New Living Translation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the New Living Translation of the Bible. For the New Life Version, see New Life Version.
New Living Translation
New Living Translation
Full name New Living Translation
Abbreviation NLT, NLTse
Complete Bible
Textual basis Revision to the Living Bible paraphrase. NT: Greek New Testament (UBS 4th revised edition) and Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition. OT: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, with some Septuagint influence.
Translation type Formal and Dynamic equivalence[1]
Reading level Middle School
Copyright Copyright 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation[2]

The New Living Translation (NLT) is a translation of the Bible into modern English. Originally starting out as an effort to revise The Living Bible, the project evolved into a new English translation from Hebrew and Greek texts. Some stylistic influences of The Living Bible remained in the first edition (1996), but these are less evident in the second edition (2004, 2007). As of March 2014, the Christian Booksellers Association ranks the NLT as the second most popular English version of the Bible based on unit sales.[3]

Translation philosophy[edit]

The first edition of the NLT

The New Living Translation used translators from a variety of denominations. The method combined an attempt to translate the original texts simply and literally with a dynamic equivalence synergy approach used to convey the thoughts behind the text where a literal translation may have been difficult to understand or even misleading to modern readers. It has been suggested that this "thought-for-thought" methodology, while making the translation easier to understand, is less accurate than a literal (formal equivalence) method, and thus the New Living Translation may not be suitable for those wishing to undertake detailed study of the Bible.[4]

Textual basis[edit]

The Old Testament translation was based on the Masoretic Text (Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia) and was further compared to other sources such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Greek manuscripts, Samaritan Pentateuch, Syriac Peshitta, and Latin Vulgate. The New Testament translation was based on the two standard editions of the Greek New Testament (the UBS 4th revised edition and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece 27th edition).

Translation history[edit]

Work on this revision began in 1989 with ninety translators and published in July 1996; 25 years after the publication of The Living Bible. Advanced reader copies of the book of Romans were originally printed as the New Living Version, but eventually renamed the New Living Translation to avoid confusion between this new work and The Living Bible. NLV is still used to identify the New Living Translation in ONIX for Books. Soon after that, a new revision was begun and The Second Edition of the NLT (also called the NLTse) was released in 2004.[5] A revision in 2007 comprised mostly minor textual or footnote changes.[6] Another revision was released in 2013, with minor changes throughout.

Translation properties[edit]

The New Living Translation is (according to its publisher) meant to be easily accessible to readers of modern English. As part of this effort:[7]

  • Weights and measures, money, dates and times etc. are described in modern terms, with footnotes giving the literal translation.
  • Some phrases are translated into contemporary English; e.g. "they beat their breasts" (Luke 23:48) is translated as "They went home in deep sorrow", again with footnotes providing more literal interpretations.
  • Gender-inclusive language is used where the editors believed that it was appropriate, thus ἀδελφοί (adelphoi) is translated "brothers and sisters".


In July 2008, the NLT gained the No. 1 spot in unit sales, unseating the NIV for the first time in over two decades.[8] According to the Christian Booksellers Association (as of March 2014), the NLT is the second most popular Bible translation based on unit sales, and the fourth most popular based on sales numbers.[3]

There is a Roman Catholic edition of the NLT with the Deuterocanon, but this edition has not been granted an imprimatur by Catholic authorities, and so the NLT is not officially approved by the Roman Catholic Church for either private study or use in church services.

The NLT is available in numerous editions as well as three study Bible editions: The Life Application Study Bible, The Discover God Study Bible, and The NLT Study Bible. The Cornerstone Biblical Commentary series uses the second edition NLT text as its base.


  1. ^ "NLT FAQs". Tyndale House Publishers. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  2. ^ Copyright notice on BibleGateway Retrieved 1 October 2014
  3. ^ a b Bible Translations (March 2014 Bestsellers)
  4. ^ Rhodes, Ron (2009). The Complete Guide to Bible Translations: How They Were Developed. Harvest House Publishers. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-7369-2546-4. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  5. ^ New Living Translation™: Discover The NLT - FAQs
  6. ^ NLT Blog
  7. ^ "Introduction to the New Living Translation". Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  8. ^ "NLT #1 on July CBA Bestseller List", New Living Translation Blog

External links[edit]