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Customer Review

6 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ESV; on the Road Back to Rome?, June 10, 2011
This review is from: ESV Study Bible (TruTone, Forest/Tan, Trail Design) (Imitation Leather)
Revised review:

As hard as this is to believe, the fact is that the ESV is a slight revision of the RSV, a liberal translation with many problems. From the preface of the ESV one reads under the heading "Translation Legacy" ...the 1971 RSV text providing the starting point for our work."

From Wicipedia on the ESV: "the translation committee sought and received permission from the National Council of Churches to use the 1971 edition of the RSV as the English textual basis for the ESV. Nevertheless, only about 5%-10% of the RSV text was changed in the ESV."

Poorly done and not well received, the RSV has fallen into disuse. The copyright for the RSV is held by the United Counsel of Churches, and Crossway had to get the rights from them to do the ESV. Why did Crossway stoop so low? Is it right for a evangelical ministry (Crossway is a non-profit) to go to a corrupt ecumenical organization to get permission for a new Bible translation? Why would they pick this of all versions to make the ESV? Why not revise the NAS? All of this smells of Rome to me.

Add to this that the editor of the ESV was J. I. Packer, a man who has defected to the point the he has joined with "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" and signed the abhorrent "Manhattan Declaration".

I leave you to your own investigation at this point.

If you are interested, here is my personal experience: When John Piper went to the ESV my wife and I went with him. We were using the NAS at the time. At the time I trusted Mr. Piper, as we were under his teaching. We bought two leather bound copies on Amazon (now out of print).

I believe I read this version cover to cover twice or so (using a reading plan), and as I did it drove me nuts. It is one of the most awkward versions I have ever read, and at times it is downright silly. It drove me to my Bibleworks software and I spent hours each day comparing it to the original languages and other versions.

The ESV is so bad that it really took me by surprise and forced me to look hard at the issues.

Along the way some one gave me a copy of a small book called "English Bible Translations; by What Standard?" by William Einwechter. This book is not from the fanatic King-James-Only camp, but from a rational and sound perspective. This book has proved to be a wonderful blessing to my family, and has been used of God to bring me to rest after many years of distress over Bible versions.

You can view it for free as a PDF at Chapel Library dot org.

The Trinitarian Bible Society is another non-profit with good info on the subject. They have a PDF that can be viewed dealing with the problems of the ESV.

May God bless you as you navigate these important issues!
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 20, 2011, 5:38:46 AM PDT
M. G. Marks says:
JJ. You posted the same erronious review twice. Perhaps YOU have an ulterior motive??? The ESV stands on it's own as a great translation. Again, it is fine if it is not the translation for you; but why post errancies. We are all for representing Christ to the rest of the world. Represent, my friend.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2011, 3:48:09 PM PDT
JJ says:
One: show me how my post is erroneous, and I will repent.

Two: My motive is concern and since I bought two leather bound copies of the ESV from AMAZON I think I belong here. Two Bibles: two posts. I am concerned about this, I think the ESV is corrupt. After years of personal investment in the ESV I think I am allowed to speak twice on it.

You say "the ESV stands on its own". Sir, what do you mean by this? Nothing "stands on its own" except God. Your post seems like a empty knee-jerk reaction to me. Show me how I am wrong and I will repent.

Like every choice a Christian makes, a Bible version is not a personal choice, but one that should be driven by Biblical doctrine. Look into the issues for yourself.

The book links I posted are short, rational, balanced, and free. What ulterior motive do you think I have? What about 1Cor13? Does not love demand that you put the best construction on my motives until it is shown otherwise?

