Roundup of Concerns with the ESV

I had another question come up with the ESV today (English Standard Version), so I thought I would post a round-up of blogs that address these issues. As an ordained Free Methodist, I cannot put this too strongly. The ESV is not suitable for use in our denomination. (The NLT is similarly problematic. I recommend the CEB, the 2011 NIV, and the NRSV.)

The first link is to this endorsement of the ESV by a group opposed to the Free Methodist position on women. The Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is dedicated to the promotion of what they believe to be God-ordained complementary roles for men and women including the unilateral submission of wives to husbands and the prohibition of women from leadership roles in the church. The Free Methodist church, by contrast, believes in mutual submission in marriage as in the church (Eph 5:21) and in leadership according to gifts and calling, regardless of gender (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12).

This link takes you to a paper by Mark Strauss. Note that he, himself, is a complementarian; however, he finds many problems with the ESV beyond gender translation issues.

Next comes a broad sampling of gender translation problems from Carolyn Custis James.

Matt Lynch explains Gen 3:16 in detail, and also provides a heads-up on the odd permanent/non-permanent hiccup the translation went through.

Marg Mowczko brings in Romans 16:7 and the Junia debate and deftly discusses the unwarranted insertion of modern concepts of masculinity.

Then, Rachel Green Miller discuses a broader theological issue that complementarians regularly struggle with, often walking on the edge and sometimes over the line into the early church heresy of subordinationism. The ESV translation supports this heresy in some places.

Does all this really matter? Yes! Poor translations communicate to both women and men that women are not fully included. If you are not grounding your reading and preaching in the Hebrew and Greek texts, I recommend that you rely on the CEB, the NIV2011, and the NRSV.

The Passion “Translation” comes up from time to time. I appreciate what Dr. Nijay Gupta says here.