|Dr. Terry Watkins||Dial-the-Truth Ministries|
Every few years (for the last 40+), a new Bible suddenly appears that claims to “finally” translate the words of God clear and “finally” (after 200+ English versions) translate the words of God into our “everyday language” so we can “finally” understand the Word of God.
And finally it’s here!
In 2001, Crossway Books gave birth to the English Revised Standard (ESV) into the crowded family of Bible versions. Much like the heralded arrival of the RSV, ASV, NIV, NASV, NRSV, CEV, NCV, and every other version for the last 100 years – Crossway proudly trumpets, we’ve “finally” done it! We’ve “finally” produced an accurate and easy to understand English Word of God! Hallelujah! “Finally” after all these years, and money, and Bibles, (and money), and translators, (and money), and accolades, (and money) – we “finally” have an accurate, easy to read, reliable, beautiful, faithful, ____ (just fill in the blank) Bible! Thank you Crossway publishers! You “finally” accomplished what the Holy Spirit could not do in 2,000 years!
As ridiculous as that sounds -- that is the belief of many of today’s “Christian” leaders. Think I’m exaggerating? Then read the following glowing ESV endorsements from the ESV web site (http://www.esv.org/about/endorsements, bold emphasized added):
These are just a few of the scores of lustrous endorsements found on the ESV web site. As we continue our examination of the ESV, the words of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 15:14 certainly rings loud an clear on the ESV cheerleaders, “Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matthew 15:14)
During our investigation of the ESV several things will be revealed: a web of deceit sustains the modern day Bible publishing market; they all attack the King James Bible; they do not believe in any infallible English Word of God and truth is not their mission. And while this article deals with the ESV, the same indictment applies to virtually every new Bible. Over 300+ versions of the English Bible have been published since the King James Bible of 1611. And every new Bible’s mantra is the same: it’s more accurate; it’s easier to understand and it updates the King James Bible. And every new Bible finds a few thousand (or million) gullible Christians blindly seeking for some miraculous illumination of the scriptures. As Brother Lester Roloff preached many times, “We don’t need to rewrite the Bible, we need to re-read it.”
THE READIBLITY LIE. . .
Before we even begin our examination of the ESV let us remove the chief justification of every new Bible version published.
Every new Bible that hits the market attacks the King James Bible with the flat-out lie that the KJB is too hard to understand. They all claim that the King James Bible is too archaic. You can’t understand the Elizabethan language. It’s just too difficult to understand. This is the number one reason people lay down their King James Bible. They’ve been lead to believe they can not understand the King James Bible. The Preface of the ESV naturally repeats the “easier to read, clearer” promise:
“Archaic language has been brought to current usage and significant corrections have been made in the translation of key texts. . . .
In punctuating, paragraphing, dividing long sentences, and rendering connectives, the ESV follows the path that seems to make the ongoing flow of thought clearest in English.”
(Preface, English Standard Version)
The Facts. . .
We “scientifically and grammatically” compared the ESV to the archaic, hard-to-understand King James Bible.
Note: To prove and validate our results. Anyone with a PC, a Bible Program, and WordPerfect can easily (in less than 30 minutes) duplicate the following tests.
Utilizing Quickverse Bible software, we copied the complete New Testament text of the King James Bible and the ESV into text files. With no modifications, no editing, but exactly as they came from Quickverse, we opened the KJB and the ESV New Testament text files in Corel Wordperfect. We then simply performed the Grammar checking function within WordPerfect.
Note: The WordPerfect Grammar checking function uses the authoritative and industry-standard Flesch-Kincaid readability scale formulas. Rudolf Flesch is the pioneer of Readability studies and author of several readability books, including the best-selling "Why Johnny Can’t Read". Without question, Dr. Flesch is the recognized authority in this discipline.
And what was the result? The King James Bible literally “blew the doors off” the ESV! The following verifiable scientific results do not lie.
As you can see from our easy to verify results, the readability statistics of the much aligned "hard-to-understand" King James Bible clearly knocks the ESV out of the park!
The Bible for Today published an interesting and revealing book titled, The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version, by D.A. Waite, Jr. Using computer readability software (Grammatik 4.0, Grammatik 5.0, Word for Windows) Mr. Waite, spent hundreds of hours, lasting over three years, analyzing every word in the King James Bible, the American Standard Version (ASV), the Revised Standard Version (RSV), the New American Standard Version (NASV), the New International Version (NIV), the New King James Version (NKJV) and the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version is an exhaustive and serious study. It contains very detailed tables, charts, documentation, analysis of every conceivable readability tests known. The King James Bible outscored the new versions in virtually every test.
Some of Mr. Waite’s analysis:
Mr. Waite summarizes his extensive analysis:
Dr. Rudolf Flesch’s book, The Art of Plain Talk, he makes the following noteworthy statement about the King James Bible:
Several times in his book, Dr. Flesch praises the King James Bible for its ease of reading. And may I remind you, this is from the leading authority on the subject.
Now that we have disposed of the “easier to read” propaganda, let us continue. . .
Due to the length and the depth of the examination of the ESV, we have separated our analysis into two sections. I would encourage my readers to review both sections.
The first section, “The Foundation of the ESV”, reveals the distorted and deceitful manuscript foundation of the ESV. This section may appear too technical for many readers, but even a limited comprehension will reveal the corrupt foundation of the new versions. This section answers “why” the new versions attack the Lord Jesus Christ, hell, salvation and scores of other key Bible doctrines.
The second section, “The Fruit of the ESV”, examines the distorted text and verses within the ESV. We compare hundreds of troubling verses in the ESV with the King James Bible. You’ll witness blatant attacks on the Lord Jesus Christ, salvation, hell, the word of God and deliberate new-age-neutral-gender distortions.