Adrian Warnock, a blogger whom we linked to earlier, in three posts finds and links to much of the online conversation going on right now about the ESV. We’ll be linking soon to some of the pages he mentions, but if you don’t want to wait for us, head over to Adrian’s blog for details.
Archive for April, 2005
Adrian Warnock, a preacher/blogger from the UK, writes about the ESV:
It is my primary translation and the one I read from almost every time I preach….
The ESV is as close to being word for word as it is reasonable to be without compromising on both readability and the accurate conveying of the sense of the words. As a preacher I feel that other translations often tend to do a little bit of my work for me, which can be fine and certainly I love referring to them, but if I want to get as close as possible to the original word of God I reach for the ESV every time.
Using the ESV I quickly realised that on almost every occasion where a commentator said “what the original really means here is….” the ESV had got there already. It is almost enough to stop a man reading commentaries!
The whole post has more praise for the ESV.
Update: fixed Adrian’s job description.
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.”
Pastor Tim Theule is having an open discussion about whether to buy pew Bibles for his church to give away.
I prefer an English translation that is as close to the original Greek as possible. I prefer a “word for word” translation. Why? Do the individual words matter that much?
Jesus said. . . Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. –Matthew 5:17-18
The smallest letter and punctuation mark mattered to Jesus, not just the concepts. They should matter to us, too.
The Apostle Paul said . . . All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; –2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture, not just the concepts or ideas of Scripture. I believe that inspiration (and inerrancy) extends to the very words of Scripture.
Whenever we translate from one language to another, there is interpretation that happens, but I believe that interpretation is minimized with a “word for word” translation. I desire as accurate an English version as I can get my hands on, even if it’s more wooden and less readable.
The commenters raise a lot of good points; don’t miss them.
Tim, we want to help you make the best decision for your church. Most of all, we welcome the dialogue you’re having. To respond to some of the points you raise:
Some of your commenters have hit the nail on the head about why we like the ESV–that it is “word for word” accurate but retains the literary character of the King James. It’s not as tough to understand as a strictly literal translation might be. Obviously, we think it strikes a good balance between accuracy and readability, but we recognize that people prefer other translations–and in fact we think that’s great.
As to the cost issue, one of the commenters mentioned that we sell the ESV pew edition for $6.90 each if you buy them in packs of 24, which you might do if you’re planning to give them away.
Finally, the ESV’s sales are growing strongly–they were up 114% over the last year.
We think that the ESV makes an excellent choice for a pew Bible to give away or for use in pew racks. We have a section of this website dedicated to churches. Check it out!
Update June 13, 2005: Grace Church has decided to go with a different translation for their pew Bibles but will use the ESV in some places:
As a way of exploring the ESV together as a congregation, we will begin using the ESV on certain occasions, in certain places in the worship service (for example in the call to worship, where the Scripture is printed and/or projected).
We hope that Tim will keep us updated about how the system they’ve adopted works for them.
Everyone has a blog these days, whether you’re a politician, a journalist, a techie, or just someone who loves your cat.
So we thought, “Why not one for the ESV Bible?” We, the staff of the Standard Bible Society, will use this blog to discuss:
- The latest news about the ESV.
- Upcoming editions of the ESV (including everyone’s favorite FAQ, the Study Bible. For the record, Crossway plans to come out with an ESV Study Bible in fall 2008).
- Additions or changes to this website and our online offerings.
- Answers to common questions about the ESV.
- Why we translated certain verses the way we did.
- Links to other websites that talk about the ESV and Bible translation.