Tag Archive for 'NLT'

What’s so great about the NLT/Tyndale

Quite a while ago I did a similar post about another publisher and since then the New Living Translation (NLT)/Tyndale has made great strides in what they have to offer online.

One regular item is their Thursday Giveaway. This week (the week of December 5, 2010) they are giving away the The One Year Bible NLT which is what this post is about. They are asking bloggers to let people know about and write about what they like about the New Living Translation Facebook page.

Since the NLT has been adding new web sites and features I was planning on doing a post like this anyway, so I would like to let you know about most of the things the NLT provides us with that’s featured on their Facebook page. There are so many, you may not know about some of them.

You can find the main web site at www.newlivingtranslation.com.

nlt.to is a fast loading site with a simple interface for quickly looking up a verse or passage, especially if you want to copy and paste a passage as it’s formatted in a paper Bible. This is also a great for mobile users. You can easily share on Facebook or Twitter. I asked about including the verse itself instead of just a link back to the site and they may include this feature in the future. You can find a list of other features on their blog announcement post.

Another great site for original language users is their interlinear site:
This also shows how closely a truly dynamic translation can stay to the original languages. Although interlinears may be unpopular with some educators, this can show you how they chose certain words in translating this version.

The NLT Study Bible is available online with a free 30 day trial so you can try it out and see if you would like to purchase it:

The NLT gives:

The New Living Translation presents the Give the Word contest and giveaway, a partnership with three great ministries—the Dream Center, Oasis International, and Wycliffe Bible Translators. All three of these ministries Give the Word to people and in places where it is desperately needed, and all three will benefit from the Give the Word contest.

Give the Word page
Sweepstakes page (linked in the quote above)

Most of these things are listed on their Facebook page if you go to Info. If you’re a Facebook user and ‘Like’ the page, you’ll get updates and also a daily NLT verse.

The staff have been the most accessible of any translation I know of. I’ve corresponded with Laura Bartlett, Sean Harrison and Keith Williams who has been an encouragement to me as a blogger and they are all very professional and friendly.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but those are some of the things and people you will find online regarding the NLT.

Holy Bible: Mosaic (NLT) Blog

The Mosaic blog is now active. You can find it here:
RSS Feed

Mosaic NLT

Your Quirkiness Could Win A Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT

New Epistles Contest: enter here to win a copy of Holy Bible: Mosaic (NLT)

I already won one so I’m just letting you know about it.


Joel at The Church of Jesus Christ is offering a chance to win an NLT Mosaic Bible.

The rules are simple:

  • Write a blog post for me to use on the 22nd.
  • It could be anything from a blog post you have already done (in which I will post a link and the first paragraph or so) to your favorite NLT passage to your thoughts about issues concerning the NLT (this means, you don’t have to be a blogger. Just email me your thoughts.)
  • It must be NLT centered

It would be nice if you had an Amazon wishlist (if you don’t you can get one for free. Once you have it, put the Mosaic on your wishlist.) THIS IS NOT A REQUIREMENT.

Tyndale has sent me a certificate (which saves shipping costs!) for a free NLT Mosaic.

  • You have a a shot at two entries here – comment on this post and give me a reason why you want it and/or mention this post on your blog.

See his blog for more details.

Review: The NLT One Year Chronological Bible

NLT 24/7 Bible24/7: A One Year Chronological Bible by Tyndale

This review is of the paperback edition which I received from Laura Bartlett at Tyndale. There is also a hardcover edition available.

I have been thinking that I would like to read the NLT translation the next time I read through the whole Bible. So when Laura Bartlett graciously offered a review copy of 24/7 I jumped at the chance.

The last time I read through the Bible I did so in chronological order. Although some may not like the idea of changing the order of the canon of Scripture, I really benefited from reading in this order. I would never use this as a reference or study Bible, only for reading, although the General Timeline and dates would be useful for anyone who doesn’t have a study Bible.

What does 24/7 refer to? To sum up their page devoted to it: “We hope you enjoy this Bible and find that it challenges you to be a Christian 24/7.”

Tyndale says, “The interior art and square shape were designed to appeal to a younger audience.” I’m not sure why square Bibles appeal to young people. Maybe someone could fill me in on that. The aesthetics certainly appeal to a younger audience but it’s not so ‘out there’ that it wouldn’t appeal to any age group.

Below is a picture of the cardboard cover at the left and the Bible at the right. Remember this is the paperback.


The dimensions are 6.50 X 5.00 X 1.75 inches. You can see the relative size here with the middle Bible being the NLT Slimline Large Print:


The paperback version is relatively light and small and would be good for people on the go who want to read during lunch or on the bus. Please don’t read while driving.

