The American Standard Version Bible (ASV)

The American Standard Version Bible

I recently purchased an American Standard Version Bible. I was first introduced to this VERY literal translation back in seminary by my Old Testament seminary professor, Boo Heflin. I loved the way it sounded. He loved the way it was so accurate when compared to the original Hebrew. Published in 1901, the overwhelming majority of reputable Bible scholars agree that it is the most literal, word-for-word translation available in the English language.

Here are some examples of some familiar verses of Scripture in the ASV:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. – Genesis 1.1-2

Jehovah is my shepherd.; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. – Psalm 23.1-2

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3.16

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth. – 1 Corinthians 13.4-8a

…for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.– Ephesians 2.8-10

One fascinating feature of the ASV is how it translates the Tetragrammaton as “Jehovah” as opposed to the all caps “LORD” is in most modern translations.

A fascinating fact about the ASV is that both the RSV (Revised Standard Version) and the NASB (New American Standard Bible) are revisions of the ASV. Since the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version) and ESV (English Standard Version) are both revisions of the RSV, that means the ASV, second of course to the King James Version, is perhaps the most influential literal translation produced in the English language. That is remarkable considering you have to search high and low to find a copy to purchase.

If you are interested in getting a copy for yourself. Don’t bother searching. I’ve already done the research. Star Bible Publishing, based in Texas, has new copies of the ASV available for purchase through their website. I own the genuine leather edition, but if you are interested in only using it occasionally, you may want to save the money and get a hardback edition, which is quite affordable.

Star Bible’s ASV has double-column text that is large enough for the eyes, with only moderate shadowing.
In addition to a concordance, Star Bible’s ASV features a concise Bible dictionary with illustrations.
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22 thoughts on “The American Standard Version Bible (ASV)”

  1. I ran across that website on my quest for hard-to-find Bibles, and didn’t really know what an ASV was. I like how it uses the word ‘love’ in 1 Corinthians 13, as the KJV uses the word ‘charity’. In my finite mind, the word ‘charity’ in today’s English almost points toward ‘hand out’ or ‘needy’. Although I mainly use NKJV and KJV (and in the past have read out of NASB), I’ve really never gotten used to KJV using the word ‘charity’ for some reason. I’ll have to pick up a New Testament ASV and read through it… pretty good stuff, Brett. Thanks!

  2. That’s funny, John, because I share your same concern with the word ‘charity.’ But I’m not sure ‘love’ is much better when you think about it because of the way the word love is overused and misused (used for passion, lust, infatuation, feelings) in our society. It’s almost like we need a new word for love. Until then, I think love is the best word for a translation, knowing that when we use the word, we are using it in the traditional Christian sense: patient, kind, etc.

    1. Yes. Your right about the word ‘love’ as being misused or overused in today’s society… Greek was/is such a specific language, and when they used ‘agape’… they knew exactly what type of ‘love’ that was, for example…. but since I don’t speak fluent Greek… I have to depend on the English translations!!!

  3. The ASV is a remarkable English version of the
    scriptures! It is legendary for its “literal accuracy,”
    it is still used as a point of reference for many of
    the exegetical commentaries of today. It is so true
    in form to the Greek and Hebrew texts, that it
    sometimes replicates the word order of the original.

    It continues to be a great study Bible for the person
    who can navigate through the archaic language.
    I have the Star Teacher’s edition and I love it.
    I use it for study and preaching. I have become accustomed to updating the language as I read from
    it. It makes a good comparison text when used along
    side the NIV 2011 and the RSV/ESV.

    I began using the ASV in 1976 (?) I have always
    been amazed by how close it is to the Hebrew and
    Greek. It is often a “word for word” rendering. The translators really tried to give English speakers as
    much as possible from the ancient texts. Total
    “word for word” transfer was not possible, but their
    efforts are astonishing.

      1. I wish I had another link; I do not. Sorry. Thanks for making me aware of the situation. If someone reads this and does know a better link, please share.

  4. Is there anywhere we can get a quality leather-bound, sewn full ASV Bible today? All I’ve found are just New Testaments. Thanks.

  5. I know where 2 brand new leather bound ASV Teacher’s
    Edition Bibles are located. Both are new in the box. They
    are the Star edition of the Teacher’s ASV and the very last
    remaining ones.

      1. Alexander, according to their website, I do not see the genuine leather edition available anymore. However, there is a calfskin edition available for $99.99.

  6. My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different website and thought I may as well check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking into your web page yet again.

  7. I went onto Ebay and purchased a nice ASV. When I got it, of course the leather cover was pretty worn but I picked it up for about $35. When it arrived, to my amazement I found that this was not only the 1901 version, of course, but that my particular bible was one of the first ever printed and was actually printed in 1901 and not some years later. What I did was go to a book binder and simply pay to have a beautiful burgandy leather cover placed on it. The pages are emaculate and I now have an excellent 1901 ASV. The paper is all original,,,,can even see bits of small wood grain in it back in the way old paper was made. I love this Bible and have read ut side by side with my 1973 NASB and other versions, On ebay there is also a new printer for this Bible and it can be purchased in learther brand new for a very decent price, I really encourage all SERIOUS Bible students, scholars and ministers to get this Bible and even use it. I do. I have been in active ministry over 35 years and love this bible. EVANGELIST & PASTOR MISCHA S. SAFDIE’

  8. I remember the name Boo Heflin from my days at SWBTS and Star publishing. It is interesting that the “Bibliotheca” project (check kickstarter.com) is using it as the basis for their translation (without the archaic words and some slight syntax changes). It got me thinking of the ASV again… I had one myself from Star in Seminary.

    Thanks for the reminder Pastor Brett. God bless your service in Christ’s Name.

  9. Hopefully this info i found on the asv bible helps anyone….after looking online for quite a while, i found that you can purchase a paperback, or hardcover copy of the 1901 edition from allbibles.com 10810 north harrison street shawnee, ok 74804 1800-970-2425…..i was unable to find any info about star publishing, it seems they went out of business in 2013….but i could be wrong about that….i also found people on amazon selling their copies…the original printings….so feel free to check it out….hope this small bit helps! God bless!

  10. Have you seen the World English Bible (WEB),an updating of the ASV?
    If so, what do think of it?

    Are you aware of any other revisions or updating so of the ASV?

    Instead of giving all that money to the RSV copyright holders, the ESV
    lot would have been better advised to secure Lockman’s co-operation
    In revising the NASB, or -perhaps even better- themselves to update the ASV!

    I simply do not understand the politics of the world of Bible publishing!

    Every Blessing!

  11. The ASV can be purchased in a very fine edition (with full cross references and full lists of final differences from the (English) Revised Version) by Prolific Industries LLP, through Amazon.com. The current price is $55 without shipping, and they will ship to the UK and other countries! I strongly advise serious Bible students to buy this wonderful production!
    I wish to purchase the Star Bible’s Teacher’s Edition and perhaps also one or two of their separate New Testaments; but they have twice confirmed twice that they do not ship to the UK! Is there any way I can overcome this problem?
    Lockman Foundation is revising the NASB, which it hopes to publish in the coming year. If done well, this could prove to be the most accurate Bible in modern English! An exciting prospect! And if the do a single column edition with side references, heaven!!
    A blessed Christmas to one and all!

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