New American Standard Bible

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New American Standard Bible
New American Standard Bible cover.jpg
NT published1963
Complete Bible
Derived fromAmerican Standard Version
Textual basis
Translation typeFormal equivalence
Reading level10.0
Version revision1977, 1995, 2020
PublisherThe Lockman Foundation
CopyrightNew American Standard Bible
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation
A Corporation Not for Profit
La Habra, California
All Rights Reserved
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.[3]
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.[3]

The New American Standard Bible (NASB) is an English translation of the Christian Bible. Published by the Lockman Foundation, the first NASB text—a translation of the Gospel of John—was released in 1960. The NASB New Testament was released in 1963. The complete NASB Bible was released in 1971.[4] The NASB is a revision of the American Standard Version (ASV).[5]

The Lockman Foundation claims that the NASB "has been widely embraced as a literal and accurate English translation because it consistently uses the formal equivalence translation philosophy."[6]

Translation philosophy[edit]

The New American Standard Bible is considered by some sources as the most literally translated of major 20th-century English Bible translations.[7] 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.[8]

The NASB is an original translation from the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, based on the same principles of translation, and wording, as the American Standard Version (ASV) of 1901. It offers an alternative to the Revised Standard Version (1946–1952/1971), which is considered by some to be theologically liberal,[9] and also to the 1929 revision of the ASV.[10]

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 was used; the 23rd edition in the 1971 original,[11] and the 26th in the 1995 revision.[10]

Seeing the need for a literal, modern translation of the English Bible, the translators sought to produce a contemporary 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 some such instances, the more literal renderings were indicated in footnotes.

The NASB claims to be reliable and faithful to the original languages. It includes printing of verses as individual units (although more recent editions are available in paragraph format).


YHWH (rendered as "Jehovah" in the original ASV/A.S.V.) is rendered LORD or GOD in capital letters in the NASB.[11] The committee stated the reason as:

This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore it has been consistently translated LORD. The only exception is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated GOD in order to avoid confusion. It is known that for many years YHWH has been transliterated as Yahweh, however no complete certainty attaches to this pronunciation.[12]

This is in direct contrast to the preface of ASV of 70 years earlier, where the committee explained that "the American Revisers...were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish superstition, which regarded the Divine Name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the Old Testament."[13]


The Lockman Foundation published NASB text, modifications, and revisions in the following order:

  • Gospel of John (1960)
  • The Gospels (1962)
  • New Testament (1963)
  • Psalms (1968)
  • Complete Bible (Old Testament and New Testament; 1971)
  • Minor text modifications (1972, 1973, 1975)
  • Major text revisions (1977, 1995, 2020)

1995 revision[edit]

In 1992, the Lockman Foundation commissioned a limited revision of the NASB. In 1995, the Lockman Foundation reissued the NASB text as the NASB Updated Edition (more commonly, the Updated NASB or NASB95). Since then, it has become widely known as simply the "NASB", supplanting the 1977 text in current printings, save for a few (Thompson Chain Reference Bibles, Open Bibles, Key Word Study Bibles, et al.).

In the updated NASB, consideration was given to the latest available manuscripts with an emphasis on determining the best Greek text. Primarily, the 26th edition of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece is closely followed. The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is also employed together with the most recent information from lexicography, cognate languages, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.[14]

The updated NASB represents recommended revisions and refinements, and states that it incorporates thorough research based on current English usage.[15] Vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure were meticulously revised for greater understanding and smoother reading, hence increasing clarity and readability.[15] Terms found in Elizabethan English such as "thy" and "thou" have been modernized, while verses with difficult word ordering are restructured. Punctuation and paragraphing have been formatted for modernization, and verbs with multiple meanings have been updated to better account for their contextual usage.[15]

2020 revision[edit]

