The UBS Greek New Testament, Fifth Edition with the NIV

I just received  the new UBS Greek New Testament, Fifth Edition with the NIV in the mail today from Zondervan.  I obviously have not spent much time with the books since it is only just released, but I will offer a few “first impressions.” This is not a Greek Readers Bible or an interlinear, but a full edition of the newest text from the United Bible Society and the latest edition of the NIV (2011). If you like those two editions of the New Testament, you will likely like this new Bible.

UBS 5 with NIV 02

First, when the volume was announced my immediate question was about the textual critical apparatus. I was worried these extremely important notes would be sacrificed in order to print two New Testaments in a handy format. Thankfully the notes are all present and in exactly the same format as the other editions of the UBS Greek New Testament. I did not check every page, but every note I checked was present. I would not have recommended the Bible if the textual notes were removed.

UBS 5 with NIV 03Second, the UBS 5 text is placed on one page facing the NIV. Since the UBS text includes textual critical apparatus, the English side has about a third of a page blank (sometimes a half page). This is a good space for note-taking!

Third, I think the physical size and shape of the Bible are an improvement over my UBS 4. The paper is a bright white, by UBS 4 was a kind of cream color. I am not sure which I like better, but the print (both in terms of color and typeface) in this new edition is very readable and clear.  The book is the same size as the older Bible although it is 1750 pages (plus another 81 pages in the introduction) compared to the UBS 4’s 918 (plus another 203 for the glossary in the case of my UBS 4).

The Introduction includes prefaces to the first through fourth editions and the introduction to the fifth edition (74 pages) and the Preface to the NIV (7 pages).

UBS 5 with NIV 01

One thing I noticed was missing—there was no card with manuscript dates! The information appears in the introduction, but I miss the traditional trifold card tucked into the front of my Bible. The spine of my Bible is off-center, which might be a trigger for some of the more OCD Greek specialists.

Overall I am well-pleased with the new UBS Greek New Testament with the NIV. Those who are do not like the NIV will probably not appreciate this combination appealing, but for many this will be their new Greek Bible of Choice. It will make a good textbook Bible for Greek reading classes, although students should be issued screens to cover the NIV translation for doing their homework.


New Addition to the Family

New Addition to the Family


7 thoughts on “The UBS Greek New Testament, Fifth Edition with the NIV

  1. Not to be neglected in this regard is the combined NA28 and ESV from Crossway for those who prefer a more literal English translation.

    • Thanks for the reminder, I almost mentioned that volume and let it slip. I have been using ESV almost exclusively as my English translation for several years, but UBS has been my Greek classroom Bible for 16 years…hard to change that habit!

      Crossway has a Hebrew Bible edition in a similar format, do they not?

      • Correct, BHS and ESV on facing pages. Well worth having also.

  2. Nice review. However, I wouldn’t spend coin on any Greek/English Bible that had the NIV, and the new NIV is even worse than the first, what with its PC kow-towing to radical feminism that forces the translators to deliberately mistranslate the Greek so as to please the PC crowd.

    The ESV is much better if you can stomach the RSV rendering of chesed as “steadfast love.” I prefer “lovingkindness” as in the NKJV, in which it is hard to stomach capitalized pronouns for deity. Well, I guess we all end up compromising in the end.

    Now look at your second paragraph, final sentence. English has basically four types of conditions, and the time frame you’re reaching for in this sentence is that two things happened in the past, one before the other. This is called the “past unreal condition” and is used for imaginary conditions in the past. Since it is a condition, the subjunctive mood is required.

    In English the subjunctive is achieved not by word morphology, as it is in Latin and Greek, but by tense and auxiliary verbs. Your sentence reads: “I would not have recommended the Bible if the textual notes were removed.” This sounds bad. The sentence should have been written thus: “I would hot have recommended the Bible if the textual notes HAD BEEN removed.” This means that the event in the past-perfect took place before the event in the subjunctive. An even better rendition: “I would not have recommended the Bible had the textual notes been removed.” And of course the two clauses can be reversed.

    Here’s what’s happening a lot today. I can hardly stand to write it: “I would not have recommended the Bible if the textual notes would not have been removed.” Or “I wish I would have know that the textual notes were removed.” Ugh! Correct: “I wish I HAD KNOWN (simple past-perfect) that the textual notes had been removed.”

    Have a great evening.

    • First, you must be alot of fun at parties. (I used alot in that sentence just to cause you emotional pain, by the way.)

      Second, it is OK for you to not like the NIV, and really it is fine if you hate it. But you cannot make statements like “what with its PC kow-towing to radical feminism that forces the translators to deliberately mistranslate the Greek so as to please the PC crowd” unless you have heard Doug Moo discuss why talk about why those changes were made. He has given this talk often, you can search YouTube for it.

      There was no “kow-towing,” but rather a stylistic decision based on hard data. Feel free to disagree with that decision, but the people on the translation committee are not “radical feminist” in the least.

      There are good reasons to not recommend the NIV, but overall it is an excellent translation produced by godly men and women who believe they are presenting God’s word as clearly as they can so the next generation will read with clarity. The same should be said for the the ESV or any other major translations.

      • You got me! That “alot” you sneaked in there made me fall off my chair. I taught English lit, ESL, Frosh Composition, adult school and high school English for 35 years. Some habits are hard to break. That was a good one.

        But I never meant that the translators of the NIV were radical feminists. Just the thought of it is hilarious, but no matter how well-intentioned, they were probably influenced by the current trend to nullify gender, or at least to use inclusive language. I respectfully disagree with that decision, and because the translators were godly doesn’t mean I am challenging their spirituality. They are certainly better men than I am.

        The ESV translators did not feel impelled to follow suit, and I submit that they, too, were godly men, I mean, persons. I like the ESV partly because it is based on the RSV, which I used for many years before moving on to the NKJV.

        But I still do not “hate” the NIV. I simply prefer reading something other than municipal English. One of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received was a 1987 NIV Study Bible, which I use almost every day, particularly for the notes, but I have a sweet compact edition in large print in a single column that I also use. It’s the 1984 NIV, however.

        When I was in the USAF overseas, I hung around with a bunch of guys called the Navigators. At that time I used the RSV, in spite of its Isaiah 7:14 rendition. However, the gender changes of the NRSV keep me from using the updated version. It’s not necessary to explain my dislike. You already know, and there are many other Christians who agree with me.

        Anyway I always enjoy reading your blog entries, and in the future I will try my hardest to abstain from making grammar corrections. And by the by, I really don’t like parties. I always thought they were a waste of time.

        May God bless you mightily and fulfill all his purpose for your life.

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