Jay is the pastor at Life House Church in Harlingen, Texas. As a bilingual pastor, Pastor Jay has a passion for both the NLT and NTV. He is excited to share his story of how these translations have helped him grow in his love for God and others.
Category: Bible Translation
Video Story: What the NLT Means to Me
God Uses Unexpected People Reading Plan Day 5
“Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years. His mother was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah from Bozkath. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight and followed the example of his ancestor David. He did not turn away from doing what was right…When the king heard what was written in the Book of the Law, he tore his clothes in despair. Then he gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the court secretary, and Asaiah the king’s personal adviser: ‘Go to the Temple and speak to the Lord for me and for the people and for all Judah. Inquire about the words written in this scroll that has been found. For the Lord’s great anger is burning against us because our ancestors have not obeyed the words in this scroll. We have not been doing everything it says we must do.'” 2 Kings 22:1-2 AND 2 Kings 22:11-13
Josiah: Note from the Christian Basics Bible
Only eight years old when he came to the throne, Josiah became one of Judah’s most godly kings. At the age of sixteen he “began to seek the God of his ancestor David” (2 Chronicles 34:3). By twenty, he was purging the land of idolatry and destroying shrines to Baal and all idols (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). But it was when Josiah was twenty-six (2 Kings 22:3) that the biggest transformation took place.
During renovations in the Temple, “the Book of the Law” (22:8) was discovered—probably the book of Deuteronomy. As it was read to him, Josiah was appalled at how far God’s people had fallen from his ways; he immediately led the nation in a covenant renewal ceremony (chapter 23) and completed his spiritual reforms in the land. He died in battle, trying to stop Egypt from marching to Assyria’s aid (2 Kings 23:29). Josiah shows us that we don’t understand everything about God at the beginning, but if we keep our hearts open, we can keep growing, changing, and having a powerful impact.
Hungering for God’s Word
by Ellen Elwell, member of the Tyndale House Ministries International Team
Did you know Tyndale House Ministries works with Christian publishers around the world to help minister to the spiritual needs of people in their own languages? Just a few months ago we were able to rejoice as the first Hungarian edition of the Inspire Bible was launched in Budapest, Hungary.
“As I drew, colored, and made notes in my Inspire Bible, I felt that there was only God, the Scripture, and me. It was a tremendous experience,” said Eszter, who enjoys using the new Inspire Bible.
This beautiful Bible started as a passion from Harmat Publishing House, headquartered in Budapest, to see women engage with the Bible in a more personal way. When they discovered the Inspire Bible with its coloring and journaling pages, they knew this was the perfect Bible to be the first journaling Bible published in the Hungarian language.
Combining the Karoli-Bible text in Hungarian with the original artistic illustrations of the Inspire Bible, Harmat Publishers were overwhelmed with the positive responses they received after it was published.
“Using the Inspire Bible was a wonderful and unique experience for me. When I started to draw and color in it, I felt as though I was able to ‘turn everything else off,’ and the only thing that remained was my Bible and me,” said Panna, a young woman who was one of the first to try this new Bible.
To encourage engagement, Kornel Herjeczki, CEO of Harmat Publishing House, hosted a Bible journaling workshop so attendees could experience it firsthand. Participants were able to try out their own creative Bible study and journaling under the direction of Hungarian artist Brigitta Budahazy. And many local news outlets added to the excitement by cover the release of this unique Bible.
“The One who created the eyes can see, and the One who created the ears can hear. He also knew what I had in my heart and that I longed for such a Bible, in which I can freely express my thoughts and feelings toward him,” said Timea, an early user of this Bible.
We love being able to celebrate growing in God’s Word with our brothers and sister around the world. Like Time, may we all long to get into God’s Word so we can express our love for him.
You can learn more about the Inspire Bible in Hungary on its website www.inspiralobiblia.hu
What Does the Bible Say About Being Lonely?
In the lonely hours of the night, do you sometimes wrestle with God and your emotions, feeling desperately alone, rejected? Perhaps a best friend deserted you. Or the one you hoped to marry wants someone else. Or the one you did marry wants out. Maybe your child has turned against you, or your parents don’t seem to care. Ironically, you can feel equally lonely on a crowded city street, in a busy airport, or in a stadium filled with people. Have you ever sensed the loneliness of being in a crowd? There are so many people, but no one you know or truly care about is there. Everybody is there but no one is with you—truly with you—except for God, who is always with you. If you develop a relationship with him, you can disperse your loneliness. He is always there for you. You never need to feel lonely when the creator of the universe is by your side.
