Pros and Cons of the ASV Bible

If you are looking for a good version of the Bible to understand and educate yourself about the message of God, a newer translation of the Bible is a good idea. The ASV Bible may meet this requirement. This version of the Bible relies on the translation method known as word-to-word translation or “formal equivalence.” Is American Standard Version Bible the best version to start your Bible study? Let’s begin to understand the pros and cons of the ASV Bible. 

Introduction to ASV Bible

The beginning of the American Standard Version Bible is linked to the revision of the King James Bible that started in 1870. The ASV Bible was published in 1901. This version of the Bible is a formal equivalent translation, and many claim it to be the most “literal translation of the Bible” after King James Version. Some claim it to be the most literal translation of the Bible ever produced. 

Original languages

Since it is a literal translation, many people who want to get close to the original languages prefer it. It is also good for those people who don’t want to spend some time learning the original languages. This feature is not present in most recent translations of the Bible.

Similarities with King James Version Bible

The American Standard Version Bible is very similar to King James Version Bible. First, both versions of the Bible are word-to-word translations (formal equivalent). Additionally, it also uses the same format of words as the King James Version of the Bible, such as “thou, thee, haveth.” 

However, many readers prefer this over the King James Bible because it is easier to read. Much of this has to do with the fact the ASV was published in 1901 (compared to the KJV, which was published in 1602). Hence, it has an easier vocabulary that is understandable and readable.

Many readers do not like the “thee, thou” format of words, and some, on the other hand, prefer it. The American Standard Version Bible also distinguishes between “ye, you.” This distinction is significant for many texts because Ye stands for plural “you all,” and “you” represent the singular form. 

American Standard Version vs. King James Version Bible 

The American Standard Version Bible and King James Version of the Bible are based on different manuscripts. This is the most significant difference between these two translations. AVS uses more widely accepted and used manuscripts due to better understanding and knowledge. 

Hence, ASV’s uses are closer to most modern translations, which is a plus point for many readers. 

The 2015 edition of ASV uses the Masoretic Text for the Old Testament. The Name of God in this version is “Jehovah” instead of “Lord” as it is in the King James Version of the Bible. This change has made ASV the favorite version of the Bible for Jehovah’s witnesses. 

Other ASV changes include the use of which and when instead of who and that. It also uses the word “Holy Spirit” instead of “Holy Ghost.”

ASV vs KJV Comparison Chart

Reference ScriptureKing James VersionAmerican Standard Version
Matthew 5:17“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law…”“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law…”
Acts 3:19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord;
Acts 10:6He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side.
Romans 11:26and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written,
There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer;
He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
2 Corinthians 8:10And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.And herein I give my judgment: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to make a beginning a year ago, not only to do, but also to will.
Comparison Table of Verses from ASV and KJV

Revisions of the ASV Bible 

The American Standard Version Bible has been revised several times, and here are all the versions of the ASV Bible.

  1. the Revised Standard Version, 1952
  2. the Amplified Bible, 1965
  3. the New American Standard Bible, 1971
  4. the Recovery Version, 1999
  5. the World English Bible, 2000
  6. the New Heart English Bible, Jehovah Edition, 2010.
  7. the Bibliotheca group American Literary Version, 2016.
  8. the Refreshed American Standard Version, 2021.
  9. The Living Bible, 1971 (Kenneth N. Taylor’s Bible paraphrase)

The Original American Standard Version Bible published in 1901, is not printed anymore. However, it is available online on websites like Kindle for just one dollar. The most popular and commonly used version of the American Standard Version Bible is The New American Standard Bible. 

The American Standard Version Bible has passed into the public domain because of its expired copyright. 

Pros of the ASV Bible

Here are some advantages of reading the American Standard Version Bible;

  • It uses the formal equivalent method of translation
  • It is arguably the best literal translation of the Bible
  • It is very useful for people who want to understand the original languages
  • You can understand original languages without separately learning them
  • The newer 2015 version is a favorite version of Jehovah’s witnesses

Cons of ASV Bible

Here are some drawbacks of the American Standard Version Bible;

  • The English used in this translation is not idiomatic.
  • Several passages are not gender inclusive.
  • Many readers have trouble understanding the word-to-word translation.
  • It is not the best translation to feel a good connection with Bible.
  • The translation lacks fluency.
  • Each verse is presented separately, which can cause a problem for the reader.
  • The ASV presents the Bible as poetry, and the reader has to read one line at a time.
Is the ASV Bible called by any other names?

The American Standard Version Bible is sometimes also known as the Standard American Edition of the Bible.

Summary

American Standard Version of the Bible was published in 1901. It has many newer and updated versions available in the market. This version is one of the best available if you want to understand the Bible and understand the original intent.

However, it also has several flaws which make it less attractive to a standard bible reader. The language is less fluent, and readers find the word-to-word translation less attractive. It is still the favorite version of Jehovah’s witnesses. We hope you have learned enough about the ASV Bible, some of the pros and cons of the ASV Bible and come away satisfied learning about it!

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