NLT Bible Version - Opinions?

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Aug 9, 2018.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Are you against the NLT, or do you just not prefer it? Thanks!
  2. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    It’s certainly better than the Message, and can be helpful for younger children and those who are less familiar with formal
    English, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary translation.
  3. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I use the latest NLT as a poor man's commentary sometimes. It does not read as Scripture to me, but is suitable for a quick look when wanting a commentary.
  4. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I think it is good, as Bill noted, for people with poor reading comprehension. I've given a copy to someone who would have been challenged by an AV, ESV etc ....
  5. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Are the scholars doctrinally sound?
  6. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    A few among the list are recognizable (including PB's own Ian Duguid):
    Daniel I. Block
    Barry J. Beitzel
    John N. Oswalt
    Grant R. Osborne
    Norman R. Ericson

    Andrew Schmutzer
    Allen P. Ross
    John N. Oswalt
    William C. Williams
    Gerald L. Mattingly
    Eugene H. Merrill
    Joseph Coleson
    Carl E. Armerding
    Joseph Coleson
    Sean A. Harrison
    1 & 2 SAMUEL
    Victor P. Hamilton
    1 & 2 KINGS
    Richard D. Patterson
    1 & 2 CHRONICLES
    August Konkel
    Gary V. Smith
    Dale A. Brueggemann
    Willem VanGemeren
    Tremper Longman III
    Sean A. Harrison
    Daniel C. Fredericks
    Daniel C. Fredericks
    Tremper Longman III
    Willem VanGemeren
    G. Herbert Livingston
    Iain Duguid
    Eugene Carpenter
    Owen Dickens
    William C. Williams
    Carl E. Armerding
    G. Patrick LaCosse
    Eugene Carpenter
    Richard D. Patterson
    Andrew Hill
    Scot McKnight
    Robert Stein
    Mark Strauss
    Gary M. Burge
    Allison Trites
    Douglas J. Moo
    Roger Mohrlang
    Ralph P. Martin
    Sean A. Harrison
    Roger Mohrlang
    Douglas J. Moo
    Gene L. Green
    1 & 2 TIMOTHY, TITUS
    Jon Laansma
    George Guthrie
    Norman R. Ericson
    1 & 2 Peter, JUDE
    Douglas J. Moo
    1—3 JOHN
    Phillip W. Comfort
    Gerald Borchert
    Tremper Longman III
    Roger Mohrlang
    Daniel I. Block
    Eugene Carpenter
    Phillip W. Comfort
    Iain Duguid
    Sean A. Harrison
    Tremper Longman III
    Douglas J. Moo
    Grant R. Osborne
    Richard D. Patterson
    Daniel H. Williams
    William C. Williams

    James A. Swanson
    Keith Williams

    Sean A. Harrison

    Mark D. Taylor

    David P. Barrett
    G. Patrick LaCosse
    Bradley J. Lewis
    Henry M. Whitney III
    Keith Williams

    Linda Schlafer

    Keith Williams, Coordinator
    Leanne Roberts, Proofreading Coordinator
    Paul Adams
    Jason Driesbach
    Adam Graber
    Annette Hayward
    Judy Modica
    Jonathan Schindler
    Caleb Sjogren
    Cindy Szponder
    Lisa Voth
    Matthew Wolf

    Kenneth N. Taylor

    The NLT Study Bible has over a million extra words of notes, diagrams, charts, articles, etc.

    See also:

    A few teasers from the NLT (src:

    Isaiah 7:7-9
    The Hebrew text is almost cryptic in its poetic structure. The KJV, NKJV, NASB, and NIV all translate the passage quite literally, including the repetition of “head” in verses 8 and 9. In this instance, the NLT chooses to translate the meaning of the metaphor “head.” Commentators agree that twice it refers to the capitals of two countries (Syria and Israel), and twice it refers to the kings of these countries. Furthermore, the NLT clarifies that Isaiah is speaking of the weakness of these kings. For the benefit of the reader, the NLT also uses the more familiar term “Israel” rather than the literal term “Ephraim” (verses 8 and 9). And the NLT clarifies in verse 9 that the “son of Remeliah” is in fact “Pekah son of Remeliah.”

    7 Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.
    8 For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within three score and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people
    9 And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is Remeliah’s son. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.

    7 But this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “This invasion will never happen; it will never take place;
    8 for Syria is no stronger than its capital, Damascus, and Damascus is no stronger than its king, Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be crushed and completely destroyed.
    9 Israel is no stronger than its capital, Samaria, and Samaria is no stronger than its king, Pekah son of Remeliah. Unless your faith is firm, I cannot make you stand firm.”