I’m lonely. What can I do?
• PSALM 23:4 | Even when I walk through the darkest valley . . . you are close beside me.
• PSALM 139:17 | How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.
• ISAIAH 54:10 | “For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain.”
Recognize that you are not unlovable or deficient just because you are lonely. You have value because God made you, loves you, and promises never to leave you.
• EXODUS 5:21-22 | The foremen said to them, “May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh. . . .” Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “. . . Why did you send me?”
• 1 KINGS 19:4 | He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die.
Don’t give up on God when you are lonely. It will cause you to feel sorry for yourself, become discouraged, and fall prey to temptation.
• 1 KINGS 19:10 | “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”
• MATTHEW 11:2-3 | John the Baptist, who was in prison . . . sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”
• 1 PETER 4:19 | So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
Sometimes we feel alone in our stand for Christ. We can take comfort in knowing that there are others who are equally committed and that God rewards our bold commitment.
• ROMANS 12:4-5 | Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
Be around other people. Get involved in a local church. Volunteer in local community events.
• ISAIAH 41:10 | “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
• JOHN 14:1 | “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.”
Loneliness can cause us to be afraid. But God calms our fears.
Reader Question: Why Does the NLT Use “Justice” in Romans 5:6?
We had a reader ask us why the NLT uses the word “justice” instead of “righteousness” in Romans 5:6. Mark Norton, Bible Editorial Director and member of the NLT Bible Translation Committee, talks about this translation choice.
This is a good question. The NLT translators used the term “justice” in Matthew 5:6 to translate the Greek noun dikaiosune, rather than the more general rendering “righteousness.” The alternate rendering “righteousness” is given in the textual footnote, showing that the translation committee recognizes the value of both “justice” and “righteousness” for catching dimensions of the intended meaning here. The English term “righteousness” is most often associated with the idea of imputed and personal purity before God. The term “justice” is a term used to describe the relational actions demonstrated by the righteous person. In this verse we are called to hunger and thirst for personal righteousness and the justice that flows from it. If we truly hunger for righteousness in our hearts and personal actions, we will demonstrate it in our just and loving relationships with others, making possible the justice and peace promised in the Kingdom of God.
The apostle Paul most often speaks of righteousness as imputed to those who are in Christ (for example, Romans 5:1-2), but Matthew’s emphasis is on the practical side of righteousness, relating to righteousness expressed in our lives and in God’s Kingdom through just actions (compare 1:19; 5:10, 20, 45; 6:1, 33). Those who live in view of the nearness of the Kingdom of God long not only for personal righteousness, but also for righteous living to permeate society as a whole in justice.
The NLT translators recognize the challenge of translating the Greek term here, and have chosen to put “justice” in the text, while recognizing “righteousness” in the footnote. Both terms catch nuances of the meaning in this case.
God Loves You Reading Plan Day 7
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 3:3-8, NLT
Notes from the Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition
Paul emphasizes that God chose us to make the point that salvation depends totally on God. We are saved not because we deserve it but because God graciously and freely gives us salvation. Our wisdom or good behavior does not influence God’s decision to save us; in his mercy, he has saved us according to his plan. Thus, we cannot take credit for our salvation or take pride in making the right decision. The mystery of salvation originated in the timeless mind of God long before we existed. It baffles us why God would accept us. But Christ, by his sacrifice, makes us holy and blameless in his sight. If we are in Christ, God looks at us as if we have never sinned. All we can do is express our thanks for his wonderful love.
That God “decided in advance to adopt us” is another way of saying that salvation is God’s work and not our own doing. In his infinite love, God has adopted us as his own children. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, he has brought us into his family and made us heirs along with Jesus (Romans 8:17). He did this on purpose for his own pleasure (Luke 12:32).
In Roman law, adopted children had the same rights and privileges as biological children, even if they had been slaves. (For more on the meaning of adoption, see Galatians 4:5-7.) Paul uses this language to show how strongly we are related to God through Christ and how strongly God desires a relationship with us. Have you entered into this loving bond with him
God has showered his kindness—his grace—on us. This is his voluntary and loving favor given to those he saves. We can’t earn salvation, nor do we deserve it. No religious, intellectual, or moral effort can gain it, because it comes only from God’s mercy and love. Without God’s grace, no person can be saved. To receive God’s salvation, we must acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves; only God can save us. We can receive this loving favor by believing in and uniting with Christ. Imagine that you are trying to go on an ocean voyage but have no passport, money, or credit cards—and then Jesus comes along to pay your way so you can travel in first class. This is a small illustration of how lavishly and freely he gives his grace to each of us.
