Blogger and dedicated Bible reader David McKay today compares the ESV and TNIV
. David has done his homework:
Now I have read the whole bible in both versions. All 260 chapters of the New Testament and all 929 chapters of the Old Testament. And what I have discovered is that both versions interpret, and the ESV does it much more than its promoters would like you to believe. I'm not criticising their translation technique, but I am warning that what is said about it is not completely accurate.
I think it may be true to say that the ESV is less interpretive than the TNIV.
David adds these important observations:
We are also led to believe that the TNIV uses gender-inclusive language, whereas the ESV retains the masculine language of the bible. But this is not really exact either. If you compare the RSV [on which the ESV is based] and the NIV [on which the TNIV is based] with their later incarnations, you will see immediately that the main differences between both old versions and their new editions is the use of gender-inclusive language.
For the most part, both new editions have removed the masculine language of the RSV and NIV where there was none in the original. Both versions also have used gender-inclusive language to clarify what the original authors meant.
However the ESV translation is fairly squeamish about translating a Hebrew or Greek masculine word by an inclusive word [or words] in English, even where it is clear that the word was used in an inclusive way.
So in Romans 1:13 where the TNIV has
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you the ESV says
Romans 1:13 want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to youbut has a rather lengthy, clarifying footnote link from the word brothers which says
Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated "brothers") refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God's family, the church.Now if the TNIV occasionally uses gender-inclusive language where it is not necessary, it is also true that the ESV's retention of masculine language sometimes obscures the writer's meaning.
David concludes, fairly:
Which is the best version? I think we need both. We use the TNIV for daily reading, but I often check the ESV rendering for added clarity.