Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The search for a new translation - part 2

    Last post we looked at the differences in bible translations and decided that an essentially literal translation would work best for me. Bibles in this category include versions such as the King James (KJV), New King James (NKJV), English Standard Version (ESV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB). All of these are excellent translations remaining faithful to the original texts. I've included a chart below to show the differences in the literalness of the different translations out there. In seeking a bible with updated language and scholarship I decided to focus my attention on the ESV and the NASB.

    The website for the NASB still claims that it is the most accurate English translation to date. I've heard this claim many times and have yet to hear of anyone disputing it. This bible has been used by many who are devoted to in depth study. John MacArthur uses this version in his ministry, though until recently his study bibles were published in the NKJV. Thankfully they are now offered in the same NASB that he teaches from.

    The ESV came about in 2001. The translators claim they wanted to continue in the tradition of  William Tyndale's New Testament of 1526, the KJV of 1611, the English Revised Version of 1885, the American Standard Version of 1901, and the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1952 and 1971. The text itself started with the1971 RSV and was updated the ESV. One nice thing with this is that the words and phrasing come out of the King James tradition. Reading the ESV is very reminiscent of the the KJV which many of us have invested much time in studying and memorizing. Following along in church with the King James being read in the pulpit is not very difficult at all. There are many who now use the ESV in their ministries, John Piper being one of them.

  I found both translations to be very good. Either would be suitable for reading or study. In the end I decided to go with the ESV for a couple of reasons. First thing that put the ESV ahead was its availability in a variety of formats. The next thing I noticed was its wide acceptance among Christians and ministries whom I agree with and follow. And lastly, I do appreciate  the text flowing from the King James tradition. The language is updated yet still has much of the same feel and tone of the KJV  I've loved for so long.
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