The WELS adopted a resolution in 1977 to authorize the use of the NIV 1984 for publication purposes. In the last two years a new version of the NIV was prepared to take the place of the older version. The revision became available online first in November 2010 and then in print in March 2011.
To study thoroughly the NIV2011 translation and evaluate other translations, WELS President Rev. Mark Schroeder has appointed the Translation Evaluation Committee (TEC). Members of the committee include Rev. Paul Wendland, president of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary; Rev. Ken Cherney, professor at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary; Rev. Tom Nass, professor at Martin Luther College; Rev. Joel Petermann, president of the North Atlantic District; and Rev. John Braun, vice president at Northwestern Publishing House.
The last synod convention determined that a vote will be taken at all district conventions this summer. This vote will not adopt an "official" WELS translation. Rather, it will be a vote to determine which translation will be used in WELS publications (although that decision will likely cause any translation chosen to be the one most widely used by congregations). As directed by the convention, the synod presidium will prepare a ballot for use in the voting. A two-thirds majority of all votes cast will be necessary for a translation to be chosen next summer. If that majority is not achieved, then the decision will pass to the synod convention in 2013.
For a church body like ours, which stands firmly and consistently on the sola scriptura (Scripture alone) principle of the Lutheran Reformation, few decisions can be more important. That is why we are joining our synod in studying this important issue. Below are four lessons of a Bible study prepared by Rev. Joel Petermann (a member of the WELS Translation Evaluation Committee) that will help us understand the principles involved in translating the Bible and provide us with tools we can use in evaluating different translations of the Bible. Both the student materials and the leader's guides are provided.
May God bless our study of his Word to the glory of his Name and for the benefit of his kingdom.