Why I Use the ESV – Part 1
Over the last several weeks, I have had various members of First Baptist Church of El Dorado ask me what translation of the Bible I use. Currently, I use the English Standard Version (ESV). I say ‘currently’ simply because I may change. I might switch to another translation tomorrow. . . or next week. . . or next year. . . or next decade. But for the past 6 years I have used the ESV and plan to continue for the time being.
Instead of taking time out of a Sunday morning service to explain, I thought I would do a series of posts this week to better answer the ‘why ESV?’ question.
Let me start with a disclaimer: I believe, very strongly, that there are MANY really, really good translations out there. I do NOT bel
ieve the ESV is necessarily the BEST or the ONLY translation that should be used. It is, in my opinion, one out of many several GREAT translations that are available in the English language.
For all of my life (up until age 30) I used the New International Version (NIV). It is one of the GREAT translations that are out there. As a matter of fact, I have recently considered going back to the NIV due to its being so easy to read and understand for virtually all age levels. The NIV has a great flow and rhythm to it and seems to be more informal and comfortable, while at the same time being accurate.
Early in my ministry at Wynne Baptist Church, I was preaching through the book of Jonah. In my study, I had the NIV, the ESV, the New American Standard (NASB), and probably a few other translations that I would use and compare with one another. In Jonah 2:8, there was one word/phrase that each translation used differently. One translation used the word “mercy;” another used the phrase “steadfast love;” another used the word “love;” and another “faithfulness.” This was curious to me. Which is it: Mercy or love? Faithfulness or steadfast love? I understand that steadfast love can include mercy, but extending mercy on someone does not necessarily mean there is the steadfast, unconditional, forever love toward someone. Add to that the fact that this affection from God was what seemed to truly cause Jonah’s repentance toward God (as partial as it was at the time). The meaning of this word was a BIG deal!
So I sought out to find what the word was in the Hebrew language (the original language the Old Testament was written in).
I will share what I found tomorrow. . .