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My new ESV Large Print Bible


I now have a new hardcover Bible, an ESV large print, ordered from Amazon after Christmas.

After reading the ESV translation on the computer (in my Bible software “The Word”), it is nice to now have the ESV in a portable format.  My previous Bibles, bought in my early Christian years around 1990, are NIV text:  a hardcover NIV Topical Study Bible, and the NIV Study Bible.  Both of these books are adequate, but I now have greater appreciation for the ESV text and footnotes; and sometimes those study notes can get in the way of reading the text.  Last year when I first tried reading my Horner Bible Reading lists using my NIV Topical Study Bible (because of its larger print size), I grew weary of some of the “notes” (I think in the prophets section) that associated the OT prophecies with fulfillment in the Church Age.

At this point, my MacArthur Bible Commentary has all the study notes I need.  I’m not so interested in other study bibles, but just wanted a “basic bible” without other people’s commentary on it.  At first I considered standard print ESV Bibles, but I’ve noticed that I prefer expanding the text on the computer screen, and that when I read my NIV Study Bible I need my glasses to read the smaller print.  I found a webpage that lists all the ESV editions published, along with their font sizes.  The large print is a 12.75 point size, which actually is smaller than the standard “large print” definition of 14 point — but very readable, similar to standard non-Bible books.  As I learned, standard type for Bibles is around 7 or 7.5 points.  No wonder I have problems reading that, as compared to common fiction and non-fiction books published nowadays.

Many others have said far more about the details of translation, favoring ESV over others, or favoring some other version, and I don’t wish to belabor the point here.  As one who had only been familiar with NIV, the ESV took some getting used to.  For instance, where the NIV would say “firstborn” the ESV says something about that which comes first out of the womb.  However, two specific items in the ESV translation especially prompted the switch from NIV.  The footnotes in Job 40 and 41 — texts describing animals very much like the modern understanding of dinosaurs — are at least honest.  Whereas the NIV footnotes actually suggests animals (such as the crocodile), the ESV simply says “a large animal, exact identity unknown.”  The second item is the correct translation of Galatians 6:16 — “and upon the Israel of God.”  As many others are no doubt aware, the NIV translation alone renders that “even.”  I first learned of this while listening to Jim McClarty’s Eschatology series (the Greek is the same basic word “kai” which means “and”) and since then from others, regarding the Israel and Church distinction.  Church replacement advocates will cite the NIV of Galatians 6:16 as a type of proof for a case where Israel could also refer to the church.  Just this morning in my S. Lewis Johnson message (about Baalam’s first prophecy), he mentioned the very unsatisfactory NIV translation of Galatians 6:16, noting that he had written up a paper about the matter, and planned to send them his paper in the hopes of changing that in the NIV:

So at any rate, I hope that we will live to see the day in which that particular rendering is transformed.  The NIV likes to let people know and Ken Barker is now the man who is in charge of their work.  They like to let others know that if you see some rendering of the NIV that is wrong, you should write them and give them reasons for it.  And ultimately I am going to send them a copy of my paper and hope that maybe he will come to his senses and change that particular rendering.

I wonder if he ever did.  That was in 1985, and the NIV still says what it said then.

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