Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Motivation for the English Standard Version

We thought that, in the providence of God, there was room for a Bible translation that would be committed for a word-for-word or essentially literal philosophy of translation, but that still tried, perhaps more accurately than any previous translation, to maintain clarity and readability and beauty in the English language.

We’re thankful for all of those other translations, and I know that they have been used by God. But we’re hopeful that this one might even, by God’s blessing, be somewhat of an improvement—certainly in clarity, and in accuracy, and in beauty and readability. When all those factors are taken together, that could then become a Bible that would be used throughout the church. There wouldn’t be just one Bible for children and another one for one denomination or another denomination, or this generation or that, but an accurate and readable Bible that could be used by all generations: in a church, it could be used in Sunday School classes, it could be used in adult Bible studies, it could be used for meditating and memorizing, and then could be used for the public preaching text of the church as well.

So that then, if a church goes this route and has one standard Bible used throughout the church—that the pastor is preaching from that Bible, the adults are studying from that Bible in their Bible studies, the children are memorizing from that Bible (not that they wouldn’t consult other translations from time to time as well). But there would be a standard base of a reliable translation that people would gain familiarity with throughout the church. And we think it would be a wonderful benefit to churches if that would happen.

Wayne Grudem on the ESV Blog

4 comments:

Dave Faulkner said...

'Word for word', 'literal' - and 'beautiful'? My other leg seems to have acquired some bells, so why not give it a shake?

Scot McKnight said...

No mention that the ESV was a response to the NIV's attempt to produce a more readable and inclusive version?

Tell the truth.

Stephen said...

Michael Marlowe (who has a great website on English Versions of the Bible) has a nice piece on the development of the ESV - http://www.bible-researcher.com/esv.html
where it's clear that the gender-neutral controversy was one of several motivations for the translation. Perhaps it would be most accurate to say that this issue precipitated a translation addressing larger concerns?

Kevin D. Johnson said...

It's a pipe dream to think that one English translation in this culture either should or will be used in all churches everywhere.

I don't think it's a desirable goal anyway. There is value in diversity especially when it comes to Bible translations.

Having one translation can easily turn into a tool for church hierarchy to use wrongly. Once you have one Bible translation, how far off is the 'institutionally accepted' interpretation of the words in the text of Scripture?