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.