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Avg. Rating: 3.5
great for its purpose
This is an excellent edition of the New Testament for distribution. The text is a nice, readable size. The ESV translation is in my opinion the best translation for its accuracy and how easy it is to understand today. Definately well suited for distribution.
It includes an excellent guide of what passages to read to get a good survey/introduction of the New Testament for those who aren't familiar with it, or who may not have the time to read it entirely.
It has a section called "What does the Bible say about..." and lists a few pages of topics with appropriate Bible passages. It also has a section about "Where to look when..." and lists various emotions/situations with appropriate passages. All these sections are nicely done.
There is also a 6-month reading plan, to read the entire New Testament. However, it just lists the books with the order they are already organized by in the Bible, simply breaking them down into chapters to read each day; so this doesn't provide anything special.
Each book begins with a brief paragraph of introduction, which includes info on the auhor, date, audience, purpose of writing, and themes. These are accurate and to-the-point.
A Joy to Read
I absolutely disagree with the cavils against this New Testament, although what I like about it may be the same things others don't. Here's why. First, the cover. I like the cover because the "sickly green" reminds me of the camo covers often put on Bibles sent to troops for outreach. It's very sparse, and in my opinion, some other designs are overdone.
Once you crack the cover, what do you get in this very inexpensive NT? Newsprint pages, which again I like. You can read them outside with no glare and they don't fall out. The book and cover also flexes and is nicely laid out. What about the helps? There is no "Four Spiritual Laws" ala Campus Crusade for Christ or "Steps to Peace with God" courtesy of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, graphically presenting the "Plan of Salvation". In the back, however, there is a brief invitation, I think I would call it, with a version of what is known as the "sinner's prayer". Thus the "Outreach" part of the name.
What of the translation? The ESV is actually a slight revision of the RSV, certainly the best of modern translations. If you're not absolutely stuck on the KJV, try this ESV. The argument that it's from the RSV and not the Greek is no argument, because the KJV is not from the Greek either: it was from five English translations. Presumably, of course, they were from the Greek, as was the RSV.
So how can Crossway copyright the ESV? The same way the NIV and other translations are copyrighted. To do so, they must change at least 15 per cent. This could simply mean messing with a good translation. What Crossway did instead was to add their own notes and subject headings and footnotes as an integral part of the text. Unbelievably, the good news is you get the RSV. So get rid of your NIV, and certainly get rid of the Message. Rejoice in the streets: the RSV is here for everyone.
Obviously, this ESV is directed towards the Protestant end of Christendom, although I realize many would not use that term. I'm using it to mean "non-Catholic", although it's still misleading,. Ignatius Press has produced a version of the RSV on the Catholic side. They've done so by changing a few words, with permission from the Vatican, to reflect the Catholic Mass. The most obvious is chalice for cup. But cup is an English word anyway, not a Greek one, and the meaning is clear.
I would like to hail a third translation, unfortunately known simply as the New Testament translated by Richmond Lattimore (no version name). He was a late Greek scholar and translator who also used the RSV as well as working from the Greek. Anyone who wonders what the Greek actually says may delve into an Interlinear Greek/ English New Testament, which prints the Greek and under it the English translation of the word, usually in the Nestle translation. In the margin is a well known English translation. One may choose KJV, NIV, RSV and other versions for the margin version.
For years, "award" Bibles were RSV and they were standard pew Bibles in many churches. In my opinion, however, the notes in the ESV and Ignatius RSV are more helpful than in those early versions which, for instance, translated a number of words as "Lord" and lost some of the nuances of the Greek. While the KJV is justly hailed as an outstanding work of English literature, readers will find the RSV also beautiful in its own way. For one thing, it's easy to memorize long passages because Paul's letters actually flow like letters. The secret is out. At last, a great translation that will open the Word to the entire Enligish speaking world, and that is a joy to read.
You Can't Tell a Book by Its Cover
I love the ESV translation of the New Testament. I only wish Crossways Bibles would give us an edition of the New Testament by itself that is worthy of Christianity's core document.
I realize this "outreach" edition was meant to be cheap, but the poor quality paper, narrow margins, small print, and sickly yellow-green cover make for a book that is not inviting to read. Therefore, I don't think this edition really achieves its purpose of making the New Testament accessible and attractive to non-Christians.
I like the idea of the "Six-month New Testament Reading Plan" in the back, but I don't like the unimaginative way it is arranged. First-time readers of the NT shouldn't, in my opinion, read the NT books in their traditional order.
I do like the section "About the ESV Bible" and wish every translation had such an explanation of its philosophy of translation. I would prefer that the section "God's Plan to Save You" be dropped since the NT itself presents God's plan to save you and doesn't need additional commentary.
Please, Crossway Bibles, give us a beautiful edition of the ESV New Testament that will lie open of its own accord and be easy on the eyes.
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