POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

TNIV...No more

It seems that Zondervan will be pulling the TNIV (Today’s New International Version) and going back to translation work with Biblica to put out a different updated NIV (New International Version) in 2011. I have been a long standing critic of the TNIV but I am guessing that the translation was too divisive and ended up with too little sales.  I don’t want to be cynical but if this translation had been a runaway best seller I am guessing things would have been different.

Who knows what they will put together for 2011 - as for me and my house we are quite happy with the English Standard Version. If you are looking for a good study Bible I cannot recommend the ESV Study Bible highly enough. The online version is excellent as well.

Some people on the interwebs are lamenting that people took “sides” in the debate surrounding the TNIV. I do not lament this. It is a translation I recommended to nobody…in fact, my counsel was and still is “TNIV - Just say No

Free ESV Study Bible Online Access


The ESV Study Bible online companion site is giving FREE accounts out during the month of March.  The online site is a companion to that wonderfully chubby study Bible from Crossway.  Highly recommended for students of the Bible and those who find an easy home online.

Here is the link - http://www.esvstudybible.org/online

The ESV - Even Loved in China

Readers here know that I am an ESV fanboy - I said the other day that I loved Windows Vista - but even more that that I love the English Standard Version of the Bible.  It seems that the ESV is even beloved in the nation of China.

From the Crossway Press Release - ESV and the Olympics.  I feel happy:

Wheaton, IL—China will provide 10,000 free Chinese-English bilingual Bibles to be distributed in the Olympic Village where the Olympic athletes and media are housed, as reported by the China Daily newspaper. The bilingual Bible text will include the CUV (Chinese Union Version) and the ESV (English Standard Version), appearing in two side-by-side columns per page. The CUV Bible is the most widely distributed Chinese Bible in the world, and the ESV Bible has recently become the fastest-growing English language Bible in the world.

In addition to the 10,000 bilingual CUV-ESV Bibles, 30,000 New Testaments and 100,000 bilingual editions of the four Gospels will also be made available at the Olympic Games.

Because cultural and academic leaders in China are seeking to understand the influence of the Bible on the worldview and culture of the West, there is a growing interest in Chinese-English bilingual Bibles in mainland China. “We are especially grateful,” Crossway President Dr. Lane Dennis notes, “that the ESV was selected by Chinese Christian leaders for publication with Chinese CUV Bible, through our partnership with the British and Foreign Bible Society. Since both the CUV and the ESV are ‘essentially literal’ Bible translations, they are ideally suited for a side-by-side comparison of the two languages. What a wonderful thing it would be if thousands of people would learn English—and Chinese!—by reading the Bible in side-by-side bilingual editions.”

You can read the rest here


OK, I'm a bit giddy

Despite the fact that all three of my kids are sick today...despite the fact that my property taxes next year will likely be as much as my current house payment...I am a bit jovial today.

The ESV Study Bible Web site just went live - and man they are doing this thing right.  Props to the moms and pops at Crossway and the team putting this together.  A few highlights.

  • Pub date is October 2008
  • The page layout looks great. Single column reading of the text...
  • There will be an online edition launched along with it - you buy the book, you get web site access as well. 
  • Full color illustrations/maps - see sample image here
  • Eight formats including an affordable hardback at just over 32 bucks
  • Greg Allison, my good friend and member of an advisory council for Jacob's Well wrote one of the articles.  See all contributors here.

ESV News

A few interesting details on the English Standard Translation of the Scriptures.  First, Mark Driscoll gives a short description of the long...looooong awaited ESV Study Bible.  It sounds like they took the time to do it right...really right.  Looks to be a very important publication. Additionally, the translation is up to #4 in unit sales in data from February (see this pdf).  I think the addition of a full study Bible will only continue to help the adoption of the ESV. 

I came to the ESV dance back in 2003  - it is fun to see the translation continuing to gain traction. I was never able to switch from NIV to NASB...but the ESV was able to pry me from the translation I first read as a new Christian. I have enjoyed being an undercover ESV evangelist over the years.  I introduced it to our two teaching pastors at Fellowship in 2004 and then witnessed the conversion of our church from NASB to ESV in early 2006. 

