Posts Tagged ‘Bible versions’

Is this a Bible?

I have just become aware that the fairly new Bible translation that I regularly use, the English Standard Bible, has been republished by Crossway Bibles in a “Study Bible” format. The ESV first came out in 2001. Crossway published the ESV Study Bible (ESVSB) in 2008. While the idea of a study Bible for the average Christian is a good one (cross references, concordance, some important language and archeological notes, etc.), this particular work includes some questionable items.

The ESVSB includes commentary notes that cannot be accepted by all of Christendom. As such it becomes a work biased to certain denominations instead of a standard translation that can be used by all. Examples:

  1. A large segment of Christendom holds that the days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hour days. The ESVSB alleges that “faithful interpreters” can present various interpretations of Gen. 1 and that, “None of these views requires denying that Genesis 1 is historical.” Supposedly, “each of these readings can be squared with other biblical passages that reflect on creation” (p. 44). Much of the religious world cannot accept that.
  2. Several of the articles discussing salvation and New Testament doctrine present what is known as Calvinism, discounting the many in the religious world that disagree with it (Arminianism, et al).  The significant groups in the religious world that practice water baptism find their understanding of scripture denigrated in the commentary notes on several passages.

We know that there are differences regarding the interpretation of many Biblical passages and ideas. But presentation of those differences should be accomplished in books written for that purpose such as commentaries and theology handbooks. A Bible should present the text of the Bible, cleanly and clearly translated into one’s own tongue for one’s own reading and understanding.

If you are looking to buy the English Standard Version Bible, fine. It is one of several good versions. But the ESV Study Bible adds many things that aren’t Bible. So beware.

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