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Major Critical Texts and Manuscript
Abbreviations of the New Testament
Byz RP: 2005 Byzantine Greek New Testament, Robinson & Pierpont
TR1550: 1550 Stephanus New Testament
Maj: The Majority Text (thousands of minuscules which display a similar text)
Gries: 1774-1775 Johann Jakob Griesbach Greek New Testament
Treg: 1857-1879 Samuel Prideaux Tregelles Greek New Testament
Tisch: 1872 Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament
WH: 1881 Westcott-Hort Greek New Testament
NA28: 2012 Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament
UBS5: 2014 Greek New Testament
NU: Both Nestle-Aland and the United Bible Society
SBLGNT: 2010 Greek New Testament ()
THGNT: 2017 The Greek New Testament by Tyndale House
GENTI: 2020 Greek-English New Testament Interlinear
Explanations of Features Used in This Edition
Beginning of Each Bible Book
At the beginning of each Bible book, there are bullet points of Who Wrote, Where Written, and When Written: e.g., c. 45-50 C.E. At times, c. is written in front of a date or number to indicate that it is approximate. c. is an abbreviation for “circa.”
Though out every Bible book, there are section headings. The headings are no part of the original that the authors published. They have been provided to give the reader a snapshot of the theme within that section of Scripture.
Footnotes in this Edition
The footnotes in the Updated American Standard Version (UASV) are used to supply the reader with deeper insight into the Scriptures. There are hundreds of footnotes on important textual information, and many of them have detailed, easy-to-understand explanations. Moreover, two appendices explain Old and New Testament textual criticism. The primary text for the Old Testament is the Hebrew Masoretic Text, and the New Testament, the Koine Greek New Testament. Some footnotes let the reader know the reason why the translation has had to abandon the primary text for versions.
Hundreds of other footnotes give the reader an extensive, more profound understanding of important Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words. Some footnotes let the reader know the reason why the translation has had to abandon the literal rendering. Every Hebrew and Greek word has two or more different meanings, and it is the context that helps determine which one the author meant. Even though the translation itself has retained a literal rendering more often than any other, many footnotes contain alternative literal renderings. Some notes give English equivalents for weights, measures, and monetary values. Some notes give the meaning of names of Bible books, persons, places, and geographical data.
Ten Appendix Articles at the End of This Edition
Ten Appendix articles are arranged in subjects that will help the reader in multiple ways. First, it will help the reader get at what the author meant by the words that he used. Second, it will help them better understand features and footnotes in this edition. Third, it will help them understand how the Bible came down to us and why it is trustworthy. Fourth, it will help the Christian defend God’s inspired Word as fully inerrant, authoritative, authentic, and trustworthy.
Literal Translation Philosophy
The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) comes from the standard literal translation philosophy of English Bible translations over almost 600-years. The source of this history starts with William Tyndale’s New Testament of 1526, followed by several other 16th-century English translations into the renowned King James Version of 1611 (KJV). It would be another 274 years before we arrive at the first modern English translation that could fully take advantage of manuscript discoveries, the English Revised Version of 1885 (RV), followed by the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV). During the last two decades of the 19th century and into the mid-20th century, there was a discovery of 500,000 Greek papyri manuscripts found in the dry sands of Egypt, which vastly improved our understanding of Koine Greek. We also discovered many New Testament papyri manuscripts that aid us in our textual decisions. This led to the Revised Standard Version of 1952 and 1971 (RSV). Sadly, we now enter a new era of Bible translation philosophy.
Eugene A. Nida was an American linguist who developed the dynamic-equivalence Bible-translation theory (i.e., interpretive translation philosophy) and one of the founders of the modern discipline of translation studies. This new translation interpretive philosophy was not to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, but rather to give them what a translator thinks God meant in its place. The interpretive translation’s goal was not to be accurate and faithful to the original text. They were more concerned with the meaning and making easy-to-read Bibles. For decades now, we have had dozens of these interpretive translations that are not the translation, but more like mini commentaries.
Some English translations attempted to compete with this onslaught of interpretive translations. However, they were semi-literal at best, calling themselves Essentially Literal or Optimal Equivalence. They are excellent translations, but they are inconsistent and not fully dedicated to the literal translation philosophy. One translation stood alone for decades as the only literal translation philosophy, the New American Standard Bible (NASB): 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. The only problem was that they retained the corrupt readings from the KJV in the main text of their New Testament, even though the translators understood they were not original. Worse still, the 2020 New American Standard Bible took the first step in abandoning its literal translation philosophy. The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is a complete return to the faithfulness of the text. The UASV’s primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place. The UASV’s primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator.
