ESV review: comparison with the KJV
But first, let me give my testimony and personal experience regarding Bible translations. I believe, along with the general editor of the ESV, with whom I have chatted on these topics, that each of us needs more than one translation. I understand his position to be that the ESV and the NLT2 are the two best and most suitable choices.
I like this. One translation in the Tyndale tradition and one in contemporary language. Now if I were asked which two translations I would choose, they would be the King James Version and the Good News Bible. I have held this opinion since I was 17 and nothing yet has changed my mind on this.
I don't want to feature the merits of the NLT2 vs the GNB today. But I would like to explain my continued loyalty to the King James Version. So I will compare the ESV with the KJV and I hope that you will see some of the reasons why I like the KJV - why it still has my vote.
- Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." Rom. 12:19 ESV
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Rom. 12:19 KJV
- Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 ESV
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Hebrews 2:17 KJV
- This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people (anthropoi) to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men (anthropoi) , the man (anthropos) Christ Jesus, 1 Tim. 2:3-5 ESV
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men (anthropoi) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men (anthropoi), the man (anthropos) Christ Jesus; 1 Tim. 2:3-5 KJV
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. ESV Matt. 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. KJV Matt. 5:9
- I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 1 Tim. 2:12 ESV
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Tim. 2:12 KJV
- That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 1 Cor. 11:10 ESV
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. 1 Cor. 11:10 KJV
- Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. ESV Romans 16:7
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. KJV Romans 16:7
I especially like the word 'note' in the KJV, since it is a direct translation of 'sema' in the Greek, and both these words 'notae' in Latin and 'semata' in Greek are also used to describe things like shorthand and seals. They are significant words to an abecedarian like me. I love the old KJV when it is so transparent and meaningful. Andronicus and Junia were episemoi, of note, marked on, they were 'sealed' in their apostleship. Such language is a delight.
- So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. Matt. 4:24 ESV
And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. Matt. 4:24 KJV
And what about the anachronism? When did the 'moonstruck', the seleniazomenoi, of ancient Palestine, represented transparently by 'lunatick' in the KJV, become epileptic? Who diagnosed them? For me the 'lune' in lunatick directly represents the meaning 'moon' selene in the Greek.
On the side of the ESV - it has an excellent blog, really outstanding and a great publicity team. They have created the impression that the ESV Bible is transparent to the Greek. As for me, give me that old time religion and the KJV.