I like the American Standard Version of 1901, I want it to be my main Bible, but I won't read it. Why? Because even those who call the ASV as "The Rock of Biblical Honesty" and "The Greek Student's Crib Sheet," but many call it is "Strong in Greek, Weak in English." The main weakness is that the ASV Translators insisted on using 17th Century English, and uses 800-1000 words we do not use today. I think it is ridiculous to have to use an English dictionary while reading an English Bible, when it should be easy to understand as the Bible is written to all. The English of the ASV was wooden and stilted. As a result, it wasn't American or Standard and today only one company publishes the ASV in book form.

This is where the World English Bible (also known as the WEB Bible) comes to the rescue. The WEB is a revision of the ASV. It gets rid of archaic words and phrases, provide quotation marks (they were not in the ASV), and resolves textual issues that have appeared after 1901. It is easier to read than the ASV, yet the WEB stays close to the "Rock of Biblical Honesty"

One has to wonder why we have the WEB, when we have a New American Standard Bible updating the ASV. The Web sticks closer to the ASV text and the NASB says in its preface that it was following only the "spirit and intent" of the ASV.

While the ASV used Westcott/Hort's Greek New Testament text, the Web uses the Greek Majority Text. For example take John 11:38 "Jesus wept." If 25 manuscripts contain "Jesus was upset," 30 said "Jesus was filled with compassion," and 50 said "Jesus wept," because the majority say "Jesus wept," that will be in the WEB.

The WEB is the first major translation to use the Majority Text. As most of the 5700 manuscripts are the type that was used in the King James/New King James, which sometimes uses renderings not found in the Greek manuscripts, especially in Revelation, where the Latin Vulgate Bible was copied and translated into Greek and used in the KJV and the NKJV did not correct it. As a result, there are parts of Revelation in the KJV/NKJV not supported by a single Greek manuscript. The KJV NT was based on 25 manuscripts, as did the NKJV.

The WEB fixed that problem as it uses the majority of the manuscripts, and also removes verses or phrases that are not in the majority of the manuscripts, including Revelation. It corrects the manuscript errors in the KJV while not letting in the Gnostic influence in manuscripts from Egypt that are used in more modern translations. You will find more additions than subtractions. The WEB reads like a smooth ASV in the New Testament. The manuscript differences between the Greek text that the KJV was based on, the majority Greek text, and the modern Greek text are in agreement 98 percent of the time; the other 2 percent does not affect doctrine.

Another great thing about the WEB: The makers of this Bible wanted to fill a void, to create a modern translation with no copyright, a Bible that can be freely shared, or the whole Bible printed out and given to a friend without a royalty. The only limitation is if someone change the words in the WEB to create a new translation. According to WEB's rules, that person should rename his Bible translation.

One issue, a minor one, the majority of Greek manuscripts show the content of Romans 16:25-27 actually belongs in 14:24-26. Only WEB has a 14:24-26. But the Romans 16:25-27 and 14:24-26 text are identical.

I think that it is time for the WEB to pick up the mantle of the ASV. I've been running a WEB/ASV parallel Bible and the WEB cleverly updates the ASV, without sacrificing accuracy.

David Bryant

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