For a couple years now, I’ve found myself going back and forth between the English Standard Version (ESV) and the New International Version (NIV). But a few months ago, I made the decision to make the ESV primary and the NIV secondary. With this serving as a springboard, I want to offer just a brief review of the ESV Bible.
1. Accuracy. The translation approach of the ESV is what is termed “essentially literal,” seeking as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer (ESV Preface).
While this approach does not always ensure accuracy, it does make the ESV Bible an accurate Bible translation for the most part. This is the approach I tend to favor over others.
2. Readability. Because of its predominant translation philosophy as an “essentially literal” translation, the ESV Bible does not always read smoothly and tends to be a bit awkward here and there. But overall, having spend more than five or so years with the ESV, I believe it has achieved a high degree of readability.
In conclusion, I consider the ESV Bible a very accurate and readable translation of the Bible. I highly recommend it.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)