'If quoting a verse from the Book, the NIV is no longer an approved version. To simplify things at the pr office, they would like verses used in this format: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NASB). This is only if you are quoting a whole verse. If you are paraphrasing part of a verse, you don’t have to put the version. (This is true for all company publications—not just C’net).
These are the approved versions:
ESV – English Standard Version
HCSB – Holman Christian Standard Bible
KJV – King James Version
NASB – New American Standard Bible
NKJV – New King James Version
I immediately called the International Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia to find out if this were true. The staff and administration of the IMB were very responsive to my questions and answered them thoroughly. I encourage any Southern Baptists with questions or concerns to call the respective agency's administrative personnel. I believe you will find them responsive, as did I.
I was told that the particular email in question conveyed a much stronger statement against the New International Version than the IMB administrative staff intended. The issue is simply one of being able to check to make sure that any verse that is used in IMB publications is quoted accurately. There is a style manual that the IMB uses to ensure proper grammar, and this manual has historically contained five 'approved' versions of the Bible. Rather than adding a 'sixth,' the IMB replaced the New International Version with the Holman Christian Standard. It was not meant to be a statement 'against' the NIV. The IMB has no desire to issue 'approval' or 'disapproval' statements regarding the NIV. It is simply a matter of internal style.
However, the senior administrator who spoke with me on the phone did tell me something interesting. He said that there have been a few Southern Baptists who have complained about to the IMB administration about the use of the NIV in official publications. I didn't press him to explain the complaints or even elaborate whether or not the removal of the NIV from the style manual is a desire to avoid any future criticism, but it did give me pause to reflect.
I was given the NIV on my eighteenth birthday and memorized the entire book of Romans from the NIV. When I preached through Galatians at Emmanuel I used the NIV. Many Southern Baptist churches use pew Bibles that are NIV. The NIV has been a highly used version of the Bible by many Southern Baptists in the last half century.
Many Southern Baptists may not be aware of the King James Version Only Baptists who dot the religious landscape. Though I still preach from the King James Version, I really get chills up my spine anytime I'm around people who suggest there is an inerrant and 'inspired' English translation of the God breathed, inerrant and infallible word of God. It is obvious that the IMB administration is not KJV Only -- but I think it would be well for all of us who are Southern Baptists to be on guard against any attempt to measure one's spirituality, conservatism or dedication to Christ by what version of the Bible we use.
In His Grace,