Questions, Insights, & Responses

shared from and with users

#89 - Comparing the NRSV and the NASB

by Robert Nguyen Cramer (

This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that we all can further learn from and with each other.


Question/insight #89:

You said the NRSV is the most literal Bible of today. What about the Updated NASB? I've heard that is the most literal.

Response #89:

I have neither said nor do I believe that the NRSV [book review] is the most literal Bible of today. Nor do I believe that the NASB [book review] is the most reliable literal Bible of today. What I have written is the following:

This statement is only relative to those three translations mentioned in that paragraph.

The NASB is still influenced by its more fundamentalist editorial position, and it also retains some texts that were added in the KJV but were not in the original Greek New Testament texts (e.g., Mat 17:21; Mat 18:11; Mat 23:14; Mar 7:16; Mar 9:44,46; and many other verses).

Rotherham's Emphasized Bible [book review] also still ranks high as a "literal, word-by-word translation with added emphasis to further explain the hidden riches of the original languages." (Quotes from the book jacket.) This is true, even though the Greek basis for Rotherham's Emphasized Bible dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

The best literal English Bible version today is the English Standard Version (ESV) [book review]. For detailed comparison of "best word-for-word Bible translation" and "best King James Version substitutes for reading from the pulpit," see


Copyright 1996-2004 Robert Nguyen Cramer