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The New American Standard Version (NASV)

Lesson #26

Victor M. Eskew




A.    When we hear the words “New American Standard Version” (NASV), we think that this is simply an update of the American Standard Version of 1901.

1.      In the Introduction to the first NASV New Testament, these words can be found:  "It has been the purpose of the Editorial Board to present to the modern reader a revision of the American Standard Version in clear and contemporary language."

2.      This may have been true initially, but over the course of time as updated editionS have been published, the text has moved farther and farther away from the text of the ASV.


B.      Some individuals refer to the NASV or New American Standard Bible (NASB) as the most literal of all the modern translations that exist.

1.      In other words, the translators tried to translate the Hebrew and Greek texts word-for-word as closely as possible.

2.      Some criticize the version for this because it makes is difficult to read for some Bible students.  The “wooden” language, however, only happens in a few places.  Most of the time, the text can be read easily.


C.     This version is used by many Bible instructors in our Christian colleges and universities.


D.    In this study, we will briefly examine the New American Standard Version.


I.                   BACKGROUND


A.    The NASV is published by the Lockman Foundation.

1.      This foundation was started in 1942 by F. Dewey Lockman.

2.      It is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian ministry dedicated to the translation, publication, and distribution of the Amplified Bible (AB) and the New American Standard Version, and other Bible resources.


B.      The NT was published in 1963.  The whole Bible came out in 1971.  It was most recently revised in 1995.  In the new edition, they removed most of the thee’s and thou’s and they revised the word “and” that starts so many of the sentences in the Hebrew.


C.     The inspiration for the version was the heavy criticism that was given to the Revised Standard Version which was published in 1952.


D.    The texts consulted for translation.

1.      1971 edition

a.      Old Testament:  Rudolf Kittel’s Biblica Hebraica (3rd edition) and the Dead Sea Scrolls

b.      New Testament:  Eberd Nestle’s Noum Testamentum Graece (23rd ed.)

2.      1995 edition

a.      Old Testament:  Biblical Hebraica Stuttgartensia

b.      New Testament:  Nestle-Aland (26th ed.)


E.      There are some 50 scholars who translated the NASV.

1.      For years their names remained anonymous.

2.      They were finally released in 1995.  Their names can easily be found on the internet.


F.      The translators stated that they had a four-fold aim:

1.      The publication shall be true to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

2.      It shall be grammatically correct.

3.      It should be understandable.

4.      It will give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him; therefore, no work will ever be personalized.




A.    The new versions justify their existence upon the fact that the KJV contains archaic words.  Thus, one would believe that all of the archaic words would be removed from the modern translations, but this is not the case.


B.      The NASV contains numerous archaic words.  Here is a short list.

1.      Curds (Gen. 18:8)

2.      Gaunt (Gen. 41:3)

3.      Filigree (Exo. 28:20)

4.      Brooches (Exo. 35:22)

5.      Hoopoe (Lev. 11:19)

6.      Armlets (Num. 31:50)

7.      Kors (I Kings 4:22)

8.      Treatise (II Chron. 13:22)

9.      Magi (Matt. 2:1)

10.  Danari (Matt. 28:22)

11.  Thong (John 1:27)


C.     Others archaic words are also found in the NASV.  You can look at previous lists from other modern versions we have studied to see some of these other out-dated terms.




A.    Harmony of expression involves translating a Hebrew or Greek word in the same manner throughout the entirety of the Bible.  Again, this is a criticism that is levelled at the KJV.  But, the modern translations do not always have a “harmony of expression.”


B.      Example:  The Greek word:  teleios      It is translated as full-grown (Eph. 4:13), mature (I Cor. 14:20), and “perfect” in many places.




A.    Matthew 5:17 (NASV):  Do not think that I am come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.


B.      Ephesians 2:15 (NASV):  By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.


C.     Question:  Why can’t the modern versions correct this contradiction?  It does not have to exist, but it continues to be perpetuated.




A.    Because many of the modern translations use the Westcott-Hort text, they often omit verses from the Biblical text that are found in the KJV.  These omissions are usually noted in a footnote with an explanation.  NOTE:  The NASV does this in many places.  But, there are other places where words and phrases are omitted and there is no footnote at all.      QUESTION:  Why omit words and phrases and not document why these were omitted?


B.      Examples:

1.      Matthew 13:51

a.      KJV:  Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?  They say unto him, Yea, Lord.

b.      NASV:  Have you understood all these things?  They said to him, Yes.

2.      Matthew 25:13

a.      KJV:  Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

b.      NASV:  Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

3.      Mark 9:24

a.      KJV:  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

b.      NASV:  Immediately the boy’s father cried out and began saying, I do believe; help me in my unbelief.

4.      Luke 4:8

a.      KJV:  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan:  for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

b.      NASV:  And Jesus answered and said to him, It is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.

5.      Luke 7:31

a.      KJV:  And the Lord said, Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation?  And to what are they like:

b.      NASV:  To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like?

