ESV & NLT, Better Together

ESV & NLT, Better Together

Thre are two incredible English translations dominating ministry, today, English Standart Version and New Living Translation. On their own, each translation is absolutley phenomenal; they can, and do, stand alone in any church as your main translation. In this article, I want to share some information about both translations and why I think any ministry that uses one, ought to use the other as well.

New Living Translation:

  • Type: Meaning based/Thought-for-thought
  • Reading Comprehension Level American 6th Grade
  • Detailed Translation Notes: Yes
  • Interlinear Availability: Yes, online and phycical book
  • Ideal Audience: While suitable for any audience, NLT is especially well suited to English as Second Language Christians, 1st Time Bible readers
  • Monthly subscription: $4.99 with Tecarta


English Standard Version

  • Type: Form Based/Word-for-word
  • Reading Comprehension Level American 8th Grade
  • Detailed Translation Notes: Yes
  • Interlinear Availability: Yes, online and phycical book
  • Ideal Audience: Open. ESV is suited for any audience
  • Monthly Subscription: $3.99 with esv,org

Why should I use both translations?

Simply, we have the largest percentage of people unfamiliar with the Bible since the Middle Ages. Let me say, I do not think that both translations need to be in the sermoon but I would recommend using both in the service.

NLT is very easy to understand and is a great point of entry for those new to the Bible. ESV is also easy to understand and is incredible for exegetical study.

How should I use both translations?

It would be my ssuggestion to do as follows:

NLT should be used for the Responsive Reading and ESV for the preaching. This is the format that we use at Abounding Grace Baptist Church. Many Christians don’t have any more exposure to the Bible than what they get on Sunday and we, as pastors, should be explaining the Bible but we also need to make sure that our people are memorizing the Bible as well.

One translation needs to be your pew Bible. Which one that should be is up to your Leadership.

If your church has any kind of online ministy, I would definitely recommend use of both translations, you just never know who is tuning in, how well they know the Bible, or how comfortable they may be with Endlish.

One Reply to “ESV & NLT, Better Together”

  1. I agree if the NLT is to be used, it must be balanced with a more formal translation, such as the ESV. Judges 14:3 provides a good example. Samson wants to marry this girl, “because she yāshar me.” The Hebrew yāshar means “be level, straight, right, just, lawful.” The ESV has, “she is right in my eyes,” whereas the NLT has, “she looks good to me.”

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