Sunday, November 04, 2012
Over the years, I have read through the New King James Version, the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible, and the English Standard Version. I have appreciated each translation. It's a nice privilege to live in a place and time in which the word of God is available in a variety of versions.
A couple of years ago, I received the New Living Translation of the Bible as a Christmas gift. Over the last year, I have read through it too.
At first, I was a little skeptical about the translation. I doubted that it would convey the message of Christ accurately. After all, it was a translation that was based on a paraphrase of the Bible. How accurate and trustworthy could it be?
Then, I looked at the list of scholars on the translation team. I recognized the names of Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary, Scot McKnight of North Park Seminary, and D.A. Carson of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I began to understand that this was not a list of lightweights among biblical scholars. These translators have a great deal of expertise in understanding the text.
As I began to read the NLT Bible, I found it refreshing. It does not follow the word-for-word translation philosophy of the New King James, New American Standard, and English Standard Versions. Instead, it focuses more on accurately conveying the thoughts within the text, much like the New International Version does. As a result, I came across several passages which were easier to understand in the New Living Translation.
For example, Philippians 1:20 in the ESV reads:
"as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death."
While that passage can be understood in the ESV, I found it easier to read and comprehend in the NLT because the language is much closer to the way I speak and think. In the NLT, it reads:
"For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die."
I have been so impressed with the New Living Translation that I have made it my primary translation for reading. (However, I have not found a better study Bible than the ESV Study Bible. I will continue to use it as my primary study Bible.) If you have not read the NLT, give it a shot. It's worth it.