The launch of the new Preacher’s Bible (designed by John MacArthur) by Steadfast Bibles has sparked a lot of discussion on Bible translations. The Preacher’s Bible was given to all the attendees of the Shepherds’ Conference as a free giveaway. It was such a generous gift from the folks from Grace to You. The Bible is priced at $200 and additionally copies of the Bible sold at the conference bookstore for $125. Personally, the Bible is a little too big for my preference, but I will use it in my study. I still prefer to use my Allan NASB reader’s from behind the pulpit.
MacArthur made it clear that his preference for Bible study, preaching, and reading is in the New American Standard Bible. Personally, I too use the NASB for my personal life and public ministry. I do consult other major translations, but primarily stick with the NASB as my choice of translation. Here are a few reasons why I use the NASB:
- Familiarity. The first Bible I was given after my conversion was an NASB. It was a gift from my older sister. Since the beginning of my conversion I have been reading the NASB and a lot of my early Christian life was spent poring over the pages of this translation.
- Accuracy. While I believe there are many healthy options for Bible translation, I do genuinely believe the NASB to be among the most accurate. This is not merely a tagline for publication, but even as I translate and interact with the original languages for sermon preparation and ministry I find the NASB to be a great translation.
- Longevity. The NASB has lasted the test of time. Since its initial publication in the 70s it has undergone one major revision (’95) and has a second one set in the new year or so. Other translations have undergone numerous revisions over a shorter period of time. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t reliable, but this may speak to the longevity and type of revisionary work that go into the NASB. Those behind the NASB take the process seriously and work for the long haul (some other translations undergo numerous changes which should probably receive more attention).
For the record, the church I am part of is rather split. I believe there is a slight advantage towards the NASB since the elders use it in our teaching and preaching. While we prefer the NASB we certainly do not stop or hinder anyone from using other faithful translations.
With that said, I’m excited for Steadfast Bibles and their desire to revive the NASB. Again, they have made it clear that they do not aim to dismiss other translations (e.g., ESV, CSB, NIV84, NKJV, KJV). Rather, they want to see the NASB continue to make healthy contributions to Bible literacy. It is important that, in our modern world, Christians do what they can to get good copies of God’s Word into peoples hands. That is a cause I can stand behind. I would urge Bible readers to consider the NASB as their translation of choice, and if not, I would encourage them to have it on hand as a reference.