The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is a true literal translation, where the English language permits a literal rendering that does not distort what the Bible authors meant. We are meeting the needs of God’s people who desire a word-for-word rendering of the original. Many readers who do not use a literal translation may not understand what may appear as insignificant as choosing a comma or omitting it. A definite or indefinite article may alter what the author meant to convey.
Can the Original Language Text be Translated Perfectly into Any Modern-Day language?
There will probably never be a perfect translation into any modern-day language, and a few things can get in the way of a perfect translation if that were even possible.
No modern language precisely reflects the original language vocabulary and grammar of Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Therefore, at times, a literal translation of the Bible can be ambiguous or not fully convey the original author’s intended meaning. When we render an original language word into a modern language, it needs to be understood that we lose some sense of the meaning that would have been conveyed to the original audience in their language.
The same Hebrew or Greek word can have widely different meanings in different contexts. For example, the Hebrew word zaqen and the Greek word presbuteros can be translated “older man,” or “elder,” and both are sometimes used to refer to persons that are advanced in age (Gen. 18:11; Deut. 28:50; 1 Sam. 2:22; 1 Tim 5:1-2) or to the older of two persons (older son, Lu 15:25). However, it can also apply to those holding a position of authority and responsibility in the Christian congregation (elders, 1 Tim. 5:17), in the community or a nation. It is also used in reference to the ancestors of Israel (men of old, Heb. 11:2), as well as members of the Jewish Sanhedrin (elders, Matt. 16:21), and of the twenty-four elders (heavenly beings) seated on the twenty-four thrones around the throne of God. (Rev. 4:4) Clearly, the context will determine what the author meant in his usage of these terms. The translator should always seek to reflect the literal rendering of the original language in every passage, but there will be some rare exceptions to this rule. Here are a few of those exceptions.
Jesus’ half-brother, James, writes,
James 3:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
6 And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the course of life, and is set on fire by Gehenna.
We have several excellent examples of translation decisions within this one verse.
In rendering “the world of unrighteousness,” older translations and the 1995 NASB use the outdated term iniquity, which means “grossly immoral behavior.” However, the 2020 NASB renders it “the very world of unrighteousness.” From the verb from which the participle James uses, “staining the whole body” we literally have spotting the whole body, somewhat ambiguous, so we should adopt the lexical rendering “stained,” “defiled,” or “corrupted.” Then we have “the course of life,” which is literally the wheel of birth (existence, origin). Finally, translators of the Bible should avoid rendering the Hebrew Sheol and the Greek Hades and Gehenna by the word hell (RSV, ESV, LEB, CSB, NASB2020). Simply transliterating these words will force the reader to dig deeper for the author’s intended meaning. Hundreds of times throughout the Bible, the reader is told to pause, ponder, consider, to meditate on the Word of God. The literal translation is not only the Word of God in English, but it also forces the reader to slow down, pause, ponder, consider, to meditate. The interpretive translations give their readers a mini commentary on 6th – 8th grade levels (GNB, CEV, NCV, NIrV, NLT, TNIV). It is not the Word of God in English, it is what the translators think the Word of God means in English, and there is no need to slow down, pause, ponder, consider, to meditate.
When dated terms are used (e.g., iniquity), they should be replaced with the original biblical text’s corresponding English word (unrighteousness). The Bible translators can use such literal wording as (stain, defile, corrupt) in place of such ambiguous expressions as “spotting the whole body,” which helps the modern reader avoid confusion. When the literal rendering comes across as making no sense (the wheel of birth), it is best to provide the original word(s) sense. A translation of the Greek geenna is best transliterated as Gehenna. An explanation of what the translator is doing in the text should be placed in a footnote. This gives the reader access to all the information. Again, these are rare exceptions to the rule that the translator should always seek to reflect the literal rendering of the original language in every passage.
