In many ways, the New Living Translation (NLT), which is built on the Kenneth Taylor’s Living Bible, fills a great void in the world of English Bible translations: it’s not too loose and not too rigid and wooden.
But if one is sympathetic to a let’s say Bishop N.T. Wright and his reading of both Jesus and Paul, as seen in their world, he or she may struggle with the NLT. Two translation decisions in particular:
First, in the Gospel narratives, for Bishop N.T. Wright, when Jesus speaks metanoeō to the people, Jesus means for them “to change one’s mind about God and his kingdom.” Wright contends that Jesus isn’t speaking about “repenting of sins and turning to God,” as reflected in the NLT.
Second, in Paul’s Letters, for N.T. Wright dikaiosunē theou, “the righteousness of God,” is not so much about how a person “becomes right with God” and then waits to die and go to heaven. Rather, dikaiosunē theou is about how God is putting the world to rights, first through Jesus and Israel and then the nations.
This concept of dikaiosunē theou, according to Wright is seen in three strands of thought: 1. Covenant Faithfulness; 2. The Law Court Imagery; and 3. Eschatological terms.
So the NLT’s rendering of dikaiosunē and its cognates as “How God makes us right in his sight,” will not work for the good Bishop.
At any rate, I still find myself processing N.T. Wright’s reading of both metanoeō and dikaiosunē.
N.T. Wright might be right, in the end.