Hello Pastor G,
Which of these versions do you believe is right or is closer to being right concerning the following verses?
(1) NASB-1995 Genesis 1:5 says "...one day" instead of "the first day" (ESV, KJV).
(2) ESV-2007 II Thessalonians 2:13 "...because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved..."
while NASB-1995 says
"...because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation..."
(3) I want to move from the KJV to an easier to understand version. I am considering the NASB-1995 and the ESV-2007, but I don't know which one to choose.
Do you know of any other key Bible verses that I should compare between these two versions in order to help me decide which version to buy?
Nathan, the issue of Bible translation is always difficult. It is not enough to simply to render things "word for word" because things are said differently in one language than another. Consider the Spanish phrase "tengo sed." Literally this would be translated as "I have thirst," but that is not the way it is said in English, and an English reader who read "I have thirst" may read some significance into that "strange" way of saying it if he was unaware that this is simply the common way to say it in Spanish.
That being said,
1) The Hebrew of Genesis 1 is peculiar in a number of ways, and this passage is no exception. Hebrew has both cardinal (one, two, three . . .) and ordinal (first, second, third . . .) numbers. It is curious that while all the other days in Hebrew are ordinal (a second day, a third day), the first day is a cardinal number. Thus, "one day" would reflect the peculiarity of the Hebrew.
2) The translation question here centers around the Greek word "aparche". That word is everywhere else translated as "firstfruit" without much deviation. The word actually means " the first portion of something which has been set aside and offered to God before the rest of the substance or objects can be used - 'first portion, first offering" (Louw & Nida). While this is what the word means, the Thessalonians do not fit the description (they were not the first to be saved). Other translations have broken down the word ("apo" and "arche" which means "beginning") and rendered it that way because it seems to make more sense. But if you go simply by the lexical definition of the word, "first fruits" would be a more likely translation. If this is indeed the way it is to be read, then the question would need to be answered, "In what way are the Thessalonians the firstfruits? It this figurative language, were they they first in a region? Whey are they called 'first'?"
3) Of the two translation you've mentioned, I'm partial to the NASB. The ESV has a strong post-millennial bias, sometimes shamelessly in the face of an obvious translation. Of the choices available today, I think the NASB is probably your best bet, but if you do not know the original languages, I would do your study with several translations present, for often a misunderstanding (by the reader, not so much the translators - Bible translation is hard to do)can be detected and correct by having a variety of translations at hand.