Monday, May 04, 2020

News from Zondervan on the NASB 2020

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I recently noted a second revision of the NASB being done by John MacArthur. I have discussed the first revision before and given some samples of it. Today I discovered that Zondervan has a website with some additional info about the first revision of the NASB, now called the NASB 2020.
Zondervan is honored to continue its long-standing relationship with the Lockman Foundation in publishing the New American Standard Bible. Even while the publishing world eagerly awaits an update to the NASB text, we are delighted to be able to continue to publish new, beautiful Bibles in the NASB 95 text even after the NASB 2020 is in print.

Zondervan has once again partnered with 2K/Denmark to create an exclusive Zondervan Comfort Print typeface-this time for the NASB. Both the new 95 editions as well as the forthcoming 2020 editions will be set in this new typeface. The first wave of new NASB 95 Bibles will appear in February 2020. We must wait for the translation update to be complete, but if all goes according to plan then we anticipate the first wave of Zondervan NASB 2020 editions to appear in spring 2021.
The highlighted part is what is new to me. This means that sometime in the next few years, the NASB95 will be in print right alongside the NASB20—and both of those alongside MacArthur’s LSB (Legacy Standard Bible).

I also note that the Zondervan webpage says that all the new editions of the NASB will be verse-by-verse rather than set in paragraphs. This is one of my least favorite features of the NASB so it’s sad to see this feature being maintained.

You can read more at zondervan.com/p/newamericanstandardbible/about.

11 comments

  1. The making of Bibles produces much money and control.

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    1. Too true, Blue! For years I could give to serious folk, Christians and non-Christians alike, the highly cost-effective (£15/$20) single-column side-reference edition of the NASB 1995. Now gone!This was an edition very much appreciated and used!

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    1. Agreed. The almost exclusively red letter and entirely verse-by-verse decision really seems to be deal breakers if i ever wanted to buy a new NASB. But this is why ESV has taken the market by storm comparatively.

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  3. I’m inclined to be very generous when it comes to the existence of good English translations. I’m in print praising “all the good ones.” But “the more the merrier” at a certain point becomes “a rising tide sinks all boats.” And I think we’re there. I would never want to tell a layperson in a church whose pastor has chosen the LSB or NASB95 or NASB2020 to distrust it: this is a discussion for scholars and church leaders. But it really is time for the production of major new Bible translations to stop. (Peter, can you go stand athwart something somewhere and yell that?) I’ve even said this when it hurt, as in to respected colleagues at places I have worked (I’ll leave it vague like that). I see room for niche translations, for those oriented to certain kinds of Bible study—like a hyper-literal version or another paraphrase like The Message. I would never have predicted the need for a NET Bible, but it has persuaded me of its value (through its notes more than through its translation). I would never have predicted the need for some single-scholar translations like Wright’s or Alter’s, but they have persuaded me that they hold value as “concept cars.” Alter, especially, has insight into literary devices that more mainstream translations should draw from.

    We will never again have One Ring to Rule Them All among English Bible translations. And though that means we lose some things of genuine value, there is also great value in having multiple translations. I’ve experienced this value over and over again. And I’ve found voices as distinct as Augustine and Coverdale and the KJV translators saying the same thing. As long as the major evangelical English Bible translations have staked out “usefully different” positions on the formal-to-functional spectrum, I see a place for them. They don’t have to hurt each other in order to serve the church.

    But the spectrum of translations meant for actual lifetime personal and ministry use is, as best I can tell, full. And almost all that can happen as more translations arise is that they will try to crowd out others to find a little spot of their own. And that also means that narrower and narrower groups will be producing translations. I love John MacArthur. I trust him. He is a godly and faithful man. I praise God for him. I even like and trust the names underneath him on the org chart at TMS. But I still don’t like an institution as comparatively tiny as TMS/TMU/GCC/JMac “owning” its own translation— and subtly throwing shade on other translations while doing it by saying that they are less “accurate” than the LSB. I’m an evangelical in that beautiful, biblical, etymological sense. And even if I have serious disagreements with other evangelicals, I like the idea that we all acknowledge each other’s genuine Christianity by working together on Bible translations. I like translation committees that bring multiple evangelical denominations together. Doing this sends multiple important messages, not least this one: “You can trust this translation because we worked hard to make sure that no party got to have its own way with the text on disputable points.” Committee-based translations say that Bible translation is a holy mission during which we ought to humbly acknowledge that maybe we don’t see everything with perfect clarity and that the Spirit does indwell people who baptize babies.

    The Tree of Life Version by certain Messianic Jews and the Passion Translation by certain (somewhat wacky, I’m sorry) charismatics and the new LSB—they all diminish public trust in the Bible by giving the appearance that they serve a narrow agenda. One of those three agendas I’ve just named (I’ll let you guess which one) is pretty much my own. But I still don’t want my tribe to have its own translation. I have too much holy fear of acting like surely we are the men, and wisdom will die with us.

    I pitched an article like the above to TGC and got no answer. =) Anybody want an article-length argument like this on their site? Drop a hat, and I’ll write it.

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    1. Although it is not textual criticism, I'm sure we could host an argument along these lines here no problem. I'm personally susceptable to "both/and" arguments and "enough is enough!" arguments.

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    2. Ok. You've dropped the hat. I'll see what I can spin up.

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    3. Personally, I think that as long as the translations are well done and serve their constituency well, I don't have a problem with having another translation. At the very least, I think the English language deserves a major Bible translation that uses Yahweh.

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  4. I grew up with the NASB and have many verses memorized from my childhood in NASB. I think it's a great translation. I have to ask though, what possible differences could an entire revision of the translation take place after only 15 years since the last revision? I do understand that if the information from the ECMs are employed that there might be a few underlying textual changes since 1995.

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    1. Yeah, meant to write 25 years, not 15 years!

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  5. In my humble opinion, as a British evangelical who uses the NASB (yes, you heard right!) the 95 edition is perfectly good in both fidelity and readability. All this tinkering about with translations is a waste of Gospel resources, when ther's a world of sinners perishing out ther. Also in the 'church' these days there's too much candy floss preaching. What we need is more solid teaching and preaching, not more translation! Thank goodness Zondervan will continue to put out the NASB95.

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