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Why Kevin DeYoung’s Church Switched to the ESV

This July we published a booklet by Kevin DeYoung entitled Why Our Church Switched to the ESV. In it, DeYoung writes to his congregation outlining the reasons why they were changing their primary translation in the pulpit and in the pews. DeYoung has provided a brief overview of the ESV’s benefits for church use that you may find helpful.

We’re now giving away the e-book edition of this book for free. Simply add the e-book to your cart and check out to receive the full discount. Or, if you prefer, you can directly download the pdf, Kindle (mobi), or e-pub files.

Pastors considering using the ESV in their churches can also request a free church kit that contains several samples of the ESV and information on available discounts.

September 6, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Andrew Tebbe @ 4:00 pm | (10) Comments »


  1. ESV for life, son!

    Comment by Maim — September 6, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

  2. I don’t appreciate how the ESV translates “arsenokoitai” to mean “male homosexual” in 1 Cor. 6:9. They should at least have included a footnote discussing how debatable the meaning of the greek word there is. Martin Luther and John Calvin both interpreted “arsenokoitai” in both Timothy and 1 Corinthians as “masturbators.” One thousand years earlier, n the writings of St. John the Faster of Constantinople, he says that arsenokoitai is something that some men do to their wives. So obviously he didn’t think it was to be understood to mean “homosexual.”

    Only some of the recent translations, mainly translated by social conservatives, say those words mean “homosexual.” In history the word there has variously been translated as “male prostitutes” (who sleep with men or women), male rapists, masturbators (as Martin Luther believed), and “abusers of themselves with mankind,” which itself could really mean anything. The King James, Bishops Bible, Reims-Douai Bible, and Tyndale Bible translators translated arsenokoitai as “abusers of themselves with mankind.” The modern New American Bible (NAB), interprets “arsenokoitai” as a ” boy prostitute.” The Jerusalem Bible translates the triad in 1 Timothy as: “those who are immoral with women or with boys or with men.”

    Modern socially conservative Christians have re-translated the word to “homosexuals” so that they can say the New Testament clearly calls “homosexuality” a sin. Unfortunately, they have produced quite a few of the modern translations. They should at least be intellectually honest enough to include the historical debate surrounding the word in a footnote.

    Comment by Jason — September 7, 2011 @ 8:50 am

  3. I don’t get why you offer a Bible with Apocrypha but don’t offer your translation of the apocrypha by itself. With both the KJV and NRSV you can buy the apocrypha separate. Furthermore, I don’t get the choice to put the apocrypha after the New Testament instead of between the testaments where it belongs chronologically. What are you guys smoking? Please cease smoking it; as it is undoubtedly illegal. And by all means, if you do start offering the apocrypha by itself, consider a cheap paperback.

    Comment by rey — September 9, 2011 @ 5:27 am

  4. Rey – We actually don’t publish the Apocrypha. You can check out Oxford’s ESV version and recommend the paperback edition to them.

    Comment by Angie Cheatham — September 9, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

  5. I appreciated the little book. It echoes most of my own sentiments. Thank you very much for making it available, for free especially.

    By the way, regarding the Apocrypha, it does make sense to be between the Testaments, but that is not right or wrong, just an opinion. Also, Concordia Publishing House will be making available an ESV Apocrypha without the Old and New Testaments, in a Lutheran Study edition, with notes. Probably hardcover, though.

    Comment by Robert Franck — September 20, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  6. Dear Jason;

    Assuming that you are asking an honest question and not floating an agenda, I’ll attempt to answer you.
    First, the rendering of arsenokoitai as “Homosexual” is quite correct, it is a compound of the word arsain meaning ‘man or male” with the word koite or intercourse (where we get the latin word ‘coitus’ from). So the English translations in that regard are accurate as indicating a male who has intercourse with another male. Further the preceeding adjective malakoi, is the term commonly used for the submissive homosexual who plays the role of a female. These words were in use during the Greek/Roman period and their rendering is accurate. If you wish to read further on this I would recommend the Excursus Dr. Gregory Lockwood writes on this text in his commentary on 1st Corinthians. (Concordia Publishing House, 2000)

    Second, even if you are fluent in contemporary German the Luther Bible must be read with discernment. You cannot expect Luther to render arsenokoitai as ‘homosexual,’ because that word was not in common use in the 16th century. It must be understood that Luther was given to substituting some words from the Greek with equivalents that suited his own theological purposes. For instance he commonly rendered “matheitai”(disciple) as ‘Jungen’ in order to teach that we as disciples are ever students never the master. He was taken to task for inserting the word “alone” into Romans 3:28 to make the point that faith alone justifies, not works.

