ESV SB Jonah compared with 3 other study Bibles

Gary Zimmerli has just posted a review of Jonah in the ESV Study Bible. Gary uses three other study Bibles and contrasts the ESV SB with them: the NASB John MacArthur Study Bible, the NIV Study Bible, and the new NLT Study Bible.

Gary writes:

The ESV SB is of course a tour de force. It is clearly one of the very finest scholarly study Bibles available. So it was interesting to see how they treated the book of Jonah.

The introduction was, of course, excellent. It was about as detailed an introduction as I’ve ever seen, dealing not only with the author and date of the book, story overview and such, but it also went into the particular literature genre of the book, and talked about that at some length. The introductions to Jonah in the other three SBs were almost as good, but didn’t quite get into as much detail.

Although Gary praises the ESB SB, he says this of the ESV translation itself:

The ESV text, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired, in my opinion. And those of you who know me know that I’m not particularly fond of the ESV. It’s so full of archaic words and phrases, and so full of awkward word order; and the vocabulary is so archaic. You really have to do your mental calisthenics and jump through a lot of hoops. Reading the ESV can be a tiring experience, even exhausting. I don’t find it pleasant at all.

Gary ended his post:

The ESV Study Bible is just the right thing for a lot of folks. But I don’t think it will be for me. Even so, I will be recommending it.

32 thoughts on “ESV SB Jonah compared with 3 other study Bibles

  1. Theophrastus says:

    Time Magazine called the ESV Study Bible “Calvinist-tinged.” One of the ESV Study Bible contributors, David Alan Black, in his April 2nd blog entry agrees with this characterization. This limits its usefulness outside of the TULIP faithful. If you weren’t predestined to use this Bible ….

    I noticed quite a few errors in my random sampling of this Study Bible — I’m not sure this is the correct forum for enumerating them, but if someone is interested in a list, please contact me directly.

  2. Glenn says:

    I have used the ESV SB since it came out (well, after the USA because I live in the UK) and although I have found the occasional awkward word order I have never found it “a tiring experience, even exhausting.”
    I also find the text a very pleasant read (although as a separate issue the notes for the early chapters of Genesis leave more than a little something to be desired)

  3. Ali says:

    I fit the general understanding of the type of person who would use an ESV (and I do use one), but I definitely agree that it’s phrasing and word choice often leaves much to be desired. I haven’t paid close attention to Jonah, but when reading phrases like “cloths of blue” (hello? Try “blue cloths”) in Leviticus, I found it incredibly frustrating, especially when trying to read it out loud to my wife!

    So, while I haven’t looked into Jonah too much, such criticisms don’t surprise me. In fact, I might have a look at Jonah myself.

    On the other hand, I am happy to read a text that tries to get as close to the original meaning as possible, even if it’s not phrased very well. (Yes, I know the issue of how to get to the original meaning is a huge debate).

  4. Wayne Leman says:

    Ali wrote:

    On the other hand, I am happy to read a text that tries to get as close to the original meaning as possible, even if it’s not phrased very well.

    Thank you, Ali, for stating so concisely the heart of the Bible translation debates occurring today. Unfortunately, this heart of the debates presents us with a false dichotomy. Anyone who has ever spoken or studied more than one language knows very well that there is no connection between “original meaning” and good or poor phrasing. Everyone wants their translation to reflect original meaning. However it is obvious from comments on this blog and translation debates elsewhere that we do not agree that having poor phrasings helps us express original meaning better than does good phrasing. I, for one, believe that using good phrasings (that is, phrasings which are normal and natural within the patterns of the translation language) actually enhances the ability of a translation to communicate original meaning better (including more accurately) than do poor phrasings. And I fully believe in exegetical accuracy in translation. But we are being fed mistruth by proponents of poorly worded translations, that they somehow are more accurate and can be more trusted than translation which are phrased well in good quality literary English. Your example of “cloths of blue” instead of “blue cloths” is a great example that should help us question whether the poor phrasing is any more accurate than the natural English wording.

