For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. -Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)
As much as I love the King James Version of the Bible, I have a special place in my heart for some other translations. I guess I would be kicked out of the ‘King James Only’ club for that! Nonetheless, I do like certain renderings in other translations from time to time and feel blessed that we have them at our disposal when studying God’s precious word. One of the things I like to do when studying passages with more than one possible interpretation is to pick up a paraphrase or dynamic translation to get an idea of what the translators think something is saying. I am, of course, free to agree or disagree with that — as I feel led. (I lump dynamic and paraphrase versions of the Bible in pretty much the same category because they are not literal in nature and therefore subject to more of the translator’s opinion than a “word for word” translation such as the ESV and NASB aspire to be).
Now on to my favorite dynamic version, the subject of this post: The New Living Translation. Having been a fan of its grandparent, The Living Bible, I can not help but feel some affinity for it. Originally to be an update of The Living Bible, it is not really a paraphrase, but a dynamic translation with the same ease of readability. I think it achieved its goal without sacrificing accuracy. Personally, I think it is an outstanding translation. It is easy to read and understand and closer to the original text than the Living Bible ever was. It has been a favorite of the evangelical world for some time — and for good reason.
In conclusion, I think that the New Living Translation (when used alongside the trustworthy, solid King James Version) can be a powerful tool in Bible study. I find its interpretations to be thoughtful, conservative and evangelical in nature. If I had any complaint concerning the NLT, it would center around the questionable manuscripts it is translated from. As always, I invite the reader’s comments [in a civilized fashion of brotherly/sisterly love]! I would love to know what your favorite translation is and why you have picked it.