Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Problem with the ESV

Actually there is a problem with Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). And I found an article called Unpacking the Web of the Sovereign Grace Ministries Scandal. It looks like a pretty good, if rather involve, article.

But skimming, I found these comparisons between the ESV (English Standard Version) and the NIV (New International Version). Well, just let me quote the author of the article.

"Keller, Carson, Dever and Mohler (as well as other leaders I’ve listed above) are readily published through Crossway books. These men have been influential in popularizing the ESV Bible (English Standard Version) to usurp the popular NIV to become THE evangelical translation of choice.
But, it’s just a translation! you might say.
The best way I know to show the problem of ESV is to compare two passages that reveals a masculine bias NOT in the Hebrew, but present in the ESV (bold mine).
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them. (NIV)
So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.(ESV)
Do you see the key difference? Consider how the subtle word “man” without “kind” sounds in the ears of modern men and women today.
The Gospel Coalition is also the loudest “evangelical” voice advocating for men’s spiritual priority over women, softly called “complementarianism” (Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood is housed by STBS, Mohler’s school). See both the ESV bias and Crossway publications pointing in the complementarian direction.
Here’s how the ESV makes females universally silent in the church (bold mine, 1 Cor 14:33-34):
33) For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
34) Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. (NIV)
33) For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
34) As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. (ESV)
Notice how the NIV (and KJV) make orderliness the universal call.  The ESV sneaks that phrase over to verse 34 (I underlined it) to make women’s silence, not peace, the universal. Then, note the reemphasizing by capitalizing the word “Law.” (There is no such Law in Torah and scholars believe it was a cultural law in view… hence the lowercase.)
Having studied complementarianism extensively, the push for ESV appears to be a sly manipulation of Scripture to fit a powerful organization’s agenda. The Hebrew and Greek allow room for the way the NIV interprets these passages.
It saddens me that men will manipulate scripture like this in order to promote their agenda, one that includes oppressing women.

Jeremiah 8:8 says, "How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the Lord is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie."

 It was true back in Jeremiah's day. Now we see that it is also true today.


Kristen said...

This is a good article. I did a post of my own on this a while back, and concluded the following:

It is interesting to note that... the Southern Baptist Convention's own favored Bible versions actually use gender-neutral language in multiple places where the NIV 1984 used male-gendered language. As we looked at the translation changes together, it became clear to both of us that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) doesn't truly object in general to changes from male-gendered language to gender-neutral language-- because its official version, the HCSB, and its highly recommended version, the ESV, both frequently use gender-neutral language where the 1984 NIV did not. The only place where the SBC consistently objects to the NIV 2011's use of gender-neutral terms is when the translation might have a bearing on women in leadership.

Here's a link: "Farewell NIV"?

Mara Reid said...

I clicked to your article last night. Then I remembered why I didn't read it then and didn't read it last night.

It's because it was long and I've been so busy and tired lately, I've had the attention span of a gnat. So I hope sometime I'll have more time and energy because having the attention span of a gnat really stinks cause I miss our on good and cool stuff.

Len said...

Here's another one I ran across as I'm prepping my sermon this week: Deut 24:5, which is a re-hash/expansion on Deut 20:7.

The ESV says a man gets to stay home "to be happy with his wife" and pretty much EVERY other translation says something along the lines of making his wife happy or bringing her happiness. Ugh.

Mara Reid said...

Hhmmm. Sounds like a twist and slight of hand to make it man-centered and woman marginalizing to me.

I agree. Ugh.