Listen to why John Piper uses the ESV Bible.
I’m using–when I’m not reading the Greek and Hebrew, which I try to do in preparation for messages and in my study–I’m reading the English Standard Version. It’s a newer version–about five years old now. And I’m reading it–and will, I think, read it for the rest of my life–for several reasons:
One, it’s in a direct lineage with the King James and the Revised Version of 1900 and the Revised Standard Version of 1952, and so you can hear the echoes of the cadences and familiarity of the language that goes back to the King James. And yet, it’s a modern version that doesn’t suffer from some of the deficiencies of the King James. And so it’s that connection with that history that makes me at home with it–because I grew up on the King James, and then I spent thirty years, roughly, with the Revised Standard Version, memorizing it, and I don’t want to abandon all that memory. And the ESV is a lightly edited Revised Standard Version with the theological problems fixed. So that’s one reason.
Here’s another reason. I am so thankful for the ESV because I think it strikes the best balance I know of between excessively literal and paraphrase. I think the most familiar NIV tends to be more paraphrasing than I can preach from and want people to be memorizing. But the New American Standard Bible, which I preached from for years, is more literal than most people will use because of its more difficult phraseology for children memorizing.
So if you want a Bible that children and teenagers and adults can get together on and memorize, that has the dignity and nobility of the more historic stream and has contemporary language where that’s appropriate and necessary, I find the ESV, English Standard Version, as the best balance right now for me personally and for our church as a whole. So we’re building our memory program around it, as well as my preaching, as well as our study and meditation.
Learn more about why John Piper’s church uses the ESV at “Good English with Minimal Interpretation: Why Bethlehem Uses the ESV.”