NLT Psalms

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
For the last few years, I have been in the habit of praying through the Psalms and using a variety of translations when doing so. Oddly, I am yet to use either the ESV or NASB for that purpose. (I got to Psalm 78 in the CSB but gave up; I will get back to it, as I now like that version.) Having just finished using the ASV Psalms in evening devotions, I have started using the NLT. Judging by even the first three psalms, it has some rather odd translations, though I did quite appreciate "Slap all my enemies in the face!" (Psalm 3:7b). Some people have told me that the NLT's translation of the Psalms is pretty good. May anyone here offer an informed opinion on the subject?
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Senior
I really enjoy the NLT, including its Psalms. As you know, it is immensely readable. And it is actually quite scholarly (just look at the names of the translators). Sure, we all know that it's not the greatest for deep exegetical study, but we should also know that it was never designed for that. But, I will say that in my elementary Hebrew class in seminary, when we would translate and do some exegetical work in a passage of the OT, we were always required at the end to compare and evaluate a number of translations' renderings of those passages. There were many times where the NLT (and The Message, believe it or not) was actually the only one that brought out a nuance in the text that the more formal translations did not (and really could not, by virtue of their own translation philosophy).

I know we Reformed love our translation wars, but these less formal translations actually have very great value when they are used as intended, just like any other tool in any other craft.
 

JennyGeddes

Puritan Board Freshman
You guys are making me curious. I mainly read my NASB, but I may do my next read through in the NLT to check it out.
 

dhh712

Puritan Board Freshman
I may have to look into some of these too--that CSB translation is very new! In my early years as a Christian I read through the Geneva Bible several times, but the last few years switched to the ESV and was floored by how much easier it is to connect everything (of course, since we don't really talk the way those in the Geneva version do). Maybe I'll also look into that NLT for the next read-through.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I find that I really like the NLT when I pick it up and read it, especially in poetry and historical narrative where comprehension and correct interpretation relies less on a more precise correspondence to the original languages than the Epistles. Like Taylor said, it's readability is a real asset and it's translation philosophy allows it to bring out what may be lost by other translations. I've found that a lot of the time what sounds "odd" in the NLT is simply unfamiliar to me given my use of other translations but I must admit I don't always check it against the original languages. But, like Taylor's experience, when I read various translations to prepare for preaching and compare them to the original language I'm often surprised by how helpful the NLT and the Message can be!
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
I taught a Sunday School class on the Proverbs, and I found the NLT to be a consistently reliable interpretation (almost paraphrase) of the Proverb in question oftentimes, so would often bring it in, even though it was not the main version we were using. I still do that once in a while with other studies, but I find I really liked NLT with the wisdom literature. I have not spent as much time with it in the Psalms.
 

Zach

Puritan Board Junior
I taught a Sunday School class on the Proverbs, and I found the NLT to be a consistently reliable interpretation (almost paraphrase) of the Proverb in question oftentimes, so would often bring it in, even though it was not the main version we were using. I still do that once in a while with other studies, but I find I really liked NLT with the wisdom literature. I have not spent as much time with it in the Psalms.
When I took Hebrew the Professor made the claim that he often found the NLT to be the best translation of the Proverbs.
 

Jonathco

Puritan Board Freshman
I read the ESV, but frequently cross-reference the NASB, CSB, & NKJV in my studies. That said, if I get really stuck on something, I'll look up the verse in the NLT, as it its typically worded in a way that is quite readable. The NLT is not a translation I would use as my primary translation, but I've come to enjoy how easy it is to understand.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
This is a copy/paste of a post by me in a thread last year;

I looked down my nose at the NLT. It was, I felt, beneath the dignity of a man of my caliber to read the NLT. When I found out that Chuck Swindoll was using it in his preaching, and had published a study Bible with that translation I was shocked.

Later I read a post by Bill Mounce on FB where he said, "I like the NLT when I want to see what some really good scholars think the Bible means. It’s strength is in the clarity of the biblical revelation. Its weakness is that you are not sure if the words are a reflection of the Greek/Hebrew or the interpretation of the translation committee. I think they almost always get the interpretation right, but it still is highly interpretive."

I freely admit that I'm not the 'sharpest tack in the box,' but I have come to love the NLT. Matter of fact, I never in my 71 years could understand Romans 14:23 until I read it in the NLT a couple of weeks ago; "But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning."
 
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