Marketing Today’s New International Version

We reproduce here some portions of articles that have appeared in publishing industry periodicals about the Zondervan corporation’s marketing strategy for the TNIV. A common theme is the strategy of bypassing the uncooperative conservative “gatekeepers” in pastoral positions, while appealing directly to the felt needs of “consumers in the 18- to 34-year-old age group” in youth-market venues, with innovative marketing techniques. In particular, we notice the alarming contempt for pastoral leadership that comes to light in the remarks of Zondervan’s Vice President of Bible Marketing, who is heartened by the thought that young people “are more sophisticated and understand the complexities of life, so when a leader of the previous generation comes out against the TNIV, they are more likely to think for themselves.” As one writer says, “Zondervan is hoping to do an end-run” around church leaders who disapprove of the version. May God help us when executives of “the leading Christian communications company in the world” are determined to drive a wedge between the generations in the Church, so as to make “consumers” of our young people.

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Kimberly Winston, “Call It the Year of the Upgrade,” Publishers Weekly, 14 October 2002.

The Good Book, Bible publishers point out, is also a very old book, full of archaic references, outdated language, and ancient lineages and conflicts too hard for today’s reader to follow. So if they want to keep their share of this evergreen market—and they do—publishers must revise, revise, revise. New translations, which are labor- and time-intensive, don’t debut often, and new niche-targeted Bibles have almost disappeared. So while there are several brand new products this year, most publishers are mining their Bible backlists and asking, What can we do to make it fresh? Fortunately for Bible buyers, that means going beyond a flashier cover to rethinking, reediting and reformatting the well-loved text.

“It is a backlist business,” says John Sawyer, v-p of Bible marketing at Zondervan. “People tend to hold on to Bibles, so they are not looking for what is new and hot but what is tried and true. So while we often release new Bibles, the majority of our success is based on the backlist that delivers year after year.”

The New and the Old

Zondervan learned that the hard way this year with the debut of the New Testament in the Today’s New International Version (TNIV) translation, which featured gender-inclusive language and was hammered by many in the evangelical Christian community (“That’s putting it nicely,” Sawyer acknowledges). Still, the brouhaha has not discouraged Zondervan from its plan to bring out new TNIV products, including the complete Bible in 2005, and then moving on to publish its other popular Bibles in the TNIV. The target audience for TNIV product will continue to be younger Christians. “They are more sophisticated and understand the complexities of life, so when a leader of the previous generation comes out against the TNIV, they are more likely to think for themselves,” Sawyer says.

The TNIV aside, Zondervan primarily is focusing on renewing the old. This month brings the release of the company’s all-time bestseller, The NIV Study Bible featuring revised notes and scholarship that took five years to complete. Also redone is The Student Bible, NIV (Aug.), updated with new notes and a subject index by original editors Phillip Yancey and Tim Stafford. The Quest Study Bible (Feb. 2003) has 1,000 new questions submitted by Bible readers to make a total of 8,000 commonly asked questions about the sacred text, and The Full Life Study Bible (Mar. 2003), in both NIV and KJV, has revised notes. All of these Bibles, published between 1992 and 1997, sold between 750,000 and six million copies per title. Despite this enviable track record, the revisions will be vital to future success, Sawyer says.

The focus on revisions doesn’t mean there will be no new Bible product from Zondervan, where niche Bibles once proliferated. The Sports Devotional Bible, a partnership with Sports Spectrum magazine, with covers that look and feel like either a real football or a basketball, was published in July.

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Dale Buss, “Big Brand on Campus,”, 27 January 2003.

If the Western philosophy of higher education hadn’t done it for them already, today’s marketers certainly would have had to invent the modern college campus. There’s simply nowhere else they can find a nearly captive audience of Generation Y-ers, away from home and wide open to a flood of new influences on brand choices that they’ll be making — and, in many cases, sticking with — for years to come. ...