  5. J. K. Gayle says:

    But we are being fed mistruth by proponents of poorly worded translations, that they somehow are more accurate and can be more trusted than translation which are phrased well in good quality literary English. Your example of “cloths of blue” instead of “blue cloths” is a great example that should help us question whether the poor phrasing is any more accurate than the natural English wording.

    Ali and Wayne,

    I searched through the ESV at but didn’t find the example you mention anywhere (even in Lev.)

    There is “clothes of blue” in ESV Ezekiel 27:24 – but is this”poor phrasing” based on the Hebrew ( מַכְלֻלִים בִּגְלֹומֵי תְּ – contrasting the KJV with “blue fabric”)? But in the ESV there is also “blue and purple and the scarlet yarns” several times in ESV Exodus 39; and “purple, crimson, and blue fabrics” thrice total in ESV 2 Chron. 2 & 3. These seem the “natural English wording” you are looking for – and are these then “more accurate and can be more trusted than translation which are phrased well in good quality literary English”?

  6. Michael Nicholls says:

    But we are being fed mistruth by proponents of poorly worded translations, that they somehow are more accurate and can be more trusted than translation which are phrased well in good quality literary English.

    Perhaps it would be good for translators of the English Bible to:

    a) study linguistics, i.e., universal principles of language and how language works.

    b) learn a second spoken language, and speak it.

    c) live and work with a minority language group that doesn’t have much access to Bible tools, and the language itself doesn’t have a misleading resemblance to or etymology of biblical languages and English.

    This last point would show the translator the impossibility of holding to the theory that a ‘literal’ translation is in any way an ‘accurate’ translation. Rather, it is a ‘misleading’ translation, unless the reader is properly schooled in the original languages and the significance of their word choice/order, and even then it’s not a good ‘translation’, but a potentially good study aide.

    Having gone through points a) – c), is there anyone who could still consider ‘cloths/clothes of blue’ as a ‘good’ translation?

    A little community testing wouldn’t hurt these English translations either….

  7. Ali says:

    J.K.Gayle. I really have to apologise. I’ve learned long ago that when I rely on my memory, more than likely I get the details wrong. It was Numbers, not Leviticus. I even wrote a post on it a while ago here:

    G’day Wayne. I understand what you’re saying, and in most instances I’d agree. But when I want to check out things like word usage, it does make a difference if the translation is dynamic or formal. For instance, the NIV translates sarx (I’m relying on my memory again, but I think that’s the word) as “sinful nature”, whereas a more formal translation translates it as “flesh”. I personally think that’s theologically significant, and because I am not great at Greek, I find it useful to have an English Bible where there has been an attempt to translate the same Greek words the same way in different passages. Yes, I know that context has a lot to do with the particular translation used, but I like the idea of allowing the reader to experience more of the ambiguity than less.

    Having said that, I realise that there is always a pay-off and that the best way to get the ambiguity of a text is to learn Greek (and even then there are difficulties!). Slowly does it.

  8. J. K. Gayle says:

    Thanks Ali – and I really appreciated your post!

    Michael – I’d say Vietnamese is a language that, except for foreign missionary and military and commercial influences, “doesn’t have a misleading resemblance to or etymology of biblical languages and English.” As a missionary kid (U.S.A. Christian parents), I grew up speaking Vietnamese and hearing it spoken daily (including in church more than weekly). You know that, in Vietnamese, the word “xanh” is neither purely “blue” nor distinctly “green” as in English and might better (as a more precise English equivalent) be “bleen” or “grue.” Nonetheless, Vietnamese bibles have “xanh” usually and almost exclusively for plants (or analogies to plants). I’m telling this also to say that various Vietnamese translations of the Hebrew bible (Ezekiel 27:24) actually vary from the ESV rendering of “clothes of blue” as follows: “áo màu tía” and “aùo maøu tía” and “vaûi tía.” The constants (across the decades of translations 1930s/1980s/2002), of course, are (A) the noun-phrase syntax and (B) the color-term “tía” (for which English has “purple” and “violet” and “lavender” and such) to match the Hebrew תכלת (tĕkeleth) as in Ezekial. With respect to Japanese and Chinese history, philosophy, and literary works beyond the Bible – which receive much more relative attention by English translators than do Vietnamese works – there are quite a few renderings of Chinese and Japanese phrases into English as “clothes of blue.” Is this not “good” translation? As someone who may have gone through your “points a) – c)” – I’m not sure I see all of the issues with “clothes of blue” in English.

