Wednesday, April 19, 2006

ESV - the new standard in Bible translations

In the past few months I have been in the process of switching Bible translations. For some people, its no big deal to use a different translation every day if they feel like it. Personally, I have always wanted to have one version that is basically he one that I use.

For a long time I used the New Revised Standard Version. The NRSV is an update of the Revised Standard Version. It is widely used in seminaries, and is found in the pews of many mainline churches. It is known for being accurate to the Greek and Hebrew, but for having been translated with a liberal bias. It is notorious for its use of inclusive language.

I liked it because it is found in the pews in many United Methodist Churches, and because it is in the middle, between the readibility of the New International Version (NIV), which is translated at a 7th grade reading level, and the accuracy of New American Standard Version (NASB), which is at a 11th grade reading level.

In 2001 a great new translation of the Bible came out, the English Standard Version (ESV). It is the conservative cousin to the NRSV. It is also an update of the Revised Standard Version, but it has an orthodox bias, and does not use inclusive language. Its readibility is supposedly at the grade level of 7.8, which makes it very readable.

I have decided to make it "my Bible." If you are looking for a new Bible, I would recommend this version. Its reliable, readable, and very close to the actual Greek and Hebrew.

Dr. Jeff VanGoethem, pastor of East White Oak Bible Church, tells how he has recently made the switch to the ESV after preaching from the NKJV for 20+ years. Read his reasons for doing so by clicking here.

5 comments:

Steve said...

Smart man. :) I use the ESV too. I really like it.

Tom Ramseyer said...

We've talked about translations before, and I am interested to read some of this new one. Have you been reading from in in church? Being very liberal, I am not sure what to think about your comment that it is "the conservative cousin" of the NRSV. I generally tend to read (interpret) passages quite liberally anyway, so I don't think it would have much of a problem with the lack of inclusivity. (By the way, your last commentor didn't sound too 'inclusive' for all of his concern with the language factor). As we know, all translation is really interpretation, so I guess we have to find what "speaks" to us. I, personally, like the old KJV, mostly because of its poetry! I looked at Dr. VanGoethem's site, and he began with a quote that praised the accuracy of the ESV. Good idea -- unfortunately, the quote was from the forward of the ESV! Kind of loses its objectivity, doesn't it? Hope you're having a good time.
Shalom to you an yours!

John Flores said...

I use the KJV, NJKV, and the ESV.

If Bishop Spraque could remain Bishop and retire with his pension and deny some of the basic premises of Christianity, I think I can have a conservative Bible translation with masculine pronouns.

I have a TNIV. I got it for a dollar, I was told it was doing poorly in sales. It's right next to my Cotton Patch Gospel.

Shane Raynor said...

John,
The TNIV is a solid Bible translation. I'm not sure what point you were trying to make with the Cotton patch remark, but if that's the category you put it in, it's obvious you don't know much about Bible translations. The TNIV was produced by a who's who of really respected Bible scholars. The ESV is a good translation too (I own one), and it actually uses some inclusive language, but let's not kid ourselves and say that it's the most current English. It's definitely an improvement over the NKJV, KJV and NASB for readability, however.

Conrad said...

I guess I am guilty of assuming that people are better readers than they really are.

I would assume that a translation that read at a 7th to 8th grade level would be geared toward UMYF and that for Adult classes one would use a translation geared to the 11th and above grade levels.

Are there really that many people that do not read above an 11th grade level? And if they cannot read above the 11th grade level how did they graduate from High School?