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What is the American Standard Version (ASV)?

American Standard Version, ASV audio

The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was published by Thomas Nelson & Sons in 1901. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known at last by its present name, the American Standard Version. It is derived from the English Revised Version (1881-1885). In 1928, the International Council of Religious Education (the body that later merged with the Federal Council of Churches to form the National Council of Churches) acquired the copyright from Nelson and renewed it the following year. The ASV was the basis of four revisions. They were the Revised Standard Version (1946-1952/1971), the Amplified Bible (1965), the New American Standard Bible (1963-1971/1995), and the Recovery Version (1999). The ASV was also the basis for Kenneth N. Taylor’s Bible paraphrase, The Living Bible, which was published in 1971. The American Standard Version has passed into antiquity, and with the expired copyright, into the public domain.

American Standard Version - Translation method
The ASV relies on the translation method known as formal equivalence or word-for-word translation. The New Testament texts used in the ASV of 1901 were the Westcott-Hort and Tregelles Greek texts. The 2015 edition of the ASV New Testament follows the Nestle-Aland, 28th edition. Using primarily the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament, the name of God (the tetragrammaton YHWH) is consistently rendered “Jehovah” in the ASV, rather than “LORD” as it appears in the King James Bible. This made the ASV the favorite of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and is the basis of their New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, translated by members of their group and published by the Watchtower Society. Other changes from the RV to the ASV included (but were not limited to) substituting who and that for which when referring to people, and Holy Spirit in place of Holy Ghost. Page headings were added, and footnotes were improved.

American Standard Version - Pros and Cons
The ASV is not in wide use today, primarily due to its having been replaced, and improved upon, with the New American Standard Bible. In its time, the American Standard Version was a very good translation of the Bible into English. Its occasional use of archaic language was a drawback, along with its sometimes sacrificing readability in favor of strict literalness.

American Standard Version - Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 8:58 – “Jesus said unto them, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was born, I am.’”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory.”

Titus 2:13 – “looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”

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Bible Versions

What is the American Standard Version (ASV)?
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This page last updated: January 4, 2022