As we prepare to dive into a crazy new series at Riv this weekend, I am using my blog to talk a bit about different translations of the Bible and why I use them for different purposes.

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At Riv, the closest thing we have to an “official” translation of the Bible is the English Standard Version (ESV).  This is the translation we teach out of most of the time and make available at our Info Centers.  The ESV is a “Word for Word” version of the Bible which means it has incredible accuracy in the precise words it uses, sometimes at the expense of cadence and easy reading. You can read more about that on yesterday’s post.

Why do I read and study the ESV?

Besides the accuracy (which is incredibly important) there is a certain grandness or elegance in the ESV. That may sound a little weird, but hear me out. While I love translations like the NLT for their simplicity, I miss the punch that the Word of God should have and the ESV has preserved the punch. I frequently come across passages that I have read hundreds of times and feel like they have come alive in a fresh and majestic way in the ESV.

Why do I use the ESV for preaching?

For a long time at Riverview, we taught out of different translations depending on the preference of the pastor teaching that particular week. A number of years ago, we wrestled with whether we should all teach from the same translation but decided against it.

During that time period, I began to incorporate several additional translations into my message prep to see if any would flow for me and I kept navigating back to the ESV because I found I didn’t have to stop and explain away some unclear or slushy phrase where the original meaning seemed to be lost.

It was the book of Psalms that finally hooked me for good.  When I was preparing a series on that book, I found myself locked into the ESV because it carried such great poetic feel. I couldn’t get myself to teach out of any other translation for that series, and since then I have generally stuck with the ESV.

Since then, we have all begun to teach out of the ESV and it is the most common translation you will hear at Riv.