English Standard Version

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The Holy Bible, opened to the Book of Isaiah.

The English Standard Version of the Bible is an "essentially literal," word-for-word style English translation by over 100 contributors that was published in 2001. A word-for-word translation is in contrast with a "thought-for-thought" or functional translation that attempts to convey meaning rather than specific terms.[1] In other words, the English Standard Version strives for formal equivalence more than functional equivalence, although idioms and other passages always require some functional considerations. In January 2009, Oxford University Press began printing an ESV translation with Apocrypha because of the ESV's growing popularity.[2] The ESV probably has the least liberal bias of any modern, academia-based translation.

The ESV utilizes a vocabulary of nearly 14,000 words. As a word-for-word translation, the ESV is particularly suitable for study using a concordance. Some of the terminology chosen by ESV is outdated, however, as in its overuse of the term "word" for broader concepts.

The ESV translators updated the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version. Their editing takes into account conservative theological objections to RSV. These prevented many churches from adopting RSV, although they involve only a small number of verses. It also eschews unisex "gender inclusive" language that plagues the New Revised Standard Version (1989).

Along with the Conservative Bible Project, the English Standard Version translates the miracle of the transformation of water into wine consistent with the modern insight of quantum mechanics.

The English Standard Version excludes "For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever" in Matthew 6:13 except in its footnote.[3]

ESV is a favorite among theologians who hold to Reformed theology (and critics often accuse it of having "Calvinistic bias"), though it is popular across the theological spectrum.

Awkward Verses

Although ESV is one of the finest translations available today, it does have its awkward verses as every other translation does. For Luke 9:53, ESV uses "his face was set toward" rather than simply "he was traveling to" or "he was headed to":

But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.


  1. http://www.gnpcb.org/page/esv.philosophy
  2. English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha
  3. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%206:13&version=ESV;KJV

External links