Fact Check: Breaking Down the Claim That HarperCollins Removed 45 Complete Verses from NIV Bible

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HarperCollins, which owns the publishing company that holds the U.S. rights to the NIV Bible, removed 45 complete verses from it.


Rating: False
Rating: False


The verses weren't "removed" from the NIV Bible, according to its publisher; they were relocated to same-page footnotes in order to distinguish between older and newer versions of biblical texts.


In 2024, a nearly decade-old meme began to spread across Facebook claiming that 45 complete verses had been removed from the New International Version Bible by HarperCollins, its publisher:


We previously fact-checked this claim in 2015, when the meme first began to circulate on the social media platform. We found in that fact check that the verses had not, in fact, been removed.

When we reached out to Zondervan, the Christian publishing company owned by HarperCollins that publishes the NIV Bible in the U.S., a representative directed us to a PolitiFact article that rated the claim about "removed verses" false.

What we now know as the Bible is a compilation of many books written in different times and places. Translating the books from their original languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) has often been extremely difficult. The USC Viterbi School of Engineering called the task time-consuming and labor-intensive in a 2023 article, pointing out that translators often have to explain concepts that have no meaning in certain cultures. There are hundreds of known versions of the Bible in the English language alone. The New International Version, the King James Version and the New Standard Version are three of the most popular. There are notable differences between all of them. 

In a 2015 Facebook comment, Zondervan addressed complaints about the so-called "missing verses" in the NIV, writing that some verses were converted to footnotes in order to distinguish the verses that weren't verifiable in the most reliable biblical manuscripts the translators had available at the time:

Often times, readers will come across what they feel are "missing verses" in their NIV Bible. These verses, however, are not really missing. They are included in the footnotes on the same page of the Bible where the "missing" passage is located. During the exacting translation process for the NIV Bible, some verses were found not to be included in the oldest or most reliable manuscripts that the NIV translators had available to use. Most of these manuscripts were discovered after the King James Version was first translated, some 400 years ago. When those verses could not be verified by the more reliable or older manuscripts, the NIV translators moved them to a footnote to reflect greater accuracy.

Please be assured that your NIV Bible is extremely accurate, trustworthy and reliable. Additional information on the translation process and use of footnotes is located in the Preface of your NIV Bible. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Biblica, the company that licenses the publishing rights to the NIV to Zondervan, also discussed the claim on its website, in similar terms:

The verses or phrases that appeared in the KJV, but have been "omitted" in most trusted translations today, are not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts. Modern translators include or reference them in footnotes. These footnotes are intended to help the reader understand that certain perceived differences in the text are due to improved biblical scholarship. The treatment of these verses has not changed recently and reflects a consensus among the majority of Bible scholars.

We've previously fact-checked other claims about the Bible, including the rumor U.S. President Joe Biden said he "almost wanted to buy [a Bible] just to see what the hell's in it."


Anderson, Avery. "To the Ends of the Earth: Bringing the Bible to Languages Never Before Reached." USC Viterbi | School of Engineering, https://viterbischool.usc.edu/news/2023/06/to-the-ends-of-the-earth-bringing-the-bible-to-languages-never-before-reached/. Accessed 11 June 2024.

"HarperCollins at 200." HarperCollins Publishers, https://200.hc.com/?post_type=post&p=1362. Accessed 11 June 2024.

Johnson, Jesse. "Farewell, NIV." The Cripplegate, https://thecripplegate.com/farewell-niv/. Accessed 11 June 2024.

Liles, Jordan. "Did Biden Say of the Bible, 'I Almost Wanted to Buy One Just to See What the Hell's in It'?" Snopes, 26 Apr. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/biden-trump-bible-quote/.

The 2011 Revision of the NIV. https://www.bible-researcher.com/niv.2011.html. Accessed 11 June 2024.

When Was the Bible Written? | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/question/When-was-the-Bible-written. Accessed 10 June 2024.