ESV Stuff

I like the ESV a lot. I have long been a fan of the RSV, and the ESV is about 95% identical to the RSV, which is a good thing. If these were available in the RSV and the RCL, I would get them and use them. Alas, the RCL version is only available in the NRSV, which is not much different from the NIV (actually, it’s probably a little better than the NIV, but it is no better suited for reading aloud or for preaching than the NIV is).

The LCMS gave the ESV a big boost by making it their official translation. (We use the children’s bulletins published by Concordia, and since that is the LCMS’s publishing house, now our children’s bulletins feature the ESV!). I think the ESV has real potential to become for 21st century, English-speaking churches what the RSV was for most churches during the 1950’s and 1960’s: the standard version (hence the name!). If they really, really want to do this, though, there are a few things they’re going to have to do:

1. Publish an ESV pulpit/lectern Bible, already! The Scripture lessons in worship should be read “from a volume of appropriate size and dignity,” which means not from a pocket New Testament. For crying out loud, the NIV has a pulpit Bible. Publish one already, Crossway!

2. Ditto an ESV Gospel book!

3. Make the ESV available with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books. The RSV has them. The NRSV has them. The KJV has them. So do the NEB and REB and many, many others. ESV seems to have won some popularity among conservative Anglicans. How about becoming the Bible they can use all the time, including for the readings at Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (which sometimes includes readings from the Apocrypha). The ESV web site has teased us for years by saying, “The ESV may be published in the UK in editions that include the Apocrypha,” but so far they have not put their Maccabees where their mouth is. So put up or shut up, ESV!

4. How about a RCL bulletin insert, like the ones in the link above from Morehouse? It would sure save some space in the ol’ church bulletin. A word of advice: call me for the versification on the Psalms. I promise I’ll do it right, and I won’t overcharge you.

5. I notice you have allowed Max McLean to record an audio version of the ESV.Throw all of those recordings away, right now, and immediately repent. We heard a program on the radio the other day which featured him reading Scripture, and my eleven-year-old said, “Is this a joke?” It sounded like a cross between Dr. Smith on “Lost in Space” and John O’Hurley as J. Peterman on “Seinfeld.” So over-the-top. So affected. Just gross.


About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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14 Responses to ESV Stuff

  1. cancerman says:

    I’m sorry. You lost me with all the abbreviations.

  2. RevJATB says:

    Hehehe. Sorry ’bout that:

    Cast (in order of appearance):
    English Standard Version
    Revised Standard Version
    Revised Common Lectionary
    New Revised Standard Version
    New International Version
    Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
    King James Version
    New English Bible
    Revised English Bible
    United Kingdom

    I’ll try to become less abbreviation-happy ASAP.

  3. Greetings in Christ,

    Thanks for your post. I noticed you referred to an ESV Bible suitable for public worship. We do not have that, but we do have four volumes that contain the readings for the entire church year, the same lessons on your bulletins.

    It is unique in that it is printed in such a way as to facilitate public reading with “sense lines” — showing you where to pause, or keep reading, etc. Also, there are pronunciation guides provided as well for difficult words.

    We publish a complete line of bulletin inserts using the ESV–of course it is our lectionary, both a three year lectionary, and the classic historic one year series of readings.

  4. TimmyRalph says:

    RevJATB is a TE in the PCA down in La. The last time I saw him was at GA with other TE’s and RE’s where there were also a few TR’s. Personally, I am a TE in the PCA who is working in the UK with the EPCEW through MTW.

  5. TimmyRalph says:

    I’m an ESV fan, too.

  6. cancerman says:

    If I’m not mistaken, Timmy Ralph is also an AU alum.

    By the way, I recognized UK.

  7. RevJATB says:

    Dear Pastor McCain,

    Thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks for the information.

    I am going to the CPH web site right now to check out that four-volume set of lectionary readings you mentioned. (BTW Crawf, CPH stands for Concordia Publishing House, and BTW stands for ” by the way.” )


  8. RevJATB says:

    Pastor McCain,

    I heard a while back that Concordia was going to be publishing a Lutheran Study Bible using the ESV text. Is that true? I’d love to get one if it is.

  9. cancerman says:

    Oh really. I thought BTW was the killer they caught in KC a while back.

  10. RevJATB says:



  11. mike says:

    Have y’all seen the new Cingular commercials where they announce ‘unlimited text messaging for $5’. The commercial begins with a mother and daughter arguing over the cell phone bill, and the daughter is arguing in slang acronyms (e.g., omg, lol, et c.). It does have subtitles, btw.

  12. Brad B says:

    I have hysterical Max McLean stories from Ligonier 2001. Let’s just say he was the for the conference, bringing us live his excerpts from his ESV recording (…holy, HOLY, HOOOOLLLEEEYY!!), and we impersonated his rich, melodramatic baritone/bass into various scatological phrases…

  13. RevJATB says:

    If SNL* came up with a character who read the Bible like Max McLean does, AFR** would get their panties all in a wad. As it stands, the folks in Tupelo apparently think ol’ Max is the bee’s knees, because they tout his stuff quite regularly.

    Why is it that if Jon Stewart had come up with something like the “Godweiser: This Blood’s For You” T-shirt, Evangelicals would consider it blasphemy, but when someone at the CBA*** convention comes up with the same thing, it’s a “witnessing tool”?

    *Saturday Night Live
    **American Family Radio
    ***Christian Booksellers’ Association

  14. cancerman says:

    The underlying oddity is that while all these people claim that words only have an objective meaning, they in fact use them subjectively. They know the intent of the author as well as the actual words.

    By the way, I do get some abbreviations.

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