You may also be interested in my more recent post: “NASB vs. ESV vs. HCSB.”

A friend asked me why I like the NASB over the ESV. Here are a list of comparisons I have made between the two translations. Some are fact based, and some are preference based:

NASB (New American Standard Bible)

Lockman Foundation

Formal Equivalent

12th Grade + Reading Level

Original 1977 version kept Thees and Thous in passages where God is directly addressed.

Pew Bibles run $5 each.


Factory binding is notoriously cheap.

Packaging is not as marketable as ESV or HCSB.

Word choice and grammar may be difficult for some to adapt to.


Font is unmatched.

Personal pronouns for God capitalized.

Words added to complete the meaning that do not appear in original text are italicized.

OT citations in the NT are rendered in small caps for easier reference.

Cross references in their reference Bible are amazing (even better than the ESV Study Bible).

Multiple options for font sizes.

Preferred Bible for personal study of most educated pastors and seminary professors.


ESV (English Standard Version)


Formal Equivalent

9th Grade Reading Level

Pew Bibles run $5 each.


Font is typically too small.

Personal pronouns for God not capitalized.

Fewer helps for determining what is translation and what is interpretation.

OT grammar is choppy, with lots of run-on sentences (NASB adds breaks so-as not to overextend the reader).

OT does not lend itself well to group reading.


Factory binding unmatched.

Packaging lends itself very well to marketing.

Preferred preaching text of many popular pastors.

Accessible for Christians of various generations.

Study Bible notes are unmatched.

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