As regular readers of this blog know, Bible Gateway regularly adds new Bibles and extrabiblical content to our online library. One consequence is that it’s easy, in keeping up with all the newly-added Bibles, to overlook some of the older favorites in our library.
The first complete version of the NASB was published in 1971 and updated in 1995. It’s a spiritual successor to the American Standard Version (ASV) with the goal to facilitate “greater understanding and smoother reading”—one reason it’s sometimes informally called the NASV. The NASB’s translators followed a formal equivalence translation philosophy, producing a “word-for-word” translation. The guiding principles behind their translation work are laid out in the introduction to the NASB:
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.
The translators based their Old Testament work on the Biblia Hebraica (along with “the most recent light from lexicography, cognate languages, and the Dead Sea Scrolls”) and their New Testament translation on the Novum Testamentum Graece.
The end result is a Bible that sticks closely to the original texts while remaining understandable to a modern reader. This passage from the gospel of Matthew illustrates the NASB’s style:
Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:13-20)
If you want to jump right into the NASB text, there are two ways to do so. You can also start reading the NASB now, or listen to the audio NASB. To listen to the audio NASB, look for the audio icon while reading any NASB passage (as described in our audio Bible tutorial), or go to the audio Bible library and select it, along with your desired Bible passage, from the menu there.
We’re very grateful to the Lockman Foundation for making the NASB available on Bible Gateway. You can read more about the NASB at the Lockman Foundation website or on our NASB information page. If you’ve never read Scripture in the NASB, give it a try and see why this Bible remains a favorite for many Bible Gateway readers!