As long time readers of the blog may recall, I am a huge fan of the New Living Translation. It is a faithful dynamic translation providing the reader with a depth with a solid choice. Initially, Tyndale had a Catholic edition, but it was not approved by the Vatican and thus… well… #Jesuits.
Now, my inside sources tell me of a second edition, a Reader’s edition, coming out with the Vatican approval. From the Tyndale site.
Tyndale is pleased to announce the NLT Catholic Readers Edition, approved by the Catholic Church for reading and study and including the official Imprimatur. The Bible includes the New Living Translation text with deuterocanonical books. It also features book introductions to aid your personal study. The Holy Bible, New Living Translation communicates God’s Word powerfully to all who read it.
The New Living Translation is an authoritative Bible translation rendered faithfully into today’s English from the ancient texts by 90 leading Bible scholars. The NLT’s scholarship and clarity breathe life into even the most difficult-to-understand Bible passages—but even more powerful are stories of how people’s lives are changing as the words speak directly to their hearts.
My name is Jeremy Shank.
I am pastor at Thornville UMC in the Foothills District.
I am currently blogging about and hoping to form ideas for a new book I’m working on.
“Inclusion/Exclusion – a look at how salvation works in the Bible” is the topic I am working with and I could use your thoughts on some things. I was hoping you might weigh in on a couple of issues I am wrestling with right now. www.inclusionexclusion.wordpress.com
I am looking at John 3.16, probably the most well known verse concerning our salvation. I am weighing how much inclusion we see in this verse as well as the wording here that would suggest there is some exclusion to deal with, also. Some translations would put the entire conversation with Nicodemus as the words of Jesus (in red) all the way down to verse 21. (NKJV, CEB, NLT) Most notably, the NIV stops Jesus speaking (words in red) at verse 15. Which leaves the rest of the section looking like a re-capping of the conversation with Nicodemus by the author of the Gospel.
1) a penny for your thoughts on John 3.16 and whether you feel more inclusive about the verse or exclusive as you read it.
2) does putting the actual words of John 3.16 into the hands of Jesus shape your feelings about how salvation works itself out in our lives.
3) any material you might suggest that I research that would help support your viewpoint and help me shape mine.
For the bibliophile, there is barely anything more joyful than a finely pieced book. Yes, it is about the interior, but so too the exterior. In fact, bibliophiles know you can judge a book by its cover. There is also a select group of bibliophiles who do more than collect books, but so too collect bibles. I myself have numerous hard copies of the Scriptures, in different translations, with different covers, in different editions. There are two holding top-tier in my collection. The first is the Cambridge KJV with Apocrypha. It is black calfskin leather. The second is a hardback copy of the REB. It has a book cover, but nothing else. These two versions, materially, strike me as being beautiful and thus are the two I cherish.
But now I have a third. The Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition. Immediately, I am struck the simplistic majesty of this edition. The smell. The feel. The size. The weight. Everything about this version makes me want to admire it for its quality, but I know that I will be able to pass this one along.
Long time readers of this blog know that I have a special place in my heart for the New Living Translation — I’m a NLTphile, I guess. I find that it is more than suitable for any reader of the bible, regardless of age or denominational affiliation. It is readable, both in church and as an individual, providing a modern rendering of Scripture while being faithful to our tradition of English translations. It deserves to be read daily. But, with each reading, a traditional bible will lose its consistency — at least in material.
With the Tyndale Select NLT, NTLphiles and bibliophiles meet in their desire to have a beautiful, generational heirloom bible. It is made of black goatskin (although brown is available), which provides for a lifetime durability — and I’m guessing, not just my lifetime either. The feel of this bible, because of the goatskin, is supple. It is Smyth-sewn, allowing the bible to lay flat. It includes two ribbons. The edges to this hand-bound bible (by Jongbloed (Netherlands)) are art-gilded. The text is the single column NLT, with cross references and other notes familiar to NLT readers.
It is a single-column, printed in such a way as to avoid bleed through. The references are to the side, while the translators’ notes are at the bottom. The print is not as small as you might think, given that the single column requires a larger font. Finally, one of the highlights of this bible — in my opinion — is that it is in black letter, throughout.
