Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 23, 2008
Have you noticed how the English Standard Version of the Bible [ESV] is being pushed and promoted? If you haven’t noticed, just watch:
Wow…I don’t know very much at all about her, but I see that Joni’s pretty excited about the ESV. She touts the “reliability” of the version AND also all the “Bible scholars and teachers” who’ve done such a great job…no wait, she said, “outstanding job“. Then she says if YOU want to understand God’s Word in a more deeper, profound, and principled way…THIS is THE BIBLE that will be your resource…what? We couldn’t know God’s Word in a deep, profound, and principled way BEFORE the ESV??? So Joni…is the ESV the ONLY VERSION you’ll hold to? Is she saying the ESV IS the WORD of GOD for the English-speaking people?
And then there’s John Piper. He says the ESV combines a kind of balance between accuracy, faithfulness, readibility, and dignity in an unusually good proportion. To John – “It’s a dream come true!” What were you believing, reading, and studying from before, John? Something that was insufficient…not as good…is that what John’s admitting?
I’M SORRY, BUT I’M NOT BUYING INTO THE HYPE!
It was the Evangelicals that tried to have us buy into the hype of the NASB and the NIV, oh but now, this ESV is “a dream come true”! How inconsistent!
This English Standard Version of the Bible is being proclaimed as the “best word-for-word translation” and the “best KJV substitute for reading from the pulpit.”¹ Isn’t THAT interesting…
The ESV popularity is being built upon comparing it with the Authorized Version, or KJV! Here’s more testimony to this: “The ESV could substitute almost transparently for the KJV when reading to the public, while the ESV also has the benefit of omitting KJV words, phrases, and even entire verses that clearly were not part of the original texts, as best represented in the United Bible Society’s (UBS) Hebrew and Greek texts.”²
I’ve got a real problem with this…why, you ask? Well, the ESV can’t take the place of the KJV since they haven’t even been translated from the same texts! That’s pretty simple. I believe the translators of the ESV when they say that their version is a “word-for-word translation” – they used the formal equivalence approach of translation just like the translators of the Authorized Version (KJV). BUT, they translated their New Testament from the codex Siniaticus [Aleph] and the codex Vaticanus [B]. The New Testament of the Authorized Version was translated from the Textus Receptus [TR].
Now you may or may not know much about the Greek texts, but just by this knowledge we know that the ESV, that’s supposed to be the best KJV substitute, was not even translated from the same text as the KJV! In fact, the ESV has been translated from the same sources as the NIV, NASB, and all the translations from the Westcott-Hort texts. The BIG difference between the ESV and these other Westcott-Hort texts – formal equivalence. Most of the others, and especially the newer versions, were translated through the dynamic equivalence method.
Don’t buy into the hype! The ESV is NOT a substitute for the KJV…it’s not a “newer version” of the KJV…it’s not even translated from the same text as the KJV! The popularity of the ESV is being proclaimed by comparing it with the KJV since the KJV is also a literal “word-for-word” translation. Remember, the texts from which they’ve come are totally different…
PASS ON THE HYPE AND STICK WITH THE TRUTH!