My Sunday School Teacher, Mr. Dahlen, gave me my first bible. It was a blue NIV “gift” bible that he bought and gave to all of the graduating 5th graders that year and was very meaningful to me. I’ll never forget the inscription that read “Adam, may this book draw you closer to the one who can be your best friend.” Over the years it did. Mom bought me my first leatherbound NIV Study Bible, complete with my name in gold lettering on the cover. In college, one Religion prof used the RSV, the other used NIV. All that to say, I’ve pretty much been an NIV guy throughout my daily experience with the Scripture. There were a few times, inspired by other preachers, where I would dabble in the NLT, NCV, Living Bible, ETC, but always felt “at home” in the NIV. And I still do. So do a majority of other Christians, with over 30% being NIV’ers.
Since its 2001 release, there has been more and more attention being drawn to the English Standard Version or ESV, with pastors and leaders arguing that it’s a far better translation due to its literal style and lack of paraphrase.
I checked my shelf and came across an ESV that I think I got for free back in ’01, so I’m checking it out. I was ready to brush it off until I read this fascinating (and short) article by John Piper, which you can read here. Piper gives some pretty convincing examples of how different the ESV is from the NIV. I see the differences but I’m not ready to jump ship.
It does force me to ask the question as to why I select a certain translation, though. Looking back, it appears that I’m an NIV guy because my church was. And that’s good — but I need to know for myself, so that I can say to the next generation “here’s why I read the _________” and be able to give an thoughtful answer.
Quick blogpoll — if anyone should ever comment here at RadBlog — what’s your favorite translation and why?