Why I Use the ESV – Part 2

Yesterday I began a series on why I currently use the ESV translation of the Bible. If you have not read Part 1, I would recommend it before continuing here.

What word did Jonah use when he wrote Jonah 2:8? He wrote it in the Hebrew language, so I looked it up in the Hebrew Bible. The word used? “Hesed.” It is a word used throughout the Old Testament to describe God’s covenant love with Israel. It means God’s love is unconditional and locked on His people. It is a love not based on their actions, but on His character and commitment to always love them.

When Jonah was in the belly of the fish, having disobeyed the Lord, He recalled the “Hesed” love of the Father. It hit him that the Lord could have easily let him drown in the ocean. Instead, however, He sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah and rescue him – even though he was adamantly disobeying his God.

Below are some of the different English translations of Jonah 2:8. . .

“Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”

“Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness.”

“Those who regard vain idols, forsake their own mercy.”

“All who worship worthless idols turn from the God who offers them mercy.”

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Now. Based on what you know about the word “Hesed,” which of the above translations most accurately describes what Jonah was communicating? Exactly. The last one. And the last one is what translation? You betcha. The English Standard Version.

While I was in my study that morning, looking at the various translations of the Bible that I had in front of me, I was struck by the fact that the ESV seemed to most accurately capture what Jonah wrote centuries ago.

Let me reiterate here again: I do NOT think that the ESV is the ONLY translation one should use. Nor do I think it is necessarily THE best. I think it is one of the best and, for me, one that I have found to be most accurate AND easy to read (both are important).

Tomorrow I will briefly give my opinion on some of the other ‘BEST’ translations that are out there and why. For now, however, you have an idea of why I switched several years ago from using the NIV to the ESV.


About pastormpearson

Follower of Jesus. Husband to Katie. Father to Luke, Seth, and Birtukan. Pastor of the First Baptist Church in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Posted on July 10, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Yo Pastor Matt,

    Thanks for the posts. You’re killing me with the waiting! For what it’s worth, I left the NIV for the Holman Christian Standard Bible (after giving the ESV two efforts). The HCSB translates Jonah 2.8 – “Those who cling to worthless idols forsake faithful love.”

    Just wanted to throw it out there, hoping it makes tomorrow’s list. But I left a comment to also let you know I appreciate your posts.


    • Byron,

      Great to hear from you, bro!
      Yes, the Holman Christian Standard Version is a TREMENDOUS translation and will definitely be on the list tomorrow. I agree that it is one of the better/best available.

      Hope all is well, man. Would love to catch up soon!


  2. Ok, so I usually don’t post on “Dr. Pearson’s” blog although I look forward to reading them. However, having had this same dialogue with him a few years ago I kind of felt nudged by the Holy Spirit to add this comment.
    As an old Baptist Deacon…you know the kind..steadfast, unchangeable, hard headed, stubborn (had those God characteristics going for a second…ha)…anyway, as Matt unveiled the ESV version I was quite happy with my NASB version and in my heart and mind kind of “resisted” Matt’s change…for a while.
    The difference for me…after deciding he wasn’t changing back (ha) I purchased an ESV study Bible…and after getting to know Matt, his heart and his knowledge of the Word…I concluded after a few years that Matt preached out of the ESV mostly because…


    Hey Matt…still have my NASB…but have grown to love my ESV each morning. Keep preaching the truth bro, the Natons are counting on you.


  1. Pingback: Why I Use the ESV – Part 3 « The HEART of Pastor Matt

  2. Pingback: Now THAT’s a Good Question!!! « Intentional Pastoring

  3. Pingback: Now THAT’s a Good Question! | Intentional Pastoring

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