A Review of a Review! New American Standard Version (I)
Luther W. Martin
In 1973, Brother Foy E. Wallace, Jr., published `A Review of The New Versions." The 2nd printing, which I have, contains 652 pages plus Addenda. There is no question but what Brother Wallace has assembled into one volume much valid and worthwhile material, relative to the modern versions and translations. And, with the major portion of his conclusions, I readily concur.
However, I have been requested to review the portion of his work which relates to the New American Standard Bible, which is found from page 583 through page 593. Twenty specific passages are dealt with by Brother Wallace, and we shall consider each of them.
First, however, Brother Wallace condemns the NASB because it is produced by the Lockman, Foundation, which had previously issued The Amplified Bible. And, he also condemns it because of the Corporation's claim on the dust jacket of the book, that it (the Corporation) is "of God's creation."
Brother Wallace also stipulated that the American Standard Version (1901) does not need revision. Since its completion in 1901 by one hundred and one (101) of the greatest body of scholars ever assembled in America or England "there have been no changes in the English language to warrant revision . . ." (page 584).
In response to the above, I suggest that merely because one does not admire Lockman's Amplified Bible, does not necessarily nullify the possible worth of another of their publications, such as the NASB. Nor does the assertion that God had something to do with the work of the Corporation (Which I also deny), necessarily render the entire NASB valueless.
Therefore, hoping to manifest a more objective and open-minded approach, let us consider Brother Wallace's sample of twenty objectionable passages.
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law . . :" (King James Version).
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law . . ." (New American Standard).
Brother Wallace takes issue with the change from "destroy" to "abolish." He stresses that Christ did abolish the Mosaic Law. (Eph. 2:15; 2 Cor. 3:7, 13, 14).
The Greek word used in Matt. 5:17 is katalusai. Berry's Interlinear translates it "to abolish" while Marshall's Interlinear gives "to destroy." Berry then uses the term "annulled" in Eph. 2:15 and 2 Cor. 3rd Chapter. The Greek word in Eph. 2:15 and 2 Cor. 3:7,13,14 is a form of katargeo. In the King James Version, it is sometimes rendered either abolish, destroy, do away, make void, vanish away, and others.
". . . preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." (KJV)
" . . preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (NASB)
Brother Wallace stresses the significance - of the specific article "the" as used in the KJV and the American Standard Version (1901). Although the Greek has no article whatsoever preceding "baptism" and "remission of sins," I agree that it is more acceptable to have the definite article inserted.
A. T. Robertson, on page 790 of his Greek Grammar, stated in part: "Much of the modern difficulty about the absence of the Greek article is due to the effort to interpret it by the standard of the English or German article." John's was a baptism of repentance and so was another, but different baptism which was taught by the Apostles. Therefore, in reality there were two baptisms of repentance for the remission of sins; with only one of them valid at a time. (See Acts 19:3). Brother Wallace, has a good point on this, but not of sufficient weight to impugn the entire translation.
Mark 16: 9 - 20
Many, of the modern versions of the New Testament leave out the last twelve verses of Mark's Gospel. The American Standard Version of 1901 left several blank spaces (several lines worth) before continuing with verse nine. The ASV had a marginal statement to the effect that the two oldest Greek manuscripts, as well as some other authorities, lacked these twelve verses. Similarly, the NASB has a marginal statement, but no blank space was left. However, the NASB did reproduce a "short ending" for Mark that is extant in some manuscripts.
Brother Wallace was quite critical of the NASB for its treatment of these verses, but I really think ii was at least as charitable as was the ASV (1901) on this passage. I, personally, would prefer that all of these twelve verses be included without marginal comment. However, since it is an accurate notation, I am willing to live with it. Incidentally, just so there is no question, this scribe is convinced that the last twelve verses of Mark are genuine.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come . . ." (King James Version).
"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come . . ." (New American Standard Bible).
Brother Wallace takes issue with the use of the word "return" in lieu of "be converted." The Greek word is epistrepho, and in the King James Version is sometimes rendered: be converted, return, turn, turn again, turn about, and others. As far as personal preference is concerned, I agree with Brother Wallace.
". . . the heaven must receive until the times of restitution . . ." (KJV).
". . . heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things . . ." (NASB).
Brother Wallace views this NASB rendering as having a premillennial slant; and well this may be. I note that the Tyndale Version of 1535, the Great Bible of 1540, the Geneva Bible of 1562, and the Bishops' Bible of 1602, all used "time" in the singular. The first English veision, to my knowledge, to use "times" was the Catholic Rheims version of 1582. Since then, the plural has generally been used.
