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What is the New English Translation (NET)?

New English Translation, NET audio

The New English Translation is a free online English translation of the Bible, sponsored by the Biblical Studies Foundation (aka In November 1995, twenty biblical scholars, working directly from the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, began work on a digital version of a modern English translation to be accessible over the Internet and on CD-ROM without cost for the user. The New English Translation claims to be non-sectarian and evangelical. The first edition, made available in November 2005, may be downloaded free of charge and is also available in printed editions. The first edition comprises the Protestant canon, while the apocryphal/deuterocanonical books are undergoing translation and will be used in some future editions. A Chinese translation team is currently at work on a new translation which incorporates the New English Translation’s notes in Chinese, making them available to an additional 1.5 billion people. Parallel projects involving other languages are also in progress.

New English Translation - Translation Method
Like the New International Version (NIV), the method of translation adopted for the New English Translation is that of dynamic equivalence, or thought-for-thought, as opposed to strict word-for-word translation. The translation is most notable for its availability on the Internet, the immense number—nearly 61,000—of lengthy footnotes, and its open copyright permitting free downloads and use for ministry purposes. Many of the notes are included to help the reader see the decisions and choices that went into the translation, including those produced by the translators while they worked through the issues and options confronting them, thus providing transparency for users. Additionally, The NET Bible is the first Bible ever to be beta-tested on the Internet. In this beta-testing process, all working drafts of the New English Translation were posted on for public review and comment. The purpose was not to achieve a consensus translation, but to be accountable, to be transparent, and to request that millions of people provide feedback on the faithfulness and clarity of the translation as well as on the translators’ notes. Numerous suggestions and comments were received from scholars, professors, lay Bible students, and Christians who speak English as a second language. By creating a translation environment that is responsible both to the world’s scholars and to lay readers, the NET Bible was read, studied, and checked by more eyes than any other Bible translation in history.

New English Translation - Pros and Cons
Overall, the New English Translation is a very good Bible translation. Its free availability and unlimited usage is something other translations should learn from. The NET sometimes is a little too dynamic in its renderings, delving into interpretation rather than simple translation. At the same time, the NET is more formal than most of the other English Bible translations that are considered dynamic.

New English Translation - Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. Now the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.”

John 3:16 – “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

John 8:58 – “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!’”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Titus 2:13 – “as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

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What is the New English Translation (NET)?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022