Jeremy Sarber

Does the church need another Bible translation?

Earlier this year, John MacArthur announced a new edition of the New American Standard Bible called the Legacy Standard Bible. While the Lockman Foundation will continue to produce and even update the NASB, the LSB will be a second stream. The NASB will make its changes, and the LSB will have its distinct revisions.

Mark Ward explains:

MacArthur has long used the 1995 New American Standard Bible in his world-famous teaching ministry. Its reputation fits his well: both are focused on a careful, literal approach to Bible interpretation. And of these things I have no complaint. But as the NASB branches into a 2020 revision (while promising to continue to print the 1995 edition), MacArthur is branching off in a different direction. One Bible translation (the NASB) is becoming three (NASB95, NASB20, and LSB) in a very short space.

When I heard the news, I’ll admit I was confounded. Does the church need another version of the Bible? But I quickly disregarded the thought because I’m a proponent for having and using multiple translations of the Bible. Plus, I couldn’t articulate why the LSB seems unnecessary to me.

Then, along came Mark Ward, who published his concerns, giving voice to my own:

Bible translations succeed only when they achieve widespread trust, and the more translations we have … the more it appears to the general Bible-reading public that theological and financial special interests are driving the production of English Bibles rather than the genuine needs of the church. This appearance, in turn, decreases collective trust in the good Bibles we have.

Read the full article here: A Rising Tide Sinks All Boats: The Legacy Standard Bible and Stewarding the Church’s Trust.

I also recommend you read the comments that follow the article.

Further discussion

Will Glover on June 15th, 2020:

Great article. One thing I would like to add is all the time, money, and resources used on another English translation would be better spent on languages that don’t have a translation in their native tongue.

Jeremy Sarber on June 16th, 2020:

You make an excellent point I hadn’t considered. Thousands of languages around the world still do not have a translation of the Bible, while English has an embarrassment of riches. Translators and Bible publishers should spend their time, money, and resources bringing Scripture to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, I’m sure their monetary return-on-investment is a primary consideration for them.