For Bible publisher Harper Collins/Zondervan, the college campus represents perhaps the single most important market for its one-year-old translation of the New Testament, called Today’s New International Version (TNIV). The twist behind the TNIV is that it’s a gender-neutral translation of a decades-old Bible, the New International Version, which is the favorite of conservative Protestants across North America. Many prominent evangelical leaders actually have come out against the TNIV, but Zondervan is hoping to do an end-run around them by popularizing the book on campuses.

“We’re targeting key gatekeepers such as the leaders of local chapters of campus Bible studies and parachurch organizations,” says Chris Doornbos, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Zondervan. “Many of them are working their way through it even now and loving what they’re seeing. And their opinions will be crucial in gaining acceptance for the TNIV going forward” among the Generation Y Christians who will be crucial to the ultimate success of the translation.

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Dale Buss, “Battle of Biblical Proportions,”, 23 June 2003

Imagine trying to sell a 2000-year-old product whose basic elements rarely change. When Zondervan, an evangelical publisher, launched a revised version of the New Testament, spreading the “good word” proved to be a huge challenge — the publishing equivalent of New Coke. But Zondervan is persisting with a long-term strategy.

Norman Burleson has been selling Zondervan Bibles and books for 35 years at his Christian Supply store in Spartanburg, South Carolina. But when his long-time sales rep from Zondervan showed up recently plying a controversial new translation of the New Testament called Today’s New International Version (TNIV), which changes many masculine pronouns into “gender-neutral” terms, Burleson stonewalled him.

“I told him that, by a conservative estimate, I’ve had at least 50 people, mostly pastors or other people in leadership roles in churches, say to me that they don’t want me to carry the TNIV because of how it deals with gender issues,” Burleson says.

But Ernie Martin is gladly selling the TNIV at his Always Whittemore’s bookstores in Needham Heights, Massachusetts. “Some people need as contemporary a language as possible to want to read a Bible,” he says. “The TNIV translators took some liberties with pronouns, but they weren’t liberties of theological significance.”

Such opposing passions are fueling one of the most unusual controversies to hit the book business and mounting one of the stiffest challenges ever to confront a publishing brand.

Zondervan’s publication of the gender-adjusted TNIV New Testament last spring — and its determination to bring out the Old Testament in 2005 — has kicked off a battle of biblical proportions — one that has caught advertising media, retailers, sales reps and other intermediaries in the crossfire. The maelstrom has featured dueling polemics by major figures of American Christendom, warring monographs by biblical scholars and differing interpretations of what the gospel writer Luke really meant when he wrote, “If your brother sins against you.”

Right now, Zondervan is in the midst of trying to evaluate the status of the brand after the rough greeting received by its TNIV New Testament (the Christian addition to the Scriptures). At the same time, it’s plotting a strategy for rolling out the Old Testament portion in the form of an entire TNIV Bible.

Launching in two parts will allow Zondervan to learn from the first launch. “It’s an opportunity: Would Gillette want to be able to produce half of a razor, and introduce it and see how it was going?” asks Doug Lockhart, vice president of Bible marketing for Zondervan. “I’m sure they would. Well, we have a product that isn’t completely done but is enough developed to see how it fares in the marketplace.”

But some in the industry insist that Zondervan can’t like what it sees so far with the TNIV. “Zondervan has run into more controversy than they anticipated with this,” says Bill Anderson, president of the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA), a Nashville-based trade group for Christian book and music stores and publishers.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for Zondervan, a 72-year-old house that was acquired in 1988 by HarperCollins, now the giant mainstream-publishing arm of News Corp. “It’s been one of HarperCollins’ most profitable units, and it’s their access into the CBA market, which other trade publishers have been moving into because it’s a huge and growing segment,” explains Lynn Garrett, religion editor of Publishers Weekly.