    2 Corinthians 8:6-7
    The Greek word charisis usually translated “grace,” but it has a wide range of meanings. In this passage (verses 6 and 7) it relates to the offering the Corinthian church was collecting to send to the struggling believers in Judea. KJV and NKJV use the word “grace,” which is potentially misleading. NASB and NIV hint at the broader meaning here by using the phrases “gracious work” (NASB) and “act of grace” and “grace of giving” (NIV). NLT clarifies the act of grace by using the phrases “ministry of giving” and “gracious act of giving.”

    Paul gives a list of attributes in which the Corinthian church excels (verse 7). The second item in the list is the Greek word logos, which usually means “word.” KJV and NASB render it “utterance,” and NKJVand NIV render it “speech.” Both are correct, but Paul seems to have a very specific thought in mind, so the NLT translators chose to use the term “gifted speakers.”

    There’s a significant textual variance in verse 7. Did Paul write about“ your love for us” or “our love for you”? KJV, NKJV, and NIV all follow the Greek text that reads “your love for us.” NASB and NLT both follow the Greek text that reads “our love for you.” Note the textual footnotes.

    6 In so much that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
    7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.

    6 So we have encouraged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.
    7 Since you excel in so many ways —in your faith, your gifted speakers,your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us* —I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.
    *8:7 Some manuscripts read your love for us.

    Proverbs 5:15-17
    These verses give us a Hebrew wisdom saying that is rich in imagery. Commentators agree that these verses are about faithfulness to one’s wife, but that meaning is lost if the words are translated literally. Most translations, however, simply translate the words, yielding a rendering that most readers will not understand. The NLT retains some of the imagery of each verse, but then drives home the meaning of the passage in very clear language. The NLT renders a literal translation in footnotes to assist readers who are comparing the NLT with other translations.


    15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
    16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

    15 Drink water from your own well—share your love only with your wife.*
    16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?*
    *5:15 Hebrew Drink water from yourown cistern, / flowing water from your own well.
    *5:16 Hebrew Why spill your springs in the streets, / your streams in the city squares?

    As I noted earlier, for me, the NLT reads like a commentary, sometimes good, sometimes quite bad.

    Lastly, see the FAQs for some useful information:
  7. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Their chronological Bible is great!
  8. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Freshman

    Just to clarify, I worked on the NLT Study Bible, not the translation itself. Different translations have value for different purposes. It's on the paraphrase end of the spectrum (though not nearly as much as the old Living Bible, with which it shares only a name). As such, it tends to be an easier read for those who struggle with English, or who are looking for a different translation for a rapid read through of the Bible. It wouldn't be good for doing word studies. A preacher could work with it, though you would find yourself saying often "Now what the original Greek says here is this..." I don't think you'd find more doctrinal issues than any other translation. But it wouldn't be ideal in my estimation.
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  9. KMK

    KMK Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for this, Dr. Duguid. I had always assumed they were the same. I am glad to be enlightened. I will keep my mouth shut now.
  10. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    From the NLT site:
    English Bible translations tend to be governed by one of two general translation theories. The first theory has been called "formal-equivalence," "literal," or "word-for-word" translation. According to this theory, the translator attempts to render each word of the original language into English and seeks to preserve the original syntax and sentence structure as much as possible in translation. The second theory has been called "dynamic-equivalence," "functional-equivalence," or "thought-for-thought" translation. The goal of this translation theory is to produce in English the closest natural equivalent of the message expressed by the original- language text, both in meaning and in style.

    Both of these translation theories have their strengths. A formal-equivalence translation preserves aspects of the original text--including ancient idioms, term consistency, and original-language syntax--that are valuable for scholars and professional study. It allows a reader to trace formal elements of the original-language text through the English translation. A dynamic-equivalence translation, on the other hand, focuses on translating the message of the original-language text. It ensures that the meaning of the text is readily apparent to the contemporary reader. This allows the message to come through with immediacy, without requiring the reader to struggle with foreign idioms and awkward syntax. It also facilitates serious study of the text's message and clarity in both devotional and public reading.

    The pure application of either of these translation philosophies would create translations at opposite ends of the translation spectrum. But in reality, all translations contain a mixture of these two philosophies. A purely formal-equivalence translation would be unintelligible in English, and a purely dynamic-equivalence translation would risk being unfaithful to the original. That is why translations shaped by dynamic-equivalence theory are usually quite literal when the original text is relatively clear, and the translations shaped by formal- equivalence theory are sometimes quite dynamic when the original text is obscure.

    The translators of the New Living Translation set out to render the message of the original texts of Scripture into clear, contemporary English. As they did so, they kept the concerns of both formal-equivalence and dynamic-equivalence in mind. On the one hand, they translated as simply and literally as possible when that approach yielded an accurate, clear, and natural English text. Many words and phrases were rendered literally and consistently into English, preserving essential literary and rhetorical devices, ancient metaphors, and word choices that give structure to the text and provide echoes of meaning from one passage to the next.

