2012 08 29 newer nasb 1960 - 1997

I got to thinking. It might be interesting to chatter about all the Bibles I have owned. I have owned a few over the years.

The first Bibles I owned were were bought for me by my dad. They were both RSVs. One was a hardback and the other was a pocket-sized new testament. I think the harback fell apart rather quickly. I don't know what happened to the pocket NT but I would not be surprised if it were to suddenly turn up somewhere.

Next, Dad got me an NASB. I think it was something like 1976. It was published by Moody press. Copyright 1960 - 1975.

I used that Bible all through Junior and Senior high school and on through college. In 1991 we moved from the St. Louis area to Tucson, Arizona. That Bible somehow didn't make the trip. I was mystified about it; but since it didn't turn up, I eventually bought a new Bible. Up until that point I was an NASB fan. I was particularly impressed by the very literal translation. One of my litmus tests for any new translation became (and still is) Matthew 16:19. NASB very literally translates the idea that anything Peter preaches on earth started in Heaven - not the other way around. There's a big difference between "shall be" and "shall have been."

On the other hand, one thing that I found annoying about the translation is the way it switched to King James style pronouns when they refered to deity. The prayer in John 17 was just as difficult to read in NASB as it was in KJV!

Anyway. The Bible I bought to replace the long-lost Bible mentioned above was another NASB. This time it was a thinline Bible from Holman publishers. Copyright 1960 - 1977. I was not real happy with this Bible due to the fact that the NASB had been "upgraded" and I saw the "improvements" as major steps backwards. More on that Bible below.

By then, New Revised Standard Version was published and my parents bought me one. I really got to liking NRSV, not because of the accurate rendering of Matthew 16:19 (which is not as good as NASB 1975) but because of the scholarship that went into the version. More on NRSV below. At this stage in the story, the important point is that I had converted from NASB to NRSV.

Then I received an interesting package in the mail: My old NASB Bible! What had happened is I had set my Bible down in on a table or something after class was over at church, and somebody went around the room and collected all the lose Bibles and set them on a bookshelf that contained various miscellanious Bibles for people who forgot their Bibles. The lady who sent me the Bible happened to forget her own Bible one day at church and she went over to the stack of extra Bibles and grabbed one - which happened to be my Bible. Since it had my name on it she figured out that I had probably not intentionally donated the Bible to the extras stack. I was very happy to have that Bible back. By now, it was mainly for sentamental reasons. The Bible was starting to fall apart and it was time to be replaced anyway.

Below is a shot of the thinline 1977 NASB.

I was puzzled why the translators had "improved" Matthew 16:19 to a more traditional yet less accurate reading.

Yet the divine pronouns were still in the KJV tradition.

As I mentioned, from this Bible I moved to NRSV as my translation of choice; but I will mention that today's NASB (1997) is a very commendable translation. Unfortunately for NASB, they were too late with the improvements. I'm now an NRSV man. NASB has gone back to the better rendering of perfect tensed verbs - especially Matthew 16:19.

And, better, NASB has eliminated the bizarre KJV pronouns when referring to deity; so such passages are easier to read.

I was disappointed that pages started falling out of my NRSV so soon. To delay the deterioration I drilled some holes through it and sewed it together with nylong twine. It worked and I got a lot of good years out of it; but it is starting to look a little worn.

I have recently done some research into what a good book binding looks like; and this one is very very cheap. Althoug the Bible is a hardback, the pages are glued in like a dime store paperback novel.

From now on, when shopping for Bibles, I am going to pay close attention to the bindings.

At some point within the last couple years, CBD put a smallish NRSV Bible, bound in bonded leather (i.e., cheap material) for about $9. Cheap cover material or not, that's a good deal. I bought one and it's my carry-around Bible. In the picture below, I clipped a thumb drive to the cover for scale.

Then, I decided to replace my hardback NRSV. I picked up a new Oxford NRSV bound in "genuine leather" which isn't necessarily any different than "bonded leather." In both cases, the definition of the material is ambiguous; but it's a nice Bible. It has no references. I didn't think that would bother me; but it does. If the Old Testament is quoted, I'd like a reference to the passage right there. If something in Matthew has a parallel in Luke, I want to know where it is.

I am very happy with this Bible's construction. I think I'm not going to use it much going forward, which might be a shame. Notice the way the binding is made from mini-booklets called "signatures" and they are sewn to each other and to a backing. This Bible will hold up through many years of heavy use.

Here's my most recent acquisition. It is an NRSV, bound in "highland goat skin" and built by hand by RL Allen. It's really quite beautiful - so beautiful that I'm reluctant to write any notes in it. Time will tell. It's a joy to read.