Since 1997 I have been a great enthusiast of the NLT (New Living Translation). While I still love my faithful black leather NIV study bible with the cracked edges and torn spine, the NLT has helped refresh and deepen my understanding of God’s loving Word to us. The NLT avoids terms that could be considered Christian jargon, and replaces them with more ordinary words that clearly explain the concept. The translation is not simpler, but it is often clearer.
Let’s take for example ‘grace‘ – God’s grace. For some people ‘grace’ means a prayer before a meal, the way you move, forgiveness, or even a girl’s name. I love the way NLT translators have expressed it: as God’s ‘special favour‘. Check out how fully God’s grace is described by the turn of phrase in these verses:
“God saved you by His special favour when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Romans 5:2)
When using the NLT in Bible study over the years, it has caused many moments of “a ha!” It helps clarify the way other translations have expressed the glorious gospel of grace! I find it really good to use alongside the NIV or ESV, and is helpful when trying to develop song lyrics! If you have never tried it, have a go.
You can go to the official newlivingtranslation.com site here.
Or look it up in biblegateway. Enjoy!
(Note: My verses are taken from the 1996 version of NLT, which has been revised since the first printing. There may be some differences from the most recent printing.)