Dear Mr. Bluedorn,
I have been thinking for some time now of getting a new Bible. One reason being mine is falling apart and another being I have read the King James Version for many years now and would like to read a different version. I was wondering if you could tell me the differences between the New King James Version and the New American Standard Bible? What would be the benefit of one over another? Thanks. Katie
The differences between the King James and the New King James are largely modernization of the language and updating for accuracy.
The differences between the New King James and the New American Standard go deeper. Because they are both supposed to be word-for-word translations, I expected them to be much the same, but I have actually spent the last eight months comparing the two translations word for word (I have only a few pages left to go), and I was surprised to find so much difference.
The Greek textual base is different. I believe the NKJV is better — that’s an argument which I can give you if you want. It does make a difference in many places.
The NASV inserts transformational grammar, which in brief means it changes the grammatical structure of the sentences. Here is a made up example to show you what I mean. What’s the difference between saying “John baptized Jesus” and saying “Jesus was baptized by John”? Many persons would say they mean the same thing. I disagree. The emphasis is shifted from John being an active agent and Jesus being a beneficiary, to Jesus being prominent and John becoming almost incidental. In some passages, emphasis makes a big difference. I don’t understand why transformation is needed.
Generally speaking, the vocabulary and literary quality of the New King James is better.
The NASV shortens and paraphrases frequently.
Of course there are many places where I actually prefer the NASV translation to the NKJV translation, but generally speaking, the NKJV does a better job of representing the original Greek.
Overall, I prefer the NKJV.
Of all the parallel Bibles available, there is none which have both the NASV and the NKJV.
I hope this helps.