New Living Translation (NLT) vs. New International Version (NIV) Bible

by Sister McCook
NLT vs NIV Bible

If you’re looking for a modern English Bible that’s clear and easy to read, you might be torn between the New Living Translation (NLT) and the New International Version (NIV).

Both are highly regarded versions and are used by churches across America. Which one is best for you?

Let’s look at some of their similarities, differences, and pros/cons to decide which Bible version will be your go-to translation.

Origin of NLT and NIV Bible

How did this happen? The origin of NLT came from a project aiming to revise The Living Bible (TLB).

This revision led to the creation of the NLT, which was published in 1996. To prepare for their work, these scholars consulted many sources, including Bibles already available at that time, such as NIV and NKJV.

Additionally, the NIV was initially translated by a team of scholars working from the best available Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek texts in 1973.


The NLT is translated from the original Hebrew and Greek texts, whereas the NIV is translated from the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts. Both are valid translations; however:

The NLT tends to be more literal than the NIV. It sometimes uses a word-for-word translation that can be hard to understand.

The NIV tends to use simpler wording than the NLT would use in its place. It uses shorter sentences than many other translations while keeping important words intact.


In terms of style, the NLT is more conversational than the NIV, which has a somewhat more formal tone.

However, depending on your personal preference, this may not be important.

The NLT is easier to read than the NIV because of its simplified language and sentence structure.

Reading and Comprehension Level

NIV is written at a higher reading level than NLT. It’s a good choice for people who want to read the Bible for personal enrichment.

NLT is written at a lower reading level than NIV, making it easier for those new to reading the Bible or those who find it difficult due to their age or disability.

Purpose of Each Bible Version

Written in contemporary language, the New Living Translation is an accurate translation of the original biblical languages that brings to life God’s story for our lives and this world.

The Committee’s goals for NIV were to produce an accurate, beautiful, precise, and dignified translation suitable for public or private reading, memorizing scripture, and use in prayer.

Pronunciation Guide

NLT Bible is more accurate, while the NIV Bible has simplified it. The NLT guide at the beginning of each book lets you know what letters have been changed so that you can pronounce them correctly.

On the other hand, in its effort to make things easier for you to understand, there won’t be any change in the spelling, so you don’t have to worry about pronouncing anything differently from how we usually do.

Footnotes and Cross-References

Footnotes are used to provide additional information about a verse. They can be found in the back of your Bible, opposite the verse they refer to.

Cross-references are similar, but they link verses together and help you see where one verse is referenced in another.

Bible verse Comparison

New Living Translation

(God created everything through him, and nothing was made except through him.”)-John 1:3

(But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.)-Psalm 56:3

(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!)-Samuel 2, 4:10

New International Version

(Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made.)-John 1:3

(When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.)-Psalm 56:3

(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!)-2 Samuel 4:10

Best For Bible Studies

The NIV is an excellent choice if you want to read aloud or, even better yet, read silently.

The translations of each passage are easy to understand and make it extremely easy for anyone to pick up this Bible with no previous.

This makes it perfect for those who are doing Bible study.

Pros and Cons of the NLT Bible

NLT is a beautiful and simplified version of the Bible. However, it is an easy-to-understand paraphrasing that can be helpful when reading to young children but does not make for good in-depth studies.

Pros And Cons Of The Niv Bible

The New International Version (NIV) is considered by many to be the most readable version of the Bible while still retaining its original meaning.

Although it is not as accurate as some other translations, this version can be trusted.

Does The NLT Bible Have Missing Verses? And What Are Some Of Them?

Yes, NLT is missing verses found in other modern English translations of the Bible.

The NLT translation doesn’t include Matthew 17:21; Mark 9:29; Mark 16:9-20; Luke 22:43-44 and John 7:53-8:11.

Does The NIV Bible Have Missing Verses? And What Are Some Of Them?

Yes, some verses are missing in the NIV. Here are some examples:

  • Mark 7:16 – entire verse omitted
  • Matthew 17:21 – whole verse omitted
  • Luke 17:36 – whole verse omitted
  • John 5:4 – whole verse omitted

NLT vs NIV: Which Version is Best For Beginners?

As a beginner, the NIV Bible is the better and preferred choice for most readers due to its accessibility and readability.

The NLT Bible (New Living Translation) is also a great option for beginners, as it is a dynamic translation that communicates the same message in a modern, reader-friendly way.

The NLT can be easy to understand without compromising accuracy, making it great for new Bible readers.

While the NLT Bible may not be as precise in its translation as the NIV Bible, it is still an excellent choice for beginners.

Where To Get The NLT and NIV Bibles?

Lasso Brag

These Bibles are available in different versions for kids, women, or men, and the fact that you can listen to the Bible as well, I think this is very nice for someone who has trouble getting the time to read. Check them out and see if you like any of the

The NLT Bible has a lot of benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. The NIV Bible is famous for many Christians because of its accuracy and readability, but other versions might better suit your needs.

If you’re looking for an excellent all-around translation that’s easy on the eyes, or if you want an accurate translation with minimal footnotes or cross-references, these two Bibles may be perfect!

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