Why the ESV Falters

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, May 13, 2016.

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  1. Deacon

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    Why the ESV Falters as a General Purpose Bible [LINK]
    by Dr. Byron G. Curtis
    Professor of Biblical Studies, Geneva College
    June 8, 2013

    By “general purpose Bible,” I refer to the Bible’s use in two essential tasks:
    (1) Daily Bible reading for rank-and-file Christians.
    (2) Pulpit Bible reading for preaching and teaching in Christian congregations.​

    Translators typically agree that a general purpose Bible bears three features abundantly:
    (1) Accuracy. It doesn’t do much good if the wrong message is eloquently stated.
    (2) Clarity. It doesn’t do much good if an accurate message is obscurely expressed.
    (3) Fluency. The translated text should “fit” the target language well, preferring its natural rhythms, forms, and phrases when possible.​

    In this brief paper I shall show why the ESV, the “English Standard Version” (Crossway, 2001, 2006), fails to meet the “Standard of English” required for a general purpose Bible in English. I shall also show why the NIV 2011 (Zondervan) characteristically succeeds at this very task.
     
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  2. Revmitchell

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    The bias of the author is clear. Why is it those who are so pro dynamic equivalent think everyone is to stupid to understand the KJV or event he ESV. It is a poor excuse and not true.
     
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  3. annsni

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    And it is interesting that everyone who shows the faults of the ESV show how much better the NIV2011 is.
     
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  4. blessedwife318

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    So I found it ironic that his main beef with the ESV is that it doesn't sound like everyday English and to prove his point he goes to Psalms. Psalms is poetry so of course its going to come off as poetic not like everyday English. I actually found the NIV to be more choppy and less poetic then the ESV in those comparisons, which to me shows that the ESV did a better job on being an accurate translation.
     
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  5. Rippon

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    It's interesting that so many who slam the NIV extoll the ESV.
     
  6. Rippon

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    How does your lone opinion regarding the way poetry is expressed in the NIV have anything to do with accuracy?
     
  7. Deacon

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    I used the ESV as my primary study bible for about three years, recently adopting the Lexham English Bible.
    I liked it; it's "essentially literal" and I enjoyed it's poetic cadence which certainly departs from today's spoken English.

    That being said, I use the NIV for teaching in church - surprisingly for some of the very reasons given in the article; it's easier to understand, requiring less explanation to expound basic meaning.

    I too have problems with the NIV similar to BW's complaint, particularly in regard to the NIV"s weakness in communicating the structure of OT Hebrew Scriptures.
    But that"s where explanation and comparing other versions helps.

    Rob
     
  8. Jkdbuck76

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    The only reason I use the ESV is that I have an app for the Horner bible reading plan and it is in ESV only....wish I had it for the NASB.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
     
  9. InTheLight

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    Several years ago our church switched from the NIV to the ESV so I'm constantly comparing passages (easy to do with a Bible app on phone). I find the NIV to be superior.

    Sent from my Motorola Droid Turbo.
     
  10. TCassidy

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    Good, Better, and Best are all subjective to the reader. Some people like ease of readability. Some like a contemporary vernacular. Some prefer a more literal rendering.

    The bottom line is use a bible that you will use. A "better" reading bible that is never read is much less useful than the "hard to read" bible that is read every day. :)
     
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  11. Squire Robertsson

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    Especially as Hebrew poetry doesn't have the same rhyming scheme as English (ideas not words).
     
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  12. agedman

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    Amazing.

    What great requirements is our Lord going to expect of us who have been given not only the Scriptures in whatever "readability" suits our fancy, but the huge resources of tools available for scholarly inquest. Yet, if there is an age when the believers are the most shallow, the least inclined to follow the Holy Spirit's leading, it is within the last 50 to 100 years.

    It isn't the likeability or even the readability that matters, it is the follow ability.

    "Be doers of the Word..."
     
  13. TC

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    I don't see anyone here slamming the NIV. Unless you think someone saying that they like a different bible version better than the NIV = a slam.

    I also disagree with this guys assessment of the ESV. It is a fine general purpose bible version in my opinion.
     
  14. agedman

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    T,
    I agree that it is good "general purpose" but for consistent teaching from the pulpit, I would stick with either the NKJV or the NASB, merely because I consider them more reliably accurate in a more word for word approach rather than thought for thought.

    But then if the people will know the scriptures, use the scriptures, meditate and arm themselves with the Scriptures, then as you said (to paraphrase) in another thread, all translations have value.
     
  15. robycop3

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    Guess I'm biased, but I prefer the NASV & NKJV over both the NIV & ESV.
     
  16. Craigbythesea

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    The NIV is easier to read that accurate translations of the Bible, but the problem is that the reader is understanding the NIV rather than the Bible!

    For people like me who believe that the form and structure of the Bible is part of the Bible, the NRSV is an excellent choice. For a good example, compare the Book of Isaiah in the NRSV and the NIV.

    The NASB is a fairly good translation—expect for the very numerous mistakes in English grammar.

    For people who believe that the Bible is the word of God, reading the Bible in the most accurate translation that you are able to understand is the obvious choice for personal reading, but a very accurate translation may not be suitable for responsive readings in church.
     
  17. Rippon

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    You're spouting nonsense.


    Form does not = meaning. But you are completely mistaken if you think the NIV ignores form.
    There are 66 chapters in that book. Give some good examples please.


    Examples would be nice. You make grammatical errors also.

    Your idea of what constitutes accuracy may differ with the assessment of others.
     
  18. annsni

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    HUH? Umm - the NIV IS the Bible.


    You mean like this sentence? I believe you mean "except". ;)


    I don't understand why this would be.
     
  19. Craigbythesea

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    Form does not equal meaning, but who would disagree with the fact that poetry must be interpreted differently that prose. Moreover, in the Greek text, Ephesians 1:3-14 is one sentence with one independent clause and many dependent clauses. However, nearly all English translations of the Bible (the ASV is a notable exception) break up this passage into three or more sentences resulting in three or more independent clauses, substantially changing the meaning of the passage and resulting in a multitude of conflicting interpretations of it.

    The NIV ignores form to the point that it makes it unsuitable for Bible study.

    Chapter 1, vv. 2-31
    Chapter 2, vv. 2-22
    Chapter 3, vv. 1-17
    Chapter 4, v. 1
    Chapter 5, vv. 1-30
    Chapter 6, v. 3 and vv 9-13
    Chapter 7, vv. 7-8 and 9-10


    Yes, it does.
     
  20. Van

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    Hi CraigbytheSea, you observations were spot on!

    However, the NIV seems to be the only accurate translation of Psalm 4:1, with "My righteous God" rather than almost all others with God of my righteousness. The idea (as indicated in the link) is that God is righteous, not the Psalmist. It appears that one has to compare various translations sometimes giving the nod to the NIV and at other times the LEB or NET, or WEB or NASB, or ESV or HCSB.
     
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