I have been bragging on the ESV Bible for a number of years, but my working philosophy is that to understand the message of scripture as fully as possible one needs to read a variety of translations. I grew up in churches that were “King James only.” Sometime around 2002 or 2003 I read through the Bible in the New Revised Standard Version. I was considering which version to read next – possibly even the NIV, if you can imagine such a thing – when I was introduced to the ESV. Mike Jones, the pastor at my ministry ordination, gave me a thinline ESV (after asking which translation I would prefer) and Michael Spencer later gave me an ESV Study Bible when that was released.
Earlier this week I was browsing the Bible section of a church bookstore. The senior pastor happens to also be an ESV man so there were plenty of those on the shelf. My ESV Study Bible is in pristine condition, but the thinline I have carried and preached from for 10 years is really showing it’s age. Last week the ribbon fell out, and I need to tape the back cover together while it still has one. I looked at not only the new thinline and full size ESV Bibles, but also at Holmans, NASB and NKJV. The New King James Version has been around a little over 30 years, as long as the NIV but more common in the conservative SBC circles I run in. I was like a kid in a toy store on Tuesday afternoon but rather than buy anything I starting planning for Christmas. FYI my birthday is also in December.
Then I went to the pastor appreciation lunch I mentioned yesterday! Each person received an imitation leather bound copy of The Voice Bible and I won another Bible, the Billy Graham Training Center Bible, as a door prize. The Billy Graham Bible is a hardcover NKJV. Not only did I get a free lunch (thus proving there is such a thing) but I walked away with about a hundred dollars worth of books. So now I have two new Bibles to begin reading, one a favorite modern translation among conservatives and the other the latest, most forward thinking new translation on the market. So to use a colloquial expression of my people:
Ain’t God good?