At least two unusual factors are at work here. The first is that, in the Bible market, it’s legitimate to expect a generation to transpire before a new translation really takes hold with the faithful — so, in a way, Zondervan has plenty of time to play out its TNIV strategy. On the other hand, the folks who most staunchly oppose the TNIV tend to be the very same conservative evangelical Christians who are the best customers for Zondervan’s existing mainstay Bible, the New International Version (NIV). The NIV has swallowed 45 percent of the US Bible market since its debut 30 years ago, largely because of its reputation for literal translation.

So the TNIV is the Bible-publishing equivalent of New Coke — only the outcome is in doubt.

Despite the risks of becoming analogous to New Coke, Zondervan made the plunge with the TNIV, implementing a branding and go-to-market strategy that operates at four levels. First, it is trying to bypass Christian bookstores by pursuing mass merchandisers, youth-market opinion leaders, and PR successes. Second, it is continuing to hammer away with its reps at the store and chain level. Third, it is pledging the patience to wait for long-term success with a new generation of believers.

“When the TNIV is completed [New and Old Testaments, in 2005], there will be 40 million Americans aged 10 to 20 years old, and most of them will have grown through elementary and junior high school reading other things that are very inclusive in how they treat gender,” says Cris Doornbos, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Zondervan, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “We believe this is the bulls-eye market that will like this product.”

The fourth level of Zondervan’s approach — and perhaps the boldest — is to use the TNIV New Testament as a bit of a decoy. Executives hope that the TNIV’s zealous opposition will have expended all of their flack by the time the Old Testament, which makes up about two-thirds of Scripture, debuts.

The cost of promulgating a new Bible translation often has been steep. Sixteenth-century reformer William Tyndale, for example, was tied to a stake, strangled, and then burned for translating the New Testament and a portion of the Old Testament into English from the original Greek and Hebrew sources. Even the NIV wasn’t greeted warmly at first by evangelicals.

Doornbos says that the TNIV was created by essentially the same group of scholars who translated the NIV, a not-for-profit group called the International Bible Society (IBS), and that they were operating from the same impulse “to combine the accuracy of the original Greek and Hebrew with the clarity of the receiving English of today.” He notes that the TNIV has changed “only” 7 percent of the NIV and that more than two-thirds of the modifications (such as using “coat” instead of “tunic”) haven’t caused a stir.

But the other 30 percent of the changes deal with gender, and they have made TNIV a lightning rod, electrifying an underlying matrix of tensions within evangelicalism itself. Like most of the major religions, Christianity is a highly patriarchal faith, starting with God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son but also continuing right down through the popes, Martin Luther and Billy Graham. Bibles’ use of the singular-masculine pronoun syntax of traditional English has complemented the male dominance. Yet as in the general culture, the last few decades have brought a persistent debate to evangelicalism about the historical and current roles of women.

Here’s an example of a change that particularly riles TNIV’s opponents. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons,” says the NIV translation in rendering Hebrews 12:7. “For what son is not disciplined by his father?” But TNIV translates that passage, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents?” That translation, goes the critique, loses the reference to God as Father.

Zondervan and its allies insist that, with TNIV, they’re simply trying to make the Bible more relevant. “There’s never been any pandering to political correctness,” insists Larry Lincoln, IBS communications director. “These [translators] are conservative, evangelical Christians just like many of the opponents.”

But others insist that most of the impulse for “gender-corrected” scripture has come from liberals in the church. “The words that God has spoken have a meaning that should not be tampered with, no matter how strong the cultural winds blow,” says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a major “parachurch” ministry based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Much of the support for “inclusive language,” he says, “comes at the beckoning call of the politically correct movement and feminists.”

What further riles foes is that they thought they already had nipped TNIV in the bud. At a 1997 meeting at the Colorado Springs, Colorado headquarters of Focus on the Family, IBS scholars and Zondervan’s then-president agreed not to go the gender-correction route in a revision of the NIV. “But then a few years later,” recalls IBS’s Lincoln, “we realized that that had actually contradicted our mandate of spreading God’s word and providing readable scripture.”

