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NASB to ESV Translation Summary

Find out more about our recent Bible translation change.

Why Is Riverstone Church changing from the NASB to the ESV Bible Translation?

Translation Philosophy

Why is the ESV a Great Translation?

  1. The ESV is an “essentially literal” translation that seeks to capture the original text accurately. while also aiming for excellence in readability.
  2. The ESV has a rich legacy with roots in the King James Version (KJV), leaning on the literary beauty of that translation but with more updated, more precise language.
  3. The ESV had a great team of over 120 Christian evangelical scholars, pastors, and leaders who gave input for the translation.
  4. The ESV preserves theological terminology and does not “smooth over” terms such as justification, sanctification, redemption, etc.
  5. The ESV appropriately handles the gender issue. Where the original languages use a gender-specific term, the translation does so too. Where the original languages use a more inclusive or broader term, the translation strives to do so too.
  6. The ESV utilizes the best available manuscripts in order to reflect the original inspired documents as accurately as possible.
  7. The ESV preserves translational, doctrinal, and textual options. If the original text is ambiguous, the translation seeks to preserve that ambiguity and leaves legitimate options for translation.


How Does the ESV Compare to the NASB?

  1. Both ESV and NASB are very reliable, accurate translations.
  2. ESV is more readable and preserves the literary quality of the text better than the NASB. (See the chart below for where the ESV falls on the “spectrum” of translation options.)
  3. NASB has two editions (1995 and 2020), leading to some confusion. The ESV does not.
  4. Crossway (ESV’s publisher) has better resources in connection with the ESV translation than the Lockman Foundation (NASB’s publisher) has with its translation. This means more and better resources are available for the church to utilize using the ESV. The ESV is used in more resources, more ministries, and by more ministry leaders than the NASB.
  5. The pastors have agreed that the ESV is easier to preach from in the pulpit and oftentimes offers a better translation than the NASB.
  6. Before COVID and staff changes, the previous five pastors (plus worship director Benjamin Harding) agreed to change to the ESV.