New American Standard Bible vs. King James; What’s the Difference?


This is part of Lord’s Library’s Bible Comparison Series. Our editors explore the New American Standard Bible vs. King James so you can understand the major differences between each translation.

Bible Comparison Series BadgeWhen looking for a new Bible for yourself or as a gift, comparing the different Bible versions is an ideal first step. It’s also important that one considers the various Christian Church denominations when Bible shopping so the reader can be comfortable with their translation’s version of English. Some churches mandate a precise edition as well, while others may be curious about which version of the manuscript their favorite Bible translation comes from.

If you’ve ever asked the question “What’s the difference between the New American Standard Bible vs. King James?” you’ve come to the right place. It’s in that spirit that our editors compiled this short resource by first offering a simple description of each Bible version, and then a comparison that highlights key contrasts. For each of the two Bible versions compared, Lord’s Library editors included links to our directories of the best editions, as well as the most popular products.

The Gospel

New American Standard Bible vs. King James Version (KJV)

What is the New American Standard Bible (NASB)?

The New American Standard Bible is an interesting Bible because it is the most widely embraced literal and accurate Bible translation created in the 20th century. First published in its entirety in 1971, the NASB aims to be true to the original languages of the Bible while being understandable. This Bible translation was produced from the need for a contemporary word-for-word Bible translation that existed at that time.

The greatest quality of the NASB is its fidelity to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek of which it came. It’s impressive how it is able to merge this accuracy with a readability that is accessible to most modern readers. Modern criticism cites that while it’s easy to read and mainly accurate to the best manuscripts available, that it is devoid of the literary excellence and passion of the King James Version.

What is the King James Version (KJV)?

The King James Version has stood the test of time and proven itself by becoming the best-selling English Bible translation of all time. This is because it boasts incredible accuracy to the manuscripts from which it was translated and a rich, vibrant language. The complete King James Bible was originally published in 1611 after being commissioned by King James VI.

The historical significance of this Bible translation is astounding, so much so that it has been credited with shaping much of the culture of the English-speaking world. Today, the King James Version still proves to be an effective and reliable translation, with its only caveat being that the language it’s written in is not friendly to the average reader.

New American Standard Bible vs. King James Version; What’s the Difference?

The New American Standard Bible and the King James Bible have a lot in common. Both versions were translated using a strong and deliberate focus on being an accurate word-for-word translation using the best manuscripts available. They both have a long legacy and trusted reputation of being accurate, trustable translations of God’s Word appropriate for private and public use.

The NASB’s tradition features a literal translation of the original Greek and Hebrew without compromise. Changes in the text have been kept within the strict parameters of the original manuscripts as well. The translation of the King James Bible operated under many of the same guidelines. They were translated from the best manuscripts of their time, with the NASB having more to work from since it was translated hundreds of years later.

Both the NASB and KJV will appeal to readers who seek accuracy over accessible language. The choice between these two Bibles comes down to how one feels about the manuscripts available at the time each Bible was translated.

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Timothy Andrew
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Timothy Andrew

Timothy Andrew

Tim is the Founder of Lord's Library. He believes the Bible commands us to minister "as of the ability which God giveth" (1 Peter 4:11). Tim aspires to be as The Lord's mouth by "taking forth the precious from the vile" (Jeremiah 15:19) and witnessing The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4) to the whole world.

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