God’s Word, our treasure (Psalm 119:11)
The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the h
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The rules of the Lord are true, and righteous alto
Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keepin
g them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11(ESV)
I am so thankful for the life giving, light produci
ng power of God’s Word. God’s Word is a never endin
g source of revelation and understanding for every believer. No one could hope to reach the depths of its infinite wisdom and insight into the person and the purpose of God.
For the last twenty-four years the Bible translation that I have primarily used in the pulpit, in teaching small groups, and in private devotion is the New International Ve
rsion, 1984 (NIV). This is the translation that was given to me as a teenager and the translation that I used as I began to grow in my faith. Over the years most of my scripture memorization originated from the NIV. I have learned to treasure God’s Word reading the NIV. I am grateful for the NIV’s place in the process of God’s preparation of me for these moments of ministry.
I am now changing the translation of scripture that I use for study and preaching to the English Standard Version (ESV). Here is why, in recent years the NIV has undergone two revisions; one is called Today’s New International Version (TNIV), the other revision occurring in 2011 reclaimed the original name NIV. The NIV translation that I have used since the late 1980’s is no longer being printed. The translation committees involved purposed to do two things: First, there was an intentional “gender neutral” effort; and second, there was a not so gentleshift to paraphrasing scripture versus translating scripture. The “gender neutral” emphasis rarely affects verses relating to God and more often results in the use of inclusive terms (they, them, theirs) instead of gender specific terms (he, him, his) regarding people. The greater concern for me as a Bible teacher is the contrasting nature of the goals of the NIV and the ESV translators. As stated in their preface the NIV translation committee attempted to articulate God’s unchanging Word in the way the original authors might have said it had they been speaking in English to the global English-speaking audience today. This is called dynamic equivalency translation. While the ESV preface states: As an essentially literal translation … the ESV seeks to carry over every possible nuance of meaning in the original words of Scripture into our own language. This “essentially literal translation” gives the reader the best chance to hear the original author’s personality and intent.
I am not intending to demean or elevate any translation over another. I am committed to readability and accuracy when it comes to biblical text. I believe that the ESV will provide dependable accuracy and comprehendible readability for many years to come for me and for our church family.