Its handy size makes it suitable for regular Bible readers, and its extra features and content will help newcomers discover the Bible for themselves and understand it better.The language of the ESV is not at all the English which is spoken by "newcomers" to the Bible. In the ESV there is not only "non-newcomer" theological terms like "justification," "sanctify," "flesh," etc., but there are huge numbers of sentences which have strange English in them, which can give people the idea that the God of the Bible doesn't know how to speak our language very well. Notice some of these oddities in the ESV (emphasis added to highlight problem wordings):
Take the choicest one of the flock; pile the logs under it; boil it well; seethe also its bones in it. (Ezek. 24:5; noted by Rich Shields, frequent BBB commenter)In my opinion it would be better to use Bible versions which are written in the language of the people we are trying to reach. It is possible for Bibles to be both accurate as well as written in the language of their users.
a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! (Jer. 2:24)
you have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities (Is. 64:7)
you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:44)
Let not oil be lacking on your head. (Eccl. 9:8)
As is the good, so is the sinner (Eccl. 9:2)
I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear (Job 42:5)
For they drop trouble upon me (Ps. 55:3)
your lightnings lighted up the world (Ps. 77:18)
There are pastors and parishioners who love the ESV and its language, and I like to see people love their Bible version. But with its dated language of the Tyndale-KJV tradition, plus some strange English introduced by the RSV translators and retained by the ESV revisers of the RSV, I can't imagine that the ESV would be appropriate for use among "newcomers." Please tell me how I could be wrong, and how the ESV could be used appropriately as an outreach Bible. In this case, I really would like to be wrong, since my entire being groans when we communicate with our outreach language that God is foreign, unable or unwilling to reach out to us in our own language. Those of you would do outreach, how do you think people will react if they are introduced to the Bible through the English of the ESV?
Categories: ESV, unnatural English