    On the other hand, the NLT translators rendered the message more dynamically when the literal rendering was hard to understand, was misleading, or yielded archaic or foreign wording. They clarified difficult metaphors and terms to aid in the reader's understanding. The translators first struggled with the meaning of the words and phrases in the ancient context; then they rendered the message into clear, natural English. Their goal was to be both faithful to the ancient texts and eminently readable. The result is a translation that is both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful.

    More than 90 Bible scholars, along with a group of accomplished English stylists, worked toward that goal. In the end, the NLT is the result of precise scholarship conveyed in living language.

    They place the updated NLT along the following spectrum:
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  11. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    "Thought for thought" is an accurate place to position the NLT. I've worked with it on occasion, when a publisher asked me to, and have usually been able to manage. Sometimes I have found certain phrasing to be refreshingly straightforward and clear. Other times, I have wished for more word-for-word consistency. It depends on the project.
  12. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I've been really happy with the replies so far, as I thought there was going to be warnings to stay away from it. I think I might start using it a little bit for reading, and not really for studying - like going through the prophets and books like Job. Maybe the wisdom literature like the Proverbs will be an easier read as well.
  13. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    I occasionally use it as a listening-while-commuting Bible. It makes a lot of leaps that are obviously not in the Greek text, but they’re not incorrect by any means. I have never seen anything that would be inappropriate to include in a sermon.
  14. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Chuck Swindoll has issued an NLT study Bible and uses the NLT on his radio presentations. Surprised me.
    In reference to the chart above, I recently read an article online comparing the NASB and the NKJV. The article rated them equal in literalness but unfortunately I cannot find it through a google search, and I don't recall where online I accessed it.
  15. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Here is another:
  16. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    This article perhaps:

    EDIT: Chrome browsers may not render the site since it is not using HTTPS. Try this shortened version of the same:
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    For some reason, that link is not working when clicking from this site. But you can simply go to the site and find the article pretty easily.

    I thought that this revised review was significant at the time because he previously had a rather negative review of the NKJVs textual basis and didn't recommend the translation for that reason, although he did praise its literalness. (Years ago, I had switched from the NASB to the NKJV because it seemed to me that overall it was about as literal and at the same time the NKJV was more elegant and easier to read.)

    At the time of this revised review, he was still a critical text adherent, but evidently saw that as somewhat less of an issue than translation philosophy. He also became less enamored with the ESV over time. It's too bad that he stopped work on the site several years ago. The last update was in 2012.
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  18. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know that this link with work either, but Michael Marlowe's review of the NLT is here. As he is an advocate of formal equivalence, he was highly negative toward the NLT but notes that it has improved with each subsequent revision.

    It should also be noted that the NLT is gender-neutral, so if you have issues with the 2011 NIV in that regard, this isn't going to be any better.

    Some gender-neutral advocates and promoters of the NIV have complained that the NLT hasn't come under the same criticism. That's probably because, while it is popular with many laypeople, the NLT isn't seen as the authoritative or normative translation (or "KJV replacement") that the NIV is. Most preaching I've seen done with it has been in the most openly seeker-sensitive type churches.

    Marlowe (Bible Researcher) also has a section on "Arminian bias" in the NLT review. He is also unsparing in his criticism of the NLT's "gushing" language (i.e. alleged overuse of terms like "very" and "dearly".)

    Given the issues with gender-neutral translation and alleged Arminian bias in the NLT, you may want to take a look at the CSB instead if you're looking for something easier to read that should have less problems in those areas. (If I'm not mistaken, Dr. Iain Duguid, who has posted above, worked on both the translation and the Study Bible.) It is more on the level of the NIV, maybe a bit more "literal." It definitely has a more "modern language" feel than the ESV and is a good option if you're wanting to read big chunks of text at a time and if you're looking for something "fresher" that is not in the Tyndale-King James tradition.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2018
  19. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I think Chrome and other browsers are starting to make access to non-https site more difficult. Try this shortened version of the same link:
  20. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I have regularly tried to find some updates about Michael Marlowe on the web, but it seems he has vanished...or is now in his glory.
  21. Florida Reforming

    Florida Reforming Puritan Board Freshman

    Since thoughts are communicated by words, not without them, the label "thought-for-thought" is meaningless. The NLT is another in an ever expanding line of paraphrases, which are by nature commentaries. It is certainly NOT the word of God.
  22. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I hear him on the radio from time to time. He usually uses the NLT, I think, but sometimes uses The Message. Makes the :flamingscot: in me cringe.
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  23. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I think for times you want a less literal translation that is easier to understand, the NIV 84 and CSB do a good job. The NET Bible also sort of fits that niche as well, although its strength is in its footnotes. Honorable mention to the NEB/REB, although they have their own quirks and sometimes can be harder to understand from a reading level perspective, though not as much because of "biblish."
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