English Standard Version - Olive Celtic Cross Design
A couple of weeks ago the good folks at Crossway offered a free English Standard Version Bible to bloggers in exchange for a simple link to their new ESV blog. It sounded like a cool deal to me. I received my Bible in the mail yesterday. I selected the Olive Celtic Cross Design. Its very nice.

I have an electronic copy of the ESV and have read through the New Testament. The reading seemed smooth, less colloquial than the NLT and less wooden than the NASB. It comes highly recommended by some of my most respected scholars and church leaders. John Piper gives a detailed explanation of Why Bethlehem Uses the ESV. You can also listen to a short mp3. He makes some very compelling points.

I have been seriously considering switching to the ESV in my preaching and using it as our de facto translation at Lakeshore Baptist Church. I still use the NKJV, in part because I know most people carry KJVs to the pew. I do not want the difference in wording between what I read from the pulpit and what they see in their lap to be a distraction, so I’ve been slow to change. This may not be as big of a problem as I assume. My expository preaching style focuses heavily on the words used in a particular passage and I normally mention various translations to aid explanation anyway.

If I do decide to take the plunge I will probably do so wholeheartedly and not just try to slowly creep it in. The plan would involve encouraging all church members to purchase a copy of the ESV for themselves. We would also want to provide pew Bibles as well. For those who can not afford a new Bible the church could help. The project would fit very well into our church’s mission. I do not want the fact that I’m holding a cool looking green bible in my hand influence my decision, 🙂 but reading the ESV blog, hearing of others adopting the translation, and reading it more and more for myself is pushing me in that direction.

btw, you may also want to check out The Reformation Study Bible which uses the ESV.