The Lockman Foundation History

On December 3, 1942, Dewey & Minna Lockman donated 75% of their large citrus ranch, located in La Habra, California, to form The Lockman Foundation, a non-profit corporation with the established purpose of promoting Christian evangelism, education, and benevolence.

The first project of The Lockman Foundation was the development of a Bible study program for the servicemen stationed at the nearby El Toro Marine base during World War II. The reach of this program was extended beyond the base, and over the course of 35 months the Foundation provided free soft drinks, tracts, and Bibles reaching over half a million military men with the gospel and offering encouragement from God’s Word.

Expanding upon their successful adult outreach, Lockman created a summer Bible school program aimed at children in the community. From 1944-1946, students from the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now known as Biola University) traveled throughout sections of California, holding summer Bible schools at any churches that requested them. Seeing the value of children’s ministry, The Lockman Foundation conceptualized and financed Christian Time Released Education. This ministry, which first started in Anaheim, CA and soon expanded to other nearby cities, allowed grade school children to be released from the classroom for one period each week for religious instruction and study. Eventually over 20,000 children were reached through this innovative ministry.

In 1945, The Lockman Foundation purchased Foundation Press to allow greater efficiency in the printing of tracts, gospels, and other Christian literature. Tracts such as “4 Reasons for Tithing,” “How to have a Happy Home,” and “Principles of Stewardship” were produced and widely distributed. This emphasis on Christian literature soon led to an interest in Bible translation and in 1954 work began on a translation that would use synonyms and definitions to both explain and expand the meaning of the Biblical words by placing ‘amplifications’ in parentheses and brackets. This Amplified Bible allowed the reader to more completely grasp how the words would have been understood in the original languages. The Amplified Gospel of John was printed in 1954 with the complete Amplified New Testament being printed in 1958. From these grew Amplified translations in Japanese, Spanish, Italian, and Braille.

In 1959, Lockman sensed the need for a translation of the Bible that would be clearly readable in current English but would not sacrifice any accuracy in the translation from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. With this vision in mind, a group of scholars and pastors were organized to start work on the New American Standard Bible. This literal translation, direct from the original languages and modeled on the scholarship and accuracy of the 1901 American Standard Version, also incorporated new information taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls which had recently been discovered.

This project was fast tracked when, in 1960, Dewey Lockman tithed the remainder of his family’s holdings to the Foundation. Three years later the New American Standard New Testament was published in 1963. Meanwhile, the two-volume Amplified Old Testament was finished in 1964 with the complete Amplified Bible printed the following year. Work continued on the New American Standard Bible and on August 28, 1971, the NASB was dedicated at a public service held at Dewey Lockman’s home church, First Baptist Church of Anaheim, California. The desire for a modern literal translation proved overwhelming and in 1977 the Christian Booksellers’ Association recorded the NASB as the number one selling Bible in America.

Following the success of the NASB, The Lockman Foundation continued its far-reaching work in foreign language translation and produced the Korean Standard Bible, the New Chinese Bible (Mandarin/Cantonese), the New Chinese Bible (mainland simplified script), the New Hindi Bible (India), and La Biblia de las Américas (Spanish) using the same principles of literal translation used in the NASB.

Not limited only to print, The Lockman Foundation produced a half hour radio program called The New Standard for Living. This innovative program, hosted first by Dr. Charles Swindoll and later Dr. Charles Feinberg, encouraged listeners to read through the NASB in one year by reading the Bible for 15 minutes a day. Listeners across the nation signed up to receive copies of the teaching notes which allowed them to follow along with the host.

In 1981 the New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance was published, allowing for easy in-depth study of the Bible. This monumental project, the first totally new exhaustive concordance of its kind to be published in over a century, took over 11 years to complete and contained over 400,000 entries listing every word in the NASB. This tool further established the NASB as the version of choice for theologians and scholars. Because of its accuracy, readability, and clarity, the NASB soon became trusted and used by scholars, pastors, teachers, and everyday readers for daily reading and in-depth study.

The work of The Lockman Foundation continues to this day. Since the initial printing in 1971, the New American Standard Bible has been updated several times in an effort to keep the English modern and readable. First in 1977, next in 1995, and most recently in 2020, these updates allow the NASB to remain true to its founding vision by incorporating the most recent Biblical scholarship and modernizing the English so that it continues to speak to each generation. These refinements of accuracy and grammar ensure a clear understanding of God’s Word for everyone.

For over 75 years, The Lockman Foundation has remained true to its long-trusted history by faithfully translating the original texts with accuracy and providing tools for biblical study and Christian growth. These time-tested principles will be preserved by The Lockman Foundation.