ESV Bible Pros and Cons

ESV Bible Pros and Cons

ESV Bible Pros and Cons

There are many translations of the Bible and one of the most popular translations is the English Standard Version (ESV).

The ESV originated from the Revised Standard Version edition of 1971 with the purpose of presenting a new literal translation of the Bible.

Creation of the ESV Bible

Around early 1990s, the President of Crossway publishing discussed with pastors and Christian scholars the need to have a new literal translation of the Bible.

The new translation basis will be the RSV or Revised Standard Edition.

The translation philosophy of the ESV is formal equivalence or literal translation (word for word).

Formal equivalence translation captures the exact wording of the original text of the Bible.

The development of the ESV included a committee of 15 members and 50 translation review scholars.

In 2001, Crossway publishing released the first ESV Bible.

Advantages of using the ESV Bible

According to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) the ESV Bible is currently the 4th best-selling Bible translation following NIV, KJV and NLT.

Here are some reasons why people prefer the ESV Bible other translations:

  • Based on the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, the ESV Bible has a readability level of 7.4 or around grade 8 level as opposed to some with readability level of grade 12. This indicates that the ESV is easier to read and therefore easier to understand compared to other Bible translations.
  • The ESV Bible maintains of accuracy and readability using formal equivalent or word for word translation.
  • Many Christian leaders recognized and endorsed the ESV Bible translation.
  • The ESV Bible includes footnotes that includes explanations of words, phrases and translation issues.
  • The basis of textual translation for the ESV Bible is the 1971 edition of RSV Bible translation. Passages found difficult to translate used the Masoretic Text of the original Hebrew Bible, old original manuscripts, and the Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The ESV Bible has one of the best cross-references when it comes to references.
  • The ESV Bible includes a concordance and reverse interlinear.

Disadvantages of using ESV Bible

While there are advantages in using ESV Bible translation, some find the translation not useful because of the following reasons:

  • There are gray areas in ESV Bible translation. To improve readability, the translation sacrificed accuracy giving the passages a different meaning very different from the other translations.
  • There are text that requires footnotes but not. Example of this is Old Testament quotes in the New Testament that are not clearly marked. A footnote on this will be helpful.
  • The ESV Bible releases revised editions frequently. A Bible should be for life and many invest on a good one. Frequent revised editions can put a damp on this.
  • Although the cross-reference is one of the best, it is still lacking in information and materials. There are no commentaries found in the ESV Bible.
  • Some pronouns are not capitalized which some Christians deemed as improper use of English grammar.

ESV Bible Pros And Cons – The ESV Bible Edge

There is very little difference between the ESV Bible and RSV Bible.

While the ESV Bible translation may trace back its origin with RSV Bible translation ESV did significant revisions on the wordings of the passages found on the RSV translation.

Here are a couple of samples of those passages:

In the RSV edition of Isaiah 7:14

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall his name Immanuel.”

The ESV edition revised the word “young woman”.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall his name Immanuel.”

The word “young woman” has been a subject of controversy in the RSV Edition.

In Psalm 45:6 the ESV translation addressed the God as the divine one and not His throne as translated in RSV

In RSV translation, the passage reads as:

“Your diving throne endures for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.”

While in the ESV translation, the passage reads as:

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter or your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness.”

These samples show just how readable and easy-to-follow the ESV translation is.

This also gives preachers the confidence to preach with authority because the literal translation reflects the original text.

There is no perfect translation of the Bible and the best anyone can do is translate it as close as possible to the original text.

This is not to say however, that the ESV translation is the best. Choosing the best bible translation is still a matter of preference.

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