I’ve just been reading over at Rick Mansfield’s This Lamp blog, his latest entry entitled Rise of the New Living Translation and I decided I just have to jump into the fray.
As a United Methodist, I have seen our church go from the old RSV to the NRSV, and our current pastor is really pushing the NRSV even though he used to be a NIV guy (so he says). In the past year the local church bought new Bibles for our third graders, which were NRSV, and then they bought NRSV Student Bibles for all the confirmands. We also have the NRSV for our pew Bibles, and back some twenty years ago when I got started into serious Bible study in the church, we all were encouraged to buy for ourselves the New Oxford Annotated Bible NRSV, which I and several of my friends also bought. That’s a lot of NRSVs.
Several years ago we had a pastor who started pushing and using the Good News Bible, and for several years the third graders received those. But the new pastor changed that. It was his opinion that it’s better for the church to all be using one translation, and to some extent I think that idea has merit.
In the “Evangelism in the Mainlines” Bible study class I have been in for several weeks this summer, our pastor recommended that we bring our Bibles. He carries in his NRSV; another woman brings her well-worn NASB (1977 version). I flit between NASB, NKJV, and NIV/TNIV. But what has really surprised me is that fully three out of our twelve classmates have brought in the old, green, original Living Bible. These are church leaders, all about my age from late 40s up into their 80s. Obviously somebody sold these folks on the old Living Bible long ago.
So this makes for an interesting situation, don’t you think? The kids now have the NRSV, while the old folks are using the Living Bible. Odd.
So what does this have to do with the “Rise of the NLT”? Well, as far as I know, I have never seen anybody in my church carrying an NLT. But you know, the NLT is the descendant of the old Living Bible, and I think if I, or somebody else, maybe even several folks, should start bringing a new NLT to church, some people are bound to take notice. When the older folks with the old green Living Bible see the Tyndale logo on the spine, they’ll get curious about this “new” Bible. It may even cause renewed interest in Bible study in our church, something for which I have been praying a long time.
I have personally been struggling with the NLT for some years now. I saw the first edition of the NLT as a “dumbed-down” version, and I still think some of the renderings in the NLTse could use some freshening up to make it more comfortably accurate for my tastes. But the taste I’ve gotten of the upcoming NLT Study Bible has really whetted my appetite for this translation and their study notes. For the first time I am really getting interested in buying an NLT Bible. The NLT SB will be my major first choice, but I am also considering getting a large-print text or reference NLT to go along with it. I’ll have to stop in at Barnes & Noble and the local Christian Book Store and see what they have along that line. I need to get some more experience with the NLT before that, so I may reset my Bible Gateway default to the NLT as well. That’s a good way to familiarize yourself with a translation.
Do I foresee the NLT in the pews of my church and in our Bible study classes? Well, that’ll take a while. Maybe if I can convince the pastor to endorse it, that would make a difference. But for the time being, the best way for me to get things started would be to get one myself and carry it to church Sunday mornings.