|Bible Research > English Versions > 20th Century > NASB > 1963 Preface|
Below is the Foreword and Preface to the New American Standard Bible New Testament, first edition (1963).
The New American Standard Bible has been produced with the conviction that the words of Scripture as originally penned in the Hebrew and Greek were inspired by God. Being the eternal Word of God, the Holy Scriptures speak with fresh power to each generation, to give us wisdom that leads to salvation, that we may serve to the glory of Christ.
It has been the purpose of the Editorial Board to present to the modern reader a revision of the American Standard Version in clear and contemporary language. The attempt has been made to adhere to the original languages of the Holy Scriptures as closely as possible and at the same time to obtain a fluent and readable style according to current English usage.
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God shall stand forever." Isaiah 40:8
FOUR-FOLD AIM OF THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION PUBLICATIONS
1. These publications shall be true to the original Greek.
2. They shall be grammatically correct.
3. They shall be understandable to the masses.
4. They shall give the Lord Jesus Christ His proper place, the place which the Word gives Him, and no work will ever be personalized.
The producers of this translation were imbued with the conviction that interest in the American Standard Version should be renewed and increased. They have labored with prayerful seriousness to this end. This great responsibility was assumed only after the need was thoroughly established in the minds of many. That which is forever settled in heaven (Psa. 119:89) must ever be available on earth. Such availability is contingent upon (1) clarity of language in its current understanding and (2) the most appealing form of presentation contemporary facilities afford.
All that exists has a cause from which it springs, and this important undertaking was born of no light impulses. It was inspired and encouraged by wholesome and meaningful reasons. The chief inducement, of course, was the recognized value of the version of 1901 which deserves and demands perpetuation. The following observations are advanced as justifiable encouragement:
1. The American Standard Version of 1901 has been in a very real sense the standard for many translations.
2. It is a monumental product of applied scholarship, assiduous labor and thorough procedure.
3. It has enjoyed universal endorsement as a trustworthy translation of the original text.
4. The British and American organizations were governed by rules of procedure which assured accuracy in the completed work.
5. The American Standard Version, itself a revision of the 1881-1885 edition, is the product of international collaboration, invaluable for perspective, accuracy and finesse.
6. Unlike many modern translations of the Scriptures, the American Standard Version retains its acceptability for pulpit reading and for personal memorization.
Perhaps the most weighty impetus for this undertaking can be attributed to a disturbing awareness that the American Standard Version of 1901 was fast disappearing from the scene. As a generation which knew not Joseph was born, even so a generation unacquainted with this great and important work has come into being. Recognizing a responsibility to posterity, THE LOCKMAN FOUNDATION felt an urgency to rescue this noble achievement from an inevitable demise, to preserve it as a heritage for coming generations, and to do so in such a form as the demands of passing time dictate.
THE FOUNDATION, a corporation not for profit in the State of California, took the initiative in the work of revision, engaging consultants to lay the groundwork for text arrangement, textual revision, linguistic accuracy and editorial finalizing.
1. TEXT ARRANGEMENT: This initial step was taken with caution and concern. Page construction registers the first impression when attention is given to a volume. But appearance is not the only consideration in designing a format of the printed page; utility is a major factor! Whatever tends to make the reading easier and more enjoyable is the desirable design. To develop this format it was found best to place cross references and marginal notes in a column alongside the text. References are noted by letters and marginal notes by numerals. (See explanation of format.)
2. TEXTUAL REVISION: Words are the vehicle of thought, and most languages, especially the English, have a flexibility which economic and cultural progress utilizes. Passing time with myriads of inventions and innovations automatically renders obsolete and inexpressive words that once were in acceptable usage. The ever-present danger of stripping divine Truth of its dignity and original intent was prominently before the minds of the producers at all times. An editorial board composed of linguists, Greek scholars and pastors undertook the responsibilities of translation and revision.
PRINCIPLES OF REVISION
Greek Text: In revising the ASV, consideration was given to the latest available manuscripts with a view to determining the best Greek text. In most instances the 23rd edition of the Nestle Greek New Testament was followed.
Modern English Usage: The attempt has been made to render the grammar and terminology of the ASV in contemporary English. When it was felt that the word-for-word literalness of the ASV was unacceptable to the modern reader, a change was made in the direction of a more current English idiom. In the instances where this has been done, the more literal rendering has been indicated in the margin.