"He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do." (King James Version).
"He is staying with a certain tanner named Simon, whose house is by the sea." (New American Standard Bible).
"He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side." (American Standard Version (1901).
"He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose housse is by the see syde." (Tyndale's Translation-1535).
Brother Wallace has a very valid argument on this passage when he points out that in Acts 11:13-14 Cornelius related it, Peter reported it, and Luke recorded that. ". . . who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and, all thy house shall be saved." Those versions which include-the latter portion of the verse (6), follow the Textus Receptus; while those which do not include the last part of verse (6), follow other Greek texts.
". . . Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." (King James Version).
". . . In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." (NASB).
Brother Wallace views this change as being "scornful" on the part of the NASB. Let us notice some other early renditions of this verse.
". . . Sumwhat thou bringest me in mynde for to be come a Christen." (Tyndale's Translation-1535). (The above spelling is accurate! LWM.)
". . . Sumwhat thou bryngest me in mynde for to be come Chrysten." (The Great Bible-1540).
". . Almost thou persuadest me to become a Christian." (Geneva Bible-1562). This is the first translation to use the wording that the King James Version made famous.
". . . Somewhat thou perswadest me to be a christian." (Bishop's Bible-1602). (Spelling accurately copied. LWM.)
" . . A litle thou persuadest me to become a CHRISTIAN." (Rheims-1582). (Spelling and upper case, correct. LWM.)
". . . In a little thou persuadest me a Christian to become." (Berry's Interlinear).
". . In a little thou persuadest me to make (act) a Christian." (Marshall's Interlinear).
". . . walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham . . ." (KJV).
". . . follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham..." (NASB).
Brother Wallace points out that "that" is an adjective which differs in meaning and application from the article "the." He stresses, "The adjective that refers to the thing specified, and here it means more than a general reference to faith." It is . . . "a definition of Abrahamic faith." Brother Wallace contends that this important definition is missed and lost by the change from "that" to "the."
The NASB was not the first, by far, to use "the."
". . . walke in the steppes of the fayth that was in oure father Abraham . . ." (The Great Bible-1540).
". . . walke in the steppes of the faith of our Father Abraham . . ." (Geneva Bible-1562).
"walke in the steppes of the faith that was in our father Abraham . . ." (Bishop's Bible-1602).
". . . folow the steppes of the faith that is in the prepuce of our father Abraham . . ." (Rheims-1582). (Spelling copied correctly. LWM.)
". . . so all Israel shall be saved . . ." (King James Version).
". . . thus all Israel will be saved . . ." (New American Standard Bible).
Brother Wallace objects to this change, stating: ". . . the verb shall expresses a conditional futurity, while the verb will is unconditional determination-a thing that will be done. The word `so' is an adverb of manner and only indicates that all the Israelites should be saved in the same manner that the remnant had been saved-by acceptance of the gospel." Brother Wallace concludes that it becomes more and more evident that the makers of the NASB are premillennialists. He may well be right.
I Cor. 7:25 and 40.
". . . I give my judgment . . ." (Verse 25-King James Version.)
". . . I give an opinion . . ." (Verse 25 New American Standard Bible.)
". . . after my judgment . . . I think also that I have the Spirit of God." (KJV).
". . . in my opinion . . . I think that I also have the Spirit of God." (NASB).
Brother Wallace considers the change from "judgment" to "opinion" as a calling in question of Paul's being inspired. If that is what the translators intended, then they are wrong. But both English words, judgment and opinion, can be properly translated from gnome, the Greek word used in the passages. In his book, Brother Wallace cited also Eph. 3:4 and Acts 15:19, where "judgment" and "knowledge" are used . . . but the Greek words in those passages are different from gnome. In the King James Version, the following Greek words are rendered "judgment": gnome, aisthesis, dikaioma, dike, krima, krisis, and dikaiokrisia. Each has a slightly different meaning from the others.
In 2 Cor. 8:10, the King James Version has Paul saying: "And herein I give my advice . . . ." The Greek word for "advice" is gnome, the same as used in I Cor. 7:25 and 40. Whether Paul gave judgment, opinion, advice, or counsel, it was still inspired of God!
(To Be Concluded Next Week)
Truth Magazine XIX: 17, pp. 264-265