Thursday, September 8, 2011

Switching to the ESV

Kevin DeYoung explains "Why Our Church Switched to the ESV" in a pdf linked here. A few quotations from the introductory paragraphs:
  • I have been the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (URC) in East Lansing, Michigan, since the summer of 2004. Almost as soon as arrived I began hearing, “We need to replace the Bibles we use for worship. They are falling apart!” At the same time, and mostly unrelated, members of the congregation were asking me as their new pastor, “What Bible translation do you recommend?” Since we had the New International Version (NIV) in the pews at the time (actually for us, on the chairs), I usually said something like, “You know, there are a number of good translations. God can use almost all of them. Personally, I like the English Standard Version the best. I think it does the best job of being readable and as literal as possible.”
  • ...[I]t must be stated unequivocally that the Lord in his sovereignty has used and will continue to use many different English translations to build up his church. This isn’t to say that all translations are the same or that it doesn’t matter which translation we use. It’s simply an acknowledgment that God’s Word is sufficiently communicated in many different translations in such a way that people can come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. So in arguing for the ESV, please do not hear me belittling the work the Lord has accomplished through many other English translations.
  • After using the NASB for several years and reading through it several times, I switched to the ESV because it had precisely the balance I was looking for: more literal than the NIV and more readable than the NASB.
  • My decision to switch to the ESV several years ago was not because I felt that all other translations were terrible but because I resonated with its translation philosophy. Since then, I have come to love the readability, accuracy, and style of the ESV. It’s certainly not perfect; no translation is. But I hope it becomes the new “standard” among English speakers and becomes the Bible used for prayer, preaching, memorization, study, and worship in more and more churches. .... [the pdf]
Our small church has used the ESV for several years now. I like it and although I am poorly equipped to judge it as a work of scholarship (and consequently happy to know that many of those who are qualified think well of it), I agree that it is among the most readable of the contemporary translations.

Reasons for the ESV – Kevin DeYoung


  1. Anonymous6:31 PM

    The NASB is still very preachable and readable.

    The issue with either ESV, NASb, NRSV or NKJV is that the congtrgation needs a translation that is normative not dynamic in its presentation and creates a text in which congregational study and dialoque can happen about 'How has God spoken.

  2. Ken, the ESV isn't a "dynamic equivalence" translation. Perhaps you should take another look.

    It is, I think, very good for reading aloud - it's the one I used Sabbath morning at Conference.


Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.