Starting in 2018, the Lockman Foundation posted some passages from "NASB 2020", an update of the 1995 revision.[16][non-primary source needed] Key differences from the 1995 revision include an effort to improve "gender accuracy" (for example, adding "or sisters" in italics to passages that reference "brothers", to help convey the mixed-gender meaning of a passage that might otherwise be misunderstood as only speaking of men), a shift (where applicable) from the common construct "let us" when proposing action to the more-contemporary construct "let's" (to disambiguate a sort of "imperative" encouragement rather than a seeking of permission that could otherwise be misunderstood from a given passage), and a repositioning of some "bracketed text" (that is, verses or portions of verses that are not present in earliest Biblical manuscripts, and thus printed in brackets in previous NASB editions) out from inline-and-in-brackets down instead to footnotes.[17]


The translation work was done by a group sponsored by the Lockman Foundation.[18] According to the Lockman Foundation, the committee consisted of people from Christian institutions of higher learning and from evangelical Protestant, predominantly conservative, denominations (Presbyterian, Methodist, Southern Baptist, Church of Christ, Nazarene, American Baptist, Fundamentalist, Conservative Baptist, Free Methodist, Congregational, Disciples of Christ, Evangelical Free, Independent Baptist, Independent Mennonite, Assembly of God, North American Baptist, and "other religious groups").[19][20]

The foundation's Web site indicates that among the translators and consultants who contributed are Bible scholars with doctorates in biblical languages, theology, "or other advanced degrees", and come from a variety of denominational backgrounds. More than 20 individuals worked on modernizing the NASB in accord with the most recent research.[20]


  1. ^ The NASB can also be abbreviated as NAS.


  1. ^ "More Information about NASB 2020". The Lockman Foundation. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021. For the Old Testament: Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) and Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) for the books available. Also the LXX, DSS, the Targums, and other ancient versions when pertinent.
  2. ^ "More Information about NASB 2020". The Lockman Foundation. Archived from the original on January 10, 2021. Retrieved January 10, 2021. For the New Testament: NA28 supplemented by the new textual criticism system that uses all the available Gr mss. known as the ECM2.
  3. ^ "NASB Bible Info". Lockman Foundation. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021. After completion in 1971, the NASB was updated in 1977, 1995, and most recently in 2020, according to the best scholarship available at the time.
  4. ^ "NASB Bible Info". Lockman Foundation. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021. Recognizing the values of the American Standard Version, The Lockman Foundation launched a new translation project in 1959. It sought to preserve the lasting values of the ASV while incorporating recent discoveries of Hebrew and Greek textual sources, all with more current English. This new and original translation project created the NASB.
  5. ^ "NASB Bible Info". Lockman Foundation. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 16, 2021.
  6. ^ Pope, Christopher. "Comparing Bible Translations: Conclusions" (PDF). Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  7. ^ "The Lockman Foundation - NASB, Amplified, LBLA, and NBLH Bibles". Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  8. ^ Harris, R. Laird (1969). "Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible: An Historical and Exegetical Study". Contemporary Evangelical Perspectives (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan. p. 58.
  9. ^ a b "NASB Translation Principles". Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Preface". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  11. ^ Holy Bible: New American Standard Bible (NASB 1977 ed.). April 21, 2011. ISBN 9781581351521. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  12. ^ "Preface to the American edition". Retrieved August 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "Why the NASB?". The Lockman Foundation. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c "New American Standard Bible". The Lockman Foundation. Retrieved June 16, 2009.
  15. ^ "The Lockman Foundation (NASB, Amplified, LBLA, NBLH)". Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  16. ^ "More Information About NASB 2020". Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  17. ^ Metzger, Bruce (2003). The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content (3rd ed.). Nashville: Abingdon Press. p. 336.
  18. ^ BeDuhn, Jason David (2003). Truth in Translation -- Accuracy and Bias in English Translations of the New Testament. University Press of America. p. 35,39. ISBN 978-0761825562.
  19. ^ a b "The Lockman Foundation - NASB, Amplified Bible, LBLA, and NBLH Bibles". The Lockman Foundation.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]