The New American Standard Bible is a relatively new translation of the Bible. It has been produced with the conviction that the words of Scripture as originally penned in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were inspired by God. Since they are the eternal Word of God, the Holy Scriptures speak with fresh power to each generation, to give wisdom that leads to salvation, that men may serve Christ to the glory of God.
The purpose in making this translation was to adhere as closely as possible to the original languages of the Holy Scriptures, and to make the translation in a fluent and readable style according to current English usage. Until this version was translated, there was a great need for a literal translation of the Bible that was still easy to read and understand in English. It is difficult to keep the integrity of the scriptures during the translation process while making the words agree with the grammatical rules of English.
In the history of English Bible translations, the King James Version is the most prestigious. This time-honored version o 1611, itself a revision of the Bishops’ Bible of 1568, became the basis for the English Revised Version appearing in 1881. The American counterpart of this last work was published in 1901 as the American Standard Version. Recognizing the values of the American Standard Version, the Lockman Foundation felt an urgency to update it by incorporating recent discoveries of Hebrew and Greek textual sources and by rendering it into more current English. Therefore, in 1959 a new translation project was launched, based on the American Standard Version. The result is the New American Standard Bible.
The American Standard Version (1901) has been highly regarded for its scholarship and accuracy. A product of both British and American scholarship, it has frequently been used as a standard for other translations. It is still recognized as a valuable tool for study of the Scriptures. The New American Standard Bible has sought to preserve these and other lasting values of the American Standard Version.
Furthermore, in the preparation of the work numerous other translations have been consulted along with the linguistic tools and literature of biblical scholarship. Decisions about English renderings were made by consensus of a team composed of educators and pastors. Subsequently, review and evaluation by other Hebrew and Greek scholars outside the Editorial Board were sought and carefully considered.
The Editorial Board has continued to function since publication of the complete Bible in 1971. Minor revisions and refinements, recommended over the last several years, are presented in the New American Standard Version.
In regard to the principles of translation, the attempt has been made to render the grammar and terminology in contemporary English. When it was felt that the word-for-word literalness was unacceptable to the modern reader, a change was made in the direction of a more current English word or thought. In the instances where this has been done, the more literal rendering has been indicated in the notes at the bottom of the particular page.
The New American Standard Version of the Bible falls under the translation category of “Literal”. Unlike the King James Version where the translations is exactly literal with very little regard to the integrity of the translation to English and whether or not the passage makes sense or is understandable, the New American Standard Version is reportedly easier to understand and makes more sense. When choosing a literal translation, the New American Standard Version is superior over the King James Version for this reason and tends to be the Bible of choice among the younger readers of today and the newer generation of scholars. It is a possibility that over time this version could replace the King James Version as the version of choice for the literal translations.