As we head into a new series skipping through the entire Bible this weekend at Riverview, I am nerding out on various Bible translations.

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For a number of years (before switching the ESV which I talked about yesterday), the primary translation I preached from was the New Living Translation, 2nd Edition.  It is still one of my favorites when I am just reading through the Bible.

Why the NLT?

I read the NLT because it is generally easier to understand because it is written much more in a language we would use day to day. Quite frankly, it has the type of cadence and vernacular that I personally use so I find when I read it aloud, it flows very naturally.

Why the 2nd Edition?

Honestly? Because I think the 1st Edition is pretty bad. I feel like the translators took too many liberties with the text and made it almost into a paraphrase instead of a translation. I accidentally stumbled onto the 2nd Edition when my Bible fell apart and I needed a new one. When I began to compare the 2nd Edition with the 1st and put them next to the Greek and Hebrew, I was pleasantly surprised to find they became much more literal and true to the original texts.

Why did I stop using it for preaching?

There were many times where I feel like the NLT doesn’t do justice to the “normal interpretation” of a passage. When that happened, I explained the original Greek or Hebrew word and described my discomfort.  More and more often, I found myself just switching over to the English Standard Version to explain a passage.

Why would I still recommend the NLT for daily Bible reading?

Bluntly, it is very very easy to read. Many people are intimidated by the Bible and the last thing they need is a translation that becomes a barrier between them and the Word. The NLT is a good translation on the major issues and for most people it is great. I read it frequently to help me learn clear concise ways of communicating the truth of Scripture.

For instance, even though the word “propitiation” is a robust and critical theological word, it can really throw people off.  This passage (which uses “propitiation”) flows really well in the NLT.

“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice (propitiation) for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” (Romans 3:22-25)