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NLT and Acts 2:38

Anytime I examine a translation, I first quickly turn to some of the “doctrinal” passages to see how the texts are handled. I assume I am not the only one who does this. After reading about how the NLT was first in unit sales last month, I decided to spend more time with the NLT. Many in the blogs argue that the NLT is worthy for study, not only reading.

I picked up my NLT 2004 and first turned to Acts 2:38. After reading how this passage was translated, I put the NLT down and figured that was the end of my “reintroduction.” The NLT 2004 reads,

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NLT, 2004)

To change the statement “for the forgiveness of sins” to “to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins” is totally unacceptable in my mind. While many people interpret Acts 2:38 to mean what the NLT 2004 reads, it is simply not a translation of the Greek word eis. The word means “for” whether we like it or not, and that is why major translations have continued translating this word as “for.” Being a preacher and teacher, it is important to me to have a translation that leaves open the possible different interpretations, rather than choosing one for me.

But this is the not the end of my journey. I had read that there were 2007 revisions made to the NLT. Since I only have the 2004 update, I went to the NLT website and looked up Acts 2:38. It read differently:

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NLT, 2007)

This latest revision is far better. In fact, the rendering is very similar to the way the NLT was translated in 1996.

Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (NLT, 1996)

Seeing this appropriate correction, I decided to purchase a new NLT that had the 2007 revisions. I picked up a Premium Slimline Reference Large Print in TuTone. It is a very nice Bible that has easy to read print and lays open flat. Really flat. It is great! I only wish that the NLT had this edition (or any text edition) in a single column instead of a double column. But that is a minor personal preference. Anyway, I look forward to reading and studying from the NLT to see what other changes have been made. Perhaps I will be won over due to the revisions that have been made.

I am surprised to read on other blogs the complaint that the NLT is getting less dynamic with every revision. I feel the opposite. I believe that accuracy is of the utmost importance. If some part of dynamic translation must be sacrificed in order to be accurate, then kudos to the translators of the NLT for making the decision to be accurate first. I look forward to sharing with you more of my experiences with the NLT as I continuing reading from it.