The Value of the NASB

I have at least one copy of each of the modern Bible translations in either electronic format or hard copy.  I have read the NIV and never fell in love with it.  There are too many places where the translators were too free in their rendering for my liking.  I have read the 2007 ESV.  There are some places where they have updated how the NASB has rendered a passage.  Yet, there are still some very awkward Anglicisms in the text.  I still believe that Crossway’s marketing department has portrayed/made the ESV as something that it is not, a more idiomatic translation.  I know that some will respond to that statement by pointing out that it is a formal-equivalence translation.  Yes, I agree it is.  The translators aimed for that form of translation.  The advertisments lean more toward a functional-equivalence translation.  I just have an issue with how many people are waxing eloquent about the ESV being so accurate, yet readable.  I would say it is accurate for the most part, be less readable than many are portraying it.  The HCSB on the other hand does seem to be more of what the ESV is being portrayed as.  I like the HCSB.  There are still some places where I am not as comfortable with the translators choice of rendering.  I can see and understand why they made the choices that they did.  There are just enough unique choices to make me cautious to jump on the bandwagon.  This is a switch from my previous opinion.

This brings me back to the NASB.  I know that many label it as “too wooden.”  I really believe that this is an unfair characteriziation.  The translation is a formal-equivalence work.  There are many places where the NASB is more readable than the ESV.  I have found that when it comes down to trusting a translation “getting it right” I choose the NASB.  The scholars are/were conservative evangelicals.  I write this post because of the “jockeying for position” that is going on among evangelicals over Bible translation.  I trust the NASB, I believe that it is accurate and as readable as possible without becoming a commentary rather than a translation.  I appreciate that the exegesis is left up to the reader rather than the translator.  I appreciate the ministry of the Lockman Foundation.

I truly believe that we must be very careful with the modern tendency of leap-frogging from translation to translation.  No translation is perfect.  Yet, this hopping around leaves fellow believers a bit confused and less confident in the accurate modern translation they currently use.

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