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Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t until yesterday. My co-worker is in a very conservative church where the translation of choice, for most of their members, is the ESV. My co-worker is accepting of the ESV, but actually prefers the NKJV, or the NASB in a pinch. He was reading at Sharper Iron and came across this link. He gave it to me to look at, and I found this very interesting little article:

when will the esv cease evolving?

Are you aware that the ESV continues to evolve? When will it grow up? I was sent the link below by a friend today and it troubles me. The document lists nearly 300 changes and this group is only one in a series of revisions that have appeared (quietly) since its publication over a decade ago.

I think that the changes are mostly good, but that is not my point. With this series of almost annual revisions, my original hunch is being confirmed. I think that the ESV was only a slight revision of the old RSV and that it was rushed into publication because of the pending news about the TNIV, which was in the works at the time. It would be interesting to know if Crossway pushed for the new translation to scoop Zondervan and capitalize on the negative publicity about the TNIV. Can someone address that issue?

The NASB and the NIV have undergone only one or two revisions in their much longer lifetimes. Why so many changes? Isn’t Crossway embarrassed by the fact that their colossal ESV Study Bible is now outdated with its inferior readings?

Now here is the real irony. When I examined the changes, what surprised me was that a number of them bring the ESV into agreement with the (cursed) NIV 2011. How can these guys keep criticizing the NIV when their ESV is becoming more like it?

You should know that I have been a fan of the ESV for years, but my enthusiasm has started to cool. First it was because of the notes in the ESV Study Bible, which I reviewed critically a few years ago (e.g., the “Daniel” in Ezekiel was a pagan hero!), and now I am perplexed with this unending series of revisions! How do I use my old ESV in class when it differs now in over a thousand verses with the new ESVs in my students’ hands? Will this be a boon for the HCSB? Please don’t tell me it is being revised!!!

Are Piper and the other pastors who have promoted the ESV pleased with all these changes? Did we place our trust in an inferior product that is acknowledged to be so by its own translation team?

I told myself that I would no longer be controversial in my posts, but I am making an exception. Will someone from Crossway or the Grudem translation team (Bill Mounce?) please answer my questions? I will post any official responses here and call attention to them on my FB and Twitter posts.

Oh, yes, the link to those most recent changes: http://d3p91it5krop8m.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/misc/esv_2011_changes.html

Personally, I have a nice ESV single-column reference Bible, and have come to enjoy using it in spite of its rather clumsy and archaic translation. And I doubt that the changes I have seen so far are going to make a whole lot of difference in this translation. It’s still rather clumsy and archaic. But it’s still not bad. Will these changes affect the perceived stability and solid reputation of the ESV? Well, I guess that depends on how they are perceived.

As for me, I’m not going to worry about it.

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