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NLT and 1 Peter 1:20-22

I have been making preparations for my next sermon on 1 Peter and notice that the NLT did a great job with 1 Peter 1:20-22. I think it is important that those who are critical of various translations also show where those translations do a superior job. So I will live up to my own thinking.

Most translations have a fairly difficult rendering of 1 Peter 20-22, particularly at verse 22. Notice how verse 21 is a little awkward and verse 22 is not very clear in most translations:

20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, (ESV)

20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. (TNIV)

Verse 21 is a little difficult, but I think the point can be understood that the resurrection is the reason we have our hope and faith in God. Verse 22, however, is far more challenging. Understanding the phrase “for a sincere brotherly love” (ESV) or “you have a sincere love for each other” (TNIV) and its relationship to purifying our souls by obedience to the truth is awkward, if not difficult. So I thought the NLT did a good job rearranging the sentences.

20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days. 21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. (NLT)

Look at how much better the NLT brings out the message. First, in verse 21, through Christ we trust in God. It is pretty evident that Peter is telling the audience that our faith and trust in God comes through Jesus and his resurrection. Second, in verse 21 the NLT uses the words “And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.” This is better than the ESV’s “who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” A simply changing of the location of the phrases made all of the difference. Finally, verse 22 is far clearer. We were cleansed when we obeyed the truth and so we must show sincere love because of our purification. This is a vast improvement over all the major translations.

So I will be using the NLT for these verses when I preach on Sunday. There are many instances where the NLT does a great job. I wish that the NLT was always like this, that is, only rearranging the word order so that sentences are clearer. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, sometimes adding things that are not originally there. I will give an example of this tomorrow.

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