Job 40:6-8 Translation Comparisons

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’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 loinsmeansPut 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:

Yellow:  ESV

Green:   NASB

Purple:  NASB; NKJV

Grey:     NONE:  I think the better translation/interpretation would be, “Will you condemn me to justify yourself as righteous”.



ESV:  Job 40:6-8

The LORD Challenges Job

6 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:

7 Dress for actiona like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.

8 Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?


NASB:  Job 40:6-8

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?


NKJV:  Job 40: 6-8

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?


NIV 1984: Job 40: 6-8

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?


About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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4 Responses to Job 40:6-8 Translation Comparisons

  1. I have to say, I have no favorite translation. I just don’t. I wish I did, but I don’t. I am always marking things and writing in other versions in every Bible I use. My versions of choice to preach from are the KJV and the NKJV. However, I also use a HCSB and 1901 ASV. It doesn’t, matter, though. If I am using a more modern version, I still write in key words from the KJV so that I can have both in the pulpit. This especially comes in handy when preaching to older folk. But honestly, since I became a Christian back in the 70’s, I am most comfortable with the King James, mostly because that is what I am used to.


  2. dtrichards says:

    Hi Todd,

    Thanks for a very “graphic” and colourful comparison of the different translations. It’s important to remember, when comparing Bible translations of the different traditions of “word-for-word” and “meaning-for-meaning”. ESV and NJKV follow the “word-for-word” style. As the forward to the ESV says, it “translates the original text with word-for-word accuracy into simple, beautiful and readable English” (Publisher’s Note to the ESV One Year Bible). They also note they take care to translate “concrete imagery” instead of “abstract phrases”, so you get the effect you noted in your blog post.

    I know it’s a pain, but for a real mind-blowing insight into the range of possible meanings of the images used in the Old Testament, it’s a good idea to read it in an interlinear Bible such as with reference to Strong’s Concordance (I use the Blue-Letter Bible for its concordance, but I’m not as pleased with their Hebrew translations) to see how the same word is translated differently in different contexts and at different times of history. That’s what I’m doing for Jeremiah, which I hope to blog about next month.

    DT Richards.


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