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New Living Translation: The facts

The New Living Translation Bible was developed to render the Bible in modern English comprehensible to ordinary readers. It underwent a rigorous translation process intended to ascertain and express the true meaning in modern English, the translators being drawn from a range of denominations. Various study Bibles have been developed from it, but there have been criticisms.

Translation philosophy

The purpose The New Living Bible translation was intended to develop a Bible in modern English, easily readable by ordinary people. Thus, its translation philosophy was not to literally translate word for word, but to go thought for thought, so expressions might be changed to facilitate understanding of the sense. In some cases, gender inclusive language was used, where appropriate. For example, adelphoi [brethren] which denotes males and females, was translated as brothers and sisters. Teams and texts A powerful translation team of ninety scholars came together. Though they derived the text from the Living Bible translation, they checked it against ancient texts. The Old Testament was checked against the following texts: Dead Sea Scrolls, Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint, Syriac Peshitta and Latin Vulgate. The New Testament was checked against the UBS (United Bible Society) text and Nestle and Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament in Greek). Publishers and editions Tyndale House Publishers published the NLT in 1996. They later produced a second edition, which made some minor amendments. A Roman Catholic version containing Apocrypha is available, but it has yet to receive its imprimatur, the Vatican seal of approval, and cannot therefore be used in official liturgies

Developments

Study Bibles Study Bibles to accompany the text have been published. These are the NLT life application study Bible, the Discover God study Bible and the NLT study Bible. There is also the life application study Bible and the living Bible online that allow them to be accessed. Software allows a Scripture search. Many devotional groups find the NLT Bibles useful.
Criticisms There have been some criticisms of the NLT. They centre on whether the thought for thought-approach might cause some confusion, as it moves readers away from the original text and uses modern idiom, which might not give the sense or feel of the original text. This is always a problem with any translation of any written work. However, there are questions about how far the NLT is suitable for students studying scripture at higher levels, as they need a text that is nearer to the original than ordinary readers do. However, at that level it is expected that students will have some familiarity with Greek and Hebrew, so they should be able to access Hebrew and Greek texts, this is not a major problem.

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