  9. Wayne Leman says:

    Kurk asked:

    there are quite a few renderings of Chinese and Japanese phrases into English as “clothes of blue.” Is this not “good” translation?

    No, Kurk, it’s not good English translation. It is understandable, but it is not good translation because does not follow English language principles. For translation to be good it needs to follow the principles which the speakers of each language follow as they speak or write their language. Good English translation calls for “blue clothes”. That is how English speakers and writers express the concept that you have so interestingly illustrated from the Asian languages.

    The problem exemplified by the phrase “clothes of blue” is the improper translation attempt to match form instead of meaning. The Hebrew and Asian noun plus modifying color term phrases use a different syntax (form) from the English adjective + noun form. But the English translation equivalent in each case should be “blue clothes.”

    There is absolutely nothing profound in what I have just said. It’s simply a principle of how translation is done between languages by people who are trained (U.N. translators, commercial document translators, some but not all Bible translators, et al) to study the forms of source and target languages so that the matching form:meaning composites (Pike’s term) is used in each case. As Pike would emphasize: Good translation calls for paying attention to more than form; Pike correctly called us to pay attention to form:meaning composites (tagmemes). And linguistics is the exciting (to me, anyway) study of discovering what the syntactic and lexical constructions are in each language that comprised the form:meaning composites.

    English Bible translators are one of the few groups of translators who do their work without training in how to translate. That is such a loss since most of us discover, in time, how valuable it is to cross-pollinate among different disciplines. Bible translators cannot do adequate work without proper input from Bible scholars (exegetes). Nor can exegetes do proper translation without receiving professional translation training themselves (it is readily available for them) or having full cooperative partnerships with trained linguists, literary experts (yes, we can’t forget paying proper attention to genre and other rhetorical devices), and translation scholars.

    Finally, and I hope this will warm the cockles of your literary heart, there is a range of good translation possibilities. There is often no one single best way to translate something from one language to another. Alternative translation wordings can provide additional insights into the beautiful meanings of the source texts. But within the range of acceptable translation the principle must be adhered to that the principles of syntax and lexicon for the target language are followed. This is something which Francis Schaeffer emphasized so much as he confronted the meaninglessness in language approaches such as the theater of the absurd.

    Following the unique principles of each language still allows for poetic license within any language, since poetic license is a marked form of language. It is breaking of normal rules to create some rhetorical effect (“The exception proves the rule.”) If, however, we break the rules all the time then poetic license and its rhetorical effect is lost. That’s another of the principles Pike emphasized so much, that *contrast* in language occurs because something is done linguistically in an unusual way.

  10. Michael Nicholls says:

    Well said Wayne.

    J.K., can you put ‘clothes of blue’ into a sentence for me that you think is a good example of what you’re saying? Maybe I’m missing something by not hearing it in context, and sometimes these ‘strange’ phrases are actually ok in certain usages.

  11. Bobby says:

    I did see once a police academy graduation ceremony.
    I saw them.
    I saw much.
    All clad in clothes of blue, buttons of brass, faces of innocence still.

    Would they remain unchanged the same?
    I wondered.

    Would that they would stand in light.

    Would darkness showering mediocrity cover us.
    I wondered.

    Forced sameness lacking joy.
    Remove the joy for all
    Lest some revel in self.
    All clad in clothes of gray, buttons of stone, faces of a regiment.

  12. Gary Zimmerli says:

    I’d just like to address what Glenn noticed, that I said reading the ESV Study Bible was “a tiring experience, even exhausting.” I was trying to read the whole book of Jonah, including all the study notes and come to a good understanding of it all in a relatively short time. Then I proceeded to do the same with three other study Bibles. Some of my exhaustion was due to trying to use four SBs all within such a short period of time, I admit. But by the time I was done with the ESV SB I was tired. The ESV uses quite a vocabulary, and it takes some mental work just to understand it, much as it would if I were using the KJV. That in itself isn’t necessarily such a bad thing when studying the bible, but I think an easier translation to understand, like the TNIV or NLT, could make for a much less tedious study time.

