One thing I’d like to do on this blog is take some time to review some books. This will help me stay busy reading things to review, and hopefully give you some ideas of good books to read. For the first review I thought it would be a good idea to review one of the newest translations of the Bible and the one that I’ve been using almost exclusively, the English Standard Version.

The ESV is a modern English translation building off of the Revised Standard Version. The translation team featured many prominent experts in the field. It was also chaired by Dr. Wayne Grudem who has made many contributions to Theology. The aim was to update the RSV and produce a modern, readable, translation. They have tried to stick as close to the original languages as possible – taking what’s called a word-for-word approach.

Let’s take a look and compare the ESV with some other translations. The verse we’ll use is Ephesians 4:13; first here is how the ESV translates it:

until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,

And the NKJV (New King James Version):

till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

The NASB (New American Standard Bible):

until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

And last the NIV (New International Version):

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

As you can see there is some definite differences between these four major translations. Much of this has to do with the various translation methods used on the translations committees and the philosophy behind it translation. Most of those above try take a more word-for-word approach (with the exception of the ESV which aims more for readability).

What I like about the ESV is that is the most current, up-to-date, translation available with a word-for-word translation philosophy. The NASB was last updated in 1995 during which there has been some advancements in scholarship and language studies. The NKJV is a little more modern, but not by much.

The other thing I like is that the translation is very readable. While they tried for a very literal approach to the translation they also made it very understandable for modern audiences. The flow in reading is very comfortable and when speaking the word aloud one shouldn’t have much trouble with the reading.

There is also a study bible that has been created based on this translation with some contributions from some of top scholars. Each contributor is currently working as a teacher in the area that they were asked to contribute (several of the staff from Phoenix Seminary contributed).

Overall I find this to be a wonderful translation for both study and personal meditation. The verses are very readable and easy to memorize since they are not too different from you may have learned before. If you have a chance pick one up and I think you’ll enjoy this translation.

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