Scripture Zealot has posed an important question about the NLT that deserves a clear answer: Who is the NLT really translated for?
The short answer (from the Introduction to the New Living Translation):
The translators have made a conscious effort to provide a text that can be easily understood by the typical reader of modern English.
That really is the extent of it. As Scripture Zealot rightly points out, many other claims have been made about the purpose, intent, or usefulness of the NLT. It is for the unchurched. It is for young believers. It is at a 6th grade reading level. But none of these were specific aims of the translation team.
The reading level claims are merely descriptive, and are actually quite subjective. From a cursory Google search, the NLT has been variously assigned a grade 5+, grade 6, and grade 6.3. The translation team was not aiming for a particular reading level in their work; they were simply working hard to communicate the meaning of the original language texts clearly to the “typical reader of modern English.”
Indeed, we believe the NLT is excellent for the unchurched, for young believers, and for children. It is also excellent for seasoned church leaders, serious Christians, and scholars. Any reader of modern English can benefit from reading the NLT, because it is indeed a serious translation of the Scriptures by an excellent team of Christian scholars.
HT: Wayne Leman