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It's the English Standard Version, it's just not a Standard English Version

On Monday I got up to give an evangelistic talk.  I was expecting there to be Luke's Gospels for all (NIV translation).  There weren't.  No worries, it's a short parable (the Lost Coin), I'll just read it out from my ESV Pocket Bible, right?  What could go wrong?

So I read the first verse of the parable:

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?"  (Luke 15:8)

And then I read it again.

And then I translated it into English for them.

NIV's got:

‘Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?

See the difference?

I really like the English Standard Version, but sometimes I wish they actually used Standard English.

6 thoughts on “It's the English Standard Version, it's just not a Standard English Version

  1. Rich Owen

    My Greek teacher (an actual monk!) was big on correct translation, but also big on translating correctly. That is accurate, but it is bad.

    I'm sticking with ESV though, since I'd rather clarify the clunky than criticise the translation.

  2. Steve Martin

    I'm an RSV guy, but we use just about all of them in our congregation.

    We have all of them, that is. We (the congregation) hardly use any of them.

    We are Lutherans, after all :D

  3. Howard

    I agree, Glen, that good translation which communicates is imperative, but I wonder how central the dynamic/formal equivalence issue in the Evangelical world? There are some moments when the NIV and similar DE translations are appallingly poor from a cardinal doctrine perspective. As this is the church bible for my congregation, I always take a FE version with me in case something of this nature comes up, which has happened a few times.

  4. John B

    The KJV was the Bible translation of English- speaking Protestants through the middle of the twentieth century. The proliferation of so many new competing translations is quite sad. Reading the Bible together fosters unity among the churches, as well as between us today and the generations that came before and those who come later.

    IMO the Third Millenium Bible gets it exactly right. It's not another new translation, but rather it's an update of the KJV. The TMB only varies from the KJV when necessary to make the meaning clear for modern hearers. Also,the TMB restores the Deuterocanonical books to where they were found in the early Reformation era Bibles.

    As for the ESV, during the past decade, it has helped in many churches to get everyone on the same page as the "standard" translation. At least until the next new 'greatest translation ever' hits the market.

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