In the article, Jim Coggins interviews J. I. Packer for CanadianChristianity.com. An excerpt:
Packer said all of those involved [in translating the ESV] were also “evangelicals, Bible believers…. A Bible translator needs to be a believing Christian and draw on the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a spiritual side to Bible translation.” Most were from the U.S.; some were from Britain and elsewhere.
Packer said the leading of the Holy Spirit was evident in the way “the good Lord brought us to a real consensus” on almost every point.
Packer said the intent was to produce a “general purpose” Bible, suitable for preaching and exposition, reading in churches, memorization, lay Bible study, and personal Bible reading by people of all ages. A deliberate attempt was made to use simple words when possible, and to make the text “dance along,” or read easily.
Packer said the producers were very careful to not make extravagant claims or get into a competition with other translations. The ESV was not launched with the “trumpets and drums” of some other translations launched about the same time, he said.
Rather, the ESV was released quietly and soberly and allowed to “find its own level.” ESV’s natural audience is “serious evangelicals who want a translation they can trust to be transparent to the original.”
Packer said this appears to be what is behind the growing sales. Pastors are examining the translation, finding they can trust it and then recommending it to their congregations—and in some cases “retooling” their churches by using ESV as a pew Bible.