Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mars Hill Switches to the English Standard Version - Some Concerns Expressed

"January 2007 marks a significant change at Mars Hill Church. Since our inception as a small Bible study in 1996, all of the preaching and teaching has been done from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. The NIV was first published in 1978 and has become the most widely read English translation of the Bible, accounting for roughly 30 percent of all Bible sales. Over the years, God has used the NIV greatly in my life, beginning with my conversion in 1990. I praise God for the translation and my friends at Zondervan for publishing it along with numerous study aids and study Bibles.

However, the elders at Mars Hill Church have decided that we should transition from the NIV to the English Standard Version (ESV) as our primary pulpit translation. Some people may have questions about why this shift was made. This paper is my pastoral attempt to give a brief overview of the theological and practical issues associated with translations in general and the ESV in particular" [links mine].

Mark Driscoll details in this essay why, beginning in 2007, Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA is switching to the ESV.

Some had concern with Mark's argumentation.

"Some people are going to think I’m being unfair, but stripped of all the extra verbage, Pastor Mark Driscoll’s argument is, in fact, no more sophisticated than the KJV Only argument on this point.


I would not even respond to a church’s choice of translation if they presented it as just their choice based on preference. You can use what you wish based on your taste, and if it works for you and communicates the message adequately, then blessings on you! Go, read, do! But if you base your choice on failed linguistic arguments, and present it as somehow a choice that is closer to the pure gospel than others, then it’s time to respond."

Henry Neufeld responds with The Impossibility of Verbal Plenary Translation.

I'm a fan of the ESV, the NIV, and the TNIV and, frankly, after many years favoring more literal translations, I'm revisiting the dynamic equivalence/formal equivalence debate, while also looking into the subtopic of "gender-accurate" translation. I've been building out a section of faithmaps.org on Bible Translations as I do so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

having read quite a bit in regards to mark driscoll's essay and the several responses following, i am coming to appreciate henry neufeld's gracious yet confident post. good find stephen.