Bible readers might not yet know that the New Living Translation now has a second edition, the NLT(2004). Tyndale’s first edition in 1997 was very good, but the 2004 edition, which I’ll call NLT2, is even better. The new improved quality caught my attention recently. Thanks to Tyndale House marketing for offering to send me their preview booklet (now that’s proactive marketing). The NLT2 is very nice to read, so much so that I have found the Scriptures exciting to read again. It’s almost like reading a new book. Personally, I feel that it is so good that, recently, I have been reading the NLT2 more than any other translation. It is quite apparent that its linguistic styling makes the reading of the text flow smoothly, even more so than the first edition. I compared the NLT(1997) with the NLT(2004) and found a vast amount of revisions. Try doing a side-by-side comparison, and you’ll notice the improvement in the crispness, clarity, and understandability… and if you’re into biblical scholarship, accuracy as well. Tyndale’s bible translation team continues to use top evangelical scholars so I think we can trust it for accuracy and the newest updates in the world of biblical scholarship. It a much higher readability than older dynamic-paraphrase versions, e.g., Good News Translation (GNT), Contemporary English Version (CEV), Living Bible (LB), New English Bible (NEB). And it definitely flows more smoothly than the more formal translations, e.g., T/NIV, ESV, NASB, N/KJV, and N/RSV. As a kid, I read the Good News bible for personal devotions but I predict that the NLT2 will be the next great bible for kids (if it’s not one already). The NLT2 is also a bible for the Gen-Xers and Millennials because it speaks their language.
In comparing gender-neutral/inclusive translations, the NLT2 will be a good stiff competitor to the TNIV. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NLT2 continues to gain a bigger readership than it already has; moreover, it may even keep potential TNIV purchasers at bay. The TNIV is a really great translation and I use it for study amongst other translations. But if readers compare the NLT2 with the TNIV for ease of readability, I predict many will be quite impressed with the NLT2. The new generation of bible readers who prefer the TNIV would do so because they may already be familiar with the language of the NIV and/or want a translation less dynamic but not as formal as the NASB, ESV, NKJV, or NRSV. Let’s keep in mind that the NLT2 is meant to be a dynamic translation. It will win over some, but not all, NIV readers. To date, the NIV has gained such a large readership in the evangelical world that its fortress-like stronghold on the bible market may have seemed impenetrable, but given the NLT2’s new improved quality, the NLT2 has real potential to breakout of its current status of “alternate translation to the NIV.” Who knows? It may even have the potential to compete head-to-head with the NIV as the first bible of choice?