and the NIV 2011 was renamed as simply ‘NIV’. This hasn’t just happened on Biblegateway, but a whole host of other sites as well. This is because the organisation that own the NIV text have unlicensed the NIV 1984 for internet distribution. They say they gave a two year overlap so everyone could get used to it, but now you’ve got the NIV 2011 or nothing.

This means –and this is where it gets important for you– if you go to copy and paste a bible passage from Biblegateway into some handouts or a craft or a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation you’re probably copying a subtly different version from the one you’re going to teach or preach from. Alright, this is hardly alarming news to shake the church, but it’s worth noticing so it doesn’t distract what you’re doing. It’d be pretty rubbish go to teach kids a memory verse only to find out that you’ve printed out a worksheet with a slightly different verse on it.