In the 1880s the King James Version became the basis for the English Revised Version. The American counterpart was published in 1901 as the American Standard Version. A product of both British and American scholarship, the ASV has been highly regarded for its scholarship and accuracy.
By the middle of the twentieth century, The Lockman Foundation, a non-profit Christian corporation of La Habra, California, felt an urgency to preserve these and other lasting values of the ASV by incorporating recent discoveries of Hebrew and Greek textual sources and by rendering them into more current English.
The Lockman Foundation published the Gospel of John in 1960, all four Gospels as a unit in 1962, the New Testament in 1963, and the entire Bible in 1971. Sixteen translators worked on each Testament. More than 50 scholars in various capacities devoted more than 25,000 hours of research to the New Testament alone.
The NASB represented a conservative, literal approach to translation. While this translation followed the principles used in the ASV, the NASB should be viewed as a new translation rather than merely an update of the ASV.
The Lockman Foundation completed an update of the NASB in 1995. More than 20 translators (conservative Bible scholars representing a variety of denominational backgrounds) spent nearly three years completing the project. The team carefully adhered to the principles of literal translation and made no attempt to interpret Scripture through translation. This method of translation stands in contrast to the thought-for-thought method known as dynamic equivalence. The result was a word-for-word translation that is both accurate and readable.
The 1995 update makes several important refinements with regard to the original NASB:
It no longer uses "Thee" and "Thou" in reference to Deity;
Phrases have been smoothed out;
Words that have changed meaning have been updated;
Verbs that have a wide range of meaning have been updated to better account for their use in the context;
Punctuation and paragraphing have been formatted to fit today's standards
Notes about the ancient manuscripts have been revised to include more new and interesting facts.