Uh oh, NASB 2020

You can check out some of the approved sections of the NASB 2020 (due in Spring 2021) on the Lockman foundation FB page. As with other modern translations, they’re fed up with the Holy Spirit’s masculine language and decided to put and sisters whenever “brothers” appears. They like to use “one” instead of “he.”

And check out Micah 6:8…

NASB 95: “He has told you, O man, what is good;”

NASB 2020: “He has told you, a human, what is good;”

Thankfully, according to their website, they intend to publish both the 1995 and the 2020. But don’t hold your breath.

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It might be time just to move back to the KJV.

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That’s a popular move right now. But I’m not sold on Erasmus’s critical text.


NASB 1995: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).

NASB 2020: “For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26).

I wonder how they translate Genesis 5:2.

Luther 2017 (vs. 1984) did that too. Very annoying.

I’m not a preacher, so I might come at this from a different angle.

But, sparked by innocuous changes I noticed between different editions of the ESV (I think mine is 2001) I sort of slid quickly into a pile of textual debates. Always stiff arming that tangled topic in the past I figured it was time to dig around and I got more than I bargained for.

Without special training in languages and the minutia in ancient grammar, it’s a tough thing to wade through without holding on to someone else’s hand. Unless you’re going to go it alone, you have to trust someone’s argument for or against this or that.

The long and short of it is that I shifted to the KJV. At least experimentally. Funny enough, it wasn’t necessarily a textual argument that swayed me (not to say there isn’t any sway to be swug) but rather the mere fact that the KJV was more or less the only real pre-modern English translation readily available, and I’ve had it more or less up to here with not only the never ending translations (even inside one translation) but almost all of these updates are done from within modernism. I’m growing more and more convinced that such changes are less helpful to me than not.

That’s not to say anything about the importance of translation into the vernacular or that a new translation cannot be an improvement on an old translation (if that’s the goal, then translate on!) as much as I do think there is something about the current environment that has sort of soured the air, or at least gives us a high probability that the newest changes/updates, are coming from suspect regions. Even if the translator is solid, again, the air may have a funk that the translator can’t help but, even accidentally incorporate. Maybe that’s unfair, but again, I have no knowledge of these languages.

Also, though I’m aware that many faithful men have contributed to new translations, you can’t get around the fact that most of these are produced, not by the church but by publishing houses. Each one looking for their marketing niche.

I didn’t grow up with any hardcore KJV-onlyism. You could find it if you looked, sure, but I was never subjected to it (like my wife and others I know) so I don’t have the allergic reaction many people might who have come out of a tradition like that. So the pre-modern translation (so many words free from modern/post modern baggage!), the stability of it (yes I know it’s gone through changes too), the lack of marketing niche aims, the fact that it’s been around the block and whatever errors or issues folks have with it are out there for all to see and have been for centuries, and throw in for good measure the use of it by nearly every English-speaking preacher/teacher/author/theologian/hymnwriter/etc that can be found on paper, and you have yourself an incredible commonality and connection with English-speaking saints of the past, which is important (even if it’s a lower level) to me as a man of English heritage. That, plus the little I’ve learned from all of the textual issues involved (not much, and I’m not quite “for” one or the other as of yet), all added up and I made the shift to the KJV.

As an aside, the biggest hindrance by far for me with the KJV wasn’t the old language, but the formatting. Hands down. The staccato verse by verse layout and the horrible eyes-sore phonetic ‘aides’ and italics, while I understand the purpose of all of that, did not help me in the least open and read. So I didn’t really make the shift until I found a good format of the KJV, which I found in the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible.

(I just looked over this…Sorry for the lengthy ramble!)


One wonders, once the neutered version is released, how available the NASB95 will be. The publisher certainly wouldn’t want to avert the potential sales stream. Bad for business.


Yes, that is a real concern. I don’t think that it will be easy to simply stay with the Nas 95.

I don’t think I can do the KJV. I’m going to start looking into the NKJV though. It also has one added benefit, which is that my children currently memorize in it for school.


The change in the translation of adelphoi (brothers) is interesting. The NASB’95 already made what I think was a workable compromise. It generally translates it as “brothers” when referring to males only and “brethren” when including both males and females.

I’m really starting to think that the way forward is to go back to the original languages as much as possible–both for pastors and for laypeople. With the availability of Greek and Hebrew resources we have today, is there any excuse not to? Translations will always be necessary, but how little power would these publishing houses have if even 5% of every congregation could read and understand the text in the original languages? I think this would be a far better long-term strategy than simply going back to the KJV or NKJV.

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IMHO this is a powerful argument for the KJV. The translational problems that were introduced by the translators for political reasons just don’t matter that much anymore. I’m not going to go kiss the bishop’s ring because they mis-translated episkopos.

The Elizabethan language doesn’t bother me much, but it’s getting pretty inaccessible for the common folk, which is problematic.


As far as the Elizabethan language, portions like this bother me, because we ought to be able to do better, in terms of translating into the receptor language while being faithful to the original language:

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
2 Corinthians 6:11-13

Joseph, to your point, the NKJV is a comfortable place to which to flee, if you are able to deal with the textual basis of the translation. That said, some of those verses/passages “in question” were indeed used by our forefathers as confessional/catechistical (I may have just made that word up) proof texts. That has some weight in my eyes, though at times more so than others. I don’t necessarily buy into the “they just weren’t aware of what we have since found” argument fully. But this is wandering off into another thread. I used the NKJV as my teaching translation for several years and had no real complaints, other than an occasional KJV-carry over clunkiness.

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Yep. I can’t figure out what that Passage means without doing additional translation. That’s not terrible during public reading or preaching. But what of people at home?

Or the men I preach to in jail? After a couple of years without access to anything besides the KJV, I was very relieved to see new NIVs show up on the shelf. I had never been relieved to see a bad translation version of the Bible until that day.


I’d assume the fruits of such a strategy would be beneficial as well in regards to future translations.

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There’s always the ASV. I know it’s associated with the J-dubs but it predates their co-opting of it and I’ve found it to be pretty good when using it on a personal level (shrug)


I was told at seminary, I don’t remember by which professor, that if a man kept a KJV and a NASB around, he had all the English bible he’d ever need. This was in a digression against the ESV. I’ve found that to be true. I use the KJV whenever I can and the NASB when at small group or reading to my children.

I started reading the KJV in college because I spent so much time counter-evangelizing Mormons and I got tired of having to repeat the conversation concerning their suspicions about every English translation that followed. It was just easier to use the common point of reference. The added bonus of the beautiful language and the fact that there are, as noted, no more translation committees to needlessly tinker with it and I’ve got a deep and abiding love for it, such that I hug it tighter and laugh to myself whenever I listen to Dr. James White have an aneurysm anytime he encounters someone who prefers it.

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The “prefers” makes this false. He reserves his aneurysms for KJV-only cultists.


No, he has the same visceral reaction to people who prefer it because of their skepticism regarding the critical text. My verbiage is apt.

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If you get a chance sometime, read Mark Twain’s review of the Book of Mormon. Pretty amusing.

Update: here it is.

Update Update: I couldn’t help it:

The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel–half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern–which was about every sentence or two–he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.


Not all who “prefer” the KJV do so for textual reasons (see this entire thread). Your statement is not true. Compare his interactions with A TR advocate like Doug Wilson to those with KJV-only cultists.

What probably will cause him to blow a proverbial gasket is these NASB 2020 changes. And I say good for him and may said blown gasket bless Christ’s Church.

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