Posted on Jul 12, 2011, 7:04:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 20, 2011, 12:17:44 PM PDT
unclebuc says:
I read "English Bible Translations: By What Standard?" at your urging and was not convinced by the argument therein. For some time I have been very interested in translation theory and have studied the material at length, although I do not claim to be any kind of expert on the subject. The problems I have with Einwechter's assertions are the following:

(1) While he clearly asserts that we must judge Bible translations by biblical standards, he contradicts his own position by referring to the Westminster Confession of Faith to define those so called "biblical standards" (4, 5). I dont recall reading the Westminster Confession in the Bible (shall we add it to 1 Opinions?). God did not inspire those words, which means that it was created by the mind of man, the very thing Einwechter is trying to argue against; the very thing he says corrupts our view of the Bible. His argument would have been much better had he left this information out and simply cited the Bible passages on pages 4 and 5-6, letting them stand on their own.

(2) While I fully agree with verbal-plenary inspiration, the notion that God providentially preserved the Scriptures is a very weak position because a casual overview of the issues of textual criticism show plainly that the Majority Text position has its own fair share of problems:

(a) there are a plethora of textual variants to deal with,

(b) the Majority Text is not the same as the Textus Receptus (upon which the KJV is based) and, in fact, the Majority Text differs on a number of readings (such as Acts 8:37 and 1 John 5:7, among others), and

(c) there are many cases where the majority reading is evenly split between two or more variants; how does one decide which is correct? What kind of preservation is that? If God really did "preserve" the original text, why do we have any variants at all?

(3) Einwechter asserts wrongly that a "DE" (dynamic equivalence) translation does not adhere to verbal-plenary inspiration. The best example of a DE translation today is the NLT, for it claims in its preference to be exactly that. If you were to survey the provided list of translators you will find a list of top notch conservative, evangelical scholars today. All of these scholars hold to a very high view of Scripture, that it is indeed inspired by God. The mistake that Einwechter makes is two fold:

(a) only the original documents are inspired, not the copies of copies of copies (as is evidenced by the textual variants), and

(b) no language corresponds perfectly to any other translation grammatically or syntactically. Since true formal equivalence is impossible, all translations are forced to convey meaning to some extent. This is why certain translations seek to be "essentially literal" (ESV) or optimally equivalent (HCSB); they recognize the gravity of the situation and do their best to address the problem.

Too, I recently researched the problem missionaries face when translating the Bible into the languages of their respective mission fields. Having chosen my resources at random (for I did not know exactly what kind of material I was dealing with), I shockingly discovered that every missionary account I read (limited of course to the resources I had available) came to the same conclusion, namely, a literal translation of the Bible hardly every works; it confuses rather than encourages. For instance, one missionary found himself in a truly unique spot when he could not literally translate one of the foundational statements of the Bible, "God is love" (1 John 4:8), because this particular language did not have a word for "love." While love was certainly evident in their culture and community, they did not express it like we do. What is the translator supposed to do in that situation? Would he be wrong for seeking an alternative way to translate that verse and every other verse wherein "love" appears? According to Einwechter, and those who agree with him, this missionary would be guilty of not adhering to verbal-plenary inspiration. Obviously that is not the case. My reason for writing this comment is to point out that Einwechter's approach is not that simple; it is instead ignorant.

By the way, my personal preference is the ESV, and I also hold that the KJV and NKJV are two of the worst translations today (although the latter is a significant improvement over the former). You may also be interested to know that the HCSB was supposed to be a new translation based upon the Majority Text. Plans changed when one of the main editors, himself a huge proponent of the MT, sadly passed away.

Please share your thoughts.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2011, 6:32:28 AM PDT
E. Mathison says:

Please learn to use paragraph formatting; your comment is utterly unreadable.

You posted a comment, on a public forum, for a reason. By you typing 4000+ words, without dividing the content, potential readers will automatically avoid any attempt to decipher the contents of it.

Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011, 12:05:22 PM PDT
JJ says:
Hello Buccs,

It seems you have fully bought into the presuppositions of Textual Criticism and that they have tainted your view of things. One of these presuppositions is evolutionary in nature: that modern scholars and understanding must be superior to that of the past.

I found the arguments of Einwechter profound and difficult to resist.