    Third, as to Luther rendering arsenokoitai as ‘masterbators.’ I would very much like to see the reference to that. I believe the word he uses in the 1545 edition Luther Bible is ‘Knabenschänder’ which would be more accurately translated as “molestors of young boys.” It could very well be that particular word or activity was (as it often is today) associated with homosexuality. Further, he uses the word ‘Weichlinge’ meaning ‘effeminate’ men to translate malakoi.

    Fourth, and finally if there is any question as to Luther’s understanding on sex between men we should look to the larger context of his translation, in particular Romans 1:17: “desgleichen auch die Männer haben verlassen den natürlichen Brauch des Weibes und sind aneinander erhitzt in ihren Lüsten und haben Mann mit Mann Schande getrieben und den Lohn ihres Irrtums (wie es denn sein sollte) an sich selbst empfangen.” Roughly translated “in the same way also the men have leave the natural custom of the woman and are together heated up in their desires to have man with man dishonor, and the wages of their mistake (as it should be) is received.
    Modern conservatives have not inserted some sort of anti-gay bias into their translations, rather they’ve rendered the Greek accuately, and it is up to us, like it or not to decide if we will accept God’s word for what it is, or if we will turn a blind eye to that which is contrary to our preconceptions.
    Peace to you.

    Comment by Rev. Allen Bergstrazer — October 6, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  7. ^correction; that should be “Romans 1:27″

    Comment by Rev. Allen Bergstrazer — October 6, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

  8. The Greek word “koite” means “bed,” not “coitus” or “intercourse.” Granted, it is often used as a euphemism, similar to the use of “lie with” as a euphemism for copulation, but it is used far more often to denote a real bed. (Same for the Hebrew word “mishkâb,” which means “bed” or “couch” but is sometimes – 6 times in the Hebrew OT – euphemistically used to mean sexual intercourse.)

    A literal translation of Lev. 18:22 would be something like this: “You shall not have intercourse with another man on the bed of a woman. It is disgusting.” (Similar literal translation for Lev. 20:13.)

    Paul apparently used the LXX translation of the two Leviticus references and put together the two words “arseno” (man) and “koitai” (bed) to coin a new word, “arsenokoitai.” In the LXX translation of Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, it is “arseno koitai” (two words – “man bed.”) In 1 Tim 1:10 and 1 Cor 6:9, it is “arsenokoitai” (a compound word, literally, “manbed.”) The compound word is used only twice in the Bible, and is found in only 73 times in extra-Biblical texts, all postdating Paul’s writings. In all 73 extra-Biblical uses, it describes some exploitative and/or abusive relationship, such as buying and selling male temple prostitutes (44 times) or rape (three times.)

    Therefor, it is extremely unlikely that Paul intended to include all male-male erotic activity in the definition of the word he coined, and pretty much impossible that he intended to include female-female erotic activity. So “homosexual,” as the late-19th-century English word is used now, is an incorrect translation of “arsenokoitai.”

    To determine what Paul meant to include in his definition, all we have to do is to use proper exegesis to determine what Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 prohibit. The context was a list of forbidden pagan religious practices. (i. e., don’t sacrifice your kids to Molech, etc.) Any further exegesis would be too lengthy for this already-long response to the post.

    Comment by Marv — October 6, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  9. One other note: the word “homosexuelle” was not used in German until the late 19th century, not the 16th as you said in your reply to Jason. “Homosexual” first appeared in an English dictionary in 1890, about 20 or 30 years after its first use in German.

    This further strengthens your assertion, “You cannot expect Luther to render arsenokoitai as ‘homosexual[.]’”

    Comment by Marv — October 6, 2012 @ 2:05 pm

  10. Iron Dome anti-missile missile costs $50,000. Obviously the Iron Dome is a prototype and highly expensive. Using a missile to shoot another missile out of the sky

    Comment by moncler store — December 6, 2012 @ 1:36 am

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