Zondervan launches NIV eBook Bible

Zondervan has launched a digital eBook of the new NIV Bible, marking the first time a new translation has gone digital before publication.

The digital version comes a little over a month after the publishing giant debuted the new NIV Bible online.

The updated NIV Bible, which will replace the popular 1984 NIV Bible, will be published in March 2011 to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the King James Version.

The new NIV eBook Bible features crisp fonts, quicker page turns, and a navigation system that allows users to easily jump between footnotes and text.

"With the updated NIV complete and consumers enthusiastically awaiting its arrival, we wanted to make it available as soon as possible," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan.

The company will also partner with Biblica for a Christmas promotion aimed at donating up to 30,000 Bibles to India.

During the Christmas Buy one, Give One campaign, Zondervan will donate a New Testament of a Hindi translation based on the new NIV for every digital eBook sold.

Keith Danby, international CEO of Biblica, said the campaign is in step with keeping the evangelism tradition that has defined the history of the NIV.

"There are more than 600 million people who speak Hindi, and Biblica is launching an NIV-like Bible translation in this native language so that God's Word could be easily understood by average Hindi-speakers," he said.

When Biblica first announced last year that the NIV would be revised for the first time in 25 years, some hoped it would resolve problems over gender-related language found in the controversial TNIV Bible. The company recognized that the TNIV was divisive and said it will take it off the market with the release of the new NIV in 2011.

Many evangelicals, however, remain wary of new version for many of the same concerns over gender-related passages in the 2003 and 2005 updates.

The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, one of the leading critics of the TNIV, released a statement last month saying it could not recommend the new NIV Bible.

"Our initial analysis shows that the new NIV(2011) retains many of the problems that were present in the TNIV, on which it is based, especially with regard to the over 3,600 gender-related problems we previously identified," said CBMW in a statement.

The groups took issue with the mixing of gender-unspecific singulars and plurals (that person/they).

The controversy has not affected Zondervan's plans to discontinue the current NIV translation and make way for the updated NIV.

The company said that throughout next year it plans to release more digital products based on the new NIV, including more eBooks and apps.

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