English Standard Version

From Academic Kids

English Standard Version
English Standard Version

The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Holy Bible. The first edition was published in 2001 by Crossway Books, who also owns the copyright to the text.


Translation Philosophy

According to its translators, the ESV stands in the Tyndale-King James tradition of Bible translations [examples of other translations that stand in this stream are the Revised Version (1885), the American Standard Version (1901), the Revised Standard Version (1952, 1971), and the New King James Version (1983)]. In their own words, they sought to follow an "essentially literal" translation philosophy. To that end, they sought as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer, while taking into account differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original languages. The result is a translation that is more literal than the popular New International Version, but more idiomatic than the New American Standard Bible (which is commonly known as the most literal of the modern translations).

Textual Basis

First and foremost, the ESV is an update of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) of 1971 that aims to replace the interpretations in the RSV which Christian conservatives have viewed as being theologically liberal, improve the accuracy throughout with more literal renderings, and somewhat update the language.

When necessary to translate difficult passages, the translators referred to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible (as found in the second edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia), to the United Bible Societies' fourth edition of the Greek New Testament, and to the twenty–seventh edition of Nestle and Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece. In a few exceptionally difficult cases, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Syriac Peshitta, the Latin Vulgate, and other sources were consulted to shed possible light on the text, or, if necessary, to support a divergence from the Masoretic text.


Work on this translation began with discontent (largely amongst Evangelical Christians) over the perceived looseness of style and content of recently-published English Bible translations, as well as the apparent trend toward gender-neutral language in translations such as the Today's New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version, among others.

In 1997, Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family called together a meeting of individuals concerned with these issues, and from it came the "Colorado Springs Guidelines" (http://www.bible-researcher.com/csguidelines.html): a set of translation principles that ruled out the use of gender–neutral language. After this, permission was sought, and granted, from the National Council of Churches to use the 1971 revision of the RSV as the English textual basis for the ESV.

Impact and Growth

Since its release, the English Standard Version has been well-received by both individual Christians and churches in the English-speaking world, especially among evangelicals.

In February 2005, the first study Bible using the ESV text was released. The Reformation Study Bible (ISBN 0875526438) was published by Ligonier Ministries with Dr. R. C. Sproul, a prominent Reformed theologian, author, and pastor, as its General Editor.


  • Crossway Bibles. "Translation Philosophy" (http://www.gnpcb.org/page/esv_philosophy/). Retrieved March 17, 2004.
  • Marlowe, Michael D. (Oct 2001). "English Standard Version" (http://www.bible-researcher.com/esv.html). Retrieved March 17, 2004.
  • Ryken, Leland (2002). The Word of God in English (available online here (http://www.esv.org/assets/pdfs/woge.pdf) - 1.2MB PDF) . Wheaton, IL: Crossway. ISBN 1581344643

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