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A very special thank you to Jason from Pastoral Musings for joining us in this project, “What now Shall I Read?” Previous entries are here: Intro , NIV , NRSV , NAB and NLT. And now, let’s give Jason a very warm political Jesus welcome as he tells me why he uses the ESV version.
First of all, I must say that I primarily use the King James Version. I am a former King James Only-ite.
The English Standard Version (henceforth ESV) was one of the first translations other than the KJV that I took seriously. The NKJV simply didn’t leave me feeling comfortable. As one friend stated, reading the NKJV after the KJV is like kissing one’s cousin.
I truly like the NASB, but there’s a certain stuffiness about it that I can’t explain. I like the reading, because it’s pretty clear. It simply doesn’t have the cadence that the KJV has. The ESV has retained much of that cadence.
The ESV has managed to capture a good deal of the beauty of the KJV while still updating the archaic language. It is also an understandable translation. There is one very unfortunate place in the Old Testament that I dislike. I hope that they will correct it later.
For a person who is leaving the KJV as his only Bible, the ESV is something that I highly recommend, as it will leave that person relatively comfortable.
The ESV is readable, too. It’s not difficult to me. I like that. I also like a translation that seeks to be “essentially literal” (to use the words of Leland Ryken), or a formal equivalence translation. The ESV does a good job, I think, and is a good English translation.