Features of this Bible:

  • General Timeline
  • One Year Reading Plan
  • Transition Statements
  • Chronological Dating
  • Daily Reading Guide
  • Scripture Index
  • Verse Callouts (see picture below)
  • Historic Christian Symbols*

*The interior art are woodcuts of historic Christian symbols that Tyndale commissioned for the project.

Click for a larger picture

The woodcut images are visual connections with the early church. There is a different one for each month and they are included on each odd numbered page. I’m ambivalent about this. They are a little distracting and with the thin pages there is bleed through on the even numbered pages. On the other hand, there may be a sense of progress and achievement when going from one graphic to the next and they give the reader a sense of time and history.

The font size is fairly small but the kerning (the adjustment of horizontal space between individual characters in a line of text) is more generous than other editions I’ve seen like the regular slimline and pew editions which greatly helps readability. I’m guessing the font size is approx. 9pt if that means anything to you.

As you can see in the picture above the text goes pretty far into the inside margins which has been a complaint of the slimline editions. It’s not as bad as it looks in the picture because the Bible isn’t being held as one would when reading it, but it is pretty close to the inside.

You can also see a Callout Verse in the picture at the left. I wonder if it would have been better to do without these and have more space for the inside margins. The benefit is to have a verse that may be pivotal and give the reader something to remember and possibly memorize. It also leaves some room for note taking but I don’t imagine this Bible would be used for that.

Dates are often included in the Bible as can be seen in the larger version of the picture above under Jehoshaphat Rules In Judah on the left page which is extremely helpful.

Even with the reservations, overall I think this is a great addition to the NLT lineup and I look forward to using it myself.

ISBN: 1414314116 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1414314108 (Hardcover)
Page Count: 2224
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: October 2008

Buy it from:

Also see:

Who is the NLT really translated for?

I read all the “fine print” in the NLT Study Bible about the NLT translation. I won’t go into detail here other than to say that they say it’s for the modern reader. Also, here is a quote from the NLT blog:

As a dynamic-equivalence translation, the NLT translates the Hebrew and Greek text in natural, understandable English. This means that we try to avoid technical terms that the average reader would not understand.

This post is more about what other people say. I’ve heard things like 6th grade reading level, new Christians, unchurched, shouldn’t be used for serious study, etc. I couldn’t find any of those terms in what the NLT and Tyndale say about the NLT.

So is modern reader or average reader code for all those things? I’m wondering why people and organizations put these terms onto a translation that’s in natural, understandable English but is also true to the underlying languages, translated by scholars—many who have written commentaries on the books of the Bible they translated.

I’ve been a Christian for over 20 years and have been much more serious about studying the Bible for over 2 1/2 years and still the NLT sheds new light on many passages that were somewhat befuddling while for the most part still not sounding overly idiomatic or paraphrastic. I don’t think it’s because I can only read at a 4th grade reading level or because I haven’t gone to church. I will admit that I am not as well educated in the Bible as most of my blogging friends but I would bet that many of them will have a better understanding of some passages when reading them in the NLT and in fact this is one reason why many of them read it.

I’ll still use more formal translations for reference and some aspects of study but I think the NLT gets a bad wrap and the people posting on the NLT blog are trying to rectify some of these assertions.

It might be interesting to know what directives the translators were given as far as target audience, reading level, etc.

I’m not trying to sound like a rabid fan of the NLT, just posting some thoughts I’ve had recently after becoming more interested in the translation.

Psalm 119:18 NLT
Open my eyes to see
the wonderful truths in your instructions.

The Intended Audience of the NLT – NLT Blog (noted in a comment)

Related post:
Translations, Target “Reading Level” and Their Differing Uses

Liking the NLT is confusing my translation dilemma

Or maybe not. In case you are interested in my musings…

I’ve been using the NRSV as my main translation for 2 1/2 years. I’ve come to dislike the archaisms despite its major improvement in that area over the RSV.

I’ve been looking for a Bible that will be all things to me—one I can use for reading, studying, taking notes in etc. I also wanted one that is on the formal/literal end without a lot of the archaisms but uses standard theological terms. The HCSB seems to fit the bill but I am/was waiting for the expected update next year.

However, the more I read the NLT, the more I like it. I’ve been reading the NLT Study Bible, as cumbersome as it is, and recently looked again at the Favorite Verses of the Bible for a second time. For some reason when I looked at them recently I liked them a lot better than I did a few months ago.

