ESV Bible Is Now 'Permanent,' to Remain Unchanged in Future Editions Like KJV

A man reads the Holy Bible.
A man reads the Holy Bible. | (Photo: Reuters)

The text of the English Standard Version Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions, just as the King James Version has remained unchanged for about 250 years, after 52 words found in 29 verses have been changed, Crossway has announced.

The Crossway Board of Directors and the ESV Translation Oversight Committee have unanimously decided that the ESV Bible will remain unchanged "throughout the life of the copyright" beginning the summer of 2016, the publisher said, calling it "the culmination of more than seventeen years of comprehensive work by the Translation Oversight Committee, as authorized and initiated by the Crossway Board in 1998."

The Christian publisher says the 52 word changes it has made were "to make only a very limited number of final changes to the ESV text, where such changes represented a substantial improvement in the precision, accuracy, and understanding of the ESV."

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Crossway describes the ESV as an "essentially literal" translation that seeks "as far as possible to capture the precise wording of the original text and the personal style of each Bible writer."

The Board and the Committee affirm that "their highest responsibility is to 'guard the deposit entrusted to you' (1 Timothy 6:20) — to guard and preserve the very words of God as translated in the ESV Bible; to do so in full awareness of the fearful responsibility that this sacred trust entails; to understand that this can be accomplished only in complete dependence on the Lord's grace, mercy, strength, providence, and wisdom; for the glory alone of our triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

The word changes made in verses include Genesis 3:16, which now reads, "Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you." The verse earlier said, "Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

1 Kings 8:48 has been changed from "If they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their enemies," to now, "If they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies."

Ephesians 1:5 earlier read, "He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will." It now reads, "He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will."

James 2:10 has been changed from, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it," to "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it."

"With the work of translating the ESV Bible now completed, we would give our work back into the hands of the Lord; for him to use and to bless and to accomplish his purposes (Isaiah 55:11); for the sake of his church and the gospel, to 'the ends of the earth' (Acts 13:47) — knowing that 'the word of the Lord remains forever' (1 Peter 1:25)," Crossway said.

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