Exploring the biblical theology of Christian egalitarianism

ESV Bible English Standard Version critique Mark Strauss


Mark L. Strauss is Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego. He has authored many books and is the co-author, with Gordon D. Fee, of How to Choose a Translation for all its Worth.

A few years back, in November 2008, Mark published a paper critiquing the English Standard Version. The paper is entitled: Why the English Standard Version (ESV) should not become the Standard English Version. This paper is a must-read for people who think the ESV is a superior translation, and so I have included a link on my site.

Please note, the purpose of his critique of the ESV is not to argue about supposed gender roles or about women in ministry. Mark Strauss holds to some complementarian views.

Related Articles

Junia in Romans 16:7 (in the ESV)
Manhood and Masculinity in the ESV
The ESV Bible’s Men-only Club
A Critique of the ESV Study Bible notes on 1 Timothy 2:12
Which Bible Translation is Best?

Dr L.J. Hunt has compiled more articles about issues with the ESV here.
Dr Samuel Perry’s paper, The Bible as a Product of Cultural Power: The Case of Gender Ideology in the English Standard Version, is on Academia.edu here.

8 thoughts on “A Critique of the ESV by Mark L. Strauss

  1. at what thg point does translation idolatry become a cult?
    Are people subscribing to esv NOT saved,? Are u saving christianity from paganism? I disdain all u stand for cuz I have seen it destroy a reformed church in socal.

    Their wounds are still w/ me 50 yrs later..I suggest you repent of ur fealty and doctrinal purity that turns u into a cult!!

    1. Hello Gregg. Your words don’t seem to match what is said in this tiny post or in the attached article.

      Because I can read the Greek New Testament and the Septuagint, I don’t need a translation. So I’m in no danger of turning a particular translation into an idol. I don’t have one favourite translation.

      And in answer to your other two questions, no and no—not in any way, shape, or form.

      I’m not following your comment about fealty to doctrinal purity and what it has to do with the ESV. Is there a particular doctrine you have in mind?

      I’m sincerely sorry for your wounds and that you haven’t been able to heal from them. I really am. 50 years is a long time to carry pain.

  2. Purity as to consistency w Calvinism…Edwards… Owens… any subscription to esv indicates scorn or skepticism on salvation of adherents.
    My wounds are a result of judgmentalism towards any and all who could not quote Calvin,Edwards, & Owen and therefore were not part of their “club” or cult. I quit navy left San Diego and pastor did not wish me well let alone good providence. The church started w/ 5 families and I left it w/ 5 families 4 yrs later. After the early 80s I am still burned by their memory! A healthy church should grow 10% a yr minimum!
    THANX for ur time and hearing.
    me…sorry to waste ur time. My phone typing and my stroke leave me somewhat disadvantaged

    1. Having a preference for a particular Bible version does not suggest that people who prefer other Bible versions are not saved. And nothing in this post hints at anything to do with Calvin, Edwards, and Owen, one way or the other.

  3. My problem is that Breeke and his Sys Reformedf Theo liberally uses esv but for the sake of a few renderings of pronouns he should be treated as a hack and his birthday taken away….on every other page he defines Greek words, their usage and their meaning so he probably knows a few things whereof he speaks.
    Because Keller, Beeke.and countless pastors use esv…guess they should be defrocked and all people they have led to JC should go to the Jordan River, be dunked and start from scratch..Are all editors now suspect?
    But the CEB w/ un inspired man-centerrd apocrypha and it’s Romanism should be considered one of the top translation? I vehemently disagree.

    1. Gregg, you need to take a breath. Again, much of what you’re saying has no connection to what I’ve written about the ESV or what I think about the ESV.

      I’ve never heard of Breeke. I don’t know if he’s a hack or not. And liking the ESV is a ridiculous reason for defrocking anyone. I don’t like the ESV, and my dislike of it is not just about pronouns. If you like the ESV, great!

      The opening line of Mark Strauss’s article which I linked to, and which is the purpose of this blog post is this: “I need to say first of all that I like the English Standard Version (ESV).”

      Several popular Bible translations come in versions with the Apocrypha and versions without the Apocrypha. The CEB is just one of them. Every edition of the King James Bible was published with the Apocrypha from its first printing in 1611 until the 1666 edition, and some versions still are.

      Protestants do not regard the Apocryphal, or Deutero-Canonical, books as inspired or authoritative, but they are part of our Judeo-Christian heritage and there are quotes and allusions to some of these books in the New Testament. They were written by ancient Jewish authors between the years 200 BC–AD 100. The Apocryphal books were not written by Roman Catholics and they do not promote Roman Catholicism. They are not Roman, but Jewish.

      You’re welcome not to like the CEB and even vehemently disagree with me.
      ~ This has no bearing whatsoever on your salvation.
      ~ It gives no indication whatsoever of your fealty to certain doctrines or any indication of some kind of doctrinal purity.
      ~ I don’t disdain you, a perfect stranger, for preferring the ESV to the CEB, and I see no reason to call for your repentance for not liking the CEB.
      ~ I hope your preference for the ESV is not a kind of idolatry, but whatever the case, I don’t think you’re in danger of turning into a cult.
      It would be ridiculous if I thought these things, but you have thought and said these things about me just because I see problems with the ESV. (I also see problems with some other English translations. No translation of the Bible is perfect.)

      The way you have spoken to me was uncalled for. Your comments are extreme and reactionary and have no bearing on what I’ve said about the ESV. You might want to think about repenting of your callous and unwarranted accusations against me. Also, I have no issue with Reformed theology.

  4. Sorry…I just realized there is a huge time difference between u an me…if you are in nor Idaho or eastern wa state let me know and we can meet at a tea shop to chat…Gregg

    1. I’m an Australian living in Australia, Gregg. And I don’t think I’d enjoy having tea with someone who accuses me of things and wants me to repent of things that I’m not guilty of.

      Enjoy the ESV, Gregg. And I really do hope you find a way to get over your pain.

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