Monday, March 5, 2012

Print Page Is the ESV a trustworthy translation?

The ESV has quickly become popular in Baptist circles. This certainly is the case among Calvinists. Many Calvinists have even gone as far as saying the ESV is the Bible of Calvinists. So how trustworthy is this translation? Should pastors use it to preach from the pulpit and teachers in their classroom?

I will start out by pointing out one obvious problem with the ESV. The ESV contradicts itself in parallel passages. They resort to using the corrupt LXX Greek text in 2 Chronicles 9:7 instead of sticking with the trustworthy Hebrew text. I asked one of the members of the ESV translation committee about this and he couldn't give me an answer.

KJV - 1 Kings 10:8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. 

KJV - 2 Chronicles 9:7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom. 

ESV - 1 Kings 10:8 Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 

ESV - 2 Chronicles 9:7 Happy are your wives! Happy are these your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!

As far as I am aware of the ESV is the ONLY translation that changes it from the proper translation of men to wives based off of the LXX. This is an obvious contradiction.

Many verses are completely missing from the ESV:

Matthew 12:47, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 23:17, Luke 24:40, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24



The ESV often gets it's numbers wrong:

KJV - 1 Samuel 13:1 SAUL reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel,
  
ESV - 1 Samuel 13:1 Saul was … years old when he began to reign, and he reigned … and two years over Israel.

KJV- 2 Samuel 23:18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.

ESV - 2 Samuel 23:18 Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three.

KJV - 1 Chronicles 11:20 And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

ESV - 1 Chronicles 11:20 Now Abishai, the brother of Joab, was chief of the thirty. And he wielded his spear against 300 men and killed them and won a name beside the three.

KJV - Judges 14:15 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they said unto Samsons wife, Entice thy husband, that he may declare unto us the riddle, lest we burn thee and thy fathers house with fire: have ye called us to take that we have? is it not so?

ESV - Judges 14:15 On the fourth day they said to Samson's wife, "Entice your husband to tell us what the riddle is, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?"

KJV - 1 Samuel 1:24 And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

ESV - 1 Samuel 1:24  And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine, and she brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. And the child was young.

KJV - 2 Chronicles 36:9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD .

ESV - 2 Chronicles 36:9 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.


Important doctrine is weakened by the removal of phrases and words:

Blood Atonement 

KJV - Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

ESV - Colossians 1:14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Deity of Jesus

KJV - 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

ESV - 1 Timothy 3:16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

KJV - Philippians 2:6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

ESV - Philippians 2:6  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

Believer's Baptism 

KJV - Acts 8:36-37  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  37  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

ESV- Acts 8:36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, "See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?" 37 MISSING


Other terrible translations:

Who killed Goliath?


KJV - 2 Samuel 21:19  And there was again a battle in Gob with the Philistines, where Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, a Beth-lehemite, slew the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the staff of whose spear was like a weavers beam.

ESV - 2 Samuel 21:19  And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam.

Heart or mind?

KJV - Daniel 4:6 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

ESV - Daniel 4:6 Let his mind be changed from a man's, and let a beast's mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him.

People complain that the new NIV changed the gender from the original languages so that instead we have politically correct gender neutral translations. Well, the ESV does the same thing.

In some place they neuter Jesus right out of the Bible in prophetic Old Testament passages that speak of him:

KJV - Micah 5:2  But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

ESV - Micah 5:2  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

KJV - Isaiah 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

ESV - Isaiah 53:9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.



Here are a few more examples of the ESV translators neutering the Bible:

KJV - Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:

ESV - Romans 2:28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.

KJV - Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

ESV - Romans 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."

KJV - Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

ESV - Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

KJV - 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?  4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

ESV - 1 Corinthians 3:3-4 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?  4  For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human?


In conclusion I believe the answer to the opening questions should be obvious. Is the ESV a trustworthy translation and should it be used from the pulpit? I'll let you decide.




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