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.