Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Why the ESV?

John Piper on why the ESV is used at Bethlehem Baptist:
My aim tonight is to help you be persuaded that exposing millions of people (pastors, teachers, students, laypeople) to the ESV would undo the dominance of the NIV and put in its place a more literal, and yet a beautifully readable, memorizable Bible—the English Standard Version. And this would be a good thing.

In the following examples of NIV paraphrasing compared to the more literal ESV there are four convictions at stake.

1. A more literal translation respects the original author's way of writing. It is a way of honoring the inspired writers.

2. Translators are fallible and they may mislead the English reader if they use unnecessary paraphrases to bring out one possible meaning and conceal others.

3. A more literal translation gives preachers more confidence that they can preach what the English text says with authority that it reflects what the original Greek or Hebrew text says.

4. A more literal translation which preserves ambiguities that are really there in the original keeps open the possibility of new insight by future Bible readers.

I do not claim that the ESV is without its own level of "paraphrasing." Some will always be necessary. And there will always be disagreements about how much is necessary. I am simply arguing that the ESV is the best balance available of readability and literalness. I hope that it becomes the standard for the church.
And a new ESV promo video featuring some of your favorites and mine:

ESV Trusted By Leaders from Crossway on Vimeo.


Brian said...

So is this video in response to the NIV 2011 being released?

Jared said...

Brian, I couldn't say b/c I don't know.

John Notestein said...

Have you ever tried the HCSB? Very literal but uses today's English.

rdsmith3 said...


What translations does your church use? Should I infer that you prefer the ESV?

My personal preference is the ESV, but I own, and have read, the NIV, and NASB.

Jared said...

We pretty much use the ESV now, since that is what I preach from. We just replaced all our pew Bibles with ESV also.
The other common version people bring would be the NIV, I'd think. The previous pew Bibles were NIV.

I like and use also the NASB, the NIV, and the NRSV.

Bird said...

I love the ESV. It still plays second fiddle to my NKJV, but I do use it frequently.