ESV or Updated NASB

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Marathon Man, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. Marathon Man

    Marathon Man
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    I'm in the midst of trying to decide which of the two versions, the ESV or the Updated NASB, to use as my primary Bible. I've been going back and forth the past few months.

    What I like about the NASB is obviously its precision and high level of accuracy, as well as the somewhat improved readability of the Update. Additionally, the calfskin reference Bible I have which is published by Foundation Publishers is a superb Bible, IMHO.

    What I like about the ESV is its literary style, as well as being slightly easier to read than the NASB.

    I would appreciate other opinions about the pros and cons of these translations (please, though, refrain from turning this into another KJV debate thread). Thanks.
     
  2. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    Ed fractured hymnology [​IMG]

    It took a miracle
    To put the stars in place
    It took a miracle
    To avoid a KJVO race

    But when He saved my soul
    Cleansed and made me whole
    It took a miracle
    Of LOVE AND GRACE!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] Praise Iesus, the Sonne of God! [​IMG]

    P.S. Sorry, I don't have a update NASB.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    Am enjoying my journey through the ESV (given by a gracious, unnamed BB member). It has a literary quality that is excellent.

    I have never cared for the NASB - I was weaned on the KJV and the 1901 ASV.
     
  4. Craigbythesea

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    What is more important for an accurate understanding of the Bible—“Precision and high level of accuracy” or “literary style.” The ESV is easier to read because it lacks the exacting precision of the NASB. If you were intellectually challenged, and the NASB was so difficult for you to read that you could not understand it, then the ESV would be your best choice between the two. But since you are not intellectually challenged, and the ESV is only “slightly easier to read,” the small amount of additional effort required by the NASB is more than worth it.

    The primary difference between the ESV and the NASB is the degree of precision in translating Greek verb tenses and moods. In this area, the difference is substantial—the NASB is distinctly more accurate.

    If “literary style” is very important to you, I would recommend the RSV with the 1971 edition of the New Testament.

    Perhaps the best choice for you would be to very carefully read and study the NASB, the ESV, and RSV with the 1971 edition of the New Testament, and to note the difference and take the time to learn why each of the three translations renders those passages the way that they do.
     
  5. Tangent

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    I always recommend using multiple versions, but if you want to use one exclusively, I'd go with the ESV. The advantage of the NASB is that it's available in several good study Bible editions; at this time, the ESV is not.
     
  6. Craigbythesea

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    Why?
     
  7. Dr. Bob

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    Craig - I'd like some example. Start with a heavy doctrinal passage - Eph 1:3 as a passage everyone knows intimately. Show where the NASB would be more accurate than the ESV.

    Others may feel free to join in and help.
     
  8. Michael52

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    I love the NASB for it's accuracy. My informal comparison of it to my interlinear convinces me of this.

    I find it harder to love the NASB for it's English!

    I love the ESV for it's English. My informal comparison of it to the NASB and my interlinear convinces me that by any substantive measure it is "nearly" as accurate as the NASB, as far as the Enlish is conscerned. I realize the ESV doesn't translate the verb tenses as accurately as the NASB (I'm not good with Greek - yet). This IMHO is more of a technical issue than a communication issue. I've found, in many passages, the ESV is more literal, when translating euphamisms(sp?) from the original.

    I will continue to read both for my studies. In my personal, though non-expert, opinion the only MV that rivals the ESV in English literary quality is the NKJV. The other formal to near-formal translations, like the NIV and HCSB, are more "modern", but are not nearly as engaging or enjoyable to read.
     
  9. go2church

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    ESV, because of the readability factor. It has a flow that the NASB lacks. Also it works so much better with those using the KJV and NKJV then do the other modern versions. They don't seem to get "lost" as much. It also retains words like justification which have so much theological meaning.
     
  10. Craigbythesea

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    The publishers of the ESV write, “In the area of gender language, the goal of the ESV is to render literally what is in the original.” However, we find instead inconsistencies. For example, in John 2:24-25 we read in the ESV, “But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”

    24. Autos deIesous ouk episteuen auton autois dia to autonginoskein pantas
    25. kai hoti ou chreian eichen hinatis marturese peri tou anthropou, autos gar eginoskenti en en to anthropo.

