Why We Use the English Standard Version (ESV)

Why We Use the English Standard Version (ESV)

As we envision the church in the coming years, we are asking the question: “What is the best for our future together?” This question is being applied to our collective programs, ministries, budgets, music, and even the Bible translation(s) we use week-in and week­‐out.

Many English Bible translations have value and all should be regarded as God’s inerrant Word. Each translation provides a unique insight and perspective into Scripture, yet we have chosen one to use as our primary version for preaching, teaching, memorizing, and for our print materials that will allow for greater continuity and more clarity for our new, blended congregation.

Below are two reasons that we have chosen the English Standard Version (ESV) as our primary community translation

  1. The ESV is the best English translation to balance both literal accuracy in translation and readability. Since its publication in 1971, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) was arguably the most literal modern translation available in the English language. However, the NASB was sometimes “wooden” in its attempt to maintain accuracy and therefore was less readable and more difficult to memorize for most modern readers. The New International Version (NIV) was published in 1978 and quickly became the best-selling modern English translation, with approximately 150 million copies in print to date. The NIV is much more readable than the NASB but much less literal in its translation. Readers are then required to choose between readability on one hand (NIV) or more precise literal accuracy on the other (NASB). In 2001, Crossway Bibles published the English Standard Version (ESV) with the intent to produce a translation that was both literal and readable. Pastor John Piper’s 2004 article, “Good English with Minimal Translation” provides many side-by-side comparisons between the ESV and NIV to demonstrate “that the ESV is the best balance available of readability and literalness.”
  2. The publishers of the ESV have created the best study Bible available. “The ESV Study Bible contains more than 2,750 pages of extensive Bible resources, including commentary, maps, illustrations, charts, timelines, and articles created by a team of 93 evangelical scholars and teachers. In addition to the 757,000 words of the ESV Bible itself, the notes and resources of the ESV Study Bible comprise an additional 1.1 million words of explanation and teaching. In 2009, it garnered the ECPA Christian Book Award for Book of the Year, the first time a study Bible achieved this distinction. It also was named the WORLD Magazine’s Book of the Year in 2009” (Wiki).