So for now, I’ve decided that the NLT will be my reading/devotional Bible, and I will continue to use the NRSV for taking notes, which is where I have a ton of notes and highlighting, and also as a more literal/formal alternative. There is no single translation that is all things. The NRSV a fine translation so why not keep using it? I will continue to use the HCSB for reference, quoting and memorizing when I see fit. I will re-evaluate next year.

I wasn’t raised on the Bible and catechisms so I’m not sure if it would be of benefit to stick with a formal translation for most of my reading, especially when it comes to the Old Testament and the NT use of it. And even many who have been well educated in things Biblicular have espoused the use of a dynamic translation like the NLT.

As far as a Bible for “studying”, I’m not sure if it really matters which one I use, since I will be using other materials like commentaries, word definitions etc. Phrasing Scripture might be best with a more formal translation as far as the grammar goes, but again I don’t think it’s critical as to which one I use if I feel a need to use something other than or in addition to the NRSV.

The thing about the NLT is that even though it fits squarely in the dynamic (previously termed as thought-for-thought) realm, it’s still very “accurate” and is rarely paraphrastic or overly idiomatic. So as far as the NLT, why not use it too? (For you TNIV fans, I have already looked into this and am very familiar with it especially since I used the NIV for 20 years.)

Here is some stuff about the NLT if you’ve managed to even read this far:

Esteban mentioned an interesting article that I didn’t take the time to read until now.
New Living Translation (NLT) Evaluation Committee Report of the Christian Reformed Church in North America

Don’t let the length scare you—those of you with short attention spans—the NLT portion is only six pages long. If you are interested in the NLT it’s a great read for the most part. But for those who don’t want to read the whole thing, here are some quotes.

It [also] avoids words such as ‘justification,’ ‘sanctification,’ and ‘regeneration,’ as carryovers from Latin translations. In their place it uses equivalents such as ‘we are made right with God,’ ‘we are made holy,’ and ‘we are born anew.’

I never knew these were carryovers from Latin translations. But since they are such common theological terms, the main thing that bothers me about the NLT is that they are missing. And where the NLT1 explained propitiation well in Romans 3:25 they truncated it. Oh how I wish they wouldn’t have messed with that. I’m sure they have their reasons.

Some positive examples:

…the NIV reads, ‘The hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.’ The NLT captures the sense of the original well with the translation ‘But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me.’ In John 13:18, compare ‘turned against me’ (NLT) with ‘has lifted up his heel against me’ (TNIV). In these and many more examples the NLT has provided a very readable translation that is accurate to the intent of the original text.

From Esteban:

I’m glad to note that I’ve been intimately acquainted with the New Living Translation since its release in 1996: I bought a copy hot-off-the-press, and used it in short order as my teaching text for a Bible study on Acts that I lead during my freshman year. I had a rather decent reading knowledge of Greek by then, and I was consistently impressed by how well the NLT rendered St Luke’s narrative—lively, engagingly, idiomatically, and above all, accurately.

–Esteban Vázquez

There may be some “speculative additions” to the Hebrew text in the OT which you can read about in the article but many of them seem somewhat minor. The glaring one I saw was the overly colloquial Psalm 73:7, “These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!”

But all translations can be nick-picked to death. For now I’ve embraced the NLT.

Comments welcome. I could write more but I’ll stop there. And congratulations if you made it this far.

Psalm 119:31-34
I cling to your laws.
LORD, don’t let me be put to shame!
I will pursue your commands,
for you expand my understanding.
Teach me your decrees, O LORD;
I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.

If you would like to compare the NLT1 with the NLTse…

…you can go to Crosswalk which for now has the NLT1 (1996) and go to the NLT web site (lower left) to see the current NLTse.

Some sites like BibleGateway, if you like to go there, have the NLTse but I’m not sure if it’s the 2004 or the slightly tweaked 2007 which the NLT site would certainly have.

There may be others with the NLT1 because many of us have inadvertently quoted from the old one by copying and pasting from the web.

To avoid embarrassment, if you do any critical comparisons on your blog, be sure to quote from the latest.

Tyndale Releases List of Changes to “NLT 2007”

Brief NLT Study Bible Observations

I won this from commenting on the NLT blog. I was very surprised to get mine this early. Thank you very much to Tyndale.

The dust cover has been removed for these photos. I think they could have done without it. Having the design on the hardcover looks very nice and is similar to what the BECNT and NIVAC commentaries do for example.


The pages are very thin and there is quite a bit of bleed through compared to what I’m used to. I wouldn’t mind if the Bible was 15% thicker with heavier paper but I’m sure even more people would then complain about how the Bible is too heavy and thick. Since it’s a study Bible I think this is just fine and it’s not bad enough to reduce readability. I would trust the publisher knows what people want and struck the right balance. The photo below shows the NIV Thompson Chain Reference Bible and a typical pew Bible so you can see that it’s relatively compact.


