Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I recommend the English Standard Version*

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I recommend the English Standard Version (ESV) for the following reasons:

  1. The Quality of the ESV 
    • Accuracy--The ESV follows a conservative translation philosophy and utilizes the latest research to accurately communicate the meaning of the original language. On the Formal/Dynamic Equivalence spectrum, the ESV is more formal than many or most modern translations. While using the latest research, the translation does not seek to “keep up with the times.” 
    • Beauty--The ESV takes pains to communicate the authors’ words in beautiful, artistic, and memorable language. Readers will see homages and similarities to respected, familiar translations throughout. 
    • Readability--At the same time, the translators present a translation that is smooth, flowing, easy to read, and easy to understand. It seeks to avoid stilted, awkward, or outdated language that plagues many older translations. 
    • Layout--Although every verse is numbered, the ESV is presented in paragraphs that allow the reader to see and understand the Word of God in flowing context. This is in contrast to the verse breaks found in many older translations. These verse breaks can subtly encourage readers to see each verse as a stand-alone thought, potentially inhibiting proper biblical interpretation in the flow of the passage. 
  2. Texts 
    • The ESV gives more weight to the “older evidence is better” textual philosophy, while not ignoring the “more evidence is better” textual philosophy. This is generally a superior, more accurate approach to determining the original text of Scripture. 
  3. Prevalence 
    • The translation is growing in popularity, especially among conservatives who value exegesis and who preach expositionally. It is here to stay and will only grow more widespread. Preachers value it because it is so clear and readable. It simplifies the job of explaining the text. 
  4. Resources 
    • The ESV is associated with many great resources and is becoming more so all the time. The hardcopy ESV Study Bible is one of the best “One-Stop-Shop” tools available to preachers or laypersons. The ESV Bible website contains a variety of great resources for personal study: The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV Study Bible Online, John Piper’s sermons, the Literary Study Bible, and Creeds and Confessions are all indexed to the text of the ESV Bible for study purposes. 
  5. Cost 
    • Crossway makes the text of the translation available for free online: The ESV website provides the entire searchable text for free. The basic mobile device app is also free. Most third party Bible apps and websites provide the ESV free of charge. 
*My preference for and recommendation of the ESV does not imply that other translations are wrong or not useful.

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