Zondervan erred by not tipping off opponents in the meantime that TNIV was still aborning, says a marketing source close to Zondervan. The failure to do so only added to their indignation once Zondervan announced late in 2001 that it was, in fact, coming out with a gender-revised TNIV. Opponents struck back by placing an ad in a number of Christian magazines that proffered a scathing critique of TNIV. The ad was endorsed by 100 of the most esteemed leaders in Christendom, including James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family; Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministry; and Reverend Pat Robertson. While fueling a short-term surge in purchases by the curious, the gambit threatened the very viability of the TNIV.

Zondervan also has demonstrated a willingness to play rough with its critics. For example, incensed when Charisma and Christian Retailing ran the scathing “list of 100” anti-TNIV ad last year [2002], Zondervan pulled its advertising from issues of the two magazines even though they are main conduits to the trade. Further, Zondervan threatened to end any advertising in all six magazines published by Strang Communications.

There isn’t much Zondervan can do about some stores that already have decided not to carry TNIV, such as the Lifeway chain operated by the Southern Baptist Convention, which denominationally opposes the translation. But overall, Zondervan believes that its four-tiered strategy gradually will turn the tables in favor of TNIV.

At the level of interaction with Christian bookstores, Zondervan has been backing TNIV in several unprecedented ways. It began a propaganda campaign with retail outlets more than a year ago, peppering store managers, owners and chain executives first with a brochure, then an entire packet of information including flyers to hand out to consumers, followed by a series of faxes and, last fall, the insertion of an eight-page, magazine-style advertorial about TNIV in the industry’s leading trade publication, CBA Marketplace. A website explains Zondervan’s views on gender neutrality. And the chain’s “front-liner” campaign attempts to persuade bookstore employees with a new version of a CD-ROM and a booklet that give advice on helping consumers navigate the many choices in Bibles.

Zondervan also thoroughly briefed its 29 Bible salespeople about how to present TNIV and handle tough questions from bookstore personnel. Yet Zondervan hasn’t added incentives for selling the book. “We need to tread a fine line between acknowledging the differences and trying to pretend it’s just like any other translation,“ Doornbos concedes.

Ted Haggard endorses the TNIV“I have a passion for making sure today’s generation hears God’s Word in its most clear and accurate form. The TNIV assures that today’s English reader will get the message, understand it, and be able to apply its transforming power to their lives.”

–Ted Haggard
Senior Pastor
New Life Church

On a second level, Doornbos is trying to outsmart his foes by going around them. Zondervan has launched a massive public-relations campaign that features a beefed-up review-and-giveaway program; endorsements by its own phalanx of top figures in Christendom, including Philip Yancey, a popular Christian (and Zondervan) author; and a 35-page, 86-footnote scholarly defense of TNIV. Zondervan is disappointed that it hasn’t gotten more sympathetic coverage of TNIV from liberal news-media members to offset reports such as one by Fox News last year that said it was “trying to change the gender of God,” according to the source close to Zondervan.

Zondervan also is trying to broaden distribution beyond the polarized CBA market by tapping into huge secular retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Inc., which have been important outlets for crossover hits such as the Left Behind series of Christian fiction, published by Tyndale House, and Multnomah’s The Prayer of Jabez.

And Zondervan is directly pursuing “key gatekeepers” who it believes, over the long haul, could influence many Christians in favor of TNIV. It already has sent tens of thousands of copies of the TNIV New Testament to pastors, educators and other church leaders and is trying to put copies of the testament in the hands of leaders of youth organizations who, it hopes, then will endorse it to their members. Because it aims to make TNIV the Bible of preference for today’s youth, Zondervan also is planning to lean heavily on computer and Internet-based versions of the translation once it launches the entire Bible.

Doornbos won’t reveal marketing expenditures, sales results or how they matched initial expectations for TNIV. But he insists that Zondervan’s high hopes for TNIV remain. “It’s meeting needs in the way that we expected it to,” he says. “And, once the whole translation comes out, our expectations for the future are much larger.”