God Loves You Reading Plan: Day 3
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
“I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
“And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” Luke 12:6-12, NLT
Note from the New Believer’s Bible
As this parable illustrates, it is easy to allow other pursuits to cloud our spiritual vision. We have to make enough money to get that new car, buy that house, or take that dream vacation.
But we get so caught up in chasing after money and success that we leave God out of the equation altogether. Jesus has strong words for people who store up earthly wealth but fail to cultivate a rich relationship with God—he says they are fools.
God’s answer to this dilemma is for us to focus on his will for our lives. Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). The more you channel your energy, ambition, and life into this one holy pursuit, the less obsessed you will be with the cares and concerns of this world.
Everything else will come into balance. Seek God’s Kingdom in all that you do. Failure to do so will only guarantee confusion, failure, and emptiness.
Worship Reading Plan: Day 3
“Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
If only you would listen to his voice today!”
Psalm 95:1-7, NLT
Note from the Girls Life Application Study Bible
How to Worship
Think about a super-popular band. Their followers are pretty crazy about them, right? God wants us to feel that way about him—to know him, love him, listen to him, obey him, and tell everyone about him. That’s what worship is all about. Singing, reading the Bible, and preaching are all parts of worship. But the real heart of worship is the heart—connecting your heart to God’s. These three Rs can help:
Remember what God has done for you. This affects your attitude in worship. Approach God with a sense of gratitude and reverence. The songs will remind you of his greatness— that he is worth praising. Many worship songs are based on Bible passages that talk about God’s great deeds and his love for his people. They’re also about his faithfulness to keep the promises he has made. Think of all worship—including readings, prayers, special music, offering, Communion, testimonies, and sermons—as a celebration of who God is and what he has done.
Reflect the glory of God. When you sing a worship song or tell someone about God, you’re honoring God by spreading the truth about him. Even telling someone, “I saw a beautiful flower the other day,” can be a way of praising God, because creation itself shows God’s glory (see Psalm 19:1).
Respond to God’s grace. Worship is a response to the truth of God. Giving money in the offering is a response; so is following along in your Bible during the sermon. Responding often involves prayer—thanking God for who he is, confessing sin, or asking for help. And it also means applying the Bible lesson to the way you think or act.
Worship Reading Plan: Day 2
“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.
Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.
I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thessaloniaans 5:14-28, NLT
Note from the Every Man’s Bible
In these verses, Paul leaves us with a collection of good teaching. If we follow these many instructions, as we can with God’s help, we will be well on our way. We are called to minister to others and to actively participate in God’s ongoing work on earth.
This gives hope to others and preserves our own spiritual gains as well. Paul calls us to rebuild our relationships by repaying the wrongs of others with kindness. We are called to live joyful lives, to be always prayerful, to continually seek God’s will. We are reminded of the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s continual helping presence. God gives us what we need to fulfill his plan for our lives. Our part is to participate in the good plan he has set out for us.
Share Your Story
In front of King Agrippa Paul shares his story of transformation after meeting Christ. Read this passage from Acts and the note from the New Believer’s Bible. Then reflect on why should we always be willing to share our story?
“‘One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’
‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked.
‘And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’
‘And so, King Agrippa, I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do. Some Jews arrested me in the Temple for preaching this, and they tried to kill me. But God has protected me right up to this present time so I can testify to everyone, from the least to the greatest. I teach nothing except what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Messiah would suffer and be the first to rise from the dead, and in this way announce God’s light to Jews and Gentiles alike.'” Acts 26:12-13, NLT.
Note from the New Believer’s Bible
A useful tool in our evangelistic toolbox is the story—also called our testimony—of how we came to personally know Jesus Christ. Paul often used this method effectively, such as in this account of his appearing before King Agrippa. After explaining how Paul had personally come into a relationship with Christ, he segued into the proclamation of the gospel message (Acts 26:19-23).
Every believer has a testimony. Some may be more dramatic than others. Such was the case with Paul, formerly the notorious Saul of Tarsus, who had been an aggressive persecutor of the church. Whether your testimony is incredible or ordinary, your personal salvation story will help you find common ground with nonbelievers.
You can tell them about your life and attitude before coming to Christ, then explain the changes that came afterward. When nonbelievers see that you can relate to their own lives, they may be more open to what you have to say. The objective in evangelism is to build a bridge, not burn one. Your testimony is a great way to do that.
Why don’t you take a moment to think about the changes that have taken place in your life since you became a Christian? You may even want to write down your testimony so that you will be ready to share it at the next opportunity.