    Sure, it’s kind of neat to see that God “hurled” the storm, and the sailors “hurled” their cargo overboard, and then they “hurled” Jonah overboard; but I think there are much more important points to be made in the story of Jonah than such literary information. If that’s what a person likes in their own Bible study, that’s fine. Let them use the ESV SB. I think there are other SBs that I would prefer over it.

  13. Wayne Leman says:

    Bobby illustrated:

    All clad in clothes of blue

    Bobby, thanks for finding this example.

    Can you tell us the date of this composition. We need to know if it is something that would be composed for audiences speaking and reading today. Also, it looks like it is written in a kind of poetic genre, which often has different linguistic characteristics than most other language. The passage cited from the ESV was not from a poetic section of Scripture, so we would not expect to find non-standard poetic language in translation of such a passage.

    Would you yourself ever naturally compose a non-poetic sentence either orally or written in which you wrote “clothes of blue” instead of “blue clothes”?

  14. Gary Zimmerli says:

    And if I may comment just a little further, in writing the current series on study Bibles, I have tried to make it clear that what I am writing are my own impressions, and my own choices, and I am not presuming to tell anyone that they shouldn’t use the ESV SB, or the MacArthur SB, or any other SB. That’s their own choice, and these are my own impressions. So take them for what they’re worth.

  15. J. K. Gayle says:

    Michael, I think Bobby gives a fair example (although Wayne asks a good point about the date). There are several examples (googling google books).

    Wayne, You know I’m a great fan of Kenneth Pike. When I read a bit from his Rhetoric: Discovery and Change on a color-blind person’s limitations, I was in his Tagmemics seminar – where he was fond of quoting (paraphrasing) Nelson Goodman often: “What we need is ‘radical relativism with rigid restraints'”! And he would exclaim, just like that. So I wrote him a poem in Vietnamese (and a bit of English) from the vantage of a color-blind poet who could not distinguish “red” and (Green or was it Blue). He loved it.

    So here’s a Pike example from The Intonation of American English, 1979, page 45: “. . . Nan says “I want a red dress” [and Pike inserts intonation marks that I’m not able to reproduce], her meaning is not completely self-evident. She could mean, “I want a dress of a certain color. . . . [and then Pike gives other meanings that may be conveyed by different intonation].” Notice, “a red dress” (emicly) is equal to (or explained eticly) by Pike’s “a dress of a certain color.” Pike could just have easily, for example’s sake, written good English: “a dress of blue.”

  16. Bobby says:

    I just wrote it, so I’d guess its contemporary.

    I like the way the ESV reads.

    We all don’t have to follow the same drummer…….ya know

  17. Ali says:

    Just a note: The phrase is “cloths of blue” in Numbers 14, not “clothes of blue”. “Clothes of blue” is from the example in Ezekiel 27:24. Just thought I’d clarify, because I don’t know which phrase you are meant to be looking at. (And I don’t suppose it matters much).

  18. Wayne Leman says:

    I just wrote it, so I’d guess its contemporary.

    OK, thanks, Bobby. It just doesn’t read as contemporary to me. It has some awkward word orders. It has the word “lest” which is not used in standard English today, at least west of the Atlantic Ocean, etc. In other words, as I said in my previous message, it looks and sounds like poetry, specifically poetry emulating the style of some poets from a century or two ago. And there is nothing wrong with that if that is your intention. There is an attractiveness to that kind of poetry.

    I won’t keep asking the same question to you. I agree with you that we don’t all have to follow the same drummer. But for purposes of Bible translation we need to follow closely enough the same drummer of the grammar of English so that the majority of English speakers today will understand the Bible as accurately and clearly as did the audience of the original biblical texts.

    I’m glad that you like the way the ESV reads. It is not the way that most English speakers speak or write, but if you and others receive a special blessing from the way it is written, I am sincerely glad for you.

