Why We Switched to the ESV

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Deacon

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    Here's a booklet offered free by the Westminster Bookstore for the next few days


    Why Our Church Switched to the ESV by Kevin DeYoung [LINK]


    "The Bible we study, the Bible used in our pulpits, the Bible read to our children is the Bible that will shape our vocabulary about God and even the way we think about God."

    1. The ESV employs an “essentially literal” translation philosophy.

    2. The ESV is a more transparent translation.

    3. The ESV engages in less over-translation.

    4. The ESV engages in less under-translation.

    5. The ESV does a better job of translating important Greek or Hebrew words with the same English word throughout a passage or book.

    6. The ESV retains more of the literary qualities of the Bible.

    7. The ESV requires much less “correcting” in preaching.

    “the ESV [is] certainly not perfect; no translation is” (p. 8).

    Rob
     
  2. annsni

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    We have been personally using it for a number of years but when the NIV decided to change the 84, we decided to switch from the NIV to the ESV. So now that is the Bible that we hand out to those who need Bibles and have in the pews of our one campus. But there's no "official" Bible at our church. Come with what you have.
     
  3. Jack Matthews

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    I would agree with that. The ESV is the product of years of English Bible translation, of the ability to consult and use better manuscripts than the KJV, is consistent in use of terms, and generally renders the text in a manner that both preserves the literary qualities and even some of the writing style, and is impeccably accurate.
     
  4. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Surely you don't mean impeccable in the sense of faultless or perfect?
     
  5. Van

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    I am reminded of the Princess Bride and the joke about "inconceivable." I certainly found fault after fault with it, such that I no longer use it for study. The list of claimed accomplishments is what drew me to the ESV initially, but when put to the text, it comes up short.

    Lets look at 2 Corinthians 5:14, and the overstep of the NIV which concluded the thought was Christ's love of us compels us, but the ESV correctly translates the ambiguous "love of Christ controls us." The HCSB also goes too far and agrees with the NIV, but YLT, WEB, NET, NASB, and NKJV read "love of Christ."

    James 2:12 is a great example. "Law of Liberty" is more literal than law that gives freedom. However, all the other translations say judged "by" the law of ... rather than judged "under" the law. The Greek is "dia" and therefore means through or by or because. Thus under translates the word not literally, a different Greek word means under. So this example points to a fault of the ESV, giving lip service to translating the same word in the same way.
     
    #5 Van, Nov 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2012
  6. jonathan.borland

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    I like that the electronic ESV is free! Major kudos to the publishers. Hope Zondervan follows suit!
     
  7. Jack Matthews

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    No, but in a class by itself at the top of the accuracy ladder among English translations.
     
  8. annsni

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    I totally agree. I find that a great gesture towards getting the Word of God out there to the people!!
     
  9. go2church

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    I used the ESV for a while, it's a fine translation. I switched to the TNIV and now to the 2011 NIV which for my money is the best overall translation going right now. That's an opinion and nothing else. If one where to nit pick there are places in the NIV (every translation really) that make you scratch your head.

    Interesting that they created an entire pamphlet for what to me seems like a very minor thing. Does DeYoung publish with Crossway?
     
  10. Rippon

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    How do you define accuracy? In a class by itself? LOL!
     
  11. Rippon

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    Now that's a handy little classification. But not much more essentially literal than the NIV.

    How so?

    Compared to what?

    Compared to what?


    Really? Compared with what standard?

    Kevin suffers from Rykenism.

    On the contrary it requires transating awkward phraseology on many occasions.
     
  12. thomas15

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    And the missing reason #8

    8. The ESV publisher/copyright holder Crossways paid us in kind to do some advertising for them.
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    Its indeed a good version, but would have to say that I still prefer either NKJV/Nasb for serious study! They seem to be just "more literal"
     
  14. Van

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    The linked article continues its comparison with the NIV as follows:

    1 Thessalonians 1:3, the NIV has added words to the text (produced, prompted, and inspired, thus going beyond translation to interpretation.
    However the ESV failed to translate continually, so yet again, the very example shows yet another flaw in the effort. And never mind it puts "before our God and Father" next to remembering, thus we are before God, rather than at the end with Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. Putting it at the end points to our hope Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of God. So the NASB and others.

    Hebrews 6:1, yes the ESV and all the other modern translation say "dead works" whereas the NIV interprets the text.

    1 John 2:5 reads "love for God" in the NIV, thus interpreting love of God as our love of God, and the WEB translates it God's love, with the rest, including the ESV sticking with the ambiguous love of God.

