I have decided it is time I share my thoughts with you about books. I love books. There is something rather satisfying about sitting down with a real book flicking through its pages, which despite my love of everything electronic is not quite replaced by looking at a PC screen.
I have benefited so much from books over the years that I thought I would share a little about books that I have read and loved and that I feel every Christian should read.
I wont be placing these books in any order, but if I did there is no doubt in my mind that todays recommendation would be right at the top. It is an obvious thing to say, but I am not averse to saying obvious things- the bible should be the most precious book in every Christian’s library. But which translation? In my view this is also a no-brainer! The ESV Bible is without a doubt the best English translation to be released in my lifetime. It is my primary translation and the one I read from almost every time I preach.
Translations vary between being literal translations and so called “dynamic equivalence”. The ESV is as close to being word for word as it is reasonable to be without compromising on both readability and the accurate conveying of the sense of the words. As a preacher I feel that other translations often tend to do a little bit of my work for me, which can be fine and certainly I love referring to them, but if I want to get as close as possible to the original word of God I reach for the ESV every time.
Using the ESV I quickly realised that on almost every occassion where a commentator said “what the original really means here is….” the ESV had got there already. It is almost enough to stop a man reading commentaries!
With scholars like Dr. Wayne A. Grudem, Dr. J. I. Packer, Dr. Gordon Wenham on the oversight committe, perhaps there is little wonder that the result has been this good. The ESV has been endorsed by an impressive array of great teachers, including John Piper who has switched his church to this version.
Those of us who grew up on the King James Version or one of its derivatives (NASB, RSV, etc) will recognise much of the style of the English. The thees and thous and other archaic words are all removed, but where phrases are familiar to us and accurately translate the original why change them? The version began with the RSV and attempted to update this and improve on its accuracy.
I can’t recommend this version of the Bible highly enough, please if you don’t already have one go out and buy one immediately- you won’t regret it.
More of my posts on the ESV are now available
Other Books every Christian should read