Bible Translations

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is an English translation of the Bible published by the Lockman Foundation in 1971 and most recently revised in 1995. The NASB is widely regarded as the most literal translation available today.

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Translation Philosophy

According to the NASB's preface, the translators had a "Fourfold Aim" in this work:

  1. These publications shall be true to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.
  2. They shall be grammatically correct.
  3. They shall be understandable.
  4. They shall give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him; therefore, no work will ever be personalized.

Seeing the need for a literal, modern translation of the English Bible, the translators sought to produce a comtemporary English Bible while maintaining a word-for-word translation style. In cases where word-for-word literalness was determined to be unacceptable for modern readers, changes were made in the direction of more current idioms. In such instances, the more literal renderings were indicated in footnotes.

The greatest perceived strength of the NASB is its reliability and fidelity to the original languages without theological interpretation. Its corresponding weakness is that its readability and literary style sometimes prove confusing to the average reader. In addition, its printing of verses as individual units instead of paragraphs makes the text appear fragmented (though more recent editions are available in paragraph format). The NASB, along with other literal translations, also allows for ambiguities in the text's meaning. Though some perceive this as a weakness in the translation, it is actually a function of the aforementioned lack of theological interpretation.

Updated NASB (1995)

In 1995, the Lockman Foundation published a revised edition of the NASB text as the NASB Updated Edition (or more often, the Updated NASB or NASB95). Since then, it has become known simply as the "NASB" and has supplanted the 1971 text in current printings.

One of the major differences between the updated version and the original NASB is the removal of the archaic 2nd person pronouns (thee, thy, thou, etc) which had only been used when speakers and writers were addressing God. Another major difference was the recasting of the many sentences in the Old Testament which begin with "And", which is good Hebrew style, but not acceptable in contemporary English.

In removing or replacing literal renderings of antiquated phrases and words, the current edition is slightly less literal than the original. The NASB remains, however, the most literal version of the English Bible commonly used in churches today.

History and Textual Basis

As its name implies, the NASB is a revision of the American Standard Version of 1901. This translation was begun as an alternative to the then-popular Revised Standard Version (1952 edition), which was perceived as too liberal in its translation style. Using the ASV as its English basis, the NASB's translators went back to established Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts and revised the ASV as literally as possible, deliberately interpreting the Old Testament from a Christian standpoint, in harmony with the New Testament.

The Hebrew text used for this translation was the third edition of Rudolf Kittel's Biblia Hebraica, as well as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia was consulted for the 1995 revision. For Greek, Eberhard Nestle's Novum Testamentum Graece 23rd edition was used in the 1971 original, and the Nestle-Aland 26th edition in the 1995 revision.

Copyright

The NASB is copyrighted and may only be quoted up to 500 verses. No entire books may be quoted, nor can the quoted text amount to 25% or more of the referencing work. Notice of the copyright must appear in the quoted text. The copyright is held by the Lockman Foundation.

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