    I only ask that Crossway not promote the ESV as having a kind of English that it does not. It is primarily written in the Tyndale-KJV literary tradition with many wordings which are obsolete, ungrammatical, or otherwise inappropriate for people today. And that is fine for some people, because for them having a Bible that is not written in contemporary English gives them a special feeling that they get from hearing that kind of language. For some it is a kind of sacred feeling. I’m glad when people feel something sacred when they read the Bible. We must not be flippant with God’s Word.

    On the other hand, we mislead people if we give them the impression directly or indirectly that very much of the original biblical texts were written in a sacred language. They were not. There was some sacred, literary language in some parts of the Bible, the elevated language of parts of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation, and the doxologies of the New Testament. But most of the Bible was written in the kind of language you and I write in the comments on this blog or use when speaking to the checkout person at the grocery store. God saw fit to allow his son to be closed in the flesh of common humanity. He even saw fit to allow his revealed written Word to be clothed in ordinary human language, not the language(s) of angels or of the sacred ancient holy Sanskrit texts or any other kind of language that obscures the relationship between God and ordinary people. I am so thankful for that.

  19. Wayne Leman says:

    Kurk, sorry, but I don’t understand what you are saying about your Vietnamese poem and Pike. I’m a very basic down-to-earth kind of literary person. And I don’t fill in intuitive links very well. I would like to understand what you are saying and how it relates to this topic thread, so if you can translate it to my level, I’d be grateful. Thanks.

  20. Bobby says:

    I understand completely. I am not a poet of any kind, it was done tongue in cheek if you think about some of the metaphors. Prose can also have a meter, but it doesn’t necessarily become poetry if it does.

    It seems to me though, that there is an on going thread here though, that since the ESV isn’t readily accessible to ALL people there is something; less than satisfactory about it (its very existence almost seems to drive some people nuts!)

    I don’t agree that it is in general difficult to understand, but that being said there are many other Bibles that are easy to read, so read them. I especially dislike TNIV but I wouldn’t for a minute criticize it.

    Read from whatever God speaks to you best. There already is no excuse for not understanding the Bible in our native language, why try to change what I like?

    If we keep dumbing everything down we will end up with a dumb society. Bonhoeffer noted “”Whenever the Psalter is abandoned, an incomparable treasure vanishes from the Christian church. With its recovery will come unsuspected power.”””

    This statement for whatever reason struck me. I have recently been reading the Psalms, and listening to the Gregorian Chants from the Brotherhood Prayer Book, assembled by the Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood. The Psalms come the the KJV. The chants come from the ancient 8 tones It is an attempt to reconnect with eld. It just feels good rattling around in my brain

    There is more to spirituality than the contemporary written word. How one feels when one reads is also important. For some/me the ESV does something more than the NIV and the NET Bibles. Something more transcendent, mystical maybe.

  21. Wayne Leman says:

    It seems to me though, that there is an on going thread here though, that since the ESV isn’t readily accessible to ALL people there is something; less than satisfactory about it (its very existence almost seems to drive some people nuts!)

    Accessibility is not the issue, Bobby. There are degrees of accessibility to material composed in English using proper grammar and lexical combinations. For example, in my field, that of linguistics, the linguist Chomsky writes grammatical sentences, but his material is not very accessible. He does not put his thoughts together in very comprehensible ways. But some of his students who write well have taken his same ideas and written great books.

    The question, instead, Bobby, is whether or not we are going to follow the linguistic principles of English for translating the Bible into English. If we use obscure English or even English wordings which have never and never will be used in English, then we are inaccurately translating the Bible. We are reflecting a kind of language which does not appear in the Bible itself. I’ll say the same thing to you–since I think you are a newcomer to this blog–that we often say to others, we are *only* speaking here about linguistic accessiblity, not about complexity of ideas. The Bible has some complex ideas, but they are not expressed in complex, convoluted language. I am sincerely glad for those who like the language of the ESV. But let’s not try to promote it as a Bible that reflects how anyone has ever spoken or written English. There are even systematically ungrammatical sentences in the ESV and similar translations, such as when there are verses that say things like “The rich is struck down when he is found out.” That is ungrammatical. In English when we have a noun phrase with no noun, just a determiner and an adjective, such as “the rich”, that noun phrase refers to a plural, not to a singular. In Biblical Hebrew, however, that rule does not exist; the referent of such a noun phrase can be either singular or plural. We have no right to change the grammar of any language while translating the Bible into it. If we do so, we risk creating ambiguities and other language problems in the translated text which did not occur in the original biblical texts.

