A Review of a Review! New American Standard Version (II)

By Luther W. Martin

I Corinthians 15:24

“. . . when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God . . . when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power.” (King James Version).

“. . . when He delivers up the kingdom to God . . . when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.” (New American Standard Bible).

Brother Wallace asserts that the NASB in this passage “violates the grammar, the diction and the literary excellence of a grand passage, and indicates that inordinate yen for needless changes in the .text.” Your attention is called to three translations that pre-dated the King James Version.

“. . . when he hath.delivered up the kyngdome to God . . . when he hath put donne all rule, auctorite and power.” (Tyndale’s Translation-1535).

“. . . when he hath delyvered up the kyngdome to God . . . when he hath put down all rule and all auctorite and power.” (The Great Bible-1540).

“Then (shalbe) the end, when he hathe delivered up the kingdome to God …. when he hath put downe all rule, and all autoritie and power.” (Geneva Bible-1562).

I have given the foregoing three versions (copied correctly), not because I have any great love for them, but simply to show that, in this instance, the NASB is very similar in reading to versions that are quite ancient. I would caution any of us to avoid being too wrapped up in any one version of the English Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 3:7, 13, 14.

“. . . which glory was to be done away . . . could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished . . . which veil is done away in Christ.” (KJV).

“. . . the glory of his face, fading as it was . . . might not look intently at the end of what was fading away the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.” (New American Standard Bible).

Brother Wallace stresses that the words “done away” and “abolished” and “done away in Christ” were plain, simple and could not be misconstrued. While the expressions “fading,” “fading away” and “removed in Christ” show a weakness and unnecessary and needless changes and substitutions. I believe that Brother Wallace’s objections to this passage are valid. Marshall’s Interlinear uses “done away” for all three passages. Berry’s Interlinear uses the word “annulled” in each of the three passages.

Galatians 2:16

“. . . justified . . . by the faith of Jesus Christ . . . justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. . .” (KJV).

“. . . justified . . . through faith in Christ Jesus . . . justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; . . .” (NASB).

Brother Wallace points out that the verse states “we have believed in Christ that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” Even the American Standard Version (1901) misses the point in this passage. Again, Brother Wallace is right.

Galatians 3:27

“. . . for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (KJV).

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (New American Standard Bible).

Here, Brother Wallace points out that the NASB simply adopts the wording of the Amplified Bible. He would call it guilt by association, I presume. The Greek word for “put on” or “clothe” is enduo. It is used in Gal. 3:27; but it is also used in Mark 1:6 “John was clothed with camel’s hair . . .;” in 2 Cor. 5:3 “If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.” Therefore, I must suggest that the NASB rendering of enduo is just as accurate as that of the King James.

Colossians 2:12

“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God . . .” (King James Version).

“Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, . . .” (New Americana Standard Bible).

Brother Wallace states: “but the faith of the operation of God does not refer to faith in the sense of believing, but to the system of faith operating in baptism. The phrase `the faith’ is always significant and to change it to faith in vitiates all of the passages in which it occurs.” Brother Wallace’s point is well taken. He is correct.

2 Thessalonians l:6

“Seeing it is a righteous thing ‘with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels . . .” (KJV).

“For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels . . .” (NASB).

Brother Wallace comments: “In this passage the one verb `recompense’ has two objects-`tribulation’ (or affliction) and `rest’. The word rest here is not a verb, but a noun, and is the second object of the verb recompense. When the Lord comes he will recompense tribulation to one class-the wicked; but he will recompense rest to the other class-the saved. In this New American Standard Bible two verbs are inserted, a different verb for each objective noun, substituting `repay’ and `to give’ for the one verb recompense, which aside from changing the grammar and sentence structure of the passage, it modifies the meaning-the substituted verbs do not fulfill the import of the verb recompense. “

In support of Brother Wallace’s teaching on this point, I submit the following translations:

“Or do you doubt that there is justice with God, to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and you, the afflicted, with that rest which will be ours too?” (Ronald Knox Translation, 1951 Edition).

“If at least it is a righteous thing with God to recompense affliction unto them that afflict you, And unto you that are afflicted release with us, . . .” (J. B. Rotherham’s Translation, 1897).

“Hence it is right with God to repay your afflictors with affliction; and to you, the afflicted-rest, with us, at the manifestation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with messengers of His power; . . .” (Ferrar Fenton’s Translation, 1903).

Each of the above translations uphold Brother Wallace’s teaching concerning that passage. I think he is right.

Hebrews 6:1-6

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation . . .” (King James Version).

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation . . .” (New American Standard Bible).

