In this article, we will be differentiating the ESV vs NASB Bible translation. The goal of a Bible translation is to help the reader understand the text that he or she is reading.
It wasn’t until the 20th Century that Bible scholars decided to take the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and translate it into the closest equivalent possible in English.
ESV – This version was originally created in 2001. It was based on a 1971 Revised Standard Version.
NASB – The New American Standard Bible was first published in 1971.
ESV – This version is highly readable. It is suitable for older children as well as adults. Very comfortable to read. It comes across as more smooth of a read since it is not literally word for word.
NASB – The NASB is considered a little less comfortable than the ESV, but most adults can read it very comfortably. This version is word for word so some of the Old Testament passages may come across as a little stiff.
ESV VS NASB Bible translation differences
ESV – The ESV is an “essentially literal’ translation. Not only does it focus on the original wording of the text but also the voice of each individual Bible writer. This translation focuses on “word for word” while also taking into consideration the differences in grammar, idiom and syntax of modern English to the original languages.
NASB – The NASB has been very popular with serious Bible scholars because the translators attempted to render the original languages into English as close to a literal translation as possible.
Comparing Bible verses in the ESV and NASB
ESV – Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Romans 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Proverbs 29:23 “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
Ephesians 2:12 “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Exodus 15:13 “You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode.”
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
NASB – Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 5:2 “and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Proverbs 29:23 “A person’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.”
Ephesians 2:12 “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the people of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”
Psalm 20:7 “Some praise their chariots and some their horses, But we will praise the name of the Lord, our God.”
Exodus 15:13 “In Your faithfulness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
ESV – The first revision was published in 2007. The second revision came along in 2011 as well as a third in 2016.
NASB – The NASB received its first update in 1995 and again in 2020.
ESV – The target audience is all ages. This is suitable for older children as well as adults.
NASB – The target audience is for adults.
Which translation is more popular between the ESV and NASB?
ESV – The ESV is by far more popular than the NASB simply because its readability.
NASB – Though the NASB is not as popular as the ESV, it is still highly sought after.
Pros and cons of both
ESV – The Pro for the ESV is its smooth readability. The Con would be the fact that it is not a word for word translation.
NASB – Hands down the biggest pro for the NASB is the fact that it is a word for word translation. It is the most literal translation on the market. The con for some – though not for all – is the SLIGHT stiffness in its readability.
Pastors who use the ESV – Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, Matt Chandler, Erwin Lutzer, Francis Chan, Bryan Chapell, David Platt.
Pastors who use the NASB – John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, Joseph Stowell, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Bruce A. Ware Ph.D.
Study Bibles to choose
Best ESV Study Bibles – The ESV Study Bible, ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible, ESV Jeremiah Study Bible
Best NASB Study Bibles – The NASB MacArthur Study Bible, NASB Zondervan Study Bible, Life Application Study Bible, The One Year Chronological Bible NKJV
Other Bible translations
There are numerous other Bible translations to consider, such as the NIV or the NKJV. Please prayerfully consider each translation and study their background carefully.
Which Bible translation should I choose?
Ultimately the choice is up to you, and you should choose so based on careful prayer and research. Find a bible translation that is comfortable for you reading level, but that is also extremely reliable – a word for word literal translation is much better than a thought for thought translation.