Questions that come up when comparing the New Living Translation (NLT) 2015 edition.
Was God manifest in the flesh?
1 Timothy 3:16 KJB And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit …
1 Timothy 3:16 NLT 2015 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit …
Was Jesus “God manifest in the flesh” or just a human in a body?
Through or by?
Colossians 1:16 NLT 2015 for through him God created everything …
Colossians 1:16 KJB for by him were all things created …
John 1:3 NLT 2015 God created everything through him …
John 1:3 KJB All things were made by him …
Is Jesus the Creator or just an instrument through which God created all things? The NLT matches up with the Jehovah Witnesses (who believe Jesus was “a god”) as seen in the New World Translation (NWT):
John 1:1–3 NWT In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. This one was in [the] beginning with God. All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence
One and only?
John 3:16 NLT 2015 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 KJB For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
If the NLT is correct that Jesus is the “one and only”, then how can we “become the sons of God” when we receive Jesus as it says in John 1:12 or be “called the sons of God” as it says in 1 John 3:1?
Should we study the bible?
2 Timothy 2:15 KJB Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 NLT 2015 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
Do we have to work hard to receive God’s approval as the NLT says?
Confession or baptism is made unto salvation?
Acts 8:36-38 NLT 2015 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”
[verse 37 omitted]
38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him
NLT leaves out Phillip’s answer to the Ethiopian eunuch as well as the Ethiopian’s confession of faith, the KJB has the answer that matches up with Romans 10:10
Acts 8:37 KJB And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Are we purified by obedience or by the Holy Ghost?
1 Peter 1:22 NLT 2015 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth _____________ …
1 Peter 1:22 KJB Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit …
In 1 Peter 1:22, the NLT creates a confusing contradiction with Ezekiel 36:27, Rom 8:1, Rom 8:4, 2 Cor 3:18, Eph 5:26, Gal 5:16, Gal 5:25 – which verses are right?
Should we teach about the Godhead?
1 John 5:7 NLT 2015 So we have these three witnesses ______________________________
1 John 5:7 KJB For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
The NLT not only omits “the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”, but also omits the Godhead in Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9.
Wrested scriptures, many missing verses, words and phrases
The NLT leaves out “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last” in Rev 1:11, omits the reason for Jesus coming to “save that which was lost” in Matthew 18:11, “heal the brokenhearted” in Luke 4:18, and makes Jesus a liar in John 7:8.
The NLT omits that man should live “by every word of God” in Luke 4:4 and the warning about the many “which corrupt the word of God” in 2 Cor 2:17.
Should we “hold fast the profession of our faith” as found Heb 10:23? In the NLT faith (evidence of things not seen) is replaced with “faithfulness” (our fidelity) in Gal 5:22, “hearing of faith” lost from Gal 3:2 and “word of faith” not found in verses Rom 10:8, 1 Tim 4:6. Is the issue unbelief or disobedience in Heb 3:18, Heb 4:6, Heb 4:11, Rom 15:31? Are we “saved” as the KJB says, or “being saved” as the NLT says in 1 Cor 1:18 and 2 Cor 2:15?
The NLT weakens our spiritual warfare by omitting “prayer and fasting” found in Matthew 17:21, “fasting” in Mark 9:29 to counter unbelief / casting out devils, “get thee behind me Satan” is omitted in Luke 4:8, and the key indicator on how to recognize the spirit of antichrist in 1 John 4:3.
The NLT omits 115 references to blood, 36 references to hell, 20 usages of repent, all usages of Jehovah, 22 usages of “Lord Jesus Christ”, and replaces references to “sodomite” with “shrine/temple prostitute”.
16 Verses are omitted from the NLT text including: Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44,46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 23:17, John 5:3p–4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:6p–7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24
Also many partial verses omitted from NLT such as Mt 19:9; Mark 6:11; Luke 4:4; Luke 11:2; John 3:13; 1 Tim 6:5; Heb 1:3; 1 Peter 4:1, 14; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:3; 1 John 5:7, 13; Rev 1:11; Rev 5:14
Additionally, on many verses the NLT has footnotes or in-line comments that create doubt about the verse belonging in the bible, or causing confusion as to which words are God’s words. This is the same strategy satan used in the garden as seen in Genesis 3:1 “…Yea, hath God said? …”. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor 14:33).
For example, the NLT footnotes effectively say that John 7:53-8:11 does not belong in the bible. This is the account of the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus. Should we teach about this if it doesn’t belong in the bible? Also, did Jesus say “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” in Luke 23:34, and was Jesus moved with compassion or anger in Mark 1:41?
The NLT footnotes also say that Mark 16:9-20 do not belong in the bible or were “added later”. This casts doubt on these verses. How can we teach on these verses when the NLT introduces faith crippling doubt, unbelief, and confusion over whether these are the words of God?
Not just differences in translation
The examples given are just a few among many troubling verses (could go over many more – including Old Testament, but this is already a long letter). Verse comparison demonstrates that the NLT is not the same as the KJB. The NLT is not just different, but often opposite and contradictory to the KJB. One of these bibles is teaching about another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel (2 Cor 11:4; Gal 1:6-7).
The bible teaches not to add to or take away from God’s words (Deut 4:2; Deut 12:32; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-19; Mark 7:13; 2 Peter 3:16). Either the NLT has taken away or the KJB has added to. They can not both be right.