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Monday, April 09, 2007

Will the ESV become a standard Bible version?

opinion-minion gives pros and cons for widespread usage of the ESV on her Muddle House blog. From what I can tell, she likes the ESV. She has been memorizing the book of Ephesians from it. Here are the five reasons she believes the ESV will succeed:
  1. Because the ESV has managed, by hook or crook, to connect with many critical people
  2. The ESV blog
  3. Those funky, crazy, hip covers
  4. Its position, real or imagined, as an alternative to Mother-God translations of the Bible
  5. The fact that it is a good translation, in many aspects
And here are five reasons she believes the ESV will not succeed:
  1. Crossway
  2. Its opposition, real or imaginary, against the TNIV
  3. ESV, the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Bookstore
  4. The fact that it's a literal translation
  5. The fact that it's not used in many study Bibles
She ended with:
So there you have it. Five reason[s] why the ESV will, or will not succeed. Anyone have more suggestions?
So I added a a comment to her post.

For anyone who wonders what the word "standard" means in the title to my post, I intend that word to refer to a Bible version which has wide usage across denominational and age lines for a significant period of time. The KJV became a standard version for hundreds of years. The RSV became a standard version in many mainline churches. The NIV became a best-selling standard Bible version. The ESV may. What do you think?


At Tue Apr 10, 02:02:00 PM, Blogger Gary Zimmerli said...

Opinion-minion did a fine job of analyzing both sides of the
"ESV Controversy" ;-)

The ESV side is certainly adamant about what a fine Bible it is, and Crossway seems to be doing at least some things right with the "cool" covers to attract the cool kids. And there are pastors and scholars who use it and advertise that they use it, all in the hopes that people will buy the ESV. And I think the covers, and the recommendations, are making some people consider it, possibly enough people that it may become what we could call a standard, simply by dint of its being widely purchased and accepted.

But the truth is, it's just an old translation that's been dressed up in fancy new clothes to try and make it acceptable to today's Bible shopper. And that doesn't make it a great Bible in my book.

While I love what Tyndale has done with the NLTse, I think that if Zondervan had played their cards right, what we know as the TNIV could have been an just an updated NIV, continuing a line of widely read and accepted NIVs, and it would be our standard today.

At Tue Apr 10, 05:20:00 PM, Blogger opinion-minion said...

I'm rather afraid that my previous comment was eaten up by the blog, or I did something stupid and I'm a bit short on time, so I'll summarize my thoughts

1. I'm immensely flattered that I was mentioned on this blog (blush)

2. I've actually stopped memorizing from the ESV, and am in somewhat of a dilemma. One reason is that I wanted to memorize from a version that will make sense to people not educated in churchese---and also one that just makes sense all around!

3. I'm doing a fast read thru the Bible in the TNIV, and loving it. I also appreciated the fact that in Hebrew 9:27-28, the TNIV uses the word "people" instead of man. I liked it very much indeed.

I'm rawther between translations right now, but have pretty well settled on the TNIV for now. I'm a bit of a sucker for the lovely fire-engine red of my own copy, and the lay out is very nice. I don't normally prefer red letter, but oh well, it's still nicely done.

(still blushing)


At Tue Apr 10, 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Where do you see the ESV quoted? Not much anywhere it seems--at least compared to the other translations. Reformed people use the ESV but that is a smaller chunk of readers than the NIVers. In hindsight now, I think the ESV has made a few errors in not making a big enough effort in differentiating itself from the RSV translations. Who is going to buy a bible that is not much different from the RSV? When I read outloud from the ESV, some people thought I was quoting from the RSV.

At Tue Apr 10, 11:55:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I'm a bit of a sucker for the lovely fire-engine red of my own copy, and the lay out is very nice.

I'm with you on this, OP, my TNIV is a beautiful cobalt blue that matches my Sunday jacket. I also noticed a "go anywhere" NRSV in the store today that was a very peculiar extra long and skinny shape, but a beatuiful aquamarine. I remember as a child when all Bibles were black that I had to notice the texture of the leather or the wrinkle in the red ribbon to recognize whose Bible was whose.


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