English Standard Version

The English Standard Version (ESV) is an English translation of the Bible. It was first published in 2001 by Crossway. The ESV is based on the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) text.[3][4]

English Standard Version
Esv bible.jpg
Full nameEnglish Standard Version
Complete Bible
2001; 2009 (Oxford Apocrypha); 2017 (Catholic edition)
Derived fromRevised Standard Version (2nd ed., 1971)
Textual basis
Translation typeFormal Equivalence
Reading level8.0[2]
Version revision2007, 2011, 2016; 2017 (Catholic Edition)
CopyrightThe Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)

Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

ESV Text Edition: 2016
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

The ESV adheres to an "essentially literal" translation philosophy, taking into account the differences of grammar, syntax, and idiom between current literary English and the original text.[1] With regard to gender language, the goal of the ESV is "to render literally what is in the original."[1] The ESV uses some gender-neutral language.[5]


During the early 1990s, Crossway president Lane T. Dennis engaged in discussions with various Christian scholars and pastors regarding the need for a new literal translation of the Bible.[6] In 1997, Dennis contacted the National Council of Churches to obtain rights to use the Revised Standard Version (RSV) text as a base for a new translation.[7] Crossway later formed a translation committee and started work on the ESV in the late 1990s.[8] In the translation process, approximately six percent of the 1971 RSV text base being used was changed.[9] Crossway claims that the ESV continues a legacy begun by the Tyndale New Testament of precision and faithfulness in English translation from the original text, followed in the same standard by the King James Version of 1611 (KJV), the English Revised Version of 1885 (RV), the American Standard Version of 1901 (ASV), and the Revised Standard Version of 1952 and 1971.[1]


Crossway published the first revision of the ESV text in 2007. The revision changed about 500 words in total—improving grammar, consistency, and clarity.[10] One notable change was made in Isaiah 53:5—the new text changing "wounded for our transgressions" to "pierced for our transgressions".[10]

Crossway published the second revision of the ESV text in April 2011. The revision changed fewer than 500 words in total throughout 275 verses from the 2007 text—improving grammar, consistency, and precision in meaning.[10] The 2007 edition was gradually phased out.[11]

Crossway published the third revision of the ESV text in August 2016 as the "ESV Permanent Text Edition (2016)". The revision changed 52 words in total throughout 29 verses from the 2011 text.[12] Coinciding with the release of the revision, Crossway announced that “the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway.”[13] However, in a statement released by Crossway the following month, this policy was abandoned to allow for ongoing "minimal and infrequent" periodic updates to reflect "textual discoveries or changes in English over time."[13] Lane T. Dennis said in the statement: "We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV [...] Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord."[14] The revision was subsequently republished as the "ESV Text Edition: 2016".

The ESV edition of the Apocrypha text was updated in 2017.


ESV Bible with Apocrypha (2009)

Oxford University Press developed an authorized edition of the ESV with the Apocrypha included, which was published in January 2009.

The Apocrypha inside the 2009 release is a revision of the 1971 RSV Apocrypha and the 1977 RSV Expanded Apocrypha. The team translating the Apocrypha included Bernard A. Taylor, David A. deSilva, and Dan McCartney, under the editorship of David Aiken. In this release, the Apocrypha is placed after the New Testament, unlike the RSV and NRSV Common Bibles which place the Apocrypha in between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Oxford translation team relied on the Göttingen Septuagint for all of the Apocrypha except 4 Maccabees (which relies on Rahlfs' Septuagint), and 2 Esdras (which has a Latin prologue and epilogue to the Greek Apocalypse of Ezra), which uses the third edition (published by the German Bible Society in 1983) of the Stuttgart Vulgate.

On February 4, 2018, the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India released the English Standard Version Catholic Edition (ESV-CE), which includes the Apocrypha.[15]

On June 20, 2019, Anglican Liturgy Press released the ESV: Anglican Edition, which includes the Apocrypha at the back.[16]

In late 2019, the Augustine Institute started publishing the ESV-CE in North America.


