A response to Don Carson and Allan Chapple
I am not by nature a grumpy person. I don’t often get very heated in debate or upset about things. You could even call me phlegmatic (love that word).
In his RTR article (reproduced elsewhere in this month’s web extra), Allan Chapple judges that the ESV has fallen short of its own objectives, and provides some examples. As promised (in the paper edition of this month’s Briefing), here are some counter-examples, where the ESV is advantageously a few steps more direct in translation than the NIV, while remaining quite readable (that is, where the ESV has achieved its objectives).
As a preacher, I am passionately concerned to ensure that I am faithfully proclaiming the word of God. Equally important is the question of whether I am effectively proclaiming the word of God. It will be of little or no lasting benefit to those who hear if I parade my cleverness—my wit or charm, my ability with funny or emotive stories—and not bring people into contact with the word that God has spoken. It likewise will be next to useless if I proclaim the truth in a way that obscures its meaning or makes it difficult for people to hear and understand.
Copyright (c) 2003 First Things 138 (December 2003): 10-14.
One summer years ago, I attended a conference that met at Princeton Theological Seminary; we participants stayed in the seminary dormitory. We soon discovered that the lounge on the first floor of the dorm had been converted into a kind of outsized study. A large table dominated the room; scattered across its surface were dozens of hefty books, many of them held open by other books. A group of men sat around the table from morning to evening, sometimes rising to consult one of the piled tomes. Whenever we walked past we could see them framed in a large picture window like figures in a painting. I half-expected to find a neat brass plaque screwed to the windowsill and bearing a single word: Scholarship.