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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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4/02/2005

Why I Read and Use the ESV 

{Tip o' the hat to Adrian Warnock}

This article/essay/message from John Piper sums up my feelings pretty well. I still often use the King James or New King James when preaching, simply because that is what most, if not all, of the people I am speaking to are using. In my personal study, I use the ESV almost exclusively -- I also will use the NASB and my MacArthur NKJV Study Bible, but the ESV is my main resource when I'm studying. If I was the pastor of a church, the pew Bibles would be ESV.

I'm not anti-NIV. I'm not anti-KJV (though I've been accused of hating the KJV by some on the Fundamentalist Forums. I understand enough of the history of the English translations of the Bible to know that the ESV is simply part of the entire process -- a process that the KJV actually started. It's a process of discovery -- of learning new things about the ancient languages, finding texts and evaluating their reliability, and then using this new knowledge to make the Scriptures clearer to Christians.

As I said, I'm not anti-NIV, but it's never been my favorite translation. It's not a totally dynamic equivalence translation -- I'd put it at about a 5 on a 10-point scale (1 is total dynamic equivalence, 10 is total literal translation). {Incidentally, it's hard to find a site that gives a decent definition of DE. A LOT of what I found when trying to find that link were places that think Gail Ripplinger is a good Bible scholar!} A 1 would be translations like The Message, while a 10 would be an intralinear Bible.

My Bible preferences would fall between an 8 and 9. I want something readable, but something that is faithful to the original wording and intent. Takes more study effort with that kind of Bible, since they often don't interpret idioms for you -- you have to do that yourself. But it's worth it.

I also agree with Piper that some paraphrasing or interpreting will always be necessary in translating the Bible. My goal is to find the translation that does this as little as possible, and I think the ESV does that well.


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