I’ll include some pictures below — but I’m afraid they won’t do it justice. Rather, let me tell those wondering about the price: You will not regret this. This is not a “gift bible” (those $10 bibles you pick up for a special occasion that last for a few months) but it truly is a gift. It is one of those things you give to someone when you care for them and want them to use it daily, for years, and maybe a generation or two. The material quality compliments the eternal quality of this Book, and should give the benefactor the hope that when the memory of the presentation has long past, this book will endure, perhaps passed on to another’s hands, giving light in a dark world.
For years, Cambridge was the premier manufacturer of high quality bibles; however, the Tyndale Select NLT: Select Reference Edition rivals them in every detail, even providing a better quality leather, in my opinion — not to mention the readability of the single-column.
In anything except for relationships, it is always grand to return to your first love. As a young and nubile prince of reviewers, I first began to review for Tyndale with their Cornerstone Commentary series and then, the NLT Study Bible. Even though the time for reviews had long since passed and I had been turned down once; yet the kind folks, sensing the my need for the NLT relented and sent me my first one… the one that changed devotional reading. This edition of the New Living Translation promises to drive reading in much the same way a new translation does — by mixing it up.
First, let us discuss the question that is pressing: Why do we need a bible set in a chronological line? Canonical theists may argue for a reading as it is set in canon. I would prefer a reading of the time of composition. The Chronological method straddles the fence between both of these in a good way. It sees Scripture as a grand narrative not of a set of authors and audience, but one of Author and one audience. Is this new? Maybe, or maybe it is presented with a foot in the past and a hand on the door of the future. Why then do we need to have such an edition? Are we not destroying sacred canon? No. After all, the canon is only recently settled, with different orders appearing in the Reformation. Reading the bible in such a way is beneficial because it helps those who struggle with viewing Scripture as a great whole (even the noted the literary theorist, Northrop Frye who struggled with religion and Christianity could see the completeness of Scripture) while maintaining their place in the grander narrative. Further, on a slightly different level, reading the bible with its self-proclaimed chronology helps to examine how different authors write of different events — thus it becomes both a scholarly and a theologically method.
The method here is to take the books along the calendar which they portend to, or tradition tells us, they follow. Therefore, you begin with Genesis even though scholars may argue it comes after other books if we were to date it by composition event because it begins the story. Added to this concept is the infusion of different parts of the story. For instance, Kings and Chronicles are placed inside one another so that a history is given that does not bare the marks of ideological driven drivel discovered if we were to separate them out. Paul’s letters are interspersed among Acts to provide a certain amount of theological detail to Acts and historical detail to the Pauline corpus. Likewise, there is here no synoptic problem. The Editors would make Tatian proud as they have made a modern day Diatessaron allowing the reader to read the story of Jesus from four angles, at once.
Coupled with this method of reading are the notes from the Life Application Study Bible acting to give the bible an applicable feel to the believer. This bible is also filled with lots of color — timelines, charts, and pictures that help to amplify the passages and even books (a personal favorite is the picture of the act of Creation at the beginning of Genesis 1). Various articles, such as “A Chronological Survey of the Bible” supplement the Life Application Study Bible notes, to allow for a deeper, investigative, study of the schema of the volume. On the top of each page is a progressing timeline so that the reader can know where she is at while reading that page. Of a particular note are the colors in Psalms. The title, theme, and author are noted in a shade of blue-green, like the eyes of the ocean. This, in my opinion, helps to separate what we have done from what the Psalmist has written. Of course the color of these headings and the headings for the rest of the volume match the color on the progressing time line. And, thank God, with all of this color, the editors have refused to use red for the words of Jesus. This, my friends, is a rather important point for me when selecting a bible.
So, now comes the inevitable question: Would I recommend the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible? I would, but not because of some forlorn loyalty to the translation who kept me reading Scripture. Nor would I because I was provided this as a review copy. There is nothing to actually make me recommended a bible except for the fact that it is a good one. Yes, it is geared to more conservative Christians, including a Christian Worker’s Resource Guide that is, in fact, not about labor unions. Yes, it is deeply evangelical. But it is a solid translation for reading. The Life Application Study Bible notes are found in many churches across the denominational spectrum. Here, these notes that have served for years to guide believers into applying biblical precepts are coupled with an artistic take on telling the bible story as if it is a grand story of many interconnected parts, rather than a library sixty-six books. This is a great resource for renewing one’s appreciation of our place in the story of God. So yes, I would recommend it.