My Bible Translation page has stuff on the ESV as well as the TNIV (me not like so much). 

ESV Study Bible

The ESV translation of the Scriptures is getting a big boost this fall with the release of the ESV Study Bible.  To be honest, this has been in the works for quite some time and it seems Crossway went the extra mile to do this right.  Justin Taylor, former theology director for Desiring God was brought in to Crossway to manage this project (among others). 

Anyone interested in this work will be happy to know that a new web site (sort of) has gone up in advance of the Bible's publication.  The site only devours e-mail addresses of those who want to be up to date on the news surrounding the release.  I entered mine this evening.  Looks like details will be coming in mid April.

Here is the link - http://www.esvstudybible.org/ 

(HT - Taylor

Good ESV News

There is some good news on the progress of the ESV translation of the Scriptures. You can read it on the ESV Blog.  Much of it centers around an interview with JI Packer.  Here is an exerpt:

Packer said the intent was to produce a “general purpose” Bible, suitable for preaching and exposition, reading in churches, memorization, lay Bible study, and personal Bible reading by people of all ages. A deliberate attempt was made to use simple words when possible, and to make the text “dance along,” or read easily.

Packer said the producers were very careful to not make extravagant claims or get into a competition with other translations. The ESV was not launched with the “trumpets and drums” of some other translations launched about the same time, he said.

Rather, the ESV was released quietly and soberly and allowed to “find its own level.” ESV’s natural audience is “serious evangelicals who want a translation they can trust to be transparent to the original.”

Packer said this appears to be what is behind the growing sales. Pastors are examining the translation, finding they can trust it and then recommending it to their congregations—and in some cases “retooling” their churches by using ESV as a pew Bible.

Well, we don't have a "pew Bible" or pews for that matter, but we did switch our pulpit and most of our church to the ESV.  This is one of the things I am very thankful for about my time and contribution to Fellowship Nashville.  

"Good as New" is Bad

I try to blog from time to time on Bible translations...mainly the TNIV and the ESV newer works that have taken different angles in translations.  I am not a TNIV fan, but it is infinitely better the Good as New Retelling of Scripture coming out of the UK. 

Phil Johnson has a sampling of its drool over at his Pyromaniacs site.  Younger Christians out there, don't buy into this sort of crap. 

Flood of new ESVs

Crossway has is releasing a flood of new formats of the English Standard Version Bible.  Here is a short list from the ESV Blog.

The ESV Literary Study Bible 

Learn more about this new Bible.

The ESV Literary Study Bible approaches the Bible as literature and shows how the application of literary tools of analysis helps tremendously in reading and understanding the Bible. Readers are introduced to the literary features of each book of the Bible and to each section within each book.

While traditional Bibles are reference books, this is truly a reader’s Bible. The format (single-column, black-letter, 8.5-point text, no section headings) and commentary make it ideal for private devotional reading, for preachers and Bible teachers, and for use in group Bible studies.

Download a 16-page brochure (1.3MB PDF) with sample pages from The Literary Study Bible. $49.99, available in Fall 2007.

Large-Print Pew and Worship Bibles 

Learn more about these new Bibles.

The ESV Large-Print Pew and Worship Bible will be available in three colors (red, blue, and black to match the current Pew and Worship Bibles) in summer 2007.

Two New Wide Margin Reference Bibles 

Learn more about these new Bibles.

The ESV Wide Margin Reference Bible will be available in Black TruTone and Portfolio Design TruTone (both for $54.99) covers in late summer 2007.

My very favorite: Two New ESV Journaling Bibles

Learn more about these new Bibles.

The ESV Journaling Bible will be available in natural leather ($75.00) and plum ($34.99) covers in late summer 2007.

The ESV Journaling Bible allows readers to interact with the Scriptures as they read and study them. Its 2-inch ruled margins allow plenty of room for reflections, prayers, praises, and the like. The rules in these new Bibles have slightly more space between them than the ones in the original Journaling Bibles.

My review of the ESV Journaling Bible is here.

Cowhide Leather Thinline Bible 

Learn more about this new Bible.

The ESV Thinline Bible will be available with a stylish, high-quality cowhide leather cover. The flap for closing and strap for tying make the new cover of this popular Bible even more distinctive.

Coming late summer 2007, this Bible sells for $69.99.

Finally, the folks at Crossway have an ESV Twitter out for those of you who are Twittering... 

Cool - Just Cool

If you love the ESV and computer geeky stuff then you have to check this out.  It is a social map of New Testament Relationships using a new data visualization tool from IBM. Here is a direct link for you to play with it - you'll need to have a Java Virtual Machine installed to use it (most do). 

This is a static picture of it...the link above takes you to the site where you can pull things around, zoom, etc.


(HT - Houston Slatton) 

New Version of the ESV Journaling Bible

For those interested, there is now a new version of the ESV Journaling Bible out.  It looks like the ladies and the fellas could both enjoy the look of this one. Before all you had to choose from was black - the tuscan version gives another choice to the read. Love that little wide margin, moleskin looking ESV text Bible.  For those interested, just keep in mind that the print is a bit small.

Proved my point

I asked my wife to read my recent blog entry on BibleZines.  She proved my point big time.  The first thing she said was: "What's the big deal, if it is just a Christian magazine" - My response.  Kasey, they are not magazines, they are Bibles.  Her face sunk - "you are kidding..."

Nope.  She actually thought these Bibles were "Christian" youth rags; seems to be exactly what the designers of these had in mind.  The bizarre messages about "Sexcess" aside, the fact that these Bibles were so camouflaged that my wife thought they were Christian knock offs of pop cultural magazines sort of proves my point. 

To me these deals are over a line.  Am I for nice Bible covers, colors, even new color printing technology for the inside of Bibles...absolutely.  I don't want to carry around scrolls or parchment.  But this seems like a capitulation to a message and method which does not arise from the Biblical Narrative.  I wrote this in the comments of the previous post and wanted to pull it out here as I close:

To me these seem a bit different than a Bible with notes. What I see on the covers of these "Bibles" is a capitulation to the values, message, and image of Americanism.

Look for a second at the "pink one"

  • 2 min makeovers to transform your life? How is this from the biblical narrative? Now, I don't know what these make-overs are, but just the way that it is spewed on the cover of this "Bible" is extremely problematic.
  • Now, look at the green one. Why did they pick a beautiful model, with perfect high cheek bones to represent young women. It is following "the image" that women's magazines use. Complete with a "what guys are really thinking" headline. Why didn't they use a homely looking girl who is awkward looking? This is a bit sickening to me to be honest and I am not a prude when it comes to pop culture.

I believe in using the forms of culture to communicate a biblical message - I do not think it wise to communicate non-biblical messages in pop cultural forms.

Again, I am not against Bibles with notes, even trendy designs, colors etc. and I share the desire to get people into the Scriptures. I guess I see this as using forms which are designed to mimic messages which I find very far from the biblical narrative and worldview. Is it not grotesque to compare 1 John 1:9 to getting white deodorant streaks out of a shirt? How has this not trivialized in some way the sacrifice of the gospel.


Why does this affect me?

Ok, one of my friends just sent me a link to an article in the New Yorker Magazine entitled "The Good Book Business: Why Publishers Love the Bible" - You might guess that the answer to that question is not because of the truth of Scripture...

All the glitz, cash, and marketing aside...this section of the article almost caused me to physically vomit: 

The popularization of the Bible entered a new phase in 2003, when Thomas Nelson created the BibleZine. Wayne Hastings described a meeting in which a young editor, who had conducted numerous focus groups and online surveys, presented the idea. “She brought in a variety of teen-girl magazines and threw them out on the table,” he recalled. “And then she threw a black bonded-leather Bible on the table and said, ‘Which would you rather read if you were sixteen years old?’ ” The result was “Revolve,” a New Testament that looked indistinguishable from a glossy girls’ magazine. The 2007 edition features cover lines like “Guys Speak Their Minds” and “Do U Rush to Crush?” Inside, the Gospels are surrounded by quizzes, photos of beaming teen-agers, and sidebars offering Bible-themed beauty secrets:

Have you ever had a white stain appear underneath the arms of your favorite dark blouse? Don’t freak out. You can quickly give deodorant spots the boot. Just grab a spare toothbrush, dampen with a little water and liquid soap, and gently scrub until the stain fades away. As you wash away the stain, praise God for cleansing us from all the wrong things we have done. (1 John 1:9)

But Reid, this sort of thing "reaches people" - reaches them with what?  Resolved today to pray that my daughters would reach for the black bonded leather Bible over the cheap, shallow, teen magazines which the BibleZine felt led to emulate. 

My favorite cover was this one. 


Looks kind of like Glamour or Redbook, but without the freaky stuff.  But it does advertise to tell women "What Guys Are Really Thinking" I am not against Bibles being "designed, using modern type set, even a tasteful design on a cover etc." but this seems to me to be ridiculous, almost laughable.

It seems to take the holiest of things and trivialize them.  To take 1 John 1:9, which speaks of the gospel of Jesus, the Son of God crushed for sinners, so that God would be faithful and just to forgive our sins...and put it along side a tip of getting the white deodorant stuff off of your blouse...

OK, I think I really have to go vomit now.  And men, don't think you have been forgotten...oh, no.

For those gadget loving, maintenance men, you can get Align: 


And for all you little radical dudes downstream, get Refueled:


Where else are you going to learn how to attract godly girls. Awwww Yeah!

Is this cultural contextualization or capitulation?  In my mind it is the latter.  But hey, shouldn't we give em a high five for the old college try!?


ESV Milestones

JI Packer made a striking statement:

I find myself suspecting very strongly that my work on the translation of the ESV Bible was the most important thing that I have done for the Kingdom, and that the product of our labors is perhaps the biggest milestone in Bible translation in the past fifty years or more.

The Crossway has an update on the ESV on its web site. Five Years, 3 million Bibles, online excellence, international traction, adoption by churches and ministries, etc.

I certainly am thankful for this translation of the Bible; it has been a pleasant grace to my life for several years and was the only text which was able to pull me out of the NIV of my conversion.  If you have not purchased one - I recommend the ESV Journaling Bible - mainly because it is just so cool. 

Going to read mine now. 

Spread the Word - ESV at that...



Go buy a bunch of these and give em away..

Spread the Word 

Hebrews 13:2 in the ESV

Here is a weird English grammar factoid that a friend of mine and I just ran across.  Last Tuesday in meeting at the church, one our staff was leading a devotion in Hebrews 13:2 and said, hey there is a typo in the ESV. It reads:

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares

I thought, look er there – a typo.  So...I had been in recent conversation with Crossway about the little review I wrote for the ESV journaling bible that they were putting up on the ESV blog – so I took the chance to bring up Hebrews 13:2 with them to maybe correct the old ESV.
They told me that the “unawares” dates back to the RSV which follows the KJV – I just thought – well that is stupid reason to have!  Boy, was I wrong.  In looking at the sentence construction it turns out that the word unaware would need to be an adverb which modifies the way “some” have entertained angels.  It should be something like “unawarely” – but of course this is no word.   So, my friend and I looked up “unawares” in old Websters and wouldn’t you know.  There is a word that means “unawarely” – yep, you guessed it – unawares.

Main Entry: un·awares
Pronunciation: -'werz
Function: adverb
Etymology: un- + aware + -s, adverb suffix, from Middle English, from -s, genitivesingular ending of nouns -- more at -S
1 : without design, attention, preparation, or premeditation
2 : without warning : SUDDENLY, UNEXPECTEDLY

You can see the whole entry here.

So, if you are preaching Hebrews 13 in the English Standard Version – know that the ESV actually gets it right here and it isn’t a typo – who knew, I was piping off to Crossway confidently but unawares.

The ESV has proven to be very faithful and accurate again - and using proper English as well.  And  ain't it cool to use proper English?