For example, I saw that my choice was either to trust in God's providence in preserving His word, and giving it to His beloved Church early on, or to trust in debased unbelievers (liberals) doing modern "scholarship," which has lead to a constant state of flux and unrest. As I became aware of the how the KJV came into being, I began to loose the prejudice that had been passed on to me by ministries I have been under. In time the choice became simple: return to the old path, return to a state of unity and rest: return to the only English Bible worth the name.

Having its origins in the RSV (over 90% unchanged) the ESV smells of Rome. So does Textual Criticism. It is the path back to tyranny, a path back to dependence upon experts and clergy. The believing scholars of the reformation period recognized that what was clearly set forth in the Bible was sufficiently simple that even a poor child could understand enough to be saved if he could read it for himself. Modern versions bewilder in their number, and undermine a child's confidence in the Bible with all their footnotes and foolishness about variants. I have found my peace and joy after a long battle, and rejoice I have been set free from the so-called knowledge, so-called science of Textual Criticism.

What does the Church of God have to learn form the ungodly and profane? What is the fruit of it all been, but confusion?

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011, 12:19:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 21, 2011, 7:24:39 AM PDT
unclebuc says:
E. Mathison,

I edited the post and made it easier to read. Thanks for pointing that out.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2011, 2:22:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2011, 2:19:51 PM PST
unclebuc says:

I tried to find a way to respond to you without posting this dialogue online, I could not find it. My response comes to you from a sincere heart, because we are wrestling with the same issue. I understand your concern, but you did not answer any of my objections to Einwechter's approach (unless you tried to wave them all off by calling them presuppositions, which does not cut it). Here is the problem: what do we make of the fact that there are any variants at all? If God providentially preserved the Greek text (and we haven't even touched the Hebrew text), why did he not preserve it 100%. Just one variable destroys preservation (implications abound from God missing just one error). Whether great or small, there are variants everywhere. And, nothing here addresses the plethora of issues that one could have with the KJV itself (we are talking about translation theory now). Let me list some for you:

1. The current KJV differs significantly from it's 1611 predecessor (there have been both unintentional and intentional changes)

a) Unintentional changes: these are largely printing mistakes, such as, the 1611 KJV had "Then cometh Judas" instead of "Jesus" in Matt 26:36, or the ridiculous "strain at a gnat" (Matt 23:24) which was correctly stated to be "strain out a gnat" in 1611. Why didn't God prevent these from happening, as silly as they are?

b) Intentional changes: alterations have been made to the translation as early as 1612, 413 changes being made just a year later in 1613. Likewise, the Apocrypha was originally included in the 1611 and was not completely removed until the 19th century (surely God did not intend for this to be preserved to!). Originally printed with marginal notes and references, by 1659 20,000 errors had been found. In 1762, the use of italics was extended and some language was modernized. Seven years later, spelling and punctuation was modernized also (e.g. Hierusalem, Marie, assone, foorth, shalbe, fet, creeple, fift, sixt, ioy, middes, and charet as examples of such). In the 19th century, the American Bible Society examined six then circulating editions and found 24,000 variants in the text and punctuation. Even current printings differ in these matters, depending on which KJV you buy. For instance, Cambridge, Oxford, Nelson printings have "an hungred" (Matt 4:2), whereas other Nelson and Zondervan printings have "an hungered," and the American Bible Society has "ahungered." How do we make sense of preservation here?

2. The KJV is in desperate need of updating today, particularly in the area of translation. The following is an example of verses that do not make any sense:

"And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke . . ." (Exod 19:18) - was it sitting on a pile of smoke or something?

". . . and all to brake his skull" (Judg 9:53) - did his skull come to a screeching halt?

"For who can eat, or who else can hasten hereunto, more than I?" (Eccl 2:25) - is this a challenge? I might consider it . . if I knew what it was!

"Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing . . ." (Ps 5:6) - not only can I not lease a car, I can't even talk about it?!?

"Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof" (Job 26:5) - things don't die on land too? Is there some kind of civilization down there, like in the movie Abyss?

"The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour" (Job 36:33) - what?

"The ships of Tarshish did sing of thee in thy market" (Ezek 27:25) - do the ships come on land and put on a show for the people who are shopping?

"I trow not" (Luke 17:9) - this reminds me of Tarzan or something.

". . . for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol . . ." (1 Cor 8:7) - idols have consciences?

"Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels" (2 Cor 6:12) - I guess the ex-lax worked . . .

". . . we do you to wit of the grace of God . . ." (2 Cor 8:1) - oookkkkk?

". . . not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand" (2 Cor 10:16) - so if I make a house with someone else's lumber, I'm not allowed to put my name on it?

Do people really recognize "ouches of gold" (Exod 28:11), "meteyard" (Lev 19:35), "rereward" (Josh 6:9, 13), "collops of fat" (Job 15:27), "mallows" (Job 30:4), "rentest they face" (Jer 4:30), "the ground is chapt" (Jer 14:4), "hole's mouth" (Jer 48:28), etc . . . .

What about terms that are still in use but have totally different meanings today, such as "mean man" (Pro 22:29; Isa 2:9; 5:15; 31:8) referring in the KJV to a "common man" and not a "cruel man." "Prevent" now means "hinder," but in the KJV it means "come before" (Ps 88:13; 119:147-148; Amos 9:10). "Let" in certain cases in the KJV meant "prevent," which is exactly the opposite of its present meaning (Rom 1:13; 2 Thess 2:7). "Wealth" was used for "welfare" (1 Cor 10:24) and "wealthy" meant "happy" instead of "rich" (Ps 66:12). Was not the sheet Peter saw "let down" by the four corners rather than "knit" (Acts 10:11)? "Conversation" is now "talk" but meant behavior in general (Gal 1:13). "Comprehended" meant "overcome" (John 1:5), and "pitiful" (Lam 4:10) meant "full of pity" but to us means deserving pity. I could go on and on. What do we make of these? And these are not isolated occurrences, they permeate the entire translation.

Is this what you claim is preserved by God today? This is the kind of argumentation that is used for the Book of Mormon, but I am confident that even you would read that book and recognize the ridiculous nature of the argument. The Book of Mormon is practically unreadable (I feel slightly better about the KJV). In all of God's wisdom and brilliance, He preserved the KJV?

1 Tim 6:20 reads "O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called 'knowledge'" (ESV). This passage refers to Timothy being entrusted with the message of the Gospel in relation to his ministry in Ephesus. It has nothing to do with the Textus Receptus or the KJV (neither existed). In any case your use of the verse contradicts your entire position. You are trying to use your reason to destroy the "reason of man." Is what you are saying true "science" (KJV)? Well, deal with the issues that I have against Einwecther and the KJV and forgo the uninspiring diatribe. You haven't proven anything other than arguing for a weak faith that can be destroyed by one tiny variable in the manuscripts of the Bible. Your question, "What does the Church of God have to learn form [sic] the ungodly and profane?", is truly a misplaced question since many of the scholars working on textual criticism today are conservative, Bible believing men and women, whose goal is to advocate the superiority of the Bible and the Christian message in a lost and dying world.

Please share your thoughts.

note - All KJV examples were taken from Jack P. Lewis' book "The English Bible from KJV to NIV: A History and Evaluation" (2nd ed., Hester Publications, 1991).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 16, 2012, 10:46:36 AM PDT
JJ says:
One thing that comes up for me is the fact that Jack P. Lewis is not a evangelical, but a member of the Church of Christ.

Another one is the modern idea that God's work must conform to us. One must study to learn some words and concepts before the KJV is readable. So what? Why do we think that God's word should adapt to us rather than us to it? In every level of study one must learn the terms before one can proceed. Why do you think the Bible should read like a newspaper?
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