The English Standard Version of the Bible (ESV), in third place in popularity to the King James Version (KJV) and the International Version (NIV), has published its final changes, a mere 29 verses and 52 words. This “permanent text edition” will be the final update to the ESV and will remain unchanged from now on.
I suspect this just means that its publisher Crossway (which has also published most of my books) simply wants to close the books on this project. Having a final authoritative text, as with the KJV, makes it easier to protect the integrity of the readings. The NIV, in contrast, is more open-ended and has undergone three revisions in the space of 15 years, generally in the direction of using more gender inclusive language. The ESV’s changes, though, are extremely minor. See the changes, along with Crossway’s rationale, here. Read an article on the subject after the jump.
From Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra, After Tweaking 29 Verses, Bible Translation Becomes Unchanging Word of God | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com:
A popular Bible translation is now literally the unchanging Word of God.
The English Standard Version (ESV) received its final update this summer, 17 years after it was first authorized by Crossway, its publisher.
The translation oversight committee changed just 52 words across 29 verses—out of more than 775,000 words across more than 31,000 verses—for the final “permanent text” edition. The board then voted, unanimously, to make the text “unchanged forever, in perpetuity.”
The ESV is following the example of a much older—and surprisingly popular—translation.
“The text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway—in much the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained unchanged ever since the final KJV text was established almost 250 years ago (in 1769),” Crossway stated on its website.
One difference: While the ESV copyright is held universally by Crossway, the KJV copyright held by the Crown of England is only valid in the United Kingdom. So modified versions of the KJV have been popping up in the United States and elsewhere for several hundred years. (CT has explored whether copyrights help or hurt Bible translation.)
That won’t happen with the ESV, which, like the KJV, aims to be an “essentially literal,” or word-for-word, translation. Other translations focus on finding and translating each passage’s thought or meaning.
Does this mean all ESV users need to rush out and buy the “permanent edition”? Are there other changes you wish the translators had made? (I’d like for “rules,” in the context of God’s ceremonial law, to go back to the KJV’s “ordinances.”)