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WORD OF GOD
The English Standard Version
Victor M. Eskew
A. One version that seemed to come “out of nowhere” was the English Standard Version.
B. It came on the market in 2001, but took some time to grow in popularity. It has now become a very popular version among members of the church of Christ.
C. In this lesson, we will focus our attention on The English Standard Version (ESV).
I. BACKGROUND OF THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
A. The idea of the ESV originated in the early 1990s when Lane T. Dennis, president of the non-profit book publishing ministry, Crossway Bibles, discussed the need for a new literal translation of the Bible.
B. The ESV was translated by over 100 scholars.
1. The translation was overseen by a 15 member Translation Oversight Committee.
2. Another team of 50 translators were considered “review scholars.”
C. This version was based upon the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1971. The translators did consult many other sources including Hebrew texts, Greek texts, and the Septuagint Version.
D. The translators used the formal equivalence translation philosophy. This philosophy “seeks as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer.”
E. The ESV was released in 2001 with revisions in 2007, 2011, and 2016.
F. In August of 2016, an announcement was made to have a final revision of the ESV which was to be called the “Permanent Text of the ESV Bible.”
1. This was after they have presented a revision involving 52 words in 29 verses.
2. The next month, it was announced that the decision was a mistake.
3. The publisher announced that they would continue to make periodic changes in the ESV to reflect biblical scholarship, textual discoveries, and changes to the English language over time.
4. Three points:
a. Continuous revisions make the previous editions obsolete much like a car.
b. If versions are finally rendered “permanent,” in a few years they will quit selling because new version will be put on the market.
c. Continuous revision makes criticism difficult. What is true of one edition may not be true of an updated edition.
II. REMOVING ARCHAIC LANGUAGE
A. Most of the modern versions boast of removing the archaic language found in the KJV.
1. There are been many versions and many attempts to remove the archaic language.
a. 1952 – Revised Standard Version
b. 1966 – Good News for Modern Man
c. 1971 – The New American Standard Bible
d. 1973 – The New International Version
e. 1978 – The New Century Version
f. 1982 – The New King James Version
g. 1985 – The New Jerusalem Bible
h. 1990 – The New Revised Standard Version
i. 1996 – The New Living Translation
j. 2002 – The New English Standard Version
2. These versions have removed the “thee’s” and “thou’s” but they have not removed the archaic language completely. (NOTE: This writer wonders: “Why?” One would think that the very first modern version would remove all of the archaic words and phrases, but this has not been done as of this date in any of the modern translations.
B. Archaic language in the ESV.
1. Sheol (Prov. 1:12)
2. Satraps (Dan. 3:3)
3. Prefects (Dan. 3:3)
4. Betrothed (Matt. 1:18)
5. Many of the “old” phrases of the KJV are retained
a. The ants are a people not strong (Prov. 30:25)
b. I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities (Amos 4:6)
c. …and make their loins tremble continually (Ps. 69:23)
C. NOTE: All archaic language must be defined and explained from the ESV just has it must be done from the KJV.
III. POOR GRAMMAR IN THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
A. In an article entitled, “Why the English Standard Version (ESV) Should not Become the Standard English Version,” Mark L. Strauss discusses many of the difficulties of the English language found in the ESV.
1. Awkward and unusual style (Mark 3:28)
2. Word order problems (Phil 3:20)
3. Run-on sentences (Tit. 2:11-14)
4. Mistranslated genitives (Heb. 10:7)
B. Near the end of the article he writes:
“It should be evident, however that the ESV needs a major revision with reference to its English style. I would recommend that the ESV committee enlist English stylists to review the entire text carefully with an eye toward English idiom.”
IV. GENDER NEUTRALITY IN THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION
A. Many of the more recent translations are attempting to be gender neutral. The ESV is no exception.
B. The ESV removes the words “man” and “men” 671 times in the translation. An example is found in Matthew 5:19
1. KJV: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven…
2. ESV: “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven…”
C. The ESV is not consistent in its translation of the term “anthropos.”
1. In Romans 3:28, it is translated “one.”
2. In I Thessalonians 2:4, it is translated “man.” (If they had been consistent, they would have translated the word as “people”).
V. VERSES OMITTED FROM THE ENGLISH STANARD VERSION
A. Omitted (Matt. 21:44)
B. Omitted with a footnote (Matt. 12:47; 17:21; 18:11; 23:14; Mark 7:16; 9:44; 11:26; 15:28; Luke 17:36; 22:20; 22:43; 22:44; 23:17; 24:40; John 5:4; Acts 8:27; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29; Rom. 16:24).
C. Brackets with explanations (Mark 16:9-20; John 7:53-8:11)
VI. INCONSISTENT TRANSLATION OF “HADES” IN THE ESV
A. In Matthew 16:18, they use the word “hell” for “hades.”
B. In Acts 2:31, they transliterate the word “hades” in the text.