    24. But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men,
    25. and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man. (NASB, 1995)

    In Ephesians 2:15 we read, “by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace,

    15. ton nomon tonentolon en dogmasin katargesas, hina tous duo ktise enauto eis hena kainon anthropon poion eirenen

    15. by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, (NASB, 1995)

    but in Eph 4:13 we read, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, “

    13. mechri katantesomen hoi pantes eis ten henotetates pisteos kai tes epignoseos tou Huiou tou Theou,eis andra teleion, eis metron helikias tou pleromatostou Christou,

    13. until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (NASB, 1995)

    and in Eph 4:22 we read, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,”

    22. apothesthai humas kataten proteran anastrofen ton palaion anthropon tonftheiromenon kata tas epithumias tes apates,

    22. that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, (NASB, 1995)

    In John 3:3 we read, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’"

    3. Apekrithe Iesous kai eipen auto, "Amen amenlego soi, ean-me tis gennethe anothen, ou dunataiidein ten basileian tou Theou!"

    3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (NASB, 1995)

    Notice that except for John 3:3 and Eph. 4:22, the NASB is consistent. In John 3:3 both translations read identically even though in the Greek text the definite article is masculine, and hence in the KJV we read,

    3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    In Eph 4:22 we find a very loose translation in the ESV where a present passive participle is translated using an adjective. The NASB, on the other hand, translates the Greek present passive participle using the equivalent English present passive participle.

    The ESV is an excellent translation, but in its attempts at dealing with gender issues it has failed to be consistent. The NASB is not totally consistent here either, but I believe that it does a noticeably better job.
     
  11. Michael52

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    Craig

    You're picky! ;)

    Seriously, though, your points are well taken. I humbly defer to your Greek expertise. However, I think I have run across most of the inconsistencies you pointed out in my own studies. I have heard that the ESV translators plan to reconvene in several years and possibly make updates based on recommendations and comments from reviewers. If they do, I hope they can make it more accurate, while retaining the literary quality.

    Before the ESV was published, the NASB was the translation I read most. It was because of its accuracy. Still I longed for an accurate translation that was a bit more readable and “beautiful”, for lack of a better word, in the KJV vein. The ESV fits these criteria better. Sure, the ESV has its own “issues”, but it doesn’t have to try to match the NASB. The NASB does this very well! [​IMG]

    Regardless of how all this works out, the ESV and NASB are my two favorites.
     
  12. Craigbythesea

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    They are my two favorites also. [​IMG]
     
  13. TomVols

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    Choosing between the ESV and NASB is like choosing between filet mingion or prime rib. How can you go wrong? ;)

    Seriously, ESV would be my primary choice for a main translation (and is such, by the way). The NASB is a bit too wooden and can unnecessarily obfuscate a passage. Having said that, I keep it always close by and wish the ESV was not so slavishly close to the old RSV. I'd love an ESV / NASB parallel Bible [​IMG]
     
  14. Trotter

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    I really like both of these.

    But, the Keyword Study Bible (formerly the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study Bible) comes in the NASB, but not the ESV. And the Keyword is awesome.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  15. mesly

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    I have found this website to be quite informative when comparing the two translations: http://faith.propadeutic.com/questions.html

    I have used both the ESV and the NASB. I find myself toggling between the two. As it was stated, both have their strengths and both have their unique weaknesses. There is no reason why you couldn't use them both.
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    Yes, this is a VERY helpful link. For those who may have been too busy to dig through all the data, I am posting verbatim the conclusion of the author as to the three best overall versions of the Bible widely available out of the 45 that he very carefully compared.

     
  17. EaglewingIS4031

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    Which raises the Question NASB,ESV, or HCSB?

    I swithced from the NIV to the NASB '95 in '99 and used it until this past spring. When I bought an HCSB and an ESV. Liked the ESV better at first but now I kike the HCSB better. It may be because that is now what is in the Sunday-school materials for the class that I teach.

    I'm just layity I Hebrew and Aramaic is all Greek to me. ;) but I enjoy reading the HCSB better than the ESV Becoauuse the ESV still uses some archaic words like in Hosea 1:2
    ESV - whoredom
    NASB - harlotry
    HCSB - promicuity
    NIV - adulturous

    Nobody says whoredom any more and I can't say it in a Sunday-school class full of adolecent boys with out them all giggling. But they know what promiscuis and adultery means and they don't find it as funny as the word whoredom.

    As soon as I get my notes transfered to the HCSB it will repace my NASB, for my everyday can count on Bible.
     
  18. EaglewingIS4031

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    I wrote that last reply during the last few minutes of my lunch break. I didn't have time to review it. SORRY about the spelling errors and typos. When I checked it at 5pm it would'nt let me edit it.
     

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