Marginal Readings: In addition to the more literal renderings, the marginal notations have been made to include alternate translations, readings of variant manuscripts and explanatory equivalents of the text. Only such notations have been used as have been felt justified in assisting the reader's comprehension of the terms used by the original author.
The Appendix to the Old Testament of the 1901 edition listed the particulars in which the 1885 revision differed. The Appendix to the New Testament of the 1901 edition revealed the readings and renderings which appeared in the Revised New Testament of 1881 in place of those preferred by the American New Testament Revision Company.
There has been no attempt in this preface to present illustrations of changes made in the text. This would not only become a rather cumbersome undertaking, but its value would be obviated in that most discerning people have their own favorite proof texts by which they measure the merits and accuracy of new translations.
It is enthusiastically anticipated that the general public will be grateful to learn of the availability, value and need of the New American Standard Bible. It is released with the strong confidence that those who seek a knowledge of the Scriptures will find herein a source of genuine satisfaction for a clear and accurate rendering of divinely-revealed truth.
The Lockman Foundation
1. A careful distinction has been made in the treatment of the Greek aorist tense (usually translated as the English past, "He did") and the Greek imperfect tense (rendered either as English past progressive, "He was doing"; or, if inceptive, as "He began to do" or "He started to do"); or else if customary past, as "He used to do." "Began" is italicized if it renders an imperfect tense, in order to distinguish it from the Greek verb for "begin."
2. On the other hand, not all aorists have been rendered as English pasts ("He did"), for some of them are clearly to be rendered as English perfects ("He has done"), or even as past perfects ("He had done"), judging from the context in which they occur. Such aorists have been rendered as perfects or past perfects in this version.
3. As for the distinction between aorist and present imperatives, the Board has usually rendered these imperatives in the customary manner, rather than attempting any such fine distinction as, "Begin to do!" (for the aorist imperative) or, "Continually do!" (for the present imperative).
4. As for sequence of tenses, the Board took care to follow English rules rather than Greek in translating Greek presents, imperfects and aorists. Thus, where English says, "We knew that he was doing," Greek puts it, "We knew that he does"; similarly, "We knew that he had done," is the Greek, "We knew that he did." Likewise, the English, "When he had come, they met him," is represented in Greek by: "When he came, they met him." In all cases a consistent transfer has been made from the Greek tense in the subordinate clause to the appropriate tense in English.
5. In the rendering of negative questions introduced by the particle me (which always expects the answer, "No") the wording has been altered from a mere, "Will he not do this?" to a more accurate, "He will not do this, will he?"
6. In regard to the use of historical present, the Board recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the Board felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents into English past tenses. Therefore verbs marked with an asterisk (*) represent historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. (e.g., John 1:38 "Jesus ... beheld ... and says" has been changed to "Jesus ... beheld ... and *said.")
MARGINAL NOTES AND CROSS REFERENCES are placed in a column on the outer edge of the page and listed under verse numbers to which they refer. Superior numbers refer to literal renderings, alternate translations, or explanations. Superior letters refer to cross references. Cross references in italics are parallel passages.
PARAGRAPHS are designated by bold face numbers or letters.
QUOTATION MARKS are used in the text in accordance with modern English usage.
PUNCTUATION CHANGES have been made in order to conform with modern practice.
"THOU, THY AND THEE" are changed to "you" except in the language of prayer when addressing Deity.
PERSONAL PRONOUNS are capitalized when pertaining to Deity.
ITALICS are used in the text to indicate words which are not found in the original Greek but implied by it. Italics are used in the marginal notes to signify alternate readings for the text.
SMALL CAPS are used in the text to indicate Old Testament quotes.
SECOND PERSON PRONOUNS are marked "yous" or "youpl'" when it cannot be determined from the context whether they are singular or plural.
ASTERISK - In regard to the use of historical present, the Board recognized that in some contexts the present tense seems more unexpected and unjustified to the English reader than a past tense would have been. But Greek authors frequently used the present tense for the sake of heightened vividness, thereby transporting their readers in imagination to the actual scene at the time of occurrence. However, the Board felt that it would be wise to change these historical presents into English past tenses. Therefore verbs marked with an asterisk (*) represent historical presents in the Greek which have been translated with an English past tense in order to conform to modern usage. (e.g., John 1: 38 "Jesus ... beheld ... and says" has been changed to "Jesus ... beheld ... and *said.")
|Bible Research > English Versions > 20th Century > NASB > 1963 Preface|