In the past year, a lot has happened, which is amazing because most of the world strived to do nothing. We were told to stay at home and many are still worried about venturing into public.
For many students it was a time for reflection and refocusing their life on the Lord. For six professors from The Master’s University and Seminary, it was a time of especially rigorous and edifying study of the Bible.
In order to create a legacy that would uphold the faithfulness of the NASB 1995, biblical scholars we are all familiar with have revised the entire translation word by word to create the Legacy Standard Bible.
TMU professors Dr. Abner Chou, Jason Beals and Dr. William Varner collaborated with Paul Twiss, Dr. Iosif J. Zhakevich and Dr. Mark Zhakevich, from The Master’s Seminary, to begin work on the Legacy Standard Bible in March of 2020. They had just one year to finish. It was a momentous task that might not have been possible had COVID-19 not shut the world down. Devoid of most distractions, the team worked tirelessly. In June and July, some of them would work 20 hour days, just to wake up the next morning and do it again.
Just one year after they began, the team of translators finished their work and are waiting as it is scrutinized by a group of over 70 trusted biblical scholars. This in itself is astounding, because Bible translations normally take years. So how, even with less distractions, was it possible? Beals explains that, “it’s based off of the New American Standard Bible 1995.”
This means that the team was not starting from scratch. They had a groundwork to build upon, but Beals also said that, “it’s not that we just went in and made some tweaks to the English.”
Each word of the Bible was cross referenced with the original languages.
“Dr. Chou especially has been through every single word of the entire Bible,” Beals added.
Making a new translation is so much work that Dr. Chou declined an offer to work on a translation previously. He was approached by a donor who asked if he would be interested in doing a translation from scratch. At the time Chou estimated that such a project would take at least six years, a commitment he was not ready to make. He and many others were satisfied with the NASB 1995 and under those circumstances, Chou said that it would be “unwise.”
Little did he know that three months later, Dr. John MacArthur would meet with him to inform him of the opportunity to revise the New American Standard Bible.
Now, the fruit of their labor is already budding. The Legacy Standard Bible New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs have been translated and verified and are now up for sale online and on campus.
The Legacy Standard Bible is a great achievement that will live up to its legacy. Chou said that he does not foresee much revision going forward, unless it is solely typographical. The goal of the project was to preserve the NASB 1995 in case it fades out in the coming years, and so altering the translation repeatedly would work against what has been made.
The goal of these translators was never to make a translation above all other translations. Beals said the intention was never “to fight over ‘my translation is better than your translation.’”
Chou will continue to teach from the original language, although Beals will most likely teach from the LSB. The goal was to make it possible for Christians to read the original context of Scripture as clearly as possible, and foster a greater love of God.
Though it has not yet been released in its full form, the Legacy Standard Bible is coming soon. If all goes well and there are no delays it will be available in the fall of 2021. Students at TMU have already been gifted copies of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs.