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The ESV Bible


Why Coast Hills Community Church teaches from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible.


At Coast Hills, we believe that the Bible is the primary means by which we come to know about the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said:  “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”  —John 5:39

The Scriptures “bear witness” that Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the only means of salvation, and the exact representation of God in human flesh.  In addition, we believe that the Bible contains the very words of God, is the only Revelation of God in written form and serves as the primary guide for Christian faith and practice.
 
As a result of these convictions the Pastoral staff and Elders have agreed that the translation we use in our public preaching and teaching (Weekend services and bible studies) is of the utmost importance.

This document outlines why Coast Hills Community Church will transition from the NIV (New International Version, 1984) to the ESV (English Standard Version) as the primary Bible translation for preaching and teaching.  In addition this paper will provide a brief overview of both the theological and practical reasons for this change.



WHAT IS THE BIBLE?


The word “bible” comes from the Greek word for book. As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we refer to this book, (the Bible) as the “Holy Bible.” The word “Holy” means to be set apart. Therefore, the Holy Bible is the supernaturally inspired Word of God and contains 66 separate books written over 1,000 year period by roughly 40 different authors  in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic & Koine Greek). There are 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.  (We usually say 40 authors, there are some discrepancies on who wrote which books when the bible is silent on authorship)

Some statements from Scripture about Scripture:

  • Given by inspiration of God — 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19–21
  • The very words of God — 1 Thessalonians 2:13
  • All we need to know God — Luke 16:29, 31
  • A perfect guide for life — Proverbs 6:23
  • Pure — Psalm 12:6; 119:140
  • True — Psalm 119:160; John 17:17
  • Trustworthy — Proverbs 30:5–6
  • Perfect — Psalm 19:7
  • Effective — Isaiah 55:11
  • Powerful — Hebrews 4:12
  • Nothing to be taken from or added to — Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32
  • For everyone — Romans 16:25–27
  • To be obeyed — James 1:22


HOW THE BIBLE CAME TO BE AND WHY THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT TRANSLATIONS


The Bible came about through a five-step process:
  • Revelation/Inspiration — God spoke and revealed His identity and redemptive plan to all humanity through His words that have been recorded through human agents, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the pages of the Bible’s original autographs (Hebrew, Aramaic, Koine Greek).

  • Transmission — The process by which carefully trained scribes copied down the writings so that others could have the documents.

  • Translation — The process by which carefully trained people and committees have translated the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into a language that can be understood.

  • Interpretation — The process by which men and women read the bible in a language they understand and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit  determine the meaning of the text.

  • Application — The process of applying the truth of God’s Word to our personal life.
In addition to this five-step process there are also four different translation techniques that Biblical Scholars use:
  1. Word-for-Word: A specific approach to interpret from the biblical languages the word for word meaning for accurate precision and meaning of each word. Word-for-Word translations would include NASB, KJV, NKJV, ESV.

  2. Thought –for–thought: This approach strives to attain the over all message from the text and uses words that may or may not be in the original manuscripts for the sake of clarity. The attempt is to accurately assess the meaning of the original words as a whole. Thought-for-Thought translations would include NIV, NLT, CEV.

  3. Paraphrase: This approach utilizes poetic, or narrative language to capture the essence of the original text.  Paraphrase’s would include: LB, The Message translation by Eugene Peterson’s and the J.B. Phillips translation.
     
  4. Corrupted: These translations undermine and are contrary to scripture and should be avoided.  Corrupted translations would include: The Book of Mormon, and the New World translation from Jehovah’s Witness.


WHY COAST HILLS IS SWITCHING TO THE ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION


There are two specific reasons why Coast Hills Community Church uses the ESV.

Theological reasons:

  1. The ESV was translated with the conviction that the truths of scripture are revealed in the exact words of God not just the thoughts of God.

  2. The ESV was translated with the conviction that what is revealed in Scripture must be clear and accurate before we can know what is meant by the words we read.

  3. The ESV was translated with the conviction that words matter. God went to great detail in His word choice and these words communicate exactly what He wishes humankind to know and understand.

  4. The ESV was translated with the conviction that gender language is important and is to compliment each other. Currently, there is an unfortunate trend in biblical scholarship (including the new, 2011 NIV translation) to “neutralize” gender language in order to be more inclusive of current cultural sensitivities.  However, the ESV translators believe that the gender specific language used in Scripture is also inspired of God and therefore must remain intact in order to accurately understand the Biblical text.

Practical reasons:

  1. Coast Hills Community Church is a disciple making church (Making Disciples who Love Jesus, Serve others and Share the story). Therefore, in order to follow Jesus a disciple must know what He said not just what He meant.

  2. Coast Hills Community Church believes the pulpit is the primary platform from which our community gathers to hear the word of God taught.

  3. The Pastors and Elders at Coast Hills Community Church desire to emphasize the inerrant Word of God by utilizing a Word-for-Word translation.

  4. The Pastors and Elders at Coast Hills Community Church desire to hold up the Scripture as the authoritative guide for our faith and practice.


SO WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?


That Coast Hills Community Church now uses the English Standard Version of the Bible as the primary translation for preaching and teaching in our Weekend Worship services and bible studies.  However, we do not want to discourage you from using any good translation that you choose.  Instead, we want to invite you to purchase an ESV Study Bible to facilitate harmony as we study the Word of God together.