    Translators of the RSV, and then the ESV translators, who did not correct such grammatical problems have not paid enough attention to the linguistic principles which people follow to compose English sentences. In doing so they create an erroneous picture of a God who is trying to communicate with humans but has difficulty learning to speak their language correctly. There is no one single correct way to speak English. There are a variety of correct ways to express the same ideas. But there is still grammatical and proper English on the one hand and ungrammatical and improper English on the other hand.

    I, for one, want to follow a God who has communicated to me in revealed language which, in the majority of cases, is recognized by speakers of the language as following the rules of the language. I believe that God is that smart. And I believe that he wants to communicate accurately and clearly to us, just as accurately and clearly as he did with the original biblical texts.

    Let’s leave poetic language for the poetic parts of the Bible. And even there, there boundaries are not limitless. The exceptions prove the rule. They provide poetic license that tweaks our interest, that causes us to stop and think about the meatiness of some interesting, vivid metaphor.

    And this has absolutely nothing to do with dumbing down language of the Bible. That is a falsehood which has been perpetrated upon Bible readers within recent years. Which is more accurate to translate the Greek word metanoia, the English words “turn away from sin,” “change your mind about sin,” or “repent”? Some people assume that the answer is “repent” because they think it is the least dumbed down of the answers. The actual fact is that if we are doing to be as literal to the Greek as possible (something that proponents of the ESV and similar translations claim they want and I believe that they truly do), then we need to use one of the translation choices which literally translates the parts of the Greek word which comes close to “change mind”. There is nothing more accurate or less dumbed down using a word like “repent” which is not so well know to English readers than an equivalent phrase such as “turn from your sins” which actually translates the meaning of the Greek more accurately.

    We simply have to, er, repent (big grin!!) of our assumption that an obscure sounding Bible is more accurate or more sacred. It’s fine if some people want a Bible translated in a higher register, one that has a more elegant sound. But let’s please not accuse translations which are just as accurate, if not more so, of being dumbed down. And let’s not teach that Bibles need to be in awkward, obscure language.

    Now, it is truly possible to dumb down the Bible just as it is possible to dumb anything else down, below the level at which it was originally written. But too many of us are too quick to assume that dumbing down has occurred when what has actually occurred is that the translation has been written in Koine English, equivalent to the Koine Greek, for instance, of the New Testament.

    Shouldn’t we rejoice that God chose to speak in a lingua franca (common language, not slang or dumbed down language) of Jesus’ time rather than a classical language? Shouldn’t we take some clues from that about how God intends for us to communicate his written word to others in their languages?

  22. Michael Nicholls says:

    Bobby, great poem. 🙂 I liked it.

    I think it showed though that “clothes of blue” is a phrase that only really works in certain genres, like poetry. I still haven’t seen an example of it used in narrative, exhortation, conversation, normal description, and other such genres which are the predominance of Scripture. It seems to work well in poetry, but only a small part of the Bible is poetry, and even then it needs to be used artfully, as you used it.

    J.K. Gayle wrote:
    Notice, “a red dress” (emicly) is equal to (or explained eticly) by Pike’s “a dress of a certain color.” Pike could just have easily, for example’s sake, written good English: “a dress of blue.”

    I’m not sure of the reference or context, but was Pike trying to show that in good, normal language “a dress of red” is just as normal and acceptable as “a red dress”? And that both are interchangeable in English in all genres/contexts and still considered good English?

    Let me ‘translate’ a section of one your posts:

    With respect to history of Japanese and Chinese, philosophy, and works of literary beyond the Bible – which receive attention of relative of more of much by translators of English than do works of Vietnamese – there are renderings of quite a few of phrases of Chinese and Japanese into English as “clothes of blue.” Is this not translation of “good”?

    You could have written it this way. And we would have understood it. But we would have wondered why you didn’t just use normal English. How many people read the ESV and consciously or unconsciously think that God prefers awkward language over normal language?