The ESV has been used as the text of a number of study Bibles, including:

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod adopted the ESV as the official text used in its official hymnal Lutheran Service Book, which was released in August 2006.[24]

The Catholic Church in India uses the ESV as the basis of their English Lectionary, and the Bishops of Scotland in 2020 announced that they were looking into using the ESV as the basis of their Lectionary, with the possibility of the Bishops of England and Wales following suit.


Mark L. Strauss, in a paper presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, criticized the ESV for using dated language and stated it is unsuited for mainstream use.[9] On the other hand, he has defended gender-inclusive language in translation and claims the ESV uses similar gender-inclusive language and speculated that criticism of the ESV by competing Bible translations is contrived for marketing purposes.[9] ESV translator Wayne Grudem has responded that, while on occasion the ESV translates person or one where previous translations used man, it keeps gender-specific language and does not go as far as other translations; the ESV website makes a similar statement. ESV translator William D. Mounce has called these arguments against the ESV ad hominem.[25]

Criticism has arisen in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, which uses the ESV as its official translation, that its frequent translation of the Hebrew word mishpatim ("judgements" or "decrees") as "rules" is not only an impoverished translation of a very rich word, but also somewhat legalistic. Although, "judgements" and "rules" are understood in similitude like "decrees" and "laws" are understood in similitude.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Preface to the English Standard Version | ESV.org". ESV Bible. Archived from the original on May 26, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Rose Publishing 2006[citation not found]
  3. ^ Carter, Joe. "9 Things You Should Know About the ESV Bible". The Gospel Coalition. Archived from the original on May 31, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020. The starting point for the ESV translation was the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version (RSV).
  4. ^ Stec 2004, p. 421
  5. ^ Decker, Rodney (2004), "The English Standard Version: A Review Article" (PDF), The Journal of Ministry & Theology, 8 (2): 16–17
  6. ^ Carter, Joe. "9 Things You Should Know About the ESV Bible". The Gospel Coalition. Archived from the original on May 31, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020. The idea for the ESV Bible originated in the early 1990s when Lane T. Dennis, president of the nonprofit book publishing ministry Crossway, discussed the need for a new literal translation of the Bible with various Christian scholars and pastors.
  7. ^ "The History of the English Standard Version". Crossway. October 31, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  8. ^ Carter, Joe. "9 Things You Should Know About the ESV Bible". The Gospel Coalition. Archived from the original on May 31, 2020. Retrieved May 31, 2020. Near the end of the decade, the translation committee began work.
  9. ^ a b c Strauss 2008
  10. ^ a b c Dennis 2011
  11. ^ Butterfield 2013, p. 42.
  12. ^ "ESV Permanent Text Edition (2016): Word Changes". ESV.org. Archived from the original on August 20, 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  13. ^ a b "Crossway Statement on the ESV Bible Text". Crossway. September 28, 2016. Archived from the original on April 22, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Weber, Jeremy (September 28, 2016). "Theology: Crossway Reverses Decision to Make ESV Bible Text Permanent (Amid much public debate, publisher says strategy for a 'stable' Bible was a 'mistake')". Christianity Today (September 2016).
  15. ^ "Catholic Edition of ESV Bible Launched". Daijiworld. February 10, 2018.
  16. ^ "ESV with Apocrypha". June 6, 2019.
  17. ^ ESV Study Bible. Crossway. 2008. ISBN 978-1-4335-0241-5.
  18. ^ ESV Global Study Bible. Crossway. ISBN 978-1-4335-3567-3.
  19. ^ The Lutheran Study Bible: English Standard Version, Concordia Publishing House, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7586-1760-6
  20. ^ The Apocrypha: The Lutheran Edition with Notes, Concordia Publishing House, August 28, 2012, ISBN 978-0758625472, retrieved December 7, 2012
  21. ^ The Macarthur Study Bible: English Standard Version, Good News Publisher, August 10, 2010, ISBN 978-1-4335-0400-6
  22. ^ Sproul 2008.
  23. ^ The Scofield Study Bible: English Standard Version, Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-19-527877-4
  24. ^ Lutheran Service Book, Concordia Publishing House, 2005, pp. Copyright Page, ISBN 978-0-7586-1218-2
  25. ^ Mounce 2011


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