6.      John 1:27

a.      KJV:  He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.

b.      NASV:  It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.

7.      Galatians 6:15

a.      KJV:  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

b.      NASV:  For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.

8.      Ephesians 3:9

a.      KJV:  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.

b.      NASV:  And to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things.


9.      I Timothy 6:5

a.      KJV:  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:  from such withdraw thyself.

b.      NASV:  And constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

10.  Revelation 2:15

a.      KJV:  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

b.      NASV:  Thus you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

11.  Revelation 5:14

a.      KJV:  And the four beasts said, Amen.  And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

b.      NASV:  And the four living creatures kept saying, Amen.  And the elders fellow down and worshiped.

12.  Revelation 21:24

a.      KJV:  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:  and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

b.      NASV:  And the nations shall walk by its light, and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it.




A.    II Samuel 14:14 says that God does not take away life.  The Bible, however, teaches that He can and does (Gen. 38:7, 10; Deut. 32:39; II Sam. 12:15).


For we shall surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again.  Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one may not be cast out from him.


B.      In Psalm 78:36 we read that Israel deceives God.


But they deceived Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue.


C.     Isaiah 2:2 (See also Micah 4:1) has a premillennial bias.


In the last days, the mountain of the house of the Lord will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it.


The text says that that the house of the Lord will be established “as” the chief of the mountains.  It should read “on” or “in” the chief of the mountains.


D.    Amos 6:5

1.      KJV:  That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music like David.

2.      NASV:  Who improvise to the sound of the harp, and like David have composed songs for themselves.




E.      Matthew 1:25 leaves out the word “firstborn” before the word “Son.”

1.      KJV:  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son:  and he called his name Jesus.

2.      NASV:  And kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son:  and he called His name Jesus.


F.      Matthew 3:7


But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come.


The Pharisees and Sadducees were not coming “for”baptism.  They were coming to John’s baptism, that is, to the place where he was baptizing.


G.     Matthew 19:9 reads “except for immorality” instead of “except for fornication.”  Lying, extortion, and theft are forms of immorality.


And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another commit adultery.


                        NOTE:  The second half of the verse is missing with no footnote.


H.    John 1:18 refers to “the only begotten God” instead of “the only begotten Son.”

1.      KJV:  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

2.      NASV:  No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.


I.        In John 6:69, the words “Son of God” are changed to “holy one of God.”  “Holy one” can refer to any prophet or man of God.


And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.


J.        John 7:8-10 leaves out the word “yet” and has Jesus lying to His brothers.

1.      KJV:  Go up to this feast:  I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.  When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.  But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

2.      NKJV:  Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because my time has not yet fully come.  And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.  But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret.


K.     Acts 2:30

1.      KJV:  Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.

2.      ASV:  And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne.




L.      Romans 11:20 leans toward the doctrine of “faith only.”


Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, and you stand only by your faith.  Do not be conceited, but fear.


M.   I Corinthians 8:4 teaches that “there is no such thing as an idol in the world.”


Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.


N.    Philippians 4:13 replaces the word “Christ” with “him.”


I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.


O.    I Timothy 3:16 reads “He” instead of “God” was manifest in the flesh.


And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness:  He who was revealed in the flesh…


P.      I Peter 1:2 indicates that the Holy Spirit enables one to obey Jesus Christ.

1.      KJV: Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:  Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

2.      NASV:  According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood:  May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.


Q.    I Peter 3:19 inserts the word “now” in the text.

1.       KJV:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.

2.      NASV:  In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison.


R.     Revelation 1:1 has “sent and communicated it” instead of “sent and signified it.”




A.    The word “new” means more that updated at times.  Sometimes is means changed quite a bit from the “old.”


B.      If all were honest, the new translations haVE just as many problems, sometimes more, than the King James Version.


C.     Choose a version.  Know its strengths and weakness.  Then study with honesty.














One, they cause widespread confusion, because everywhere we go people say, What do you think of this; what do you think of that? What do young people think when they hear all of that?

Two, they discourage memorization. Who's going to memorize when each one has a different Bible, a different translation?

Three, they obviate the use of a concordance. Where are you going to find a concordance for the Good News for Modern Man and all these others? You aren't going to find one. We're going to have a concordance for every one; you're going to have to have a lot of concordances.

Four, they provide opportunity for perverting the truth. There are all these translations and versions, each one trying to get a little different slant from the others. They must make it different, because if it isn't different why have a new version? It makes a marvelous opportunity for the devil to slip in his perverting influence.

Five, these many translations make teaching of the Bible difficult. And I'm finding that more and more as I go around the country. I mentioned this thing the other night. How could a mathematics professor or instructor teach a certain problem in a class if the class had six or eight different textbooks? How about that? How could you do it?

Six, they elicit profitless argumentation. Because everywhere we go they say this one is more accurate. Which one is more accurate? How do they know?