Hebrews 11:11 – All Messed Up in the NIVs
There is no Greek text anywhere that allows the NIV bible to render the text of Hebrews 11:11 the way they have it.
King James Bible – Hebrews 11:11 “Through faith also SARA HERSELF received strength to conceive seed, AND WAS DELIVERED OF A CHILD when SHE was past age, because SHE judged him faithful who had promised.”
The NIV editions of 1973, 1978 and 1984 editions say: “By faith ABRAHAM, even though HE WAS PAST AGE – AND SARAH HERSELF WAS BARREN – was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because HE considered him faithful who had made the promise.”
In the NIV 1973, 1978 and 1984 editions the subject is Abraham and not Sarah and it is Abraham who became a father, rather than Sarah who conceives seed, bears a child and believes God. By the way, there is not a known Greek manuscript on this earth that even has the words “Abraham” nor “become a father” in this verse at all!
NASB “By faith even SARAH herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”
ESV – “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.”
Dan Wallace and company’s goofy NET version reads differently than them all, not following any particular Greek text (Not the UBS, Nestle-Aland, Majority nor the Textus Receptus) and says:
“By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and HE was too old, HE received the ability to procreate, because HE regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.”
So the NET version introduces Abraham three times in the verse, when all the others refer to Sarah who was too old and Sarah who received strength and Sarah who believed God – NOT Abraham.
NKJV 1982 – “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, AND SHE BORE A CHILD when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
In the KJB, NKJV, RV, ASV, RSV, ESV, NASB, Message, Darby, Youngs, NEB, Berkeley, ISV, Common English bible, Complete Jewish Bible and just about every Bible version out there in any language it is always Sarah who receives strength to conceive seed and Sarah who was past age and it is Sarah who believes God.
Something is surely amiss here in the NIV, and this obvious blunder was not just an oversight or printing error. The NIVs continued with the same made up reading through three different editions – 1973, 1978 and 1984.
In addition to this, the KJB and NKJV textually have a phrase – “AND WAS DELIVERED OF A CHILD” – which is not found in the RSV, NASB, ESV. The Greek word translated as “was delivered of a child” is found in the Majority of all remaining Greek texts and in Sinaiticus correction and D correction, but is omitted in many modern versions that are based on the ever changing UBS texts.
“AND WAS DELIVERED OF A CHILD”
The phrase IS found in Tyndale 1525 – “and was delivered of a chyld”, Coverdale 1535, The Great Bible 1540, Matthew’s Bible 1549, the Bishops’ Bible 1568, the Geneva Bible 1587- “and was deliuered of a childe when she was past age”, The Beza N.T. 1599, Mace N.T. 1729, Thomson Translation 1808, Webster’s 1833, The Revised N.T. 1862,The Revised English Bible 1877, The Clarke N.T. 1913, The Moffat Translation 1913, The NKJV 1982, The Word of Yah Bible 1993, the KJV 21st Century 1994, The Third Millennium Bible 1998, The Koster Scriptures 1998, God’s First Truth 1999, The Last Days N.T. 1999, Green’s literal 2000, World English Bible 2000, The Tomson N.T. 2002, Complete Apostles’ Bible 2003, The Mebust Bible 2007, The Jubilee Bible 2010, The Hebrew Transliteration Scripture 2010, Bond Slave Version 2012, The Modern English Version 2014 and the Modern Literal New Testament 2014.
It is also the reading found in Lamsa’s translation of the Syriac Peshitta – “AND WAD DELIVERED OF A CHILD when she was past age”.
Foreign Language Bibles
Also including the phrase “and was delivered of a child” are the French Martin 1744 and the French Ostervald 1996 – “Par la foi aussi Sara reçut la vertu de concevoir un enfant, et elle enfanta hors d’âge”, Martin Luther’s German Bible 1545 and the German Schlachter of 2000 – “Durch den Glauben empfing auch Sara Kraft, daß sie schwanger ward, und gebar über die Zeit ihres Alters”, the Italian Diodati 1649 and New Diodati 1991 – “e partorì fuor d’età”, the Spanish Sagradas Escrituras 1569 and Spanish Reina Valera 1602, 1858, 1909, 1960, 1995 -“Por la fe también la misma Sara, siendo estéril recibió fuerza para concebir generación; y dio a luz aun fuera del tiempo de la edad, porque creyó ser fiel el que lo había prometido.”, the Russian Victor Zhuromsky, the Chinese Union Traditional Bible, the Portuguese A Biblia Sagrada em Portugués, and the Almeida Corrigida E Fiel – “e deu à luz já fora da idade”
and the Modern Greek N.T. – “Δια πιστεως και αυτη η Σαρρα ελαβε δυναμιν εις το να συλλαβη σπερμα και παρα καιρον ηλικιας εγεννησεν”
Well, guess what! Now the new New International Version of 2011 has come out and it goes back to the correct reading saying: “And by faith even SARAH, WHO WAS PAST CHILDBEARING AGE, WAS ENABLED TO BEAR CHILDREN BECAUSE SHE considered him faithful who had made the promise.”
Let’s contrast the two very different readings found in the various NIVs so you can see the differences.
NIV 1973, 1978 and 1984 editions – “By faith ABRAHAM, even though HE WAS PAST AGE – AND SARAH HERSELF WAS BARREN – was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because HE considered him faithful who had made the promise.”
NIV 2011 edition – “And by faith even SARAH, WHO WAS PAST CHILDBEARING AGE, WAS ENABLED TO BEAR CHILDREN BECAUSE SHE considered him faithful who had made the promise.”
The NIV Spanish edition (La Nueva Versión Internacional) of 1999 and the 2000 Portuguese NIV (Nova Versão Internacional) both STILL read like the NIV 1984 English edition with – “Por la fe Abraham, a pesar de su avanzada edad y de que Sara misma era estéril, recibió fuerza para tener hijos”, Portuguese NIV – “Pela fé Abraão — e também a própria Sara, apesar de estéril e avançada em idade — recebeu poder para gerar um filho”.
If you want to learn a lot more about the ever changing NIVs see – What About the “New” NIV of 2011?
If you read English and want The Bible with ALL the God inspired words in it and with the correct meaning every time, then get yourself the Bible God has used more than any other – the King James Holy Bible. It is always right!