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Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.1

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The English Standard Version or ESV has become a very popular bible. It’s being heavily promoted by pastors, organizations, some scholars and bible teachers from different denominations including Catholics around the world, and Calvinist, but it’s gaining acceptance in other denominations as well. According to Calvinist teacher John MacArthur the ESV is the best translation which he compares with the Authorized King James, he now sells ESV study bibles with his signatures & notes. But is the ESV a good bible translation? Aren’t all bibles the same? Where does it comes from?

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Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The new bible versions have many parts that were translated from a different manuscript called Minority Text , which comes from Alexandria Egypt (a mecca for philosophers & gnostics at the time), these parchments are mainly composed of two different textual families that disagree with each other: Codex Vaticanus & Codex Sinaiticus. British scholar Herman Hoskier did a revision of the 2 manuscripts and counted the following disagreements with the Majority Text (Textus Receptus or Traditional Text) on the 4 books of the gospels alone:

Matthew 656

Mark 567

Luke 791

John 1022

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TOTAL = 3036 disagreements

The Codex Vaticanus was found on a shelf in a Vatican’s library in 1481, where it had been forgotten for centuries, its origin is unknown, & Codex Sinaiticus was found with many corrections all over the original in a wastebasket of a Catholic monastery in 1844. If it was considered trash before, why are we using it as part of our bibles today? Greek Bible scholar Frederik Scrivener said that Sinaiticus has thousands of changes that were made in the 6th and 7th centuries.

An example of Sinaiticus’ many corrections.

For thousands of years prior to this discovery of the Sinaiticus, Christians used the Majority Text or Textus Receptus bibles, but after this,  two Cambridge professors Wescott & Hort  decided to use the Alexandrian manuscripts in 1881 to make their Greek Interlinear, and now most if not all new modern translation use this Wescott & Hort interlinear (or use its copy , the 1898 Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society (NA/UBS) Greek text, with 27 revisions), to translate their own versions.

The ESV 2001, in the Preface says: ‘ The ESV is based…on the Greek text in the 1993 editions of the Greek New Testament (4th corrected edition), published by the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Novum Testamentum Graece (27th edition), edited by Nestle and Aland.”

It is important to note that in 1965 the United Bible Society (UBS) & the Roman Catholic Church agreed to prepare a ‘common (vulgate) text’ of the bible & adopted the ‘Westcott & Hort’ Greek interlinear. The UBS which distributes 80% of the bibles in the world, from its very beginnings has been cooperating with the Vatican, but  today even more ( https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/united-bible-societies-welcomes-pope-francis/ ). Please also check: The United Bible Societies & Rome.

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Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The ESV changes more than 2,800 words to make it a gender-neutral bible (Gnostics believe in a both gender or androgynous god).

Many bible verses are completely missing from the New Testament of the ESV, RSV & all modern bible versions including the Jehovah Witness version “New World Translation” NWT (except for the Modern English Version MEV which uses the Majority Text) : Matthew 12:47, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 23:17, Luke 24:40, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24.

But there are many more changes, you can see some tables of comparison, ( remember ERV is the basis for ESV,  with only 5%-10% of changes from original ERV): differences. Altered VersesAnother Bible – Another Gospel,   Bible Version Comparison.

A quick test that we can do to find out is: Any version of the Bible which omits Acts 8:37, Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” (be baptize) He answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  and that also omits the words “through his blood” in Col. 1:14  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”  then evidently has for its foundation a corrupted manuscript.

 

We will talk more about the Textus Receptus (or Majority Text) in future posts. But for now it is very important to understand that there are many antique bibles found, many are older than the Greek Alexandria texts (Sinaiticus & Vaticanus dated 4th century AD) and that follow closer the Textus Receptus, but are not been considered by modern translations, only because they are in a different language than Greek. Examples:

Syrian bibles, with some major versions: The Peshitta, with more than 350 manuscript some as early (A.D. 145) but some others as old as 5th century (the Peshitta is considered the third & last stream of family manuscripts, an Aramaic translation that even it is close to Textus Receptus it has significant variations ).  The Diattessaron, Syriac Bible (A.D. 165-175), the Old Syriac (A.D. 400), the Palestinian Syriac (A.D. 450), and the Philoxenian (A.D. 508) This last one was revised by Thomas of Harkel, in A.D. 616, and because of that it’s also known as the Harclean Syriac.

The Old Latin Vulgate or Italia 157 A.D. (this is not Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of 382 A.D. but this translation was made for the young churches established in the northern Italian Alps & was one of the manuscripts used by Erasmus), notice it was made two hundred years before the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were produced, & a full century before the theorized “Lucian Recension”),.

The Waldensian (A.D. 120 & onwards), The Gallic Bible A.D. 177 (Southern France), The Gothic Bible (A.D. 330-350), The Armenian Bible (A.D. 400) There are around 1,244 copies of this bible version still in existence today! But if all these wasn’t enough the New Testament quotations of the writings of the early church, Chrysostom, the early Fathers of Antioch in Asia Minor, etc.  (more than 86,000 citations from Scriptures) agree with the Textus Receptus manuscripts .

 

Related Articles:

Does it Really Matter?

Is the ESV a Trustworthy Translation?

ESV vs. KJV

ESV owned by National Council of Churches

Common English Bible

What About the NASB, NIV & Other Translations?

The English Standard Version Exposed

The Semitic New Testament

The History of English Bible Revision

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