I grew up with the KJV, submitted myself to God in 2004, and bought my first carefully chosen Bible (ESV) in 2007. I often joke that there is more ‘black’ in that Bible from my personal notes than there is ink from the publishers. I literally devoured that Bible.
In 2011, I heard my pastor reading from a translation that was unfamiliar to me. I looked up the wording on Biblos.com’s parallel Bible and discovered she was using the NASB. After doing a ton of research and comparing passage after passage with the ESV, I bought the NASB Study Bible. Hands down, it is my translation of choice – overall. I say ‘overall’ because, for the majority of the time, it most accurately reproduces the underlying intended meaning of the original Biblical language. But for those rare instances in which the NASB fails to reveal the full naked meaning I seek other translations to fill in the gap.
A good example of when I turn to other translations: I love the Book of Job, and my favorite part is chapter 40 to book-end because it holds tremendous personal meaning for me. The NASB fails to capture the personal/spiritual significance of the original, idiomatic cultural meaning of the phrase, ‘gird up your loins’ (Job 40:6-8). The idiomatic cultural meaning of the phrase ‘Gird up your loins’ means ‘Put your big boy pants on’, and in this particular case the ESV simply nails the translation with ‘Dress for action like a man’.
I compared Job 40:6-8 between the translations Gary Zimmerli mentioned in his most excellent post, “The NKJV and the ESV”, and then highlighted each key phrase with a different color to show how it uniquely differs from translation to translation.
Thank you, Gary, for giving an honest look at this translation topic, perfectly marrying your subjective take with true objectivity – a most rare find these days.
My translation of choice by highlight color:
Purple: NASB; NKJV
Grey: NONE: I think the better translation/interpretation would be, “Will you condemn me to justify yourself as righteous”.
The LORD Challenges Job
6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
God Questions Job
6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm and said,
7 “Now gird up your loins like a man;
I will ask you, and you instruct Me.
8 “Will you really annul My judgment?
Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?
6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 7 “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: 8 “Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?
6 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:
7 “Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?