I have long been a fan of first The Living Bible and then the New Living Translation (NLT). The Living Bible (LB) was a paraphrase of Scripture, the NLT was a new translation from the original languages that attempted to provide the readability of the LB while not sacrificing the accuracy of more word-for-word literal translations like the NASB or NIV. While I loved the LB – the NLT was a huge step upwards.
More recently I discovered a series of commentaries that used the NLT as their underlying text. I was confused by this. While I love the NLT – I don’t study off of it. This is because the NLT focuses on a more thought-for-thought approach than word-for-word – which is great for readability but not so great for word studies and so on. Further research led me to the discovery that the NLT had undergone a second and major revision – which unfortunately is not highly publicized. I flipped to the front of my NLT and saw instantly it was copyright in 1996 – thus being a first edition. The second edition came out in 2004. The NLTse offered significant improvements over the NLTfe – particularly in its attempts to reduce thought-for-thought while maintaining clarity and accuracy – increasing the ability for one to perform word studies, etc. off the NLT text.
So tonight I ordered a NLT Study Bible. Traditionally, I’ve used the LB and NLT Life Application Bibles (LAB)…but I wanted something more concerned with historical, literary, cultural, geographical, theological, etc. info. rather than application. In general, if one understands the meaning of the passage I find it fairly simple (usually) to apply it to my life. The LAB didn’t always provide this background information but did provide applications. The NLT Study Bible I ordered uses the Second Edition text – though this might more properly be called 2.1 – since there was another small revision implemented in more recent years that continues to refine the NLT in a few areas.
All this to say – I’d highly recommend getting your hands on a New Living Translation (NLT) bible. I am a big fan of the dynamic equivalence method utilized and the translators who worked on this text are top notch. The continued revisions are quite impressive. Kudos to Tyndale for continued excellent work in making Scripture understandable in our present context. I’ll provide more details once I receive the new book and have an opportunity to work with it a little more…