January 10, 2006

Old NASB vs. New NASB

Recently at a dinner party I got into a brief discussion about Bible translations --- someone mentioned how their childhood Bible was the ‘something something American Standard’ --- then someone else mentioned how that must been the ‘NASB’ and how they liked that translation.

Well I like it too, but actually I don't like the NASB that could have been the person's childhood bible, I didn't say that --- but I explained how it was a bit dry of a translation --- and explained that this was in fact due to it being very literal.

Thing is, I don’t actually think the childhood bible they had was the NASB, I actually think it was the ASV (American Standard Version 1901) --- but anyhow.

I went on to say how the Updated NASB (1995) was a much more ‘digestible’ translation --- the people around me chuckled like only I would notice a difference between an ‘updated’ translation and an original. I admit I would tend to be more picky then the average person, but really there is quite a difference!

Here’s a quick example.

Luke 12:22-26

Updated NASB NASB
22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.
23 "For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 23 "For life is more than food, and the body than clothing.
24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!
25 "And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life's span? 25 "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span?
26 "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 26 "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters?

5 Comments:

At January 10, 2006 6:15 PM, Blogger Brandon Wason said...

Granted, the 1995 update is better, but the NASB is still as stiff as a corpse! The ESV simply reads nicer, though that is not to say that it doesn't have its own problems.

Yours,
BW

 
At January 10, 2006 7:26 PM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

"Stiff as a corpse" is a bit of hyperbole in my opinion.

I know the NASB isn't for everyone, but it's still the translation that's most familiar to me. It's not the only translation I use, but it's definitely my favorite.

I began using it when I was 13 in 1980. I had never been able to read the the KJV, but the NASB was the first readable Bible I'd ever come across. I could understand it and it spoke to me. That's why I find it laughable when people complain about it's literalness. Yes, it's wooden in spots, but it's not as bad as some have made it out to be.

Most of the same people who use the ESV now used to use the NASB, but now they disparage the NASB. Makes no sense to me.

 
At January 10, 2006 10:22 PM, Blogger Justin Jenkins said...

Ahhh the NASB vs. the ESV ...

It reminds me of a Beatles song ...

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

 
At January 11, 2006 12:22 AM, Blogger Brandon Wason said...

Rick,

The closest thing that comes to a familiar translation to me is the NKJV, which was very popular at my old church. Of course I won't try to defend the NKJV because I'm aware of its reliance on a poor Gk text, yet I have a feeling for what you mean by a familiar version. The NASB has helped a lot of people understand the language of the Bible, but all I am saying is that it just doesn't flow well. The worst Bible in this aspect is the NET Bible, which, despite its great notes, flows as smoothly as a cheap pick-up line at your local bar. I usually find myself using the NRSV, but I'm sure people can find fault with that one as well.

Justin,

Well said. I love the Beatles and that song always gets me thinking...but I've never seen it used to refer to Bible translations before.

 
At January 11, 2006 8:57 PM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

Brandon...

Agree on the NET. I love the notes, but the translation itself does nothing for me.

I have tried to like the HCSB. Parts of it are really good, and I really like the wording, and then it will do goofy things like using the word "deluge" instead of "flood" in the Noah cycle. I'm waiting for the second edition.

 

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