Differences in the NLT1 and NLTse

There are three verses I found in the older 1996 edition of the New Living Translation (NLT1) that I like better than the updated 2004/2007 version (NLTse). (“se” stands for second edition which was done in 2004. There was a minor update completed in 2007.)

I realize this is a very small sampling and please realize I’m not saying I like the old one better. It’s just three verses.

James 5:16 NLT1 (earlier)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

James 5:16 NLTse (latest)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

I miss the words powerful and effective(ness) that other translations have which seems to me to be the underlying meaning.

James 3:14 ESV
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

James 3:14 TNIV
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

James 3:14 NLTse (latest)
But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying.

James 3:14a NLT1 (earlier)
But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don’t brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie.

In this case the NLT1 seems to explain the meaning better. I was wondering if this was too interpretive so I looked at a number of old commentaries and they all seem to concur with what the NLT1 is saying.

Romans 3:25a HCSB
God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood,

Romans 3:25a NLTse (later)
For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.

Romans 3:25a NLT1 (earlier)
For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us.

I really like the term propitiation even though only about 1% of Bible readers may know what it means. I think everyone should look into it since this is the crux of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

Anyway, the NLT1 seems to explain it more fully and the NLTse obviously simplifies this.

Edit: As it turns out, Rick Mansfield mentions exactly the same thing in his review of the NLT.

A question I have for anyone who may know or more specifically for someone on the NLT team is—what was the goal of the revision? Was it to become more dynamic, more literal, more succinct, more understandable, more accurate, more or less interpretive etc.? I’m sure it’s a combination but I’m curious about how the committee went about making the updates. This is not asked in a critical way and again I’m not saying I like the old better than the new. I’m just curious and interested in how this all works.

Edit: As noted in the comments, some of these questions are answered here:
What are the major improvements in the second edition of the NLT?

Does anyone prefer the NLT1 as a whole?

11 Responses to “Differences in the NLT1 and NLTse”


  1. 1 Nathan Stitt

    I actually have a copy of both editions now. I must confess that I have only warmed up to the NLT very recently and have not had a chance to do any comparisons between the two. Based on the physical format of my two copies it is highly unlikely that I will ever use my NLT1 for anything other than a reference now.

  2. 2 ElShaddai Edwards

    For another take on the James 3 passage, see my recent comments here.As far as the NLT1 vs. NLTse goes, I would recommend reading Rick Mansfield’s review of the NLT on his blog. I don’t recall if he gets into the intent of the revision or not, but he has a lot of comparisons posted and speaks with Tyndale frequently.
    Does anyone prefer the NLT1 as a whole?
    My wife loves it, but I can’t say that she’s really compared it to any other translation (other than the NIV pew Bibles at church).

  3. 3 Scripture Zealot

    Your post on James 3 in the REB is what got me looking at that passage. I thought for sure I replied back then but it didn’t get there for some reason. Something sparkly must have distracted me. Thanks for the link to Rick Mansfield’s review. I’ll take a look.

    I’m going to post more on translation stuff soon.
    Jeff

  4. 4 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks to ElShaddai’s mention of Rick Mansfield’s review I found this link:
    What are the major improvements in the second edition of the NLT?
    Jeff

  5. 5 ElShaddai Edwards

    Thanks for the note, Jeff. I checked my spam folder but didn’t see anything that shouldn’t be there, so some sparkly must have gotten you.

  6. 6 Brent

    Be sure to get the 2007 revision of the NLT. It makes some notable changes, like in Acts 2:38. Unfortunately, the Bibles with the 2007 revision do not have a 2007 copyright. Acts 2:38 is one way to know you have the 2007 revision. The 2007 revision says: “for the forgiveness of sins.” The 2004 says: “to show you have received the forgiveness of sins.”

  7. 7 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for the comparison. I won the NLT Study Bible from their blog and just received it yesterday. I may post a few brief observations.

    I’d kind of like to get an inexpensive NLT1 pew Bible type edition just for reference.
    Jeff

  8. 8 ElShaddai Edwards

    There are still NLT1 editions on Christianbook.com – you just need to search by publication date and/or look for anything publisher before 2004. I couldn’t find a plain pew Bible, but their Complete Reference Bible looks very nice and something I wish they’d release with the NLTse/2007 text.

  9. 9 Scripture Zealot

    Wow it’s only $15. Thanks for finding that. It’s a wonder that the study Bible is only about $30.
    Jeff

  10. 10 Kevin

    I noticed that a verse listed online as being from the New Living Translation (NLT) for 1 Corinthians 12 differs from my copy of the NLT.

    Mine says:

    Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

    Online version says:

    12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

    I like the online version much better than the one in my copy. The newer NLT adding the word “completely” at the end of this verse gives it a much stronger meaning. This verse comparison shows that there’s major differences between the two versions. The newer I find superior.

  11. 11 Scripture Zealot

    If your copy is the 1996, then yes that’s a major revision and I would say a big improvement, fwiw. They made one or two more minor revisions after the in the 2000’s after the first major one. The one verse I know of that I like much better in the 1996 version is Rom 3:25 (I see I mentioned that in the post–it’s been a long time) which explains it well according to my theology. The revision is more general. I also like James 3:17 in the 1996.

    In your example I kind of like the simplicity of the older one except for what you mentioned about adding completely at the end. I don’t know how that squares up with the Greek, but it’s nice.
    Jeff

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