    1 John 4:9 has the NIV interpreting love of God as "his love" so they translate the exact same Greek phrase two different ways. And, so the article goes, the virtuous ESV sticks with the ambiguous love of God.
    The WEB sticks with God's love, and the HCSB joins in. Thus HCSB also leaves in vague at 2:5 but concludes from the context the explicit God's love is warranted at 4:9

    1 John 5:3 has yet more failure to translate the same Greek phrase in the same way, with the NIV going back to love for God, and the HCSB goes with love for God. Even the WEB gives up on God's love and goes with the ambiguous love of God.

    Bottom line, the ambiguous "love of God" used consistently is indeed superior to translating the same exact phrase to mean very different things. However if you look at all the places the phrase appears, you can interpret it to mean God's love in every case. So the best that can be said is the ESV is no worse than any of the others, and is superior to the ones that do not translate the phase concordantly. The NIV, WEB, HCSB and NET all translate the phrase inconsistently when all eight verses where the phrase appears are considered. The NASB, NKJV and ESV stick with the ambiguous love of God in all eight places.
     
  15. Van

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    Here is a verse by verse analysis of the Biblical usage of "love of God."


    Luke 11:42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.

    From the context, the Pharisees disregarded God's justice and merciful love. If this is true, then the nominative, genitive, genitive form of the phrase indicates God's kind of love within ourselves.

    John 5:42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. This verse too seems to support the premise the phrase means God's kind of love.

    Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Thus, under the influence of our indwelt Holy Spirit, we have God's kind of love within our hearts. Both an unconditional love for God and for our fellow man.

    Romans 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Nothing can separate us from God's kind of love.

    2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
    This verse too works with having God's kind of love within us.

    2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. This verse works with the Lord directing our hearts into God's kind of love.

    1 John 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
    Here the idea is we have matured such that we love like God, God's kind of love works very well.

    1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? It seems as we consider verse after verse, God's kind of love is the intended message of this phrase.

    1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Yes, we seem to have a winner, God's kind of love was manifested in us through being made alive in Christ.

    1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. Again, for this is God's kind of love, that we keep His commandments, just as Jesus kept His Father's commandments.

    Note that the ESV failed to translate 1 John 3:17 concordantly, but the NASB and NKJV did. Ditto for Romans 5:5. So again the ESV failed at the task the article claimed as an accomplishment. And all modern translations appear to have mistranslated the phrase with a specific meaning, and only two managed to avoid error by sticking with an ambiguous phrase that can be interpreted by the reader correctly.
     
  16. nodak

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    Ah, but the maintaining the masculine generic is now coming back to bite some!

    There are those espousing it for that reason, but their thinking goes like this: we use the generic male, so everytime it speaks in the masculine it refers to both men and women.

    Hence women's ordination.

    UM, this translation is ok but sure is getting pushed a lot by marketing!
     
  17. Van

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    As an example of "over translation" the article cites 1 Corinthians 4:9 and points out that the NIV has translated what Paul was probably imaging, rather than what Paul actually said. A fair criticism of the NIV's effort. However lets consider the ESV translation of the same verse.

    1 Corinthians 4;9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.

    Note the awkward "us apostles" rather than "us, the apostles, as found in several modern translations. Next "last of all" may refer to time rather than place, so "in last place" is contextually required. Then we have "sentenced" as if legally sentenced to death for a crime, but the word simply means doomed or condemned to death, so a bit of over translation by the ESV. And finally, Paul uses kosmos sometimes to refer to the whole of creation, and so the final part of the verse clarifies what Paul meant by "world" i.e. both the angelic creation and mankind. So a superior translation would be both to angels and to mankind.

    The pattern seems clear, you can find verses where the ESV is an improvement of the corresponding NIV effort, but usually the NASB, NKJV, HCSB, NET and WEB provide as good or superior translations of the very verse selected to espouse the ESV.
     
  18. jaigner

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    The ESV is an awkward translation. If I want woodenly literal, I'll use the NASB. If I want dynamic, the TNIV can't be beat.
     
  19. Van

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    Speaking of "over translation" lets look at the last example from the ESV, Colossians 3:1-2:

    If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.

    Now if a person was actually trying to translate the verse without adding, it would read "If then you have been raised with the Christ, be seeking the things above, where the Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Favoring the things above, not on the earth."

    Of course you could still preach a warmed over sermon on treasuring what is above. :)
     
  20. Rippon

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    Hear,hear. I don't think ESV fans have actually read much of their fav translation.
    Maybe that could be said of the older NASB. But I think the updated 1995 version is not so wooden.

    The TNIV was not dynamic. The NLTse is much more so.
     

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