    Coincidentally, my ‘translation’ isn’t far off what it would sound like in English if you’d originally said it in Swahili and we’d translated literally. But in Swahili it doesn’t sound awkward.

  23. J. K. Gayle says:

    Wayne, The Vietnamese poem has less to do with the post per se and more with the conversation thread about the naturalness of the ESV “clothes of blue.” Although a poet may have physical limitations of color-blindness and linguistic limits of color terms, there is a radical creativity a human being can effect. Readers and writers get what’s novel in language (as not entirely foreign if still entirely foreign). Hope that explains a bit.

    Michael, Your translation of my English is hilarious. And you make a good point with such bad English. Hence, isn’t it good English? Pike, in the context of the example above, is using English (etic English) to explain a nature (emic English) example. I think of Steve Kellerman’s and Lydia H. Liu’s respective work in “translingualism”; they research creative and created language by second-language users – when does it become less natural and less foreign?

  24. Michael Nicholls says:

    And you make a good point with such bad English. Hence, isn’t it good English?

    lol! Thanks. Does that put me in the same category as Chaucer or G.W. Bush? 😉

  25. Kurt Steiner says:

    I am a Lutheran, and I bought the ESV SB as an impulse buy on New Year’s Eve 2008. It is nicely laid out, but when I got to some of the study notes about the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, I thought “wait a minute…” Reformed/Calvinist it may be, but I think most of my Presbyterian friends would raise an eyebrow at the study notes saying “repentance before baptism is required.”

    When I was in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, my pastor was almost anal-retentive about the NASB, until the ESV came out. He grudgingly accepted the NIV, and had no use for the NRSV. Now, in my ELCA congregation, we have NIV pew and lectern Bibles, but our pastor really pushes the NRSV…add onto that competing Lutheran Study Bibles from the ELCA (NRSV) and LCMS (ESV)…sometimes it’s enough to make ya weep…

  26. paultmccain says:

    Kurt, if you are going to weep, be sure you are weeping over the right thing. The ELCA’s study Bible advocates universalism, homosexuality and gay marriage, to name but three huge problems with it.

    Here, on the other hand, is a study Bible for Lutherans who care about being, and remaining, Lutheran:

    And here is a blog post comparing/contrasting The Lutheran Study Bible with the ELCA’s Bible:

  27. Kurt Steiner says:

    Hmm…it looks like I’ll continue to use my Concordia Self-Study Bible, based on what I’ve read about the NRSV LSB. Sometimes being Lutheran can be a pain, with all the sniping between the various synods…but I do know that there are things in the ESVSB that simply tain’t Lootern. It’s wonderful if you’re Calvin/Zwingli/Knox orientated, though.

  28. paultmccain says:

    Kurt, you’ll want to put that Concordia Self-Study Bible on a shelf in a nice place, and get your hands on The Lutheran Study Bible [not to be confused with the liberal “Lutheran Study Bible” published by Augsburg Fortress.

    You can read about it here:

  29. Mark Sequeira says:

    Have to agree. I love the NASB best after many long years of reading and memorizing from NIV and love their study bible…Can’t fault my new ESV study bible which I bought for the notes, intros, references,…But it reads so poorly I can hardly carry it to church. And I read Sophocles, N.T. Wright, John Owen, Milton, etc. so I am no poor reader! It just reads poorly. Can’t imagine why more people haven’t talked about that….

    I don’t have a Zondervan NASB study Bible (with notes from the NIV) but I think that might be approaching the language of heaven INHO :–) Each to his own of course! Thanks for the article!

  30. David McKay says:

    I think the ESV Study Bible is the best I’ve seen. It has some marvellous articles and top-notch introductions and study notes.

    It is heavy-going and will have taken me about 18 months to read the whole, I think.

    My favourite part is the excellent introduction and notes to Psalms by Jack Collins, which keep reinforcing [as does a lot of the rest of the Old Testament component] how much the whole OT is like a commentary on Exodus 34:6-7 where Yahweh tells us he is the faithful compassionate God.

    I’m one of those geezers who likes the TNIV AND the ESV … so everybody hates me!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s