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What is the New American Standard Bible (NASB)?

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Question: "What is the New American Standard Bible (NASB)?"

New American Standard Bible - History

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) has evolved from the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901. The ASV, in turn, was the American version of the Revised Version (RV) of 1885, also called the English Revised Version (ERV). While preserving the literal accuracy of the ASV, the NASB sought to render grammar and terminology in contemporary English. Special attention was given to the rendering of verb tenses to give the English reader a rendering as close as possible to the sense of the original Greek and Hebrew texts. In 1995, the text of the NASB was updated for greater understanding and smoother reading. In an effort to ensure accuracy, recent research on the oldest and best Greek manuscripts of the New Testament was reviewed, and some passages were updated for even greater fidelity to the original manuscripts. The original NASB earned the reputation of being the most accurate English Bible translation. The New American Standard Bible update (1995) carried on the NASB tradition of being a true Bible translation, revealing what the original manuscripts actually say—not merely what the translator believes they mean.

New American Standard Bible - Translation Method
The New American Standard Bible is most known for its strict adherence to "formal equivalence" in its translation. The goal of the NASB is to be as literal "word-for-word" as possible. Most Bible scholars hold the NASB to be the most literal of all the modern English Bible translations. In order to make the NASB easier to read while ensuring accuracy, the following methods were used in the 1995 update:

• Archaic "thee’s" and "thou’s," etc., were updated to modern English.

• Words and phrases that could be misunderstood due to changes in their meaning during the past 20 years were updated to current English.

• Verses with difficult syntax or vocabulary were retranslated into smoother English. Verbs with multiple meanings were retranslated to accurately reflect the context.

• Recent research on the oldest and best Greek manuscripts of the New Testament was reviewed, and some passages were updated.

The NASB 1995 update continued the NASB’s tradition of literal translation of the original Greek and Hebrew without compromise. Changes in the text have been kept within the strict parameters set forth by the Lockman Foundation’s Fourfold Aim—that they be true to the original manuscripts, grammatically correct, understandable, and give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him.

New American Standard Bible - Pros and Cons
Probably the greatest strength of the New American Standard Bible is its literalness. More so than any other English Bible translation, the NASB seeks to take what was originally said in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and say the same thing in English. The primary downside to this method is that it sometimes results in the English not being as smooth and free-flowing as it could be. Overall, though, the New American Standard Bible is an excellent Bible translation.

New American Standard Bible - 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 saw 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 whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 8:58 – “Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

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

Recommended Resource: How to Choose a Translation for All Its Worth: A Guide to Understanding and Using Bible Versions by Gordon D. Fee & Mark L. Strauss

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Related Topics:

What is the American Standard Version (ASV)?

What is the Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)?

How does the translation process impact the inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility of the Bible?

KJV Only movement? Is the King James Version the only Bible we should use?

What is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)?

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