I have two other very minor gripes.

The red letter text isn’t quite consistent in color saturation level from page to page. When it’s darker and more saturated it’s easier to read. Maybe in subsequent printings this will be taken care of. Most people probably won’t even notice this. (Sorry I pointed it out.) Of course this could be easily fixed by not having red letters! But we won’t belabor that point.

In the Hebrew and Greek Word Studies, transliterations of the Hebrew and Greek are used without the actual Hebrew and Greek words being shown. I’ve learned the Greek alphabet and would like to see the actual Greek words in addition to the phonetic English transliteration of the underlying word. I look forward to using this feature in any case.


One of my favorite features at first perusal are the Theme Notes. I call them little surprises. They pop up here and there and they’re like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re going to get. For example, in the middle of Ezekiel you’ll find God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. These are usually a few paragraphs at the most and include Scripture references to the left of the text. This can be seen on page 5 of the NLT Study Bible Features Guide (PDF file) in the lower left.

For a list of reviews please see the NLT Study Bible Reviews Roundup page.

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?

Romans 3:25, Propitiation and the NLT Translation

I must admit that the word propitiation is a minor shibboleth for me. If Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10 don’t have it, I get negative thoughts. When I found out my NRSV that I carefully chose over two years ago, without having looked at these verses, didn’t have it I almost switched to the ESV immediately before I came to my senses. (I previously used the NIV for 20 years because it’s what everybody else read. When I got more serious I realized I didn’t really like it compared to others even though it’s a fine translation.)

I’ve come to dislike the archaic language in the NRSV and over time have really warmed up to the HCSB for many reasons which I won’t mention because this post is too long already. Except that of course it has the word propitiation. I was 99% sure I was going to switch to this when the update comes out next year but I’m being patient and keeping an open mind.

A quick look at Romans 3:25 in the NLT shows that it doesn’t say propitiation. Oh well. As far as a dynamic equivalent (formerly known as thought-for-thought) translation goes, I like how the NLT does it. But I like the idea of some of the literal aspects of the HCSB.

So I took a look at the first part of Romans 3:25 again in the NLT more carefully:

For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us.

Isn’t that just what propitiation means? Isn’t this better than “atoning sacrifice” or “sacrifice of atonement” that some other translations use? For me this would be so. Again, I’m not disparaging other translations and I know this idea is complex and beyond me to make any authoritative judgments. Reading Douglas Moo’s take on it was confusing to say the least.

This really makes me pause. For some reason I still fight against the idea of using a dynamic equivalent translation as my main Bible. I always wonder if more interpreting is going on than with a more literal approach. I’m still leaning towards the HCSB.

That’s enough rambling for now. Maybe I’ll post again as I become more decisively indecisive.

Comments welcome as always.

NLT Study Bible Reviews Roundup

I’ve been gathering all the reviews that I’ve come across and am posting them in an easy to read format. Please reply with any others I have missed.

A Friend of Christ:

According to the Scriptures:

Ancient Hebrew Poetry:

beauty of the bible:

Bible Geek Gone Wild:

Biblia Hebraica


Christian Monthly Standard:

Contemplations of a Young Calvinist:

Dr. Mellow

Exegete Reflections:

He Is Sufficient:



Just After Sunrise:


living the crucified life:

New Leaven:

New Epistles:

New Testament Perspectives:

Participatory Bible Study Blog:



Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth:

Scripture, Ministry and the People of God

Scripture Zealot:

This Lamp:

>NLT Study Bible Blog

NLT Study Bible video on YouTube:

Updated: 1/22/09

at Amazon.com

Other Blogs: General Thoughts on Translations

These are a little old and many of you have seen them but I thought I would point them out for those who haven’t.

Who Translated the New Living Translation? (And More Thoughts on Advocating English Translations) – Internet Monk (good comments too)

Speaking of the NLT, here is a feature on their web site where you can easily look up popular verses/passages. There are so many familiar passages making it easy to get a good feel for it. There are also three in-depth comparisons.

Update: And a newer post on the NLT.

One “Best” Translation? – living the crucified life (ironically, most of the comments may be contrary to what the post is about)

Blogs Devoted to Bible Translations – New NLT Blog

Various people have been letting us know about the new NLT Blog (New Living Translation). Editor and contributor Keith Williams has posted on other blogs when translation issues come up and also has a blog called the NLT Study Bible Blog.

Other blogs that I know of are the ESV Bible Blog and TNIV Truth, an independent blog.

NLT Study Bible Blog
NET Bible Revolution

Any others?