Thursday, May 21, 2009

English Standard Version

At the beginning of 2008, I decided on using a different approach for my daily Scripture reading. My two-fold change was:

1. Use a different daily reading plan than I used the year before.
2. Use a different translation each year until I have gone through the primary English translations.

So, my 2008 daily readings were all in the Holman Christian Standard Bible using the John R. Kohlenberger "Read Through The Bible In A Year" chronological plan. I found the HCSB to be very easy reading but the Kohlenberger plan more of a challenge. For obvious reasons, you read no New Testament passages until September 30th. I know the Old Testament is as inspired as the New but, really, don't we all enjoy some devotional reading in the New Testament before the last quarter of the year?!

This year I switched back to the Robert Murray M'Cheyne plan which I have used and enjoyed for many years. For my Bible translation, I am using the English Standard Version. The more I read from it, the more I am enjoying it.

When I am intensely studying God's Word for teaching or preaching purposes, next to the Greek and Hebrew I prefer the New American Standard version. I have found the NAS more often faithfully renders the text than do other translations. But, simply reading the NAS devotionally is a challenge. The wording does not flow as well as the KJV or ESV primarily due to its allegience to the text. It's "literalness" comes across as "wooden" and "stiff".

While I will continue to use the NAS in study, I would rather use the ESV for devotional reading as well as for worship and teaching purposes. I have switched to the ESV in my Missouri Baptist classes and have also found myself using the ESV more and more in my sermon delivery.

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod has chosen the ESV as their standard translation. If you would like some reasons why, check it out here. Also, John Piper's church, Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis, uses the ESV. You may read Dr. Piper's reasons for selecting the ESV here.

Whatever translation you use, please read the Lord's Word each and every day. May He bless your efforts.

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