ESV Jounaling Bible - High Fives All Around

Some days my old school wrestler emerges in my life.  When I lack discipline to study, read, exercise, love my family well - I can get a bit hard on myself (all the psycho-anaylyzers, please hold the e-mail, God's grace is real to me). 
Many days I can boil down what needs to happen in my spiritual life to a simple phrase - Read your stinkin Bible!  I always thought having one of those big margin bible for all my scribbles would be nice - but usually you need a private fork lift and a good back to lug those chunks around.  Seeing my back is a bit jacked up from time to time and I own no large warehouse arranging vehicles, I have stuck with my ESV thinline for reading the Scriptures.  Well, the dream of a compact, big margin Bible made for writing your thoughts and comments along side the Bible has now become reality.
Crossway has just published the ESV Journaling edition, available in both hard back and calf-skin (for those who have bank and nice tastes). I received mine this past week and have been very thankful for this edition of the best translation available today (ESV).  Here are a few of the features I really enjoy:
  • Text Size: Small, 7.5 pt font.  I love small fonts, so at least for a few more years the text is fine on my eyes.  I like the clean look of the pages, but the text may be small for some.
  • Two inch margins: The margins on each side are ruled and very wide.  The ruled lines are a bit small, but I write small and find this an asset rather than a hindrance.  Some may want to use two lines.
  • Additional materials: The Bible has some great instroductory material to the Old and New Testaments, a topical listing entitled What the Bible Says About, book introductions to each biblical book (though these are at the back of the Bible, not at the head of each book), a yearly reading plan offering five chapters each day including OT, NT, Psalms, an article on the gospel entitled God's Plan to Save You.  Obviously, the publisher wanted to keep this edition compact, but while doing so they still managed to pack some nice features into the journaling Bible.
  • Coolness: The original hardback format is just cool. It looks like a fat moleskin with a sturdy elastic strap to keep it compact and a black ribbon for marking your place.  This little gem has a high cool factor.  Did I say this was a cool looking Bible?
Here is the sample of a page provided by Crossway:
So far, I have been scribbling running verse by verse commentary in my two inch ruled margins.  Others may want to journal prayers, thoughts about life, letters to God, etc. Most importantly, this may just help you Read your stinkin Bible.  In doing so the wild and fantastic God of the universe may just grab you and throw you out into his mission.  Then life just ceases to be normal.  Read the book.
One last thought.  I like this little edition so much that I think if Jonathan Edwards were alive, he might have just used a bunch of these little black books instead of the hand-sewn interleaved Bible which he used to write down thoughts in his tiny script. 
Highly recommended, you can order here:
The ESV Journaling Bible, (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006) 1074 pages.

ESV News

Another interesting ESV Bible coming out this fall.

Here is the Link ESV God’s Story Editions Coming Summer and Fall 2006

Logos 3.0

Logos Bible Software just went to version 3.0.  I have been using Logos since the early-mid 90s and this product keeps getting better and better.  In my mind this is such an aid to study that it is worth every dollar of the investment. 

All the 411 on new features etc. is availabe here: http://www.logos.com/logos3 For all the ESV fans out there, the new Word Study tool is linked to the new ESV-Greek/Hebrew interlinear.

Very sweet.  Mac users, let not your hearts be troubled, there is a version in the works

ESV Apologetics

Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV Bible

Most of my friends know me to be a very bold and compassionate ESV evangelist.  In the halls where I live, work, and play I have been known to respond to the question "What translation of the Bible is that you are using?" with answers such as "The best English translation available, what else..."  Now that I have been evangelizing for the ESV for some years, not pushy or preachy of course, I now have seen someone doing excellent ESV Apologetics

Evangelism and Apologetics should ever be married in one effort, so it is great to see my brothers doing such a wonderful job defending and offering great insight into the translation of the ESV.

Anyway, I love the NASB and came to faith with the NIV...but would recommend stearing a bit clear from the TNIV.

For those interested, Daniel Wallace provides a great guide to the history of Bible translations over at Bible.org.  Just be aware, Wallace is an evangelist as well...for something known (well, mostly unknown) as the NET Bible.  No wonder, he is a freaky smart Greek scholar who is one of its translators.

Now, if you are looking for a great Bible translation that is accurate, readable, great to memorize, beautiful (O for the beauty of the Psalms), and usable at all ages....well, don't ask me for any other recommendation but the ESV.