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NKJV vs NASB

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NKJV vs NASB

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 11.14.2008 4:18 pm

Hello there!
For Christmas, I'm thinking of getting a fine Christian study bible. I've been checking the Amazon.com and the MacArthur's study bible seems like very good investment based on the reviews. However, I'm little bit overwhelmed by the differences between NKJV and NASB translations. If I understood right, the NKJV is archaic English and NASB is more comtemporary and thus more suitable for me because I've never studied old English and such, right? I have a book about Talmud and it heavily relies on quotes in Tanakh (Old Testament of Xtians) and the quotations are often very old fashioned in style and I struggle a lot without a good dictionary (eg. I have to look only to see that some verbs are simply archaic version of verbs that I've learned so far). So I'm interested to hear pro-con opinions about the NKJV or NASB versions. And also I'm not limited to the MacArthurs study bible, I'm very willing to hear you suggestions about any good Christian stuby bible (from what I've read, MacArthur give strictly Calvinistic commentary of the Scripture). All comments welcome, especially Tony's and THT's :-)
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby richvh » Fri 11.14.2008 4:36 pm

The King James Version isn't Old English (pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon), it's early Modern English, roughly contemporaneous with Shakespeare. While there has been some linguistic drift, it should be fairly understandable.

If by NASB you mean the New American Standard Bible, I don't know anything about it from personal experience, but you might want to look at this website. Depending on your purpose in getting it, it may or may not be suitable to you. (The literal translation of idioms it uses may make the English in it stranger than the KJV archaisms.)
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 11.14.2008 5:00 pm

richvh wrote:The King James Version isn't Old English (pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon), it's early Modern English, roughly contemporaneous with Shakespeare. While there has been some linguistic drift, it should be fairly understandable.

If by NASB you mean the New American Standard Bible, I don't know anything about it from personal experience, but you might want to look at this website. Depending on your purpose in getting it, it may or may not be suitable to you. (The literal translation of idioms it uses may make the English in it stranger than the KJV archaisms.)

Thanks very much for the info Rich, I have to confess that I'm really at loss when it comes to these matters. I have right now the The Jewish Publication Society's translations of Tanakh and it really is easy to understand for non-native English speaker. All the archaic (shakespearian?) forms are reduced to simple English and it is really easy to follow. Ok, when it comes to details it's a handfull but the bulk of the text is pleasure to read. I'm kinda looking the same for OT&NT and appropriate study bible for that matter.
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 11.14.2008 5:21 pm

hyperconjugated wrote:
richvh wrote:The King James Version isn't Old English (pre-Conquest Anglo-Saxon), it's early Modern English, roughly contemporaneous with Shakespeare. While there has been some linguistic drift, it should be fairly understandable.

If by NASB you mean the New American Standard Bible, I don't know anything about it from personal experience, but you might want to look at this website. Depending on your purpose in getting it, it may or may not be suitable to you. (The literal translation of idioms it uses may make the English in it stranger than the KJV archaisms.)

Thanks very much for the info Rich, I have to confess that I'm really at loss when it comes to these matters. I have right now the The Jewish Publication Society's translations of Tanakh and it really is easy to understand for non-native English speaker. All the archaic (shakespearian?) forms are reduced to simple English and it is really easy to follow. Ok, when it comes to details it's a handfull but the bulk of the text is pleasure to read. I'm kinda looking the same for OT&NT and appropriate study bible for that matter.


There's a reason many religions still use the KJV of the bible. while it's harder to understand, it's also not watered down to nothing. I've had opportunity to read both. I find the NASB more appropriate for a child. Although, my own children have read and studied the KJV since they could read. As Rich pointed out, the literal translation just makes the NASB like drinking watered down kool-aid. Watered down to the point of it being just colored water. Just my point of view of course. YMMV.

I was trying to find some online sources to help you out.. Let me see what I can find over the weekend.

NKJV is, in my opinion, a slightly flawed translation of a superior underlying text.

NASB is, in my opinion, a rather wooden but otherwise excellent translation of a flawed underlying text.

I am paraphrasing someone else with this quote, but it's exactly how I feel. One thing I do like about the KJV is that where the translators could not agree upon a word (due to many linguists using different texts from many different languages) they italicized the word. That way, if it does seem to read funny, at least you have a reason for it.

here's a link to a paper done about why so many different translations. I don't agree with all that was in there, but it's pretty definitive and helps those of us English speakers to understand we really should understand Greek and Hebrew if we want to see the scriptures in their truest lights..

http://www.scribd.com/doc/26238/Why-So- ... anslations

also, please note that I am speaking of the KJV not the NKJV (published in 1982 , I think)
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby hyperconjugated » Fri 11.14.2008 6:24 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:There's a reason many religions still use the KJV of the bible. while it's harder to understand, it's also not watered down to nothing. I've had opportunity to read both. I find the NASB more appropriate for a child. Although, my own children have read and studied the KJV since they could read. As Rich pointed out, the literal translation just makes the NASB like drinking watered down kool-aid. Watered down to the point of it being just colored water. Just my point of view of course. YMMV.

