The NLT IS a paraphrased bible. Upon more research, I read the “Introduction to the New Living Translation”, straight from the horse’s mouth, it states this:
“A dynamic-equivalence translation can also be called a thought-for-thought translation, as contrasted with a formal-equivalence or word-for-word translation. Of course, to translate the thought of the original language requires that the text be interpreted accurately and then rendered in understandable idiom. So the goal of any thought-for-thought translation is to be both reliable and eminently readable. Thus, as a thought-for-thought translation, the New Living Translation seeks to be both exegetically accurate and idiomatically powerful.”
You can find this exact wording in the Introduction chapter of your NLT. Why it is categorized a bona fide translation could be explained by the goals and desires of Kenneth Taylor, the author of the Living Letters, the Living Bible (paraphrased) and the NLT. This excerpt was taken from a Brief History of the New Living Translation:
In the summer of 1986, Mark Taylor, president of Tyndale House, and Ron Beers, the senior editor of the Life Application Bible (and later Editor-in-Chief at Tyndale House), were discussing ways in which The Living Bible might be made more acceptable to pastors. They concluded that pastors' perspectives on various translations are established during their seminary years, so Mark and Ron asked themselves how The Living Bible could be made more acceptable to seminary professors. This line of reasoning led to the conclusion that a group of seminary professors should be invited to assist in revising The Living Bible. If The Living Bible were revised by an independent group of scholars, it would be easier to convince other seminary professors to see it as a bone fide translation.
I find it fascinating that the original PDF with this information is no where to be found online. Bible Researcher has the History on its site, but the link to the original PDF is broken.
Further more, I found in the Introduction of the NLT a “disclaimer” of sorts from the Bible Translation Committee (July 1996)…
As we submit this translation of the Bible for publication, we recognize that any translation of the Scriptures is subject to limitations and imperfections. Anyone who has attempted to communicate the richness of God’s Word into another language will realize it is impossible to make a perfect translation. Recognizing these limitations, we sought God’s guidance and wisdom throughout this project. Now we pray that he will accept our efforts and use this translation for the benefit of the Church and of all people.
Now this question I’m about to ask, the answer truly renders the debate useless…
HAS GOD ACCEPTED THEIR EFFORTS??
“Anyone who has attempted to communication the richness of God’s Word into another language will realize it is impossible to make a perfect translation.”
But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2;10-14
It is one thing to pray to God and merely hope things turn out right. It is quite another to be led of God, because you know things WILL turn out right. God had prepared and willed those who sacrificed their own personal will (goals and desires), Noah, Jacob, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David to do His Devine, foretold purposes. Just because someone’s will may appear to be “good” and “right” does not mean that it is the WILL of God. ANY will outside the will of God is an appeasement of the flesh.
1 Corinthians chapter two is clear. NO ONE can understand the the things of God without His Spirit. My suggestion to Bible translators is this… focus on translating the language and NOT the discernment of the Word. Only God gives that empowerment as He sees fit.
It YOUR personal individual responsibility to “search” out a matter before the Lord. For the beginning of knowledge is the fear of the Lord.
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:4-5