New Spanish Bible translation paves the way for discipleship, evangelism

By January 24, 2011

International (MNN) — The Spanish speaking world doesn't have nearly the amount of resources as English speakers when it comes to Bible translation. But a recent release of a new translation has changed the way some Hispanics understand the Word.

Jim Williams with Luis Palau Association is known as a counselor in Latin America. When Williams noticed that the people he was counseling–especially those from younger generations–were having a difficult time capturing the ideas behind Scriptural passages with outdated phraseology, he knew something would need to change.

"I always used our old version, which is called 'Reina-Valera,' which came out in 1960–it's a revision of something done in the 1600's. And I noticed when I was counseling, people were not catching the concepts as I was using passages of Scripture," explains Williams. "So I started thinking, ‘We need something that is clear, but is still as faithful as 'Reina-Valera' is.'"

As a result, Williams set out with the Luis Palau Association, Tyndale House Publishers, and a few other partners "to produce a Spanish translation that would be faithful to the original languages, but at the same time extremely easy to understand–something like the New Living Translation in English."

After 10 years of hard work, not knowing whether or not people would even respond to the finished product, the organizations released the Nueva Traducción Viviente (NTV), an updated version of the Bible in Martin Luther's "dynamic equivalency" format. Since the May release of the NTV, Luis Palau Association has seen an enormous response throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean.

The NTV is being used by prison ministries, by evangelists for new converts, and by everyday believers, including many elderly believers. Williams says, "It's not only for new Christians and young people, but the older people can really profit from it also." Even many who had vowed never to use a translation other than the Reina-Valera–including Luis Palau himself–converted to the new version after reading bits of the easy-to-understand format.

The NTV has opened the doors for multiple new evangelistic and discipleship opportunities. Its comprehensible format is not only a draw to seekers and new converts, but its creation has also ignited other projects. Tyndale has released a Bible for new converts in conjunction with the NTV, which has 100 pages of information for beginning believers, including a glossary of evangelistic terms to help them feel more at home in church.

Williams is readying himself to begin working on a study Bible with Tyndale as well. The Spanish study Bible edition of the NTV will serve as a discipleship tool, especially for those who don't have access to vast theological libraries.

As Luis Palau Association moves ahead with innovations in the Spanish-speaking world, exciting opportunities are arising. Specific details can't be mentioned for security reasons, but your prayers are appreciated.

"I think the best thing that people can do is pray for us. We've got some opportunities right now that are still working themselves out. If they come to fruition–if the Lord allows Tyndale and us to forge ahead, there are going to be some very interesting penetrations of some places of the world that need the Scriptures in a clear version, but don't have it."

Get your own copy of the Nueva Traducción Viviente at,, or your local bookstore.

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