I copy as follows, Brother Wallace’s exegesis and application of this passage:

“Hebrews 6:1-6-the exhortation of the apostles to the Jewish Christians to leave `the principles,’ or rudiments, of the Mosaic system which brought them to Christ, and to `go on unto perfection’-the new covenant-is changed completely in its meaning to `leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, let us press on to maturity.’ As in Galatians 3:24-25 and 4:1-4 the apostle contrasts the Mosaic system with the New Covenant -exhorting them to leave the elements of the Old Covenant, which he specified as the ordinances of Judaism: (1) repentance from dead works (the dead sacrifices of the Mosaic law); faith toward God (for Christ had not come); the doctrine of baptisms (plural, the divers washings of the Mosaic law); laying on of hands (the priestly and prophetical ceremonies of the Mosaic system); resurrection of the dead (reviving the dead ordinances of Judaism); of eternal judgment (no remission under the law, judgment pending during the whole of the old dispensation). We never leave any `teaching about Christ’ not any part of the gospel, and the rendering of this passage by the New American Standard Bible is a mutilation of the text and context. Moreover it departs from the rendering of the American Standard Version which it proposes to represent. in revised form.” (page 592.)

I must respectfully disagree with Brother Wallace’s handling of the above passage. First, I copy from M. R. Vincent’s Word Studies In The New Testament”:

“Some difficulty attaches to the first three verses, because the writer combines two thoughts: his own intention to proceed from elementary to more advanced teachings, and his readers’ advance to that higher grade of spiritual receptiveness on which the effectiveness of his teaching must depend.” (page 441.)

The Hebrew writer spoke of Christ being called of God, a high priest after the order of Melchisedec. “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for some one to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” (Heb. 5:11-12). So these Hebrew Christians who should, by this time, have matured and developed to the point where they could teach the fulness of the gospel of Christ to others, were still weak and untaught. This is the argument that the Hebrew writer then makes in the sixth chapter-that they need not expect ,, or look for yet another Savior, Messiah and Redeemer! By their lack of growth and development, they were essentially again crucifying the Son of God, shaming Him openly.

Vincent states: “Aphentes, leaving or dismissing does not imply ceasing to believe in elementary truths or to regard them as important, but leaving them ‘as a builder leaves his foundation in erecting his building’ ” (Bruce-page 441.)

Moses Stuart’s Commentary states on this point: “Quitting the mere initial stage of pupillage, advance forward to a maturer state of instruction and knowledge;” or, “Make such advances, that it shall be unnecessary to repeat elementary instruction in the principles of Christianity.” . . . “Omitting now to insist on the first elements of Christian doctrine, let me proceed to the consideration of the more difficult principles of religion, not discussing, at present, the subject of repentance, baptism, etc. . .” (pages 367-368.)

I cannot accept Brother Wallace’s assertion that the subjects listed in Hebrews 6:1-2 and 4-5, are all ordinances of Judaism. Instead, these Hebrews had become Christians, but were not progressing and advancing in wisdom, knowledge and maturity as Christians. Even the King James Version does not support Brother Wallace’s explanation of this passage.

I Peter 3:19-20

“By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison . . .” (KJV).

“. . . in whom also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison . . .” (NASB).

Brother Wallace objects to the insertion of “now” in the NASB. Brother Wallace is right!

Revelation 1:1-3

“. . . he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John . . .” (KJV).

“. . . He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John . . .” (NASB).

Brother Wallace objects to this change of words . . . and again, he is correct. The Greek word for signified is semaino, and means to “give a sign” or “express by a sign.” Exactly the same word is used in Acts 11:28 wherein the prophet Agabus “signified by the Spirit that there would be a famine.” This word is used some six times in the New Testament, in one form or another. The passage to which Brother Wallace made reference, Heb. 9:8, uses the word deloo, meaning to “make plain” or “evident.” It is sometimes translated “signify” in the King James Version.

The New American Standard Version falls in accurately translating semaino, in Revelation 1:1.

Revelation 20:4-5

“. . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years . . .” (KJV).

“. . . and thev came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years . . .” (NASB).

“. . . the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.” (King James Version).

“The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed This is the first resurrection.” (New American Standard Bible).

Brother Wallace charges that the NASB alters the text in these verses with a premillennial slant. I agree with him. The “came to life” or “restored to life” expression seems to lend support to some of the various premillennial theories that are held by false teachers. Simply as a point of information, I have twenty-three other versions and translations in my library that use “came to life” or “restored to life.”


In general, I believe that the NASB is superior to the other “modern” versions. This is not to say that it does not have its faults Similarly, there are passages that I do not agree with in the American Standard Version (1901), just as I do not consider the King James Version to be accurate in all passages.

As for Brother Wallace’s review of the NASB, I consider it to be overly critical and lacking somewhat in objectivity. However, this is his right and privilege. Incidentally, I agree with his conclusions concerning the NASB about fifty percent of the time.

One of the very best methods of Bible study is to compare the readings of numerous versions and translations of a given passage. When one becomes wedded to almost only one version . . . watch out! It is my sincere hope and prayer that this study will prove beneficial to those who requested it.

Truth Magazine XIX: 18, pp. 280-282
March 15, 1975