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Dale Buss, “Battle of Biblical Proportions: The Cost of a Gender-Neutral Bible,”, 27 June 2003.

HarperCollins’s purchase of Zondervan Corp. in 1988 has paid off handsomely, in huge profits in the fast-growing Christian-publishing market. But these days, Zondervan/HarperCollins is also dealing with a self-made dilemma that would challenge Solomon: how to promote simultaneously both the most beloved literal translation of the Bible, the New International Version (NIV), and the most polarizing new rendering, the gender-adjusted Today’s New International Version (TNIV).

The closeness of the acronyms is part of the story: In business terms, it’s somewhat akin to trying to sell New Coke and traditional Coke to the same audience. And we know what happened to New Coke.

This summer, Zondervan is kicking off a huge celebration of the 30th anniversary of NIV with an unprecedented six-figure marketing budget. The New International Version was produced by scholars working under the auspices of the not-for-profit International Bible Society, in an effort to combine accessible English with the accuracy of the original Greek and Hebrew. It has swallowed up 45% of the U.S. Bible market alone.

More than that, NIV has managed to ensconce itself as the mainstay translation of the American evangelical Protestant community, which had been clinging to the 400-year-old King James Version.

But Zondervan couldn’t leave well enough alone, apparently, deciding to make its own entry in the gender-corrected Bible sweepstakes that has been going on for at least a generation. It introduced the New Testament portion of TNIV early last year and plans to bring out the Old Testament in 2005.

In the TNIV New Testament, many masculine singular pronouns have become generic and plural. For example, here’s how NIV renders Hebrews 12:7: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” But TNIV translates that passage this way: “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their parents?” The new version, goes the critique, loses the crucial reference to God as Father.

Similarly, in Luke 17:3, translators changed “If your brother sins, rebuke him” to “If any brother or sister sins against you, rebuke the offender.” The problem, critics say, is that “sister” isn’t found in the original language, nor is “against you,” nor is “offender.” And on and on.

To some extent, TNIV is tapping into tensions within the evangelical community. Biblical translations featuring the singular masculine pronoun of traditional English have always complemented the patriarchal nature of Christianity itself. Yet as in the general culture, the past few decades have brought a debate to evangelicalism about the historical and current roles of women.

In any event, to many evangelicals, TNIV is redolent of cultural drift, radical feminism and political correctness. A hundred conservative Christian leaders—including the Rev. Pat Robertson, Charles Colson and James Dobson—placed an ad in Christian magazines last year that was highly critical of TNIV. Many were especially piqued because executives at Zondervan had agreed in 1997 not to proceed with a “gender corrected” translation and then, in 2001, sprang the announcement of TNIV.

Officials of the International Bible Society—which is producing TNIV just as it did NIV—explain that they and Zondervan executives ultimately felt compelled to spread the Gospel using what they believe would prove a highly effective new tool. Zondervan executives say they are only trying to reach young readers accustomed to gender neutrality in everything else. And they note that only 30% of the changes from NIV concern gender; the rest are generic improvements—changing “tunic” to “coat,” for example.

What outsiders really can’t understand is why Zondervan decided to make the gender-corrected version a brand extension of NIV. As pure marketing strategy, it’s schizophrenic. And, given the outright banning of TNIV by many evangelical independent bookstores and some chains, sales are off to an impeded start.

“I doubt it’ll be successful,” says the Rev. Daniel Lewis, an author and the pastor of Troy Christian Chapel, in Troy, Mich. “In the end, the risk is there—and it might even be high—that they’ll lose some traditional loyalty to the NIV too.”

Company executives aren’t second-guessing themselves publicly as they plunge ahead with plans for marketing the entire TNIV once it is completed. They’re hoping critics will have vented all their spleen by 2005. “It’s an opportunity,” says Doug Lockhart, Zondervan’s vice president of Bible marketing. “Would Gillette want to be able to produce half of a razor and introduce it and see how it was going?”

