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Comparing NIV and NLT Bible Versions: Understanding the Variances

Comparing NIV and NLT Bible Versions: Understanding the Variances

Christianity is a religion that places a lot of emphasis on following Jesus Christ and his teachings. Christians hold that Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, Palestine, more than 2000 years ago, is the Son of God.

Christianity is an Abrahamic religion, a monotheistic one, founded on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.

With almost 2.4 billion adherents or one-third of the world’s population, it is the largest and most popular religion today.

The Life Application Study Bible in the NLT or NIV is two-color; charts, maps, and profiles have more green in the NLT while they have more red in the NIV.

It would have been good to have more color compared to the 4-color (full color) printings of other significant Study Bibles that are currently available.

Keep reading to know more about the differences between the NIV and NLT versions of the Bible. Let’s begin.

Belief System Of Christians

Christians hold the view that Jesus Christ was the divine Son of God, fully human and totally divine and that by trusting in him and abiding by his precepts, they can obtain eternal life.

Christians believe that Jesus died for mankind, that God resurrected Him from the grave, and that He will come again at the end of time.

Christians also believe in the Holy Trinity, or the triune nature of God, which consists of God the Father (the Creator), God the Son (the Redeemer), and God the Holy Spirit (the Sanctifier); God is present in the world through the Holy Spirit.

The Book Of Christians

Bible is a holy book that is read by literalists.

The Old Testament is the original Hebrew Bible, which dates from between 1200 and 165 BC, and it is considered to be the foundational text of the Jewish faith.

Christians penned the writings of the New Testament in the first century AD.

The 27 books of the New Testament, which were composed between 50 and 100 AD, are naturally divided into two groups: the Gospels, which include Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and tell the story of Jesus; and the Letters (or epistles), which were written by various Christian leaders to offer guidance to the earliest church communities.

Overview Of Bible Versions

Based on many translations that have occurred throughout history and church influence, there are 30 different versions of the Bible available.

The versions include the following:

  1. King James Version
  2. New American Standard Bible
  3. New English Bible
  4. New International Version
  5. New King James Version
  6. New Living Translation
  7. New Revised Standard Version
  8. Revised English Bible

According to 2014 research by Indiana University and Purdue University’s Centre for the Research of Religion and American Culture, Americans read the Bible in the following ways: King James Version (55%), New International Version (19%), New Revised Standard (7%), New American Bible (6%), Living Bible (5%), and another translation (8%).

Hence, KJV is considered to be the most popular one around the globe.

The Biblical Canon

The group of texts that make up the Jewish and Christian Bibles or sacred writings is known as a canon.

The study of canon formation, or the genesis, transmission, and acknowledgment of the writings that make up the Jewish and Christian Bibles, has grown significantly during the past few decades.

The first collection of canonical scriptures comparable to the New Testament is known as the Muratorian Canon, which is thought to have been created around 200 A.D.

The various Christian churches did not come to a basic understanding regarding the canon of Scripture until the fifth century.

What Is NLT Bible?

NLT Bible
NLT Bible is updated with the most latest verses and research-based translations.

The English language version of the Hebrew Bible is known as the New Living Translation. In 1996, it made its debut. The authors wanted to increase the level of precision without sacrificing the text’s clarity.

Any Bible translation aims to accurately represent to the modern reader the old Hebrew and Greek passages’ intended meaning.

The New Living Translation is based on the most recent research in translation theory and the end result is a translation that conveys the original text’s meaning clearly and is simple to read and understand.

Reason Behind NLT Bible Establishment

The Living Bible, a paraphrased version of the Bible, was initially intended to be revised; nevertheless, the project eventually turned into a new English translation based on the best Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

The task facing the translators was to produce a text that would have the same influence on modern readers that the original work did on its original audience; the New Living Translation achieves this by converting entire ideas (rather than just words) into standard, daily English.

What Is NIV Bible?

The New International Version was inspired by one man’s dream of a true translation of the Bible into modern English, and it is now the best-selling modern-English Bible translation in the world, offering the best balance of accuracy and readability. The New International Version first appeared in 1973.

NIV Bible has its roots in King James Bible when Howard Long, an engineer who had dedication towards the gospel presented it to a non-Christian fellow who couldn’t connect.

This led him to begin the journey of translation of the bible. In 1965, instead of updating the KJB version, they started from scratch. By using the original manuscripts of Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew the work of NIV took place

Differences Between The NIV And NLT Versions Of The Bible

The New Living Translation initially appeared in 1996 as opposed to the New International Version’s 1973 debut.

For the New Living Translation, “thought for thought” rather than “word for word” translation is the translation methodology. The NIV makes an effort to strike a balance between thought for thought and word for word. Their intention was to preserve the heart as well as the framework of the original writings.

The reading level of NLT is 6th grade while the NIV has an 8th-grade level The NIV is an exact translation. The team responsible for it created a new translation into English using the texts’ original language versions. The Living Bible, a paraphrase of the KJV, served as the basis for the NLT.

It’s quite simple to read the New Living Translation. The KJV translation, according to many academics, didn’t fully connect with speakers of modern English. In order to make the translation understandable, they set out to produce the New Living Translation.

NIV is the top bestselling translation in the world as compared to NLT, which is good with sales but more copies are sold each day of NIV translation.

NIV has its roots in the original texts and is hence considered more accurate than NLT translations. Both the NLT and the NIV translations of the Bible are accepted by the two groups of Christians

Let’s look at the difference between the verses of NIV and NLT.

NLT VersesNIV Verses
Romans 8:9 “But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)” (Sin Bible verses)Romans 8:9 “You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”
Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
John 1:3 “God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.”
Difference Between an NLT and NIV Verse
This video will help you decide the Bible you should opt for.

The Other Versions Of The Bible Read By Christians

The King James Version

The King James Version
Kings James Bible is an old bible but still followed by many who prefer an old tone.

The most famous Bible translation in the world is the King James Version, which was written in early seventeenth-century English.

The King James Bible, which was published in 1611, immediately gained popularity across Europe. The project received an abundance of resources, making it the most accurate and scholarly translation to date—not to mention the most accessible.

Many of the phrases and expressions from this literary classic are still used today because of their strong, regal tone.

The New English Bible

The New English Bible
The New English Bible contains all original texts, verses, and translations.

The major British Isles Protestant denominations translated the Bible into New English. Aiming to convey the entire meaning of the original in clear and natural current English, scholars translated from the best Hebrew and Greek manuscripts.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops gave it their seal of approval in 1991, approving it for use in the Catholic Church.

The New American Standard Bible is an accurate rendition of the original texts; a literal translation and is ideal for study. When a word has become obsolete or changed its meaning, modern English is used instead of the King James Version’s style.


  • Millions of people worldwide practice Christianity as a religion.
  • The NIV and NLT translations of their sacred text are among the many versions available.
  • While both of these versions are simple and easy to read, the main distinction is that the NLT uses the thought-to-thought notion while the NIV tried to keep the original text along with its original meaning.

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