January 1 of 2012 is when I take an ESV Bible into the pulpit for the first time. As I announced to our congregation months ago I will trade in my 1984 NIV. Although that version can still be purchased, I expect Zondervan will eventually phase it out and publish only the 2011 NIV. With which I have a few issues.
The ESV is something of an old friend. When I was in seminary, I came to appreciate the RSV (Revised Standard Version) for its readability and accuracy. Which had not been widely used in evangelical churches because it still retained the “thees” and “thous” of the King Jame’s Version, and because when originally published in 1946, conservative readers were troubled by some words and phrases they thought diminished key doctrines.
But under Dr. J. I. Packer’s direction, scholars redid the RSV translation and in 2001 Crossway published it as the ESV, the English Standard Version. In future posts I will compare the ESV and NIV text to give people in the church an idea whether or not they will want to replace their NIV. (Personally, I think it’s close enough that some will choose not to and not be lost when the ESV’s publicly read.) But in this post I wanted you to hear recommendations by church leaders from across the denominational spectrum.