But Mr. Lockhart and his colleagues also know that the cost of promulgating a new Bible translation can be steep. Sixteenth-century reformer William Tyndale, for example, was tied to a stake, strangled and then burned for it. We live in a different world today, of course, but there is probably a business equivalent.

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David Klinghoffer, “A Feast of Good Books,” Publishers Weekly, 11 October 2004

Chasing Youth

Paul Caminiti, Zondervan’s v-p and publisher of Bibles, is particularly distressed about the spiritual trends at work in the ages 18–34 demographic. The company has split its Bible division in two, with an “18–34 team” and a “35–55 team,” the emphasis decidedly on the former group. Said Caminiti, “Our research finds that 40% of kids who grow up in a church are choosing to leave church on graduating from high school.” In response, this coming February the publisher will initiate what it calls the biggest Bible launch in history—unveiling the complete Today’s New International Version (TNIV). The TNIV New Testament appeared in 2002. The earlier NIV (New International Version), which the TNIV updates, remains the topselling translation (and will still be a core product for Zondervan), according to CBA, the trade association of Christian retailers (though a Barna Group survey finds that people are much more likely actually to read the old King James Version, by 5 to 1).

With the completion of translation work on the entire scriptural text, Zondervan will simultaneously bring out nine separate new TNIV Bibles in 24 separate SKUs, with variations in style, color and format. There is a women’s Bible, True Identity, and a men’s Bible, Strive. Aimed at younger readers, there is a pocket Bible that, said Caminiti, “will fit in someone’s cargo pants.” There is a condensed Bible, The Story, leaving out the more inaccessible parts of Scripture (Leviticus comes to mind), reading “much more like a novel” and including “Tolkienesque” maps.

The TNIV translation, 10 years in the making, is itself targeted at the 18–34 age range. Caminiti said the youthful demographic group cares about accuracy and clarity, but also about a more modern concern. TNIV is a “gender accurate” translation, meant to avoid excluding female readers. Thus, for example, the translation will often substitute “they” or “them” for “he” or “him.”

Courting Controversy

When the TNIV New Testament was released two years ago, this feature worried some conservative Christians. TNIV’s intended constituency is itself conservative and evangelical, yet the Southern Baptist Convention denounced Zondervan “for this inaccurate translation of God’s inspired Scripture.” The SBC-owned LifeWay Christian Stores chain, along with some independent Christian stores, has said it will not sell TNIV Bibles.

Caminiti responded that the translation is much more conservative than critics say: “These people who are making these judgments are not linguists. Some of these stores have been misinformed.” To illustrate, he cited instances where other translations and paraphrases popular with evangelicals (Tyndale’s New Living Translation, The Message from NavPress) blur gender, but the TNIV retains the traditional masculine language—“my son” as opposed to “my child,” for instance, in Proverbs 3:1.

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Zondervan Press Release, 4 February 2005.

Zondervan and International Bible Society Release Full-Text TNIV, Marking the Largest Bible Translation Launch in History. Broad assortment of TNIV Bibles are aimed at reaching 18- to 34-year-olds.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ — Taking aim at reaching the next generation of Christians as well as the spiritually-intrigued, Zondervan and International Bible Society today announced the release of a new Bible translation, the TNIV (Today’s New International Version). Nine different TNIV Bibles will be available in stores nationwide this week, making the TNIV the largest Bible translation launch in history.

Zondervan, the world’s leading Christian communications company, is the commercial publisher of the TNIV. International Bible Society (IBS), a global Bible translation and outreach ministry, is the copyright holder. Zondervan and IBS are bringing the TNIV to market after ten years of rigorous translation by the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT) — the same independent committee that translated the most popular English Bible translation, the NIV (New International Version), which was first released more than 30 years ago.

