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Test drive of ESV

For nearly thirty years now my main reading Bible has been the NIV. I remember in college when the NIV New Testament came out, thinking that it eliminated what had been a standard Bible Study question: paraphrase the verse to make it more understandable. I’ve used NASB and other versions for study, but for reading, and on Sunday morning I’ve mostly used NIV, or NIV slightly modified based on my understanding of the Greek or Hebrew, which I usually call the DSV (DeGray Standard Version).

Now, however, I’m approaching a cross-roads. The NIV publishers have also published several more recent update (Todays NIV and NIV reader version) which have tended toward strongly gender neutral language and translation. For reasons too numerous to go into here, I’ve always been modestly opposed to this gender neutral trend, especially if applied to God, but even when applied to people. Therefore I have stayed away from these updated NIVs. But this year, 2011, the publishers released a new version of the NIV itself, one which incorporated significant gender neutral language, while avoiding the most blatent excesses of this trend.

I figured I’d be fine with this new (2011) version of the NIV. But so far I’m not. The gender neutral stuff they do, in my opinion, makes almost every passage awkward. And it is the readability that drew me to the NIV in the first place.

Here is an example (PDF) showing last week’s passage (Romans 14:1-12) in the two versions. Do you agree that the 2011 version, in it’s efforts to avoid the words he and his, is more awkward?

romans 14 NIV ESV comparison

So, for a while at least, I’m going to try using the English Standard Version, which I’ve liked since it came out, as my main preaching version. Here are the one another verses that I linked to last week, but in the ESV.

One on One Another ESV

What do you think?