I was trying to find some online sources to help you out.. Let me see what I can find over the weekend.

NKJV is, in my opinion, a slightly flawed translation of a superior underlying text.

NASB is, in my opinion, a rather wooden but otherwise excellent translation of a flawed underlying text.

I am paraphrasing someone else with this quote, but it's exactly how I feel. One thing I do like about the KJV is that where the translators could not agree upon a word (due to many linguists using different texts from many different languages) they italicized the word. That way, if it does seem to read funny, at least you have a reason for it.

here's a link to a paper done about why so many different translations. I don't agree with all that was in there, but it's pretty definitive and helps those of us English speakers to understand we really should understand Greek and Hebrew if we want to see the scriptures in their truest lights..

http://www.scribd.com/doc/26238/Why-So- ... anslations

Thanks THT, that helped a lot and I'm always interested in reading how people feel and use these different bible translations. Personally I'm a bit a child when it comes to English so the NASB sounds very attractive alternative for me because I would like to read the study bible with ease and have the author's footnotes do the in-depth explanation.

I really appreciate your view about Scripture and how you feel about the different translations, thats what I'm actually looking here in addition to "easy English" that I'm striving for. Like I said before, I'm very willing to hear all comments about different translations about the Bible and if you have suggestions about specific _study bible with footnotes_ I'm definately more than all ears.
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby becki_kanou » Sat 11.15.2008 1:45 am

You may be interested in checking out this site: Bible Gateway. You can check how various passages are translated in over 100 different versions of the bible, so it may be helpful to in choosing which one is right for your purposes.
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 11.21.2008 4:01 pm

Hyper, how has your research been going on t his?
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby hyperconjugated » Sat 11.22.2008 5:54 am

two_heads_talking wrote:Hyper, how has your research been going on t his?

I ordered MacArthur's NASB study bible eventually. I also did some comparisons at biblegateway site that becki linked here. I think I'm going to get me a bible in Finnish too, people practically give those away for free. It should be more than helpful to have the translations side by side, I can't believe it just came to me now :)

Thanks for the input mate!
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby two_heads_talking » Sat 11.22.2008 10:27 am

hyperconjugated wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:Hyper, how has your research been going on t his?

I ordered MacArthur's NASB study bible eventually. I also did some comparisons at biblegateway site that becki linked here. I think I'm going to get me a bible in Finnish too, people practically give those away for free. It should be more than helpful to have the translations side by side, I can't believe it just came to me now :)

Thanks for the input mate!


I'd always suggest having scriptures/books in your native tongue handy to help with "complete" understanding. While I have a bible in Japanese and one in English and can read the Japanese bible rather easily, I find that sometimes, all I am doing is surfing over the words, the true meaning, the deeper meanings (as it were) escape me. Sometimes, a Kanji combination will spark an insight into something, but that is far more the exception rather than the rule.

I remember a Friend of mine going to Finland learning Finnish and then being asked to go to Russia to teach the gospel to families because Russia had just openened it's doors to outside religion. He wasn't allowed to track out people, meaning he couldn't approach anyone and discuss religion, but if they approached him or set up a meeting, he could teach privately in their home. What is sometimes known as a cottage meeting. He still carried his English and Finnish scriptures as well as the new Russian ones. He said each set allowed him a deeper insight into what he was studying.

I wish you all the success in your efforts to study.. Feel free to PM if you have any questions/suggestions.. It was my pleasure to help..
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby distre » Sun 07.01.2012 10:30 am

The NKJV is based on the KJV, which uses a very archaic English that even many native speakers find difficult (for example- who knows what concupiscence means? No native speakers use that word). Therefore, the KJV has been updated in the NKJV. It's based out of the "Textus Receptus" collection of original language texts.

The NASB predecessor was the ASV, which was also updated to reflect more current uses of language. The NASB source-texts come from the NU-texts, which are a very small collection of texts from Alexandria and Egypt.

Both are good study Bibles- neither one has a significant advantage over one or the other as far as readability goes.

My opinion is that the NKJV retains more of the original intent in God's word than the NASB.
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Re: NKJV vs NASB

Postby BetterSense » Fri 06.28.2013 11:00 pm

I would recommend against the KJV and not because of the archaic English, which can be charming. The KJV is simply an inferior translation based on inferior manuscripts. There is no reason to prefer a hundreds-year old translation when newer, better ones are available.
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