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Zondervan celebrates 25 years of the NIrV

October 1996 – October 2021

Grand Rapids, Mich, (Oct. 2021)  – Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, and Biblica, a global Bible ministry, are proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the New International Reader’s Version (NIrV). Since the first publication of the full NIrV Bible in 1996, it has sold more than 8.5 million copies and impacted the lives of many more around the globe.

“There has never been a more meaningful time to ensure that young readers and English language learners have access to God’s Word in a faithful, easy-to-read text,” says Melinda Bouma, vice president and publisher of Bibles for Zondervan. “It’s humbling to see the impact the NIrV translation has had during the last 25 years. We celebrate this significant anniversary, the tireless efforts of everyone involved in bringing it to fruition, our partnership with Biblica, and more importantly all the lives that have been changed by it. It is so exciting to dream of those it will impact in the next 25 years!”

“Biblica is honored to steward and publish the New International Reader’s Version. This translation is the foundation for many of Biblica’s ministry resources. It has impacted countless lives through prison ministry resources like the Free on the Inside Bible. Hundreds of thousands of teens throughout the English-speaking world are learning to make healthy life choices through the Reach4Life New Testament. Numerous children around the world are discovering God’s Word in their learning style through the Treasure Hunt Bible. The readable and accurate NIrV makes this life-changing ministry possible,” said Jonathan Call, senior vice president of translation, publishing, and digital innovation at Biblica.

The NIrV is based on the New International Version (NIV), the most widely read and trusted modern English Bible translation in the world. While the NIV enjoys a widespread reputation as the best combination of accuracy and readability for anyone at a seventh-grade reading level and up, a vision was cast decades ago to honor younger readers and individuals with a non-English primary language, by creating the NIrV developed at a third-grade reading level. This makes it ideal for new and beginning Bible readers, and those who struggle with reading in English.

“Our goal on the NIrV translation team is to make the wonderful work of the NIV available to all those who want or need a translation that is easier to understand while remaining rigorously faithful to the original texts of Scripture,” said Michael Williams, PhD., chair of the NIrV translation committee and member of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), the group responsible for maintaining the NIV text. “The NIrV removes as many barriers as possible to a fuller comprehension of the Bible by people of all ages and abilities.”

Nearly 40 people from 14 denominations – many of the same people who translated the NIV – worked together on the development of the NIrV. Each verse was meticulously evaluated in light of the meaning of the original languages in which the Bible was written. Sentence structure, grammar, syntax, and word selection were all carefully reviewed to ensure maximum comprehension while retaining Biblical accuracy.

Throughout the work to make the NIrV a more readable translation, a heavy emphasis was also placed on making it more understandable. Literary experts and educators specializing in elementary education examined both sentence structure and word choices, searching for every possible opportunity to clarify the Scriptures.

Sentences were kept to no more than 15 words and expressions that only native English speakers would understand, such as idioms, figures of speech and nation-specific allusions, were avoided. Even with those changes, the NIrV does not compromise the biblical text in any way:

The NIrV translation team followed the NIV guidelines for accuracy, clarity, and readability, and the NIV was constantly referenced throughout the process. All of the work was approved by a final review committee composed of several members of the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT). This committee structure, with its built-in checks and balances, assures Scriptural integrity and literary and stylistic excellence. They still meet regularly to address any necessary updates.

Top selling NIrV Bibles include:

To schedule an interview with Michael Williams, PhD, chair of the NIrV translation committee and member of the Committee on Bible Translation, contact Amy Bigler, senior manager of public relations, at  To learn more about the NIrV visit:

About Zondervan:  Zondervan, a worldwide leading Christian publisher of books and Bibles, is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Its publications include a variety of Bible translations for all ages; books in different genres and subject areas for the general reader; curriculum for individual and group Bible study; books for children and young adults; academic resources including textbooks and reference books; ministry resources; and books on faith and culture. Zondervan is located in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, visit

About Comfort Print:  Zondervan Bibles teamed up with 2K/Denmark, the world’s foremost Bible typeface foundry, to create exclusive Comfort Print Bible fonts. Comfort Print Bibles are easy to read at any size because the typeface was designed to be both efficient and readable. Zondervan Bibles believes that the beauty of the message should be reflected in the physical form of the book. Choosing the right typeface is one significant element in creating beautiful Bibles.

Contact:  Amy Bigler, Senior Public Relations Manager,