May 13, 2007 Book Review

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version

Crossway Bibles

Reviewed by: Everett C. DeVelde

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Published by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers, 2001. Reviewed by Pastor Everett C. DeVelde.

In my opinion, the English Standard Version (ESV) is one of the best translations of the Bible available today. It stands in the family of translations stemming from Tyndale's English New Testament of 1526, proceeding through the King James Version, the English Revised Version, the American Standard Version, and the Revised Standard Version. All of these versions follow a word-for-word translation philosophy rather than the thought-for- thought philosophy of translations like the New International Version. The ESV is therefore an "essentially literal" translation, yet it maintains the literary beauty and dignity for which the King James Version is so famous.

The translators of the ESV used the Revised Standard Version (RSV) as the starting point for their work, but reversed its liberal bias. For example, the RSV translates Psalm 45:6, speaking of the Messiah, "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever." The ESV preserves the correct and conservative reading, "Your throne, 0 God, is forever and ever."

The ESV retains meaningful theological terms, such as propitiation. It also retains the gender language that is literally in the original Greek and Hebrew. However, in cases where the word men clearly refers to both men and women, the word people is used. Similarly, the word brothers is retained in contexts where it refers to both men and women, but a note is added to indicate that women are included.

The ESV makes use of the massive textual resources that have become available in recent years that were not available to the King James translators. Even so, the traditional Hebrew text has been used even in difficult passages where others have resorted to emendations or readings from ancient versions. In the New Testament, the ESV relies on the latest critical edition of the Greek text. The ESV is not the work of one scholar, but of more than a hundred people who are said to "share a common commitment to the truth of God's Word and to historic Christian orthodoxy."

It is for considerations such as these that I heartily endorse the English Standard Version of the Bible.



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