“The TNIV is at the heart of our mission to engage the next generation with God’s Word, and we believe it will quickly become apparent that these TNIV Bibles — with their accurate, modern language and their creative design — will intrigue today’s generation with the Bible,” said Paul Caminiti, Zondervan vice president and associate publisher of Bibles.

The TNIV launch includes men’s and women’s Bibles, pocket Bibles and even the Bible written as a novel. They are all designed with compelling formats to engage the minds and hearts of 18- to 34-year-olds, who are more spiritually intrigued than any other age demographic but are leaving the church in large numbers, according to statistics.

“Research shows that a huge percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds believe the Bible is relevant to their lives, but most don’t read it. Our challenge is to engage them with God’s Word, using language that they can understand. We believe the TNIV is essential in this effort.”

Citing statistics from a national Harris Interactive poll, Zondervan reported that 77 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds preferred the TNIV text to the NIV and 72 percent said they found the language of the TNIV easier to understand than the NIV. Research conducted by Zondervan revealed that 85 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said they would want a copy of the complete TNIV when it releases.

“We are absolutely passionate about this translation, and while some of the most well-known evangelical scholars, professors, authors and Bible teachers in the world have endorsed it, our most important measure is the hundreds of people, many in the 18- to 34-year-old range, who have written to say, ‘This is a great translation; this is a great evangelism tool; this is the translation I’ve been waiting for,’” said Steve Johnson, IBS group vice president, Americas.

The TNIV has been in development for nearly a decade under the direction of the CBT, a fully independent group of evangelical scholars from around the world. CBT members come from such renowned institutions as Fuller Theological Seminary, Wheaton Graduate School, Reformed Theological Seminary and Calvin Theological Seminary, as well as international universities such as Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, and Spurgeon’s College in London, England.

The CBT is the same body that translated the bestselling and most read NIV. Given that the English language is constantly changing and the NIV was first published more than 30 years ago, the CBT saw the need to produce a text that more accurately reflects today’s language, as well as new advances in biblical scholarship.

“The TNIV is the biggest Bible translation launch in history, based on the breadth of products offered, the retail sell-in, and the national marketing effort,” said Caminiti. “We know there is a need for this translation and we’re thrilled to begin reaching today’s generation with God’s Word in compelling, innovative formats, all supported by a translation that is uncompromisingly accurate and absolutely faithful to the original biblical texts.”

Zondervan launched an innovative consumer marketing campaign to support the TNIV with advertisements in magazines like Rolling Stone and Modern Bride and online properties such as, and — places where 18- to 34-year-olds can be reached.


In addition to hardcover and softcover editions of the full TNIV Bible, the initial product launch includes the following product line-up:

A first for any Bible translation, the TNIV text Bibles also feature universal pagination for every type and size of Bible. This makes group study, reference and teaching easier because everyone with a TNIV text Bible will literally be on the same page.

“Our product development team has worked tirelessly to come up with the right product mix to meet the needs of consumers in the 18- to 34-year-old age group,” said Ben Irwin, 28-year-old product development manager for the Bible group at Zondervan. “We already know the majority of this audience prefers the text of the TNIV. We think they will also like the binding styles and other product options that will be available for this text.”

“There is no doubt about the need to reach this quickly disengaging age group. And their desire for a Bible translation that combines accuracy, reliability and readability is unquestionable,” said Johnson. “With advancements in biblical scholarship, updated language and gender clarity, the TNIV is a new translation that will engage today’s younger generation with God’s Word.”

About Zondervan

Zondervan is the leading Christian communications company in the world. Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, produces Bibles, books, new media products, gift products from its Inspirio group and children’s products from its Zonderkidz group. The world’s leading Bible publisher, Zondervan holds exclusive North American publishing rights to the New International Version of the Bible, the bestselling modern English translation in the world. More than 215 million copies of the NIV have been sold and distributed worldwide. Visit Zondervan on the web at or the TNIV website at .