For the last time, the NLT is NOT a paraphrase

A photo of the first edition of the NLT
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In several of my church class books which are published by Abingdon (note to Tyndale, please connect Abingdon and set the record straight. Or. Else.), I noticed that they recommend several translations for use, but single out the ]] and ]] as paraphrases. True, those two are, but by not listing the ]] as a translation, they seem to leave it categorized with the Living Bible. This quickly gets on my nerve, and the NLT-Hulk comes out in me and I want to smash…

This is a post by Keith Williams, General Editor of the NLT, and while it is from 2008, the problems persist…

One of the most common misconceptions about the NLT is that it is a paraphrase. It is not. The NLT is, in fact, a translation from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic; it represents the work of nearly 100 scholars, specialists in the book(s) of Scripture to which they contributed…..

Read the rest here:

NLT Blog.

What is interesting is that unlike the KJV, the RSV, and even the NRSV or the ESV (eerily similar version), the NLT is an actual translation. The others are actually nothing more than revisions.

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12 Replies to “For the last time, the NLT is NOT a paraphrase”

  1. Of those mentioned in your last paragraph, I would think it’s hard to say of the NRSV that it’s “nothing more than a revision.” It was one of the first versions to supplement weaknesses in the Masoretic Text with readings from both the LXX and DSS. The NLT followed suit a few years later. The NRSV is more than a simply update to the RSV–much more so than the ESV.

    1. True, but if I didn’t mention the NRSV, then Rodney would think that he is getting of light 🙂

      Even with that information, however, I would contend that the NRSV is a revision, although leading to a new translation, which I understand is underway, or will soon be underway.

  2. Indeed, paraphrase generally involves taking something in one’s own language and stating it more clearly. So, call it a less literal translation (whatever that means) or whatever kind of translation you want, but a paraphrase it is not.
    On the other hand, I think it’s a little precarious to call the others nothing more than revisions since you probably read the revised version of the NLT. If you follow that logic, it would seem that the NLT that you currently read is nothing more than a revision ;-).

        1. You think?

          No, actually, the NLT 1996 is a translation, but you are correct, the NLT 2004 and 2007 are revisions. Just like the ASV is a translation (although…RV) and the RSV and NRSV a revision of that. Still, the NLT is the Word of God and everything else a ‘modern version’

  3. I think they are all wrong, why else would they replace the name of Yahweh and Yashua ;Messiah with just “god” and Jesus? and lord? Look up the word Baal and what do you see? Lord? We need to get back to the real names, not just God and Lord… there are many gods and lords… but only one Yahweh and Yashua Messiah….why else would Abba say many ,many times in the Bible to remember his name, know his name, god is Not a name….

  4. A little late to this conversation, but I have been reading a lot out of the NLT (it seems my copy is the 2007 revision) and find it to be very accurate. Of course, I’m not a Greek or Hebrew scholar, but when I compare it to other vetted, more “literal” translations, I find it to be very close, though worded in a much easier way to understand. I am a new fan of the NLT.

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