I discovered in a telephone conversation with my mom last night that she and Dad have been reading my blog. Cool!
Mom also asked me about this NLTSB I was talking about, and said that she really likes her Life Application Study Bible in the Living Bible version. Unfortunately our conversation had to be cut short before I could tell her much of what I know.
I remember you gave me an early promo-type sample of the Life Application Study Bible, Mom. I think it was of the Gospel of Mark, and it was the Living Bible. I wasn’t aware that you had bought the actual Bible. You may be aware that the Living Bible is mostly out of print now, and your Living Bible version of the Life Application Study Bible is no longer available. I did a little research and discovered that it was superseded by the New Living Translation (NLT) version of that study Bible, and Tyndale has partnered with other publishers to make the Life Application Study Bible in the NIV, KJV, NASB, and even a Spanish language version.
The new study Bible I’ve been talking about, the NLTSB (New Living Translation Study Bible) is an all new study Bible, using the NLT text. The NLT was first published in 1996. It was a new translation using the same translation techniques that were used in making the original Living Bible, which resulted in an extremely easy-reading Bible. It was the result of a translation committee rather than the work of one man as was the original Living Bible. But it was still much more of a paraphrase than most scholars like.
In 2004, Tyndale House Publishers came out with the second edition of the NLT, sometimes written as NLTse. This was the result of a considerable tightening of the translation. It was no longer nearly as much a paraphrase, yet it was still a very easy-reading translation. Again in 2007 the good folks at Tyndale did a little tweaking to the translation which resulted in a slightly more accurate Bible still.
Since I received my review copy of the NLT Study Bible, I have been doing nearly all my reading and study using the NLT. At first I was put off by what I saw as over-simplification in the text. But as I got used to it, and with the study notes, I could see that the translation decisions that were made were excellent for the audience which was intended for this study Bible.
And who is the audience for a study Bible, anyway? Most serious Bible scholars will use a study Bible for a while, but their desire is to go deeper into the scriptures than what can be had in a study Bible. They therefore end up using various commentaries and get into studies of the original languages of the scriptures. The NLTSB is aimed more at the normal people, the everyday guy who is looking to deepen his walk with the Lord. It isn’t perfect; it can’t be everything for everybody. But when we consider the limitations of any study Bible, the NLTSB is a lot of study Bible to a lot of people. The commentary is very good as far as it can go, and the introductions, articles, and highlights of personalities and theological concepts are very helpful even for some of us who don’t use study Bibles much any more.
Personally, I am very pleased with what I am finding in the NLT Study Bible. If this is the new king that will replace the NIV, I think we are in good hands. I think it’s a no-brainer — get a NLT Study Bible when they come out in mid-September! It’s that good!
And look for my own review of the NLTSB in this space within the next couple weeks or so. I’ve got more to say about it.