Thanks to Jason for bringing this to my attention, of just how awful the ESV Study Bible notes really are.
God’s act of creation is the foundation for the entire biblical history. - ESVSBGen 1:1
That there, folks, is just plain blasphemous.
Pretty sure that the New Testament says Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this house of ours, a foundation laid on the Apostles and Prophets:
Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. (Eph 2.20 NLT)
There are plenty of other verses testifying to just how heretical the ESV SB really is at this point.
Sure, the ESV SB says “biblical history” (a foreign concept, really), but if Jesus is not the cornerstone, and the Apostles and Prophets are not the foundation of the Church and the Gospel, what “biblical history” is there? In other words, there is no “biblical history” for Christians without Jesus Christ. Jesus is where “biblical history” starts, and not Ken Ham.
Not to mention just how badly they get Genesis 1-11 wrong, as well as the over all idea of what Creation is according to Scripture…
I am free to make such statements because I do not review for Crossway… shucks, I would be honest anyway. The ESV is, in my opinion, a needless translation only because a few Evangelicals decided that they couldn’t hand the RSV and didn’t want the KJV. It is, in my opinion, a marketing ploy… but with that said, I do like the ESV Study Bible.
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.
However, we struck problems with the copyright holders of the NRSV and have had some difficulties in our dealings with the Holy See. All of this so becalmed the project that there is now no hope that the Lectionary or any part of it will appear at the same time as the Missal. In fact, we have decided to move away from the NRSV and to prepare the Lectionary using a modified form of the English Standard Version (ESV), still with the revised Grail Psalter. (here) (HT)
Really? The Evangelical Standard Version? Oh come on!
I wanted to highlight just a few things about the NLT Study Bible and the ESV Study Bible as a point of comparison. This post is not meant to be all incluvise or even a review.
In Genesis 1.26, the NLT Study Bible reads,
Let us make is more personal than the remote “Let there be” (e.g., 1.36). The plural us has inspired several explanations:
the plural to denote majesty;
a plural to show deliberation with the self; and
God speaking with his heavenly court of angels
The editors answer these objections, and I’ll skip most of what they say. No doubt the editors, translators and others who worked on the NLT Study Bible, the scholars anyway, are devout ‘orthodox’ Christians believing in the Trinity. Yet here, they allow for a more scholastic approach which keeps the integrity of the passage free from later dogmatization. They note, “The concept of the Trinity – one true God who exists eternally in three distinct persons – was revealed at a later stage in redemptive history, making it unlikely that the human author intended that here.” They conclude the note by stating that option 4 is the the most likely answer. And indeed, it is. This is the position of ancient Jewish interpreters as well, as demonstrated in the Jewish Study Bible.
The ESV Study Bible notes that the “text does not specify the identify of the “us” mentioned here.” Ahh… the false notion of Scripture interpreting Scripture. A starting point for the interpretation of Scripture cannot be Scripture, as it allows for circular logical to act as the foundation of the loudest voice being right. The ESV Study Bible Editors goes on to note what the NLT Study Bible does, that the ‘us’ (as it is in other places in the OT) is the heavenly court. Yet, they end by stating, “Many Christians and some Jews have taken “us” to be God speaking to himself, since God alone does the making in Genesis. 1.27 (cf 5.1); this would be the first hint of the Trinity in the Bible (cf. 1.2).”
But it’s not. It is actually the heavenly court which was the understanding of the people who first read this passage. While it is easy for us to sit here today and reread the original works, the Scriptures were not created in a vacuum. The writers used the lexicons and encyclopedias of the day so that those who heard them then would understand the meaning of the text. How arrogant of us to think that the people for whom it was written didn’t understand it, and yet, we do.
Overall, I like the ESV Study Bible notes, but in several areas, the NLT Study Bible remains intellectually honest.
What? Surely not… You mean the NLT would actually use translators from the ESV… is my worldview folding in on me?
I took a ‘fine tooth comb’ to both Translation Committee’s of the NLT and English Standard Version (ESV) and discovered that, get this, 19 of the 87 scholars (22%) who worked on the NLT also worked on the ESV.
Considering that John Piper has come down hard – and not just him – on the use of gender inclusive language, I thought we should make sure he was telling the truth about the ESV being free of such vileness. So, we briefly examine several verses compared between the KJV and the ESV.
I am a novice at bible translation, but even I know that a ‘literal translation’ is not exactly literal. I wonder if the ESV uses all the ‘O’s’ in the text? Or the ‘the’s’ as in ‘the God, the Christ’ when it is rarely translated in our English bibles.
It may come a surprise to some in the current controversy over gender-inclusive language that both Tyndale and the KJV translators included gender inclusive words in their translations. Instead of the more literal ‘sons of Israel,’ from the Hebrew word ‘ben’ meaning ‘sons,’ the KJV used the more inclusive ‘children of Israel’ hundreds of times in the Old Testament. Likewise, in the New Testament, both Tyndale and the KJV translators translated the Greek word for ‘son’ (hoios) as ‘children’ 42 times. For example Matt 5:9 states, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children (hoios) of God.” Had the KJV only recently introduced these changes to earlier versions that had instead used ‘sons of Israel’ and ‘sons of God,’ the KJV might well have been attacked for being gender-inclusive.
The problem the argument from Sproul and others of the ESV-Only camp is that it is hypocritical (I’ll forgo the use of ‘purposely dishonest rhetoric’, for the moment).
Examining the point made above, however briefly, we find that in Genesis 32.32, the ESV, for all of it’s move ‘toward biblical accuracy’ proves a bit gender inclusive:
Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank. (Genesis 32:32 KJVA)
Therefore to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip on the sinew of the thigh. (Genesis 32:32 ESV)
The Hebrew is literally ‘sons of Israel.’ In Genesis 36.31, while the KJV translates the word בּן as ‘children” while the ESV glosses over the fact by merely saying ‘Israelites.’
While you and I would bore easily going through the over 600 times that the phrase appears in the Scriptures, a cursory examination reveals that while the ESV is more ‘literal’ sometimes, it is not always so. Further, we have a distinct history in English translations – going back to Tyndale, the Bishops’, the Geneva, and even Mace, where gender inclusiveness is allowed, to a point.
Do you really think that the Scriptures only refer to men when it says ‘sons,’ ‘men,’ or ‘brothers?’ Rest assured, it is nothing new to translate these words to reflect both genders. The problem that I have with the rising tide of ESV-Onlyism is that if dismisses the long strides which we have made in bible translation. Further, the dishonesty is distracting to unbelievers, and believers alike, because it creates doubt in the underpinning of men who should be men of God.
For a more detailed look at the ESV-Onlyism, click here.