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NLT Vs NIV Bible

Many people say that there is not much difference in the Bible translations, and that it doesn’t matter which one you use as long as you are a believer in Christ.

NLT Vs NIV Bible Translation (11 Major Differences To Know)

The truth of the matter is, what at first appears to be very small differences can be very big issues to many believers. Which translation you use does matter.



The New Living Translation is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the modern English language. It was first introduced in 1996.


 The New International Version was originally introduced in 1973.



The New Living Translation is extremely easy to read. It is one of the easiest to read for English speaking people all over the world.


At the time of it’s creation, many scholars felt like the KJV translation didn’t fully resonate with the speakers of modern English. So they sought to create an easy to understand translation.

Bible translation differences


The philosophy in translation used for the New Living Translation is ‘thought for thought’ rather than word for word. Many Biblical scholars will go so far as to say that this is not even a translation but more of a paraphrasing of the original text to make it easier to understand.


The NIV tries to balance out between thought for thought and word for word. Their goal was to have the “soul as well as the structure” of the original texts. The NIV is an original translation, meaning the scholars started from scratch with the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

Bible Verse comparison


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)

2 Samuel 4:10 “Someone once told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ thinking he was bringing me good news. But I seized him and killed him at Ziklag. That’s the reward I gave him for his news!”

John 1:3 “God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”

1 Thessalonians 3:6 “But now Timothy has just returned, bringing us good news about your faith and love. He reports that you always remember our visit with joy and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you.”

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” (God quotes on life)

Psalm 56:3 “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.”

Proverbs 18:24 “There are “friends” who destroy each other,
but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Quotes about fake friends)


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.”

2 Samuel 4:10 “when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news!”

John 1:3 “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” 

1 Thessalonians 3:6 “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you.”

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Christian quotes about prayer)

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (Inspirational love verses)

Proverbs 18:24 “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”



The New Living Translation is a revision of the Living Bible. A second edition of the NLT was published in 2007, with the goal of adding clarity to the text.


There have been numerous revisions and editions of the New International Version. Even some as controversial as Today’s New International Version.

Target Audience

Both the NLT and the NIV has a general English-speaking populace as their target audience. Children as well as adults would benefit from the readability of these translations.


NLT is enormously popular in sales, but it does not sell as many copies as the NIV.

NIV is consistently one of the top bestselling translations in the entire world.

Pros and cons of both 

NLT comes across as a beautiful and simplified version. It is an easy to understand paraphrasing. This can be helpful when reading to young children, but it does not make for a good indepth study Bible.

NIV is an easy to understand version that still renders true to the original text. It may not be as accurate as some of the other translations but it is trustworthy nonetheless.


Pastors who use the NLT

Chuck Swindoll

Joel Osteen

Timothy George

Jerry B. Jenkins

Pastors who use the NIV

Max Lucado

David Platt

Philip Yancey

John N. Oswalt

Jim Cymbala

Study Bibles to choose 

Best NLT Study Bibles

·       The NLT Life Application Bible

·       Chronological Life Application Study Bible

Best NIV Study Bibles

·       The NIV Archaeology Study Bible

·       The NIV Life Application Bible

Other Bible Translations 

 There are many translations to choose from. In fact, the Bible has been translated into over 3,000 languages. Other great Bible translation options include the ESV, NASB, and NKJV

Which one should I choose?

Please pray and research which translation is best for you. You want to study as accurate and precise of a translation as you can intellectually handle.

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