The Hebrew Old Testament (שָׁכַב shakab) and the Greek New Testament (κοιμωμένων koimaōmenōn) original language terms should be rendered as “sleep” and “fall asleep,” which refer to a sleeping body and a dead body. The translation committee should not take liberties with the word of God in an attempt at being more concise or replacing the literal rendering that is understandable and conveys what the author meant with an easier to read interpretation. 1 Kings 2:10 says, “Then David slept with his forefathers and was buried in the city of David.” The interpretive translations render it as “David died and was buried in David’s City” (GNB), “Then David died and was buried with his ancestors in Jerusalem” (NCV), and “Then David rested with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David” (TNIV). Some have argued that the dynamic equivalent thought-for-thought translations (Then David died and was buried, NLT) are conveying the idea in a more clear and immediate way, but is this really the case? Retaining the literal rendering, the metaphorical use of the word sleep is best because of the similarities that exist between physical sleep and the sleep of death. Without the literal rendering, this would be lost on the reader. Retaining the literal rendering, “slept,” and adding the phrase “in death” in a footnote completes the sense in the English text. Sense: to be asleep in death; the figurative extension of the physical sleep in the sense of being at rest and at peace; the person in the sleep of death exists in God’s memory as they sleep in death; it is only temporary for those who are physically asleep, so it will be true of those who are asleep in death. The idea that death is like a deep sleep that one awakens from at some future point is made by multiple authors and Jesus Christ when talking about Lazarus.
Nevertheless, there are times when the literal translation can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. James 5:1 is translated, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that, you may not fall under judgment.” The Greek is literally, “But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let yours is to be yes, yes, and no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment.” This would make little sense. Romans 12:1 is translated, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” The Greek is literally, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be in the spirit boiling, serving the Lord.” This would undoubtedly confuse.
A literal translation is unquestionably more than a word-for-word rendering of the original language of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The corresponding English words need to be brought over according to English grammar and syntax. Still, the translation at the same time must be faithful to the original word or as much as possible, for the author may have used word order to emphasize or convey some meaning. In most cases, the translator renders the original-language word with the same corresponding English term each time it occurs. The translator has used his good judgment to select English terms or phrases from the lexicon within the context of the original-language text. The translator remains faithful to this literal translation philosophy unless it has been determined that the rendering will be misunderstood or misinterpreted. The translator is not tasked with making the text easy to read but rather to make it as accurately faithful to the original as possible. The translator’s primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place. The translator’s primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator. Nevertheless, extremes in the literal translation of the text just for the sake of being literal must be avoided.
Many modern-day English translations have taken the unjustifiable liberty in their choice of omitting the Father’s personal name, Jehovah, from modern translations of the Old Testament even though that name is found in ancient Bible manuscripts. Many translations replace the personal name with a title, such as “LORD.” The Father’s personal name is found thousands of times in the 1901 American Standard Version and will be retained here in the Updated American Standard Version.
Lastly, every effort has been made in rendering a Hebrew or Greek word the same every time if that is what the context allows. This exposes what the authors meant by the words that they used. Accurate knowledge: (ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis) This is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. It is a personal recognition where one understands something clearly and distinctly or as true and valid. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis. Paul uses the term fifteen times, while Peter uses it four times. Paul wrote about some who were “always learning and yet never able to come to accurate knowledge of truth.” (2Ti 3:6-7) He also prayed for those in the Colossian church, who clearly had some knowledge of the will and purposes of the Father, for they had become Christians, “that [they] may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Col 1:9) All Christians should desire to obtain or achieve accurate knowledge of God’s Word. (Eph 1:15-17; Php 1:9; 1Ti 2:3-4), It is crucial in one’s effort at putting on the new person that Paul spoke of, and in gaining peace. – Rom. 1:28; Eph. 1:17; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9-10; 3:10; 1 Tim 2:4; 2Pe 1:2.
The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) understands there are times when rendering the best sense of the original language words according to the context is more important than a literal translation. For example, the Greek noun (κόσμος kosmos) is rendered “world” 185 times and “adornment” one time. The one exception here is found in 1 Peter 3:3. “Do not let your adornment be external, the braiding of hair and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothing.” The Greek “kosmos (κόσμος, 2889), “a harmonious arrangement or order,” then, “adornment, decoration,” came to denote “the world, or the universe, as that which is divinely arranged.” The related Greek verb (κοσμέω kosmeō) is translated “adorn” at Tit 2:10, “… not stealing, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is the most consistent in its literal rendering of the original language words into English.
The Holy Bible: Updated American Standard Version (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2022).
 W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 14.
Resources Used in Making the
UASV Old Testament Text
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek: Appendix (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006)
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort, Introduction to the New Testament in the Original Greek: Appendix (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1882)
- Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort, The New Testament in the Original Greek (Logos Bible Software, 2009)
- Bruce Manning Metzger, United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994)
- Constantin von Tischendorf, Tischendorf’s Greek New Testament, electronic ed. of the 8th ed., vol. 3 vol. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997)
- Chad Brand et al., eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003)
- D. J. A. Clines, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988)
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament: Apparatus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017).
- Dirk Jongkind, ed., The Greek New Testament (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017)
- Eberhard Nestle et al., The Greek New Testament, 27th ed. (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft: Stuttgart, 1993)
- Eberhard Nestle and Erwin Nestle, Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara Aland et al., 28. revidierte Auflage. (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012)
- Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985)
- Gleason L. Archer, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982)
- Gottlob Schrenk, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–)
- Henry George Liddell et al., A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996)
- Horst Robert Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990–)
- Inc Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003)
- James Strong, A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009)
- James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995)
- James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997)
- Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993)
- Merrill Frederick Unger et al., The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988)
- Philip Wesley Comfort, A COMMENTARY ON THE MANUSCRIPTS AND TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2015).
- Philip W. Comfort, New Testament Text and Translation Commentary: Commentary on the Variant Readings of the Ancient New Testament Manuscripts and How They Relate to the Major English Translations (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2008).
- Philip Wesley Comfort and David P. Barrett, The Text of the Earliest New Testament Manuscripts: Text of the Earliest New Testament Greek Manuscripts, 2 Volume Set The (English and Greek Edition) (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Academic, 2019)
- Rick Brannan and Israel Loken, The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible, Lexham Bible Reference Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2014)
- Robert L. Thomas, New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic, and Greek Dictionaries: Updated Edition (Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc., 1998).
- Roger L. Omanson and Bruce Manning Metzger, A Textual Guide to the Greek New Testament: An Adaptation of Bruce M. Metzger’s Textual Commentary for the Needs of Translators (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006).
- Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000)
- Stephen’s 1550 Textus Receptus: With Morphology (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2002)
- The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (Bellingham, WA, 2008)
- The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform 2005, with Morphology. (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2006)
- Thomas Newberry and George Ricker Berry, The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004)
- Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988)
- W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996)
- William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000)
- Wallace B., Daniel (n.d.). Retrieved from The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts: http://csntm.org/
- Wilker, Wieland (n.d.). Retrieved from An Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels: http://www.willker.de/wie/TCG/index.html
- Zane Clark Hodges, Arthur L. Farstad, and William C. Dunkin, The Greek New Testament according to the Majority Text, 2nd ed. (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1985)
Updated American standard version (UASV)
Our primary purpose is to give the Bible readers what God said by way of his human authors, not what a translator thinks God meant in its place. – Truth Matters!
Our primary goal is to be accurate and faithful to the original text. The meaning of a word is the responsibility of the interpreter (i.e., reader), not the translator. – Translating Truth!
The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly. It carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. The Updated American Standard Version (UASV) is a literal translation. What does that mean?
Removing the Outdated
- Passages with the Old English “thee’s” and “thou’s” etc. have been replaced with modern English.
- Many words and phrases that were extremely ambiguous or easily misunderstood since the 1901 ASV have been updated according to the best lexicons.
- Verses with difficult word order or vocabulary have been translated into correct English grammar and syntax, for easier reading. However, if the word order of the original conveyed meaning, it was kept.
- The last 110+ years have seen the discovering of far more manuscripts, especially the papyri, with many manuscripts dating within 100 years of the originals.
- While making more accurate translation choices, we have stayed true to the literal translation philosophy of the ASV, while other literal translations abandon the philosophy far too often.
- The translator seeks to render the Scriptures accurately, without losing what the Bible author penned by changing what the author wrote, by distorting or embellishing through imposing what the translator believes the author meant into the original text.
- Accuracy in Bible translation is being faithful to what the original author wrote (the words that he used), as opposed to going beyond into the meaning, trying to determine what the author meant by his words. The latter is the reader’s job.
- The translator uses the most reliable, accurate critical texts (e.g., WH, NA, UBS, BHS, as well as the original language texts, versions, and other sources that will help him to determine the original reading.
Why the Need for Updated Translations?
- New manuscript discoveries
- Changes